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caribbean cruise in may

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caribbean cruise in may

ENJOY THIS BAHAMIAN PRIVATE ISLAND PARADISE

caribbean cruise in may

  • Ports of Call

We don’t have proof, but evidence suggests that the Caribbean was made for cruising. This evidence is all around you — you’ll find in the Caribbean air, the sand and the water. And with more than 5,000 islands and cays spread across this amazing region, there’s a lot of paradise to see. So how do you choose where to visit on a Caribbean cruise? We recommend you just go and see for yourself! Best of all, the mild climate means it doesn’t even matter what time of year you go. A Carnival Caribbean cruise takes you to some of the coolest little hotspots… stretching across the world’s designated hotspot.

  • Snorkel great natural reefs in crystal-clear waters.
  • Enjoy year-round tropical weather.
  • Take in the beach view on horseback… or beach chair.

YOU WANT WHERE? WE GO THERE.

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soak up the sun on playa del carmen in cozumel

Grand Cayman

dock on the blue pristine waters of grand cayman

Progreso, Yucatán

visit the el castillo pyramid in progreso

St. Maarten

scenic view of cupecoy beach in st maarten

Montego Bay

explore the rose hall house in beautiful montego bay

Curaçao

dine and shop along the waterfront of curacao

Santa Marta

stunning hilltop view of santa maria

Port Canaveral (Orlando)

enjoy the beautiful landscape in port canaveral

New Orleans

take a stroll down the new orleans river walk

Manhattan, New York City

view the statue of liberty and brooklyn bridge in nyc

Celebration Key

white-sand beach and lagoons surround multiple recreational and leisure locations at celebration key

Mahogany Bay

aerial view of mahogany bay

Half Moon Cay

aerial view of half moon cay and it's crystal blue waters

Princess Cays

paddleboats and wind surfing kayaks lined on a beach in princess cays

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Caribbean Cruises

When it comes to pleasure, relaxation and reconnecting in the warm sunshine, nothing is better than a Caribbean cruise with Holland America Line.

Why Cruise with Holland America Line

Top reasons to cruise the Caribbean with Holland America:

Award-Winning Private Island

Every Caribbean cruise includes a day at Half Moon Cay, so you can see for yourself why it’s been awarded “Best Private Island,” by readers of Porthole Cruise Magazine for 20 consecutive years.  

Perfectly Sized Ships

Our ships never feel crowded but have everything you need at your fingertips. Breathe in expansive views, explore enriching activities, and relax in easy elegance. 

Island-Inspired Cuisine

Taste the islands on board with fresh local ingredients, Caribbean flavors, and time-honored techniques from our world-class chefs.

Flexible Itineraries

Our Caribbean cruises fit every schedule with convenient weekend departures and many options, from breezy 7-day getaways to extraordinary 21-day explorations.

The True Caribbean Awaits

Our Caribbean cruises take you deep into these featured regions, where you’ll experience island magic through dining, music and nightlife.

Eastern Caribbean Cruises

Snorkel in Grand Turk’s clear blue waters among schools of jewel-toned fish. Sip the perfect blend of rum, mango and magic on Half Moon Cay.

Southern Caribbean Cruises

Discover a breathtaking under-water nature park in Bonaire. Tour Willemsted, Curaçao, and get some great shots of its signature gingerbread rooflines.

Tropical Caribbean

Sit under swaying palms or snorkel with colorful fish on tropical Caribbean cruises to Key West and more. Sun, sand, and relaxation await.

Western Caribbean Cruises

Don your snorkeling gear and explore a shipwreck and coral reef. Visit Key West and tour the home of long-time resident, Ernest Hemingway.

Caribbean Cruises, Every Year From October to April

Venture beyond the known on 7- to 21-day cruises. New for the 2023-2024 season, a 9-day Southern Caribbean itinerary that departs on a Friday and cruises the ABC islands with a late-night call in Curaçao. 

VIEW ALL CARRIBEAN CRUISES

Explore Top Caribbean Excursions

Explore the islands from the top of the twin Pitons to the bottom of the sea with hundreds of unique shore excursions. 

Twisted Divi Divi tree seen on a Caribbean cruise

Top Caribbean Shore Excursions

caribbean cruise in may

Adventurers

Convenient caribbean cruise departure port.

Cruise conveniently with weekend departures from Ft. Lauderdale, the “Venice of America.” There’s plenty to do before or after your cruise from this welcoming city. 

A sunny beach with palm trees in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Cruises From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Featured caribbean cruise destinations.

