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Best Ports to see

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Hi we are wanting to do 3 cruises whilst in the US and the Caribbean will be one destination (along with the Bahamas and Alaska). Just wanting your best ports to visit, things to see and do and even ship to go on. Open to all suggestions that would suit a family of 4 (children will be 8 and 11).


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We've cruised all areas of the Caribbean and our favorite is the southern itinerary. Beautiful beaches and quieter islands and warm temps. We love touring Antigua by land (Lawrence of Antigua) or by sea (See Antigua by Sea on the Excellence catamaran), the naval history is very interesting. Also love the beaches of Barbados. St Maarten/St Martin share an island and have completely different vibes. Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping and historic areas, while the beaches around Marigot are beautiful, and the cuisine in Grand Case exquisite. St Lucia offers natural beauty as Dominica does.

On the eastern itinerary Tortola is a beautiful island surrounded by the other gorgeous islands of the BVI, and nearby St Thomas also offers nice beaches as well as duty-free shopping.

There are other beautiful islands like St Kitts, Aruba, Curacao, all very nice.

The western itinerary includes Jamaica with her famous beaches, Cozumel with the Palancar Reef, Roatan with the funky West End and beautiful West Bay, and Grand Cayman with her cosmopolitan vibe and beautiful beaches.


Any interests?

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We find the culture and people to be interesting on some of the islands, Tortola and Dominica stand out for us but all have their own thing. It's basically a melting pot in many areas and you'll see similarities with subtle differences, especially in the cuisine. I think many tourists are surprised to find the peoples of the islands (like Tortola and Dominica, for ex) to be more respectful overall, if that makes sense.


Is a back to back 2 week cruise an option? That would be a great way to experience more of the Caribbean while there. Perhaps a western followed by an eastern. Many ships alternate weekly between the two. We as a couple in our 50's like Carnival for the atmosphere and cabin size while others will recommend their favorites.

Enjoy the research!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Not sure if you are still planning but the wife and I (around 40) did the western caribbean last year on the Celebrity Silhouette and loved it. Im not sure exactly about the activities for kids but I know they have programs based on age and even have a special night club just for the young passengers. If you're into newer more modern and a bit upscale you will love Celebrity based on my experience. Also many bars, specialty restaurants, activities for adults and 3 pools (1 in a 16+ environment.). It been a long time I had cruised, about 20 years, but from my research its seems the cabin size on Celebrity is a little more generous than some other lines. We are about to book an eastern with Celebrity. However as mentioned, the southern itineraries sound amazing (maybe next year) especially something with a Panama Canal crossing. Best of luck on whatever you choose!

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We did an Eastern Caribbean 2 years ago with our two kids (now 8 and 11 as well) on Celebrity Eclipse and are going next month on a Southern Caribbean with our kids on the Celebrity Summit. As for the Eclipse, their kids club was fantastic. We have done a Disney cruise with them as well. And, my kids enjoyed Celebrity kids' experience over Disney's. They are really excited to get back to the kids club next month.


We visited St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, we did a kayaking trip (or something similar) in the bioluminescent bay and my kids had a blast. As did my DH and I. Really Cool. In St. Thomas, I think, we did a snorkeling trip. and, in St. Maarten, we visited a beach and did some shopping. I may have St. Maarten and St. Thomas mixed up...


This time, we are leaving from Puerto Rico and then going to St. Croix, St. Kitts, Dominica, Grenada and then back to St. Thomas. We love sailing Celebrity and has been our favorite experience out of the several lines we have sailed on.


We did sail to Alaska with Holland America a few years and absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, we are planning on doing it again this year. We did not take the kids on that one, however. So, can't speak to the kids' experience. And, we don't plan on taking the kids the second time around either. Mainly because of timing and school. But also because we will probably go in September and the cool and wet weather will not be my daughter's cup of tea.

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We just cruised the Western Carib on the Carnival Dream - beautiful ship and a nice size, and the kids club is amazing.


We hit Cozumel, Belize, Roatan (Honduran Bay Island), and Costa Maya.

We've visited Cozumel several times, either by cruise or by ferry when we stay outside of Playa Del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. Great beaches, and you can easily rent a car and drive the island. Plenty of shopping in town as well. Many ppl choose the beach clubs just south of the pier but there are also beautiful, less busy beaches to enjoy.


In Belize we took a water taxi to Caye Caulker, a small, funky island 45 min off the coast. We enjoyed relaxing at the Lazy Lizard and strolling the street, this would be OK for a family too. If interested in snorkeling there are a few excellent options like Goff's Caye and off Caye Caulker. Also several ruins tours on the mainland.


In Roatan we enjoy just hiring a private driver for the day and going to West End and West Bay. Beautiful areas and the water taxi between the bays is a nice ride.


And in Costa Maya we had only a short time so we just parked ourselves at the Tropicante and relaxed. Nice vibe, good drinks and food, and no cost to reserve chairs. Just e-mail Steve at his address found on his site. If more time in port we would rent a golf cart and drive 20 minutes further south for a quieter spot like Maya Luna.


But a great itinerary and a very nice ship!

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