The western Caribbean generally refers to the cluster of islands just due south of Florida. This makes them convenient to travel to for U.S. residents, particularly those who live in the southeast and can drive to cruise ports like Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Islands in the Western Caribbean are some of the most well known of the Caribbean as they include Jamaica, Cozumel, and the Cayman Islands.
Together, these Western Caribbean islands offer a variety of activities suitable for just about every interest. You can find water sports, laidback beach bars, hiking trails, sandy beaches, and an abundance of sea life, which is thrilling to those who love to snorkel or scuba dive.
For travelers who like exploring beyond tropical islands, Western Caribbean cruises often visit ports in Mexico and Belize, too, since both those countries border the Mediterranean Sea.
Popular Ports of Call During a Western Caribbean Cruise
Here are some exciting things to do in each of the Western Caribbean cruise ports you may visit during a Celebrity Cruises vacation.
Key West, Florida
Key West is an island city in the Florida Keys, an archipelago at the southern end of Florida. While visiting Key West you can visit the southern most point of the continental United States, explore the shops and restaurants of vibrant Duval Street, get in touch with your literary side at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, or just grab a drink in waterfront Mallory Square and take in the coastal scenery.
George Town, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands, a collection of islands in the western Caribbean known for upscale shopping, a large financial center, and lovely coastal scenery. George Town is the capital of Grand Cayman and cruises that visit this port tender offshore, meaning you’ll take a smaller boat from the ship into the harbor.
Once there, some of the popular things to do are animal related. You can visit with sea turtles at a turtle farm, swim with stingrays at popular Stingray City – a calm bay where hundreds of stingrays flock each day to feed – or go snorkeling or scuba diving.
On land, George Town has duty-free shopping, colorful downtown buildings to walk around, and gorgeous beaches on which to lounge.
Cozumel is a Mexican island located off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near Playa del Carmen. Cozumel is especially beloved by ocean lovers as it has some of the best scuba diving in the world.
The components that make scuba diving so spectacular in Cozumel are the coral reefs and deep walls located near the island. There are dives for all levels and you can partake in a shore excursion while in Cozumel to experience its under-the-sea wonders.
If scuba diving isn’t your thing, you can also get a glimpse of sea life by snorkeling through the water.
Costa Maya, Mexico
Costa Maya is the name given to a tourist region of coastline in the Quintana Roo region of Mexico bordering the Caribbean Sea, located just north of Belize. Costa Maya is a unique cruise port in that the port area and pier was built entirely to cater to visitors.
Unlike other western cruise ports where you typically leave the port immediately upon arriving, you can find plenty to do right in port including fun bars, an array of shopping, a refreshing pool with a swim-up bar, and an adventure park with thrilling activities like zip lining and river tubing.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Jamaica is known for its exotic landscape and abundance of nature activities plus fun entertainment options. Ocho Rios is a popular cruise port for Jamaica and is located on the northern coast of the island.
This location puts visitors into close proximity to Jamaica’s lush rainforest, which you can explore on a guided shore excursion. From Ocho Rios you can also visit beautiful Dunn’s River Falls and walk around the cascading waterfalls. Adventurous families will like a visit to Mystic Mountain where you can zipline over the tree canopies and take a fast ride down the hillside in a bobsled.
Closer to port, you can explore the bars and stores for some tropical drinks and duty-free shopping right in central Ocho Rios.
Falmouth is another Jamaica cruise port that Celebrity Cruises sails to during Western Caribbean itineraries. It is also located on the north shore of Jamaica in between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, and provides similar shore excursion opportunities to Ocho Rios.
Belize City, Belize
Similar to other Western cruise ports in the Caribbean, Belize City has some impressive underwater experiences. The world’s second largest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Reef, is located off the coast of Belize and you can snorkel or scuba dive it during a shore excursion while in port.
Belize City is also a gateway to the magnificent Mayan sites located in Belize. Walk through amazing ruins and see ancient temples. Visiting the cultural site of Altun Ha is an excellent shore excursion to do while in Belize.
Other things to do in Belize City include the Belize Zoo where you’ll see and learn about animals that are native to Belize, tubing or kayaking through underground caves, and exploring the city’s architecture and markets.
Roatan is located on the largest island of Honduras’ Bay Islands. Like Belize City, it is also close to the Mesoamerican Reef, offering ample opportunities to see tropical fish up close and personal. Dolphins, whales, and sharks can also be spotted while navigating the waters near Roatan.
Roatan is also known for its white sand beaches and you can spend a relaxing day while in port on a rented beach chair. The West End is popular for beaches and you’ll find shopping and restaurants there, too. You can also take unique shore excursions to a monkey and sloth sanctuary, an animal and nature preserve in pretty Gumbalimba Park, and to an iguana park.
Find Your Perfect Western Caribbean Cruise
Celebrity Cruises has numerous Western Caribbean sailings, ranging in length, embarkation port, and port of calls visited. Discover Celebrity Cruises' Western Caribbean cruise itineraries.
To book your cruise, visit our easy to use #BookItList platform where you can book your cruise, airfare, and excursions all in one convenient place. We are aiming to help you keep crossing items off that bucket list of yours! Which Western Caribbean port of call tops your bucket list?