Every Caribbean cruise stops at our exclusive slice of paradise, Half Moon Cay, celebrating 26 years with us in the 2023-2024 season.

I wish I could stay here forever beach sign on Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Oranjestad, Aruba

The Dutch island of Aruba feels like another world and offers experiences unlike anywhere else. Relax in the shade of a fofoti tree on a white-sand beach or explore coastal cliffs in a cactus-filled landscape that that has both wild donkeys and lounging iguanas. 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

From relaxing beaches and breathtaking colors, to old cobblestone streets full of hidden gems, incredible flavors and beautiful live music, San Juan always has more to show you.

Castries, St. Lucia

Take a journey into the rainforest and immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness of this paradise island. Touch, hear, taste and feel the true power of Mother Nature.

See All Caribbean Cruise Ports

The Best Way to Explore Caribbean Islands

There are more than 7,000 unique islands in the Caribbean. We’re excited to show you this sun-kissed corner of the world again this year, but with more amenities, family-friendly itineraries, and onboard events than ever before. 

Mountain and palm trees

Caribbean Countries

Our newest ships, back for another caribbean season.

Immerse into the steel-drum rhythms of the islands on Rotterdam and Nieuw Statendam, our two newest ships. Enjoy electrifying music at Music Walk® entertainment venues and exquisite dining, along with youth activities, themed parties and more. Welcome to Pinnacle Class.

Nieuw Statendam

Caribbean cruise travel tips & advice.

Plan your cruise with recommendations on what to pack and things to do. 

Suitcase being packed for a Caribbean cruise.

Packing for a Caribbean Cruise

Family playing in the waterpark on Half Moon Cay.

25 Things To Do in Half Moon Cay

Family swimming in the Caribbean Sea on a Holland America cruise.

First-Timer’s Guide

VIEW ALL CARIBBEAN CRUISE TIPS & TRAVEL ARTICLES

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Enjoy 75% off your second guest’s cruise fare and get bonus savings of up to $200.

May Cruises

Embark on an extraordinary spring adventure

Embark on a luxury cruise in May with Celebrity Cruises. With warm, sunny weather, this is the perfect time for exploring the Acropolis in Athens or enjoying a cappuccino in a sunlit piazza in Rome. In the Norwegian fjords, the days are getting longer, and waterfalls are still in full flow from spring meltwater.

Alaska’s wildlife is waking up in May, with wonderful opportunities to spot bears, the mountains still capped with snow. You’ll also see wildlife galore if you head for the remote Galapagos Islands; May is when sea lions give birth, and baby turtles and iguanas are hatching. Or perhaps you’re just dreaming of a springtime beach getaway? May is a great time to enjoy the white sands and warm waters of the Caribbean or the pale pink beaches of Bermuda.

Itineraries

Top destinations for may cruises.

May is one of the best months of the year for exploring the magnificent antiquities of Athens, Rhodes, and Santorini. Head to Malta, where the honey-colored ramparts of Valletta glow gold in the spring sunshine, or explore glorious hill towns like Valdemossa on the island of Mallorca. The glamorous French Riviera is gearing up in May, too, a time of festivals, celebration, and long, leisurely days drinking chilled rosé in waterfront bistros.

The Caribbean

On a Caribbean cruise in May, you’ll discover exciting islands like Grand Cayman and the ABC Islands. In Grand Cayman, sunbathe along Seven Mile Beach or spend an afternoon marveling at thousands of stalactites and stalagmites in the Crystal Caves. Go horseback riding through the countryside or lounge on pristine beaches in the ABC Islands.

Snow-capped mountains, meadows in bloom, and hikes alongside rushing forest streams are just some of the reasons to cruise Alaska early in the season. In May, humpback whales are arriving for the summer season, and bears are foraging for food after the long winter.  May is also one of the driest months in the 49th state and as the days get longer, there’s a joyful sense of renewed energy everywhere you visit on an Alaska cruise.

The Galapagos Islands

In the Galapagos Islands, May is when sea lions are giving birth to big-eyed pups, and baby land iguanas and turtles are hatching. Waved albatross are laying their eggs on Española, while the blue-footed boobies on North Seymour Island are performing elaborate courtship dances. The water is warm and inviting—and your luxurious Celebrity ship will provide everything you need to explore this wonderful place.

Norwegian Fjords

Norway’s glassy fjords are beautiful any time of year, but in May, you’ll find hiking trails lined with wildflowers and the meadows lush and green. Waterfalls cascade over towering cliffs, while mountains still wearing their snowy caps make photography all the more spectacular. This is a wonderful time to ride the steep Flåm Railway, or kayak the silent waters of the Geirangerfjord, looking out for seals lying on the rocks and mountain goats foraging on the shore.

