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Caribbean Cruise Ports of Call -- Eastern, Western and Southern

Caribbean cruise ports are divided into three major regions -- eastern, western and southern. The Bahamas are not technically part of the Caribbean, but eastern Caribbean cruises often include them.

Eastern Caribbean

Grand Turk is a popular eastern Caribbean
cruise port; ©
Eastern Caribbean cruise ports range from the Bahamas in the north to a cluster of islands in the south that include Puero Rico, Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands.

One of the best and most popular cruises is a combination of the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. San Juan, Puerto Rico is often a starting point for western and southern cruises.

Western Caribbean

Stingray City Tour
Stingray City, a western Caribbean
excursion; ©

Cozumel, Jamaica and Cayman Islands are the three most popular western Caribbean cruise ports, while Belize, Roatan and Costa Rica attract a high number of visitors on the Central American coast.

Southern Caribbean

The ever-popular southern Caribbean cruise port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, draws many visitors who enjoy the beaches and especially the shopping. Barbados and St. Lucia also are major destinations.

Aruba is better known for long-term stays, but it and neighboring Curacao are attracting more cruise visits to the southwestern part of the Caribbean.

The best ports combine good shopping and dining, easy access to beaches and the ability to explore the island. Our picks for the best ports are:

  1. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (eastern)
  2. Ocho Rios, Jamaica (western)
  3. Philipsburg, St. Maarten (southern)
  4. Oranjestad, Aruba (southern)
  5. Nassau, Bahamas (eastern)
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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December 15, 2011

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