Eastern vs Western Caribbean

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#1
Cape Town
337 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Hi.We are planning a cruise (7-day) for 5 Feb 2005 and I would really like to know which is better - Eastern or Western Caribbean? We have only done 1 cruise before - a short (5-day) Western Caribbean in March 2003 on the Monarch. We are not from the USA, so I am not familiar with weather patterns, etc for that time of the year.
Also, any advice with regards to the different Ports to visit, will be appreciated.
I know it is difficult for anyone to predict weather, but just from experience, which side will have the better weather.
Thks a mil
Cruzin4Life
#2
Mainer in Florida
4,712 Posts
Joined May 2000
Caribbean weather in February is typically darn near perfect - warm and sunny, but dry. The real heat hasn't set in and the rainy season is over. Plus if you are from a cooler climate, you should be comfortable. You couldn't have made a better choice. I don't think Eastern or Western makes much difference as far as the weather is concerned.

The question of which is "better" is highly subjective. We generally prefer the Western Caribbean (have sailed it four times) as IMHO there is more variety in the shore excursion options. You can tour the ruins, swim with stingrays, go horseback riding through the jungle, enjoy great snorkeling or golf, take a tubing adventure through caves, or go shopping. The Eastern Caribbean offers great beaches and shopping, but less variety in other options. Don't get me wrong; we love the Eastern Caribbean, too. But we always recommend the Western for first timers.

Which ports did you visit on your first cruise? Unless there was one you really loved, I'd plan your second cruise to alternate ports for some variety.
#3
Cape Town
337 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Thks for the info. We went to Key West, Cozumel and Costa Maya, except we never got to Costa Maya due to very high winds - we returned to Cozumel for a 2nd day there. We also couldn't dock in Cozumel (both days) and they used tenders which took a very long time due to the high swells. This didn't stop us from enjoying the cruise though. All excursions were cancelled due to the long tender process and people missing their booked excursions. RCCL "compensated" for this by having free drinks for a few hours. We just took a cab (1st day) in Cozumel and went to one of the beaches - the water was murky and rough, so we didn't stay very long. The 2nd day in Cozumel we stayed on board. Despite all this, we still loved it - are we easy to please, or what ??
#4
Connecticut
1,880 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
DH and I cruise 2 to 3 times a year - we love the high seas! I have not noticed a difference in the weather between the Eastern and Western cruises. We prefer the E, only because the stops made at the Mexican ports do not appeal to us. They are too poverty stricken, and it breaks my heart to see kids begging for change. Yes, I have seen the begging in the E, but for some reason it's more predominant, to me, in the W. Plus, we love the Leeward and Windward islands. So beautiful and tropical!
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#5
Cape Town
337 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Thks JanetMarie. I agree with you about the little kids - it does break one's heart. I think we have basically decided on the Eastern side now. We do enjoy the beach and it sounds like Eastern is the place to go for watersports. Looks like it is going to be the Voyager on the 5 Feb 2005.
Now we need to look for airfare. Any suggestions, anyone? When is the best time to book your airfare. Some say as early as possible, but it does sound like there are "specials" from time to time. How do you check for these specials?
#6
Oldsmar, FL, USA
109 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
My husband and I have cruised both Western and Eastern two times each. I would say we like them both equally but always try to pick cruises that go to new ports no matter which. This year we opted for Eastern as we've not been to Nassau or San Juan before so it'll be something new for us.

As far as air fare - depends on where you're at. I wait until the last minute to buy our tix as we live in Tampa and can drive to Miami if they don't drop at the last minute like they usually do. I have always found that I can get good deals at the last minute but it all depends where you're coming from and going to. Keep an eye on a site like expedia almost on a daily basis. Two years ago I was watching for fares to Denver for skiing and they dropped over $75 per person from one day to the next and back up again a few days later. You never know...
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Jennifer Kohler

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#7
27 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by Cruzin4Life
Thks for the info. We went to Key West, Cozumel and Costa Maya, except we never got to Costa Maya due to very high winds - we returned to Cozumel for a 2nd day there. We also couldn't dock in Cozumel (both days) and they used tenders which took a very long time due to the high swells. This didn't stop us from enjoying the cruise though. All excursions were cancelled due to the long tender process and people missing their booked excursions. RCCL "compensated" for this by having free drinks for a few hours. We just took a cab (1st day) in Cozumel and went to one of the beaches - the water was murky and rough, so we didn't stay very long. The 2nd day in Cozumel we stayed on board. Despite all this, we still loved it - are we easy to please, or what ??
What month of the year did you cruise?
#8
Cape Town
337 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Cruiseador, we went in March 2003 on the Monarch - only 5 days.
kjkohler, We are from South Africa and we are actually going to Denver (Copper Mountain) first for 10 days of skiing. We have to make the most of our very, very long journey across the Atlantic Ocean (approx 20 hours). I will certainly keep an eye on those airfares. We need to travel Atlanta - Denver - Miami - Atlanta. Not sure if it is best to go Atlanta - Denver - Atlanta and then Atlanta - Miami - Atlanta. We may have to leave luggage in storage somewhere as we are coming over for a total of 3 weeks and we need to pack winter and summer clothes. I don't want to get on board the ship with too much luggage - probably not allowed to anyway.
Thks for the info.