View All May Cruises

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Norwegian Escape

2024 Caribbean Cruises: Visit Jamaica, Aruba & Cayman Islands

Norwegian Escape near Tortola

Embarking on a journey through The Caribbean is always an exceptional choice. With Norwegian, you're destined for a voyage of excitement, exploring the most enchanting islands. We are proud to be recognized as The Caribbean's Best Cruise Line for nine consecutive years by the World Travel Awards. In 2024, we're excited to expand our Caribbean cruise itineraries, featuring journeys on our latest vessels, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva .

Planning a Caribbean cruise in 2024? Break away from the traditional one-island vacation. Allow Norwegian to present you with the Caribbean's jewels, where every morning you'll be greeted with breathtaking views, a diverse range of shore excursions, delectable cuisine, and an array of daily activities.

Ready to start planning? Explore all 2024 Caribbean cruises .

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Norwegian's 2024 Caribbean Departure Ports

In 2024, Norwegian offers an extensive range of five to 14-day Caribbean cruises. Our departure ports include:

  • Miami , Florida.
  • New Orleans , Louisiana.
  • New York , New York.
  • Tampa , Florida.
  • Orlando , Florida.
  • Panama City , Panama.
  • Punta Cana (La Romana) , Dominican Republic.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Galveston , Texas.

Sugar Beach, Gros Piton, St. Lucia

RELATED CRUISES: 7-Day Caribbean Cruise: Harvest Caye, Cozumel & Roatan from New Orleans 9-Day Caribbean Cruise: Dominican Republic & St. Thomas from Miami 7-Day Caribbean Cruise: Great Stirrup Cay & Cozumel from Orlando (Port Canaveral)

Norwegian's 2024 Caribbean Ports

The 2024 Caribbean cruise ports you can explore depend on your sailing region. Norwegian sails across the Southern Caribbean , Western Caribbean , and Eastern Caribbean .

Potential ports of call including the following destinations:

  • Basseterre, St. Kitts.
  • Bridgetown, Barbados.
  • St. John's, Antigua.
  • Castries, St. Lucia.
  • Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.
  • Fort-de-France, Martinique.
  • George Town, Cayman Islands.
  • Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos.
  • Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
  • Harvest Caye, Belize.
  • Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
  • Roatan, Honduras.
  • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
  • Oranjestad, Aruba.
  • Kralendijk, Bonaire.
  • Wilemstad, Curaçao.

Harvest Caye, Belize

2024 Western Caribbean Cruise Highlights

A substantial number of Western Caribbean cruises on Norwegian include a visit to Harvest Caye, Belize. This 75-acre island sanctuary in Southern Belize is brimming with island adventures, or you can book a shore excursion to the mainland. Unwind in the vast pool equipped with a swim-up bar, rent a private cabana, experience zip lining, and more. Mainland excursions might include rainforest river tubing or a visit to a Maya temple.

Roatán, about 30 miles off the Honduran mainland, is a haven for scuba divers due to its crystal-clear waters. Discover the vibrant marine life and some of The Caribbean's finest pillar coral. Opt for a Discover Scuba experience or snorkeling if you're not certified. Or, perhaps you'd prefer lounging at one of the serene beach resorts, bathing in the tranquil turquoise waters.

Some Western Caribbean cruises include a stop in George Town, Grand Cayman. This island is the largest of the Cayman Islands and is renowned for its excellent dive sites, shipwrecks , Seven Mile Beach, and Stingray City. Don't miss the Cayman Turtle Farm , hosting over 8,000 green sea turtles, or a taste of Caybrew, the local beer.

Commercial Boulevard in Oranjestad, Aruba

2024 Southern Caribbean Cruise Highlights

The Southern Caribbean is famous for world-class diving, duty-free shopping, a rich cultural atmosphere, and mouth-watering local cuisine.

Your Southern Caribbean cruise might include a stop in Oranjestad, Aruba. Even without diving certification, you can embark on remarkable water adventures. Consider a catamaran tour to snorkel the famous Antilla shipwreck . Another option is DePalm Island for snorkeling , sunbathing, or enjoying the water park. If you'd rather stay dry, an Atlantis Submarine tour offers a view of tropical fish, coral, and sponge gardens.

