With over 700 islands in the Caribbean, choosing one to visit on a cruise can be tougher than choosing which present to open first on Christmas. The good news is, like Christmas, you don’t have to choose just one. That’s what makes a Caribbean cruise so special, you will be able to island hop to your hearts desire. Depending on the length of your cruise trip, you could visit over six Caribbean destinations in a single voyage, with each Caribbean island offering something unique.
Best islands in the Caribbean to visit
Whether you’re looking for the best traditional Caribbean food, epic nightlife, idyllic white sand beaches, snorkeling and diving, or just a deep dive into local history, these are the best Caribbean islands to visit on your next cruise trip.
Best island for beaches - Aruba
If there’s one thing the Caribbean destinations are known for, it’s beaches. And look, you really can’t go wrong by visiting Aruba. Even a bad beach is like bad pizza… it’s still pretty good. We certainly live by the credo: there are no bad beach days. That said, we’re giving this one to Aruba, thanks to its unique Flamingo Beach, which embodies everything that makes the Caribbean so idyllic. A private beach on Renaissance Island, Flamingo Beach is perhaps the most famous in Aruba for its white sands and pink flamingos roaming the shores. Every Caribbean island is great for a beach day, but where else can you share that beach day (and take selfies with) flamingos?
Best island for food - Dominican Republic
While every island has its own unique culinary culture, the Dominican Republic is one of the best Caribbean islands to visit for local cuisine. La Bandera, considered the national dish, consists of chicken or beef, rice, and red beans, with a side of tostones and salad. Callaloo soup is another Dominican staple, and a fixture of Caribbean food culture more broadly. Made with the leafy tops of the amaranth plant, diced sweet potato and squash, and meats like either salted pork or crab. Getting hungry? Want a taste of DR? Checkout our Dominican Daze caribbean cruise itenerary, and book your next cruise.
Best island for history and culture - Puerto Rico
All it takes is 5 minutes strolling the streets of Old San Juan to realize how deep the capital’s historical roots run. Settled by the Spanish in 1521, much of San Juan’s colorful architecture dates back centuries, and indeed, the San Jose Church is one of the oldest in America. Castillo San Cristobal is perhaps the best known landmark in San Juan, a fortress built in the early 17th century to protect against enemies from land and sea. Walking the battlements gives you unparalleled views of both the sea and the old city. Checkout our Miami to San Juan Caribbean cruise itinerary.
Best island for diving - Roatán
Roatán is one of the best Caribbean destinations for diving, thanks to its extensive reef system. Indeed, it’s home to the second-largest reef in the world, along with thousands of marine-life species. There’s plenty to see while diving here, including coral gardens, sand flats, shipwrecks, and wildlife like hawksbill turtles, stingrays, giant crabs, seahorses, and a wide array of colorful fish. You can also take a night dive to see the String of Pearls natural phenomenon – a surreal display of bioluminescence.
Best island for nightlife - Barbados
There’s more to the Caribbean than wholesome tranquility. If you’re having a girls trip, bachelor party, or just traveling solo and looking to meet people, you probably want something fun to look forward to at night. That’s where Barbados comes in. One of the best Caribbean destinations for nightlife, Barbados is full of bars and nightclubs. From the open-air Cliff Beach Club experience to the Harbour Lights dinner show, and more traditional nightclubs like Incognito, you don’t have to be up till 2am every night, but you certainly can if you want to.
Best Time of the Year to Cruise to the Caribbean's
Although the Caribbean’s have warm weather year-round, you’ll want to visit during peak seasons where you won’t have to stress about much rain, storms, or hurricanes ruining your well earned and deserved vacation. The best times to cruise to the Caribbean are during peak seasons, from December to April where you'll be able to bask in the sun, and take social media selfies till your hearts desire.
Before booking your Caribbean cruise, ensure to check the weather forecast so that you can pack appropriately for your cruise. For the most part, the weather will be closely monitored to deliver the most optimal vacation for our sailors! Whether you're cruising to Barbados or Aruba our goal is to make sure you enjoy your vacation.
Discover your favorite Caribbean island with Virgin Voyages.