1 – Nassau, Bahamas
The bustling tourist centre of the Bahamas is handily attached to the aptly named Paradise Island, giving you a two for one port experience. The Straw Market and Festival Place are a must for unique gifts and a wander of the manicured lawns of the Cloisters and Versailles Gardens are a breath of fresh air for anyone suffering from a touch of cruise ship claustrophobia (or inside-cabin-itis). That’s if you can prise yourself away from the white sands of the island’s beaches.
Don’t miss Arawak Cay for the freshest fried seafood you’ve ever tasted. Unless, of course, you’re a fresh fried seafood connoisseur, then we’re making no guarantees.
2 – Kings Wharf, Bermuda
Safe arrival at Kings Wharf (having hopefully avoided disappearance into the Bermuda Triangle) is cause for celebration, with an ‘all in one’ attraction centre waiting your disembarkment.
Cruising straight into the Royal Naval Dockyard complex puts you within stepping distance of a range of great ways to pass a port day including, for those cruise fans who take an interest, the Bermuda Maritime Museum.
If swimming with dolphins takes the top spot on your bucket list then the Dolphin Quest experience is one of the best in the Caribbean.
For those who are missing the food comforts of home, the Frog and Onion pub is the place to fill up on shepherd’s pie or fish and chips, washed down with a British beer. Not a single conch fritter or fried plantain in sight!
3 – Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
If it’s those perfume-ad worthy talcum powder beaches that you’re after then get your flip flops ready for a stop off in Grand Turk.
Sunray Beach is a good one and it’s just a hop away from the liner dock for maximum beach-lounger time. Diving is also understandably popular in the turquoise waters that surround the island, with the Tunnels deep dive experience being a popular choice with the brave (or stark raving bonkers!).
If you’re a beginner, book yourself into MacDonald’s Arch instead. No, not for a sneaky burger and shake – it’s a coral dive site in the shape of the golden arches. Just brace yourself for the moment you find nothing beneath you apart from deep blue that’s thousands of feet deep!
4 – Falmouth, Jamaica
Don’t worry Marley fans you can get your fill of all things reggae from this Jamaican stop off. Whether you want to take a tour to the birthplace and resting place of King Bob or just fancy getting your musical fix close to port at the Reggae Walk of Fame and Museum there’s no escaping Jamaica’s most famous export or just pitch up at Time n Place beach to try Jamaica’s other famous exports, Red Stripe beer and Jerk chicken, at the rustic beach bar with, no doubt, strains of Marley in the background.
5 – Cococay, Bahamas
If you’ve booked a Royal Caribbean cruise, lucky you! You get to experience what it’s like to have your very own desert island – well, kind of.
Cococay is a private island exclusively for the use of Royal Caribbean cruisers; complete with white sands, turquoise waters – the works.
Remember though that you’ll be sharing the island with your fellow passengers so make sure you don’t leave your swimmers onboard, it’s not that private!
Cruising with a different cruise line?
Don’t be jealous.
You can wave to your fellow cruise fans (and check out whose boat is bigger) from the sands!
6 – St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
If you’re ready for some time away from everyone else on your cruise ship (apart from your cruise companions…maybe), don’t follow the crowds.
Catch the ferry from Crown Bay Marina to Water Island for a real ‘away from it all’ experience. Honeymoon Beach is one of the best sandy spots and the lush green hills are a great place to wildlife spot – tick turtles, iguanas and exotic birds off of your imaginary ‘been there, seen that’ list.
Hire a golf buggy if you’re feeling lazy and explore what will probably be your most serene cruise line stop off.
7 – Philipsburg, St Martin
This island has both a French and a Dutch side, with a notable contrast between the two (although both speak English so you can leave the travel dictionary in your cabin).
Head to the Dutch side for brilliant duty-free shopping and the French side for fine French dining (what else?) – the Boardwalk and Frontstreet are both central hubs and well worth a stroll to get a feel for the area.
Beach wise, there are tons to choose from but Great Bay and Little Bay are two of the best and most accessible or why not skip the cruise crowds altogether and ferry it over to Pinel Island to hit the snorkel trail or relax on near deserted sands?
8- Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Forget the hidden beaches and secret coves. When cruising to the Cayman Islands the most famous beach, Seven Mile Beach, simply has to be seen.
Almost blindingly white, this beach seems to stretch on forever although, calling all fact fans, it actually only measures in at 5.5 miles so that’s some false advertising right there!
If it’s possible to have your fill of the beach, you can wash off the sand with a venture out to Cemetery Reef for a snorkel or scuba dive or for a spot of relaxed retail therapy head inland to the Seven Mile shops or the shops at nearby George Town for a turtle fridge magnet or if you please, a genuine Cuban cigar from Casa del Habano
9 – San Juan, Puerto Rico
You like the city of San Juan? We know a boat you can get on!
The port of West Side Story fame dates way back to the 16th century and is teeming with history for culture vultures to get excited about.
Old San Juan especially is a picturesque hotchpotch of Spanish architecture in pretty pastel colours, with the Plaza de Armas at its heart.
Away from the dusty streets the Jardin Botanico offers 75 acres of trails which you could wander for hours, discovering a secret lagoon and orchid garden on your way – just be sure to make it back to the boat in time!
10 – Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is an amazing Mexican destination with both ancient Mayan landmarks and fantastic snorkelling opportunities within easy reach of your ship.
If you can’t squeeze in a trip to World Wonder Chichen Itza, go for closer Tulum instead or if you’re feeling lazy stay on the island and explore the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio – you might even have time to fit in a decent dive too.
Alaskan cruises and the Norwegian Fjords all have their place but for the coolest Cruise holidays (and the ultimate chance to model this season’s swimwear in your holiday snaps), you can’t go wrong with the hottest Caribbean destinations. Choose from our list of the top spots or mix and match a few favourites, for a heavenly week or two of snorkelling, sunbathing and duty-free shopping – suntan guaranteed.