Laguna Beach in Curacao

In Curaçao , allow yourself time to explore Wilemstad's colorful Dutch-style buildings. If you're of age, sample the island's famous liqueur. Curaçao is made with the dried peel from the local bitter orange, laraha.

Another intriguing Caribbean destination is St. Kitts. Founded by the French in 1627, it carries a British ambiance. Basseterre, one of the Eastern Caribbean's oldest towns, is nestled at La Grande Soufriere's base, the Lesser Antilles's tallest mountain. St. Kitts is brimming with adventure, from deep-sea fishing and diving to snorkeling. Consider a leisurely train ride around the island, soaking up the views.

2024 Eastern Caribbean Cruise Highlights

The Eastern Caribbean is a wonderful choice throughout the year, though December through April is particularly popular, providing a respite from winter temperatures. Regardless of the season, you'll find a wealth of activities.

Many of Norwegian's Eastern Caribbean cruises stop at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas — our private island. Indulge in a day filled with fun activities on Great Stirrup Cay, or unwind in your own private cabana or villa (additional fees).

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If your cruise stops in St. Lucia, visit the iconic Pitons . You can book a tour to La Soufriere Volcano , where you'll take a scenic rainforest drive to reach the breathtaking mountains. They rise more than 2,500 feet and tower over the area. Should you have a port day in Barbados, spend part of your day swimming with turtles in a calm, secluded bay. You can also head to Welchman Hall Gully and the beach and stopping at Batts Rock known for its green monkeys!

Your cruise might also dock in the U.S., the British Virgin Islands, or perhaps both! St. Thomas , a well-loved Caribbean port, is renowned for its fishing, diving, stunning beaches, and fantastic duty-free shopping. Consider booking a catamaran sailing adventure to snorkel a shipwreck and relax on the sea.

Be sure to sign up for Norwegian's emails to get the latest cruise deals and special offers delivered directly to your inbox. Let us know which Caribbean island you're most interested in visiting in 2024!

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Eastern Caribbean Cruises

Beaches, azure waters — what comes to mind when you think of cruises to the caribbean.

Best Multi-generational

Cruise Line

2022 Reader’s Choice Award, Porthole Magazine

Picture the Caribbean. Soft sandy beaches, warm winds blowing through palm trees and crystal-clear waters stretching as far as the eye can see. That’s the Eastern Caribbean cruise experience. Enjoy the calm waters around the islands, and snorkel, swim and sail your way through engaging activities. Relax on world-famous beaches, cool drink in hand, for a day of rejuvenation topped off by luxurious shopping. Dive in; the Caribbean is waiting.

Featured Ports Eastern Caribbean Cruise Ports

Get an overview of some of the Eastern Caribbean’s top islands (plus our main departure port).

  • Princess Cays®
  • St. Maarten
  • Ft. Lauderdale

With a half mile of white-sand shoreline and 40 acres of relaxation, shopping and picturesque beaches, Princess Cays is one of the best private Eastern Caribbean cruise line ports in the world. Relax in a private cabana, dive into the dozens of available water activities, explore the gorgeous back roads of Eleuthera in a dune buggy, or indulge in shopping from local craftspeople.

St. Kitts and the neighboring island of Nevis were once considered the crown jewels of the Caribbean, and it's easy to see why. Green hillsides, fields of sugarcane and dramatic volcanoes rise into the strikingly blue sky. With it's beautifully restored colonial buildings, imposing Brimstone Hill Fortress and museum of Alexander Hamilton at his birthplace, the history lovers will have plenty to explore after relaxing on the beautiful beaches on a cruise to St. Kitts.

Two islands in one, St. Maarten is split between France and the Netherlands, but comes together as one memorable experience. From the Dutch-inspired port of Philipsburg with its historic colonial architecture and warm beaches, to the French hub of Marigot full of designer boutiques and bistros, a cruise to St. Maarten has something for you.

Cruise to St. Thomas, an American paradise that contains everything alluring about the Caribbean: sparkling sands, pirate history, snorkeling adventures among coral reefs, shipwreck dives and relaxation taken to the next level with rum punch and island music.

The "Venice of America" has been the premier destination for spring breakers for almost six decades, but don't let that fool you into thinking the city is one big party. From the Everglades, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to an amazingly rich biosphere, to seven miles of white-sand beaches, Ft. Lauderdale is a beautifully diverse city.

Top-Rated Caribbean Beaches

Trunk bay, st. john.

Named one of  Conde Nast Traveler's  Seven Cruise Wonders of the World, Trunk Bay is stunning beyond words. Snorkel along an underwater coral reef trail, swim through warm clear waters, and lounge on the white sands while looking out on a vista that can only be described as tropical perfection.

