A Cruise Guide to Southern Caribbean Islands
The Southern Caribbean generally refers to the string of islands located south of the Dominican Republic that curve in a gentle line toward the northeast shore of South America. Southern Caribbean Islands include the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) known for their Dutch heritage and location outside the hurricane belt – making them an ideal Caribbean cruise location choice during hurricane season. The Southern Caribbean also includes exotic destinations for travelers like the rainforests of Barbados and the pitons of St. Lucia among other natural wonders and exciting activities.
Embarkation Ports for a Cruise to Southern Caribbean Islands
When cruising with Celebrity Cruises to the Southern Caribbean Islands, you’ll typically depart from Florida or Puerto Rico. In Florida, the embarkation ports are Fort Lauderdale and Miami and you’ll likely make a stop in the eastern or western Caribbean on your way down south.
If you’d like some extra time to explore the islands of the Caribbean, opt for an itinerary that leaves from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and add on a couple days before or after your cruise to tour Puerto Rico.
The Southern Caribbean Islands You’ll Visit
The Southern Caribbean Islands have many beautiful and fun cruise ports to visit. Here are some of the popular ports of call you can sail to on Southern Caribbean cruises and top options for what to do in each port.
Aruba is considered the sunniest island in the Caribbean since it has less rainy days on average than other islands. Aruba is known for its mix of sandy stretches of sand near Oranjestad and more rugged coastline on its northeast shore. Besides beaches, you’ll find natural wonders like rock pools, caves, and volcanic lava formations to explore. If you want to head inside for a bit, Oranjestad has a number of casinos, bars, and restaurants, plus plenty of shopping opportunities.
The highlight for many people of their time in Bonaire is getting off land and under water. Bonaire is surrounded by the Bonaire National Marine Park, which helps to protect the island’s vast coral reef system and mangrove forests.
The park begins at the high tide mark and extends out to a depth of 200 feet. Scuba diving, snorkeling, boat tours, and other fun water activities are all available to do during your time in port so you can experience this vast wonderland under the sea.
Experience history while walking around the colorful, colonial-style buildings of Willemstad, Curacao. Willemstad is where cruise ships dock in Curacao, which is convenient for cruisers since it’s home to many of the island’s top sights. To see its most famous buildings, walk along the Handelskade waterfront. Other things to do on Curacao include touring Fort Amsterdam and learning about the 17th century Dutch settlement, which today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; touring a distillery to learn how the island’s famous blue curacao is made; and taking a trip underneath the island’s surface into Hato Cave.
If you’re a rum fan, you’ll especially enjoy a port of call in Bridgetown, Barbados. Barbados is actually home to the world’s largest rum distillery. Tour it and learn how the liquor is made and the history and significance of rum for the island.
Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to Barbados’ tropical rainforest, a highlight of which is to visit Hunte’s Garden located within the a deep gully that provides a unique setting for a botanical garden.
Castries, St. Lucia
St. Lucia is a lushly green Southern Caribbean island whose landscape is easy to distinguish from others thanks to two impressive peaks jutting into the sky. These peaks are St. Lucia’s pitons and they provide a dramatic backdrop for most activities on the island.
St. Lucia is also home to an active volcano and a popular thing to do while in port in Castries is to take a tour to La Soufrière volcano, which St. Lucia boasts is the world’s only drive-in volcano. While in Sulphur Springs National Park you have the chance to take a geothermal mud bath, which is said to have therapeutic powers.
St. George’s, Grenada
Whether you spend your time in port in Grenada on land or water, you’re in for a fun time on this Southern Caribbean island.
If you love scuba diving or snorkeling, you can’t miss out on an aquatic adventure to Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park.
For history and scenery in one, head to Fort George, which is the oldest fort in Grenada and also happens to boast incredible views of the coastline and the capital city of St. George’s.
Touring one of the island’s many nutmeg plantations (which gives the island its “Spice Isle” nickname) is also a fun way to spend a day in Grenada.
Dominica is an excellent island to get your adrenaline racing while visiting during a Southern Caribbean Islands cruise. Your cruise will pull into port in Roseau, the gateway to all the fun shore excursions you can do. Kayak in the sea, go river tubing, explore on a Jeep safari, go ziplining, and more.
Fort de France, Martinique
You can visit the exotic port of Fort de France, Martinique, during Lesser Antilles Caribbean cruise itineraries with Celebrity Cruises. Fort de France is the French West Indies’ largest city and provides a chance to experience French and Creole culture while in the Caribbean.
Other ports of call you might visit on a Southern Caribbean Islands cruise that don’t technically fall under the category of the Southern Caribbean include: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Ready to book your dream tropical cruise to the Southern Caribbean Islands? Visit Celebrity Cruises to find your perfect itinerary and conveniently book your stateroom, airfare, and excursions all in one place.