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The 10 Best Caribbean Cruises

by Dana McMahan | July 28, 2016

The Caribbean lures travelers to its sun-kissed, palm-lined beaches year-round, and a cruise is a simple way to cover a lot of sandy ground with ease. Book your cruise fare and plane ticket, throw some swimsuits, sunscreen, and flip-flops in a suitcase, and off you go, ready to drink rum-laced frozen concoctions topped with paper umbrellas and feel the cool sand squish beneath your toes.

Sun worshippers who want to explore the Caribbean's assortment of sandy shorelines, enjoying the variety as well as the opportunity to taste test beaches for future vacations, will find that a cruise serves their needs perfectly. After all, since the area has few internal regional flights, there's no easier way to see the highlights of the Caribbean in one easy to plan, efficient holiday.

However, for travelers looking to lie on a beach from dusk to dawn, a cruise may not actually be your best choice. After all, a resort allows you the flexibility to wake up whenever you like, head toward the surf as soon as you like, and stay until the sun sets behind the horizon in a fiery blaze. On a Caribbean cruise, however, you must head back to the ship before she sets sail for the next destination. A cruise is just not about maximum time on the sand. That said, once the ship sails you can still stay in your bikini and sun hat uniform for the rest of the day, maximizing the rays on the pool deck as a calypso band entertains you. 

In addition, if lying on a sun-bleached strand or splashing in the pale-blue surf isn’t your fantasy, you’ll still find plenty of summery relaxation on a Caribbean cruise. Each day brings another port, and another opportunity for adventure. Swim with the stingrays or spy on schools of colorful fish or get up close and personal with dolphins one day. Then, rev up your adrenaline with a zip line or tubing expedition the next. You can also get a dose of history on a Caribbean cruise, touring a rum distillery or old sugar plantations, and explore the land-based scenery, hiking through a rain forest to bathe in a waterfall. Prefer to do nothing at all? You can book a pass to a resort and just settle in at a swim-up bar for the day.

With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder cruisers — from young couples to families, friends, and retirees — head here year after year for time in the sun. Perhaps nowhere on earth — and certainly nowhere else this close to home — offers as wide a variety of opportunity for surf, sand, sun, natural beauty, culture, adventure, and just plain fun as the Caribbean.

Better still, more new ships than ever await you, and the new ships that have set sail on these dreamy blue waters offer cruisers a wealth of choices in a variety of price points. You’ll find exciting new restaurants on board, sleek new activities, and impressive new cabin designs guaranteed to make you more comfortable than ever before. Not sure which ship is right for your sailing to paradise? Read on for our picks for the best Caribbean cruises.

Dana McMahan

Dana McMahan is a Detroit-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.

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