Orient Beach & Little Bay Beach, St. Maarten

Two beaches, both with soft sand, warm water and refreshing breezes, make for the perfect day by the ocean. Snorkel with sea life, paddle through the azure waters, or relax on the beach.

Magens Bay, St. Thomas

One of the top 10 beaches in the world according to  National Geographic  magazine, Magens Bay, is known for its picturesque beauty and deep, sheltered bay with calm waters. With a white-sand beach that stretches for three quarters of a mile and gentle waves, you can relax, swim and explore with ease.

What Will You Do on an Eastern Caribbean Cruise?

Get a taste of what life is like in the (is)land of beach beauty and what you can anticipate experiencing here.

Island shore excursions

Experience the best the Eastern Caribbean has to offer with award-winning shore excursions that immerse you in thrilling experiences, unique culinary delights and peaceful rejuvenation. Sail on a tall ship at sunset, snorkel with vibrant sea life through teeming reefs, and explore old shipwrecks near the picturesque coastlines.

Late night departures

The Caribbean has a different feeling at night. Revel in its warm evenings and enticing music with our More Ashore program. Later stays in ports such as St. Thomas and Barbados let you soak up the full Caribbean experience, like a fresh-caught seafood dinner on the beach or street fair full of local crafts and flavors. With More Ashore, you get more time to enjoy the vibrant island nightlife.

Caribbean Cruise Onboard Experience Featured Program

With award-winning onboard programs, regional cuisine from world-class chefs and celebrations of Caribbean life, Princess makes your ship a destination all its own.

Comfortable accommodations

Your stateroom is your home away from home on your voyage where you rest up and recharge between adventures. With the expertly designed Princess Luxury Bed, luxurious 100% Jacquard-woven cotton linens and specially created SLEEP program by a board-certified sleep expert, you might just get the best sleep of your life. We offer staterooms ranging from interior cabins to full suites, and we even offer connected rooms for families with more than four members traveling together.

Bringing local life aboard

Embrace the spirit of the islands the moment you step on your ship with our Rhythm of the Caribbean program. Savor island cuisine, sip signature cocktails and engage in authentic regional experiences. Dance beneath the stars to vibrant island rhythms at exclusive parties, and immerse yourself in one-of-a-kind cultural activities — from concerts and crafts to talks from shark experts and treasure hunters.

Never miss a beat

Say goodbye to the daily grind with our new Sail Away Party poolside on the top deck, dance to local music at one of the many Caribbean inspired concerts, or be the envy of every pirate at our high-energy gold treasure-inspired Terrace Pool Gold Party. Throughout your cruise to the Caribbean there will be events that excite, enrich and challenge you to fully experience the islands.

Deeper experiences of the islands

Discover the history of local distilleries while sampling some of the region’s best rums, meet the parrots and macaws that call the Caribbean home in the ship's Piazza, or become a part of the rhythm with steel pan drum lessons. Our onboard activities give you the chance to gain a deeper connection and understanding of the gorgeous islands you'll visit on your voyage.

Discovery at Sea

Sharks, pirates and stars — oh my!

Discovery at SEA brings the expertise and excitement of the Discovery Channel™ on board your Caribbean cruise! Enjoy Shark Week all summer long with shark-themed activities, hear tales of sunken treasure and lost shipwrecks from the stars of Travel Channel’s™ Caribbean Pirate Treasure, and explore the constellations and spectacular galaxies of the night sky with the Voyage to the Stars indoor planetarium experience.

Ship Activities for Every Cruise to the Caribbean

Recharging your batteries.

Pamper yourself in the Lotus Spa® with a massage, facial or manicure, and feel renewed. Enjoy The Sanctuary, a lounge just for adults, where you can relax with a light meal, specialty drink and al fresco massages while digging into that novel you've been looking forward to reading. If you prefer your relaxation more active, we offer Zumba, yoga and tai chi classes to burn off stress and raise your heart rate.

Celebrations

The perfect place to celebrate

Almost 30% of all passengers who sail with us are celebrating an important milestone in their lives. Say "I do" at sea in a ceremony officiated by the captain. Arrange for an anniversary package and let us spoil you with romantic balcony dining, chocolates and more. For us, every day is a celebration.

Love blooms on the Love Boat

It's difficult to imagine something more romantic than sailing through the warm waters of the Caribbean, hopping between tropical islands and white-sand beaches from the comfortable luxury of your ship. While on board we cater to your romantic side with private dining on your balcony, whether a relaxing breakfast for two or a romantic sunset dinner, honeymoon packages for lucky newlyweds, flowers and chocolates delivered to your room and couples-only massages in the Sanctuary.

Food & Drinks

The flavors of the islands

The diverse cultural influences, local climates and history of the Caribbean combine to make one of the most exciting and unique regional cuisines in the world. From mofongo, a dish from Puerto Rico made from mashed fried plantains, pork and garlic, to the famous jerk chicken of Jamaica, we serve the Caribbean's favorite flavors to you on board. Thanks to Princess' world-class chefs you'll enjoy fresh, locally inspired dishes for your entire voyage.

Movies Under the Stars®

Outdoor cinema at its best

Enjoy many of the latest movies, exciting concerts and most anticipated live sports games on a massive poolside screen. The warm Caribbean night air, fresh popcorn and comfortable lounge chair with fleece blanket make for a viewing experience like no other. Not to mention the best theater in the world, the Caribbean ocean with a ceiling of stars!

Sailing with your crew

Enjoy a ship full of activities for the whole family, from Broadway-style shows to Discovery’s Shark Week all summer long, your family will be engaged in the Caribbean. Go Stargazing under the stunning expanse of the night sky with Discovery at SEA, compete in a family game night, and savor the flavors of the islands together.

Caribbean Cruise Articles and Videos

Read about colorful cultures, breathtaking landscapes, must-see attractions and preparation advice for cruising the Caribbean.

2024-2025 Caribbean Cruises

There’s no better way to truly experience the laid-back Caribbean than with Princess.

Caribbean Cruise Weather by Month

From radiant sunshine to turquoise waters, enjoy the best Caribbean cruise weather all year round when you sail to these tropical lands with Princess.

Top Five Caribbean Cruise Destinations

Whether you’re a history-lover, adventure-seeker or laid-back traveler, discover the best Caribbean cruise destinations for any guest with Princess.

Best Caribbean Cruises

Visit the best Caribbean cruise destinations with Princess and relax on white-sand beaches or embark on adventure that will leave a lasting impression.

Top Things to Do in Grand Cayman

From relaxing on the shores of Seven Mile Beach to feeding majestic sea creatures at Stingray City, discover the top things to do in Grand Cayman with Princess.

Best Time for a Caribbean Cruise

Discover the best time for a Caribbean cruise. From the offseason to the sunniest months to festival season, anytime is the best time to travel to the Caribbean.

Travel, Airfare, & Hotels: Let Princess Get You There

Princess EZair® Flights

Stress-free airfare

Remove the hassle from air travel and give yourself the gift of flexibility, time, and a thicker wallet with Princess EZair flights. We negotiate lower rates with the airlines, allow you to modify your flight up to 45 days prior with no penalty, and protect you if your flight is late or canceled.

EZair flight quotes are available on our cruise search result details pages.

Airplane to Ship Transfer

We get you where you need to go

Let Princess pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your ship or hotel when you arrive, even if you didn't book your airfare through us. A uniformed Princess representative meets you at the airport after you've retrieved your luggage and transports you directly to your ship or hotel without you having to worry about the logistics of navigating a new city.

Cruise Plus Hotel Packages

Stay longer and relax

Extend your cruise vacation, and simplify your travel plans with a hotel stay at the beginning or end of your cruise. With a Cruise Plus Hotel Package, a Princess representative meets you at the airport and pier, transporting you to and from your hotel. The package includes the cost of your hotel stay, transportation, luggage handling, and the representative’s services.

Need help planning?

Princess Cruise Vacation Planners are a dedicated resource to help you every step of the way through the planning process of your cruise vacation. The best part is, their services are completely FREE!

Cruise deals & promotions

Find our top sales, deals, partnerships and promotions for our destinations all in one place. We run promotions throughout the year and sometimes run sweepstakes where you can win prizes!

#PrincessCruises Caribbean Connections

See the Caribbean through our guests' eyes.

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May in the Caribbean: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

caribbean cruise in may

Simon Dannhauer / Getty Images

By all accounts, May is one of the best times to take a Caribbean vacation. The tourist season of winter has come to an end and travel deals are aplenty, so keep an eye out for cheap flights and rooms. The Caribbean never really gets cold, but May is the final month before the rainy season starts, meaning you can expect tropical temperatures with clear skies. To top it all off, you can also find great events happening all over the region, just in case you need an extra reason for booking a trip.

Hurricane Season in the Caribbean

Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, so it's unlikely that your trip in May will be affected by inclement weather. Hurricanes are unpredictable though, and peak season can vary according to geography. The season is typically busiest between mid-August and mid-September.

Caribbean Weather in May

Temperatures in the Caribbean stay fairly constant throughout the year, so you don't ever have to worry about it being too hot or too cold. Humidity does start to go up in May which can make it feel hotter than it is, but it's not as muggy as it is in the summer months.

The rainy season really begins in June and May is fairly dry, but thunderstorms are always a possibility. However, rain usually comes in short and intense bursts on an otherwise sunny day, so even if you do get some wet weather it shouldn't hamper your trip.

What to Pack

Packing for your Carribean trip in May deserves some special consideration. Regardless of where you're visiting, loose-fitting cotton layers will keep you cool during the day, while a light sweater and slacks will be just right for the cooler evenings. Don’t forget swimsuits, plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. You’ll want dressier clothes for visiting nice restaurants or clubs along with more formal footwear than just flip-flops and sneakers, although casual resort wear is widely accepted.

May Events in the Caribbean

Tourist season may be coming to an end, but the Caribbean is still putting out all kinds of events to keep visitors and locals entertained after the busy Carnival season . The islands are hopping with concerts, sailing and fishing tournaments, end-of-season Carnival parties, and more.

  • Barbados holds its well-known Crop Over Festival each year from May through August. The long-running event celebrates the end of the sugar-cane season with three months of festivities.
  • The Grenada Chocolate Festival is a nationwide event in Grenada celebrating everyone's favorite confection. You can also take part in this sweet event by seeing how chocolate is made from start to finish, and the cacao farms across Grenada all host activities to accompany the festival.
  • If you missed the Carnival celebrations earlier in the year, you can still catch St. Maarten Carnival , which is the longest and the latest celebration in the region. Bring your colorful outfits and party spirit for this event which lasts until early May.
  • The other biggest late-season Carnival festival is Batabano on the Cayman Islands, which primarily takes place in the capital city of George Town. Throughout the first week of May, take part in one of the island's biggest celebrations with music, street parties, and West Indian cuisine.
  • For a taste of Puerto Rican arts, the Campechada is a multi-disciplinary festival that showcases the best of local music, painting, photography, theater, film, and all other mediums. It takes place in a different city on the island each year, but always during the beginning of May.
  • Antigua Sailing Week is the biggest regatta in the region and a must-see event for those who love being on the sea. It's held annually from late April into early May. (Antigua Sailing Week was canceled in 2021 and returns April 30 to May 6, 2022.)

May Travel Tips

  • If you want to see several Caribbean destinations at once, consider a cruise . In addition to good weather, May is the off-peak season which means that prices will be lower than your typical winter cruise.
  • While May is never extremely crowded throughout the region, coming earlier in the month will ensure that there are fewer kids as schools get out for the summer later on into May.
  • May is warm and sunny overall, but the region can experience a brief rainy season during this month so come prepared with raingear.

To read up on visiting these tropical islands throughout the year, check out the best time to visit the Caribbean .

November in the Caribbean: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

The Best Time to Visit the Caribbean

The Best Time to Visit the Dominican Republic

The Best Time to Visit Barbados

The Best Time to Visit the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Best Time to Visit Jamaica

The Best Time to Visit the Bahamas

The Best Time to Visit Aruba

The Best Time to Visit Turks and Caicos

The Best Time to Visit Belize

The Best Time to Visit Martinique

February in the Caribbean: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

The Best Time to Visit St. Lucia

February in Puerto Rico: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

The Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

August in Spain: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

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Ocean Waters and Snow Mountains Part of the Alaska Experience

ADVENTURE ON THE WILD SIDE

Alaska cruises.

Adventure comes first on the last frontier.

Endless breathtaking tundra, four gamechanging ships, one epic summer adventure — this is the boldest Alaska season ever. Experience once-in-a-lifetime moments every single day.  Like whale watching in Juneau. Grizzly spotting in Haines. And totem touring in Sitka. Get to know wildlife, big and small, that call this wilderness home, like otters, eagles, bears, and whales. This is Last Frontier pioneering with the cruise line voted Best Overall by Travel Weekly readers for 21 years running.

caribbean cruise in may

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Want more time to plan the adventure of a lifetime? Our 2025 Alaska sailings are now open.

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Mother and Daughter Enjoying a Kayak Tour in Alaska

OF ICE AND MOUNTAINS

Adventuring in Alaska is all about getting to know this state's stunning landscape. It might seem cold and unforgiving at first glance, but the best Alaska cruises allow you to explore the quiet lakes,  imposing glaciers  and breathtaking mountain views, you'll have only warm impressions of this wilderness. 

Seals in Alaska Inside Passage

JOURNEY INWARD

Exploring the interior of Alaska will give you an entirely different perspective on this vast and rugged state. Take an Inside Passage cruise and gaze upward at the sky that is as blue as the lakes below. Hop on the Alaskan Railroad near Anchorage and see the spruce-lined, mountainous landscape whir by from a new perspective.

Majestic Glacier in Alaska

GLACIERS WILL MOVE YOU

In Alaska, ancient rivers of ice wind between mountains and grind out of valleys. Towering walls of ice like the Hubbard Glacier, Endicott Arm Dawes and the twin Sawyer Glaciers thunder as they calve  massive icebergs . Some shore excursions allow up close interaction with these natural wonders.

Magnificent Denali National Park Alaska

JOURNEY TO "THE GREAT ONE"

In the center of the state,  Denali National Park  is blanketed in wildflowers punctuated with mountains, raging rivers and serene lakes. Denali, "The Great One," formerly known as Mt. McKinley, rises to the tallest peak in North America and can be seen from as far away as Anchorage on a clear day. An up-close view is more than worth the expedition during your vacation.

Beautiful Mountain View in the National Park, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

FEEL THE RUSH

Alaska is tailor-made for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether you sail its icy bays trying to spot huge cold-water whales or fly high above this rough-and-tumble landscape from the vantage of a helicopter, you're sure to come away with memories you couldn't have made anywhere else during your cruise to Alaska. 

Alaska Dog Sledding Excursion

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

In some parts of the state, dog sledding is still the primary mode of transportation through the winter months. Visit Alaska and get the experience for yourself at the  Skagway Yukon Discovery and Dog Sled Tour . The Siberian Huskies are sweet and energetic, and the ride is a thrill.

Whale Watching Activity in Alaska

WHERE ARE THE WHALES AT?

Head to Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward for a  whale watching tour . There's nothing like seeing these behemoths hurl themselves out of the water, to splash back into the sea. Don't pass up an opportunity to watch these giants feed and play in the water.

Alaska Charter Helicopter Tour

Planes are plentiful in Alaska, where they're a common form of transportation across the state. Charter a helicopter or fixed-wing flightseeing tour at Juneau and get an unforgettable perspective of the mountains and glaciers of this vast landscape.

Juneau, Alaska Blue Glacier Ice Cave

RELEASE YOUR WILD SIDE ON THE BEST ALASKA CRUISE

Embark on an unforgettable Alaska adventure cruise and experience the ultimate vacation. Immerse yourself in the thrilling destinations that Alaska has to offer, each brimming with its own unique style and vibe. Discover the wonders of Alaska with the Best Cruise Line for 21 years running.

iFly and Flowrider Sunset in Alaska

QUANTUM OF THE SEAS

Quantum of the Seas® heads to the Last Frontier from Seattle . This adventure packed ship offers glacier gazing from the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship and activities you can enjoy in any weather. Edge of your seat entertainment, all weather activities like the fan-favorite Flowrider®* and unparalleled views from every room.

EXPLORE MORE

Anthem of the Seas Aerial Stern Sailing

ANTHEM OF THE SEAS

Making its Alaska debut, Anthem of the Seas ® is full of family-favorite thrills and chill. Gaze at giant glaciers from the pool deck while you sail through Endicott Arm . Whether you’re challenging friends to bumper cars at the SeaPlex® or catching record-setting views from North Star®, make unforgettable memories on these 7-night cruises.

Serenade of the Seas Alaska Landscape Aerial

SERENADE OF THE SEAS

Bring your adventure crew to the Last Frontier for a 7-night sailing to can’t-miss glaciers and quaint seaside cities brimming with rugged charm. Go peak seaking in Sitka or and take-on rugged adventures in Haines . Once onboard, snag some adults-only time at the Solarium or treat your tastebuds to plated perfection at Izumi Japanese Cuisine. Getting to your coolest getaway yet is easy for the whole family with sails roundtrip from Vancouver .

Radiance at Hubbard Glacier - Alaska

RADIANCE OF THE SEAS

Sail into the Last Frontier from Seward or Vancouver onboard Radiance of the Seas®. With over three acres of windows and glass exterior viewing elevators, you can watch for whales along Alaska’s Inside Passage when you aren’t wandering wilderness paths from Ketchikan to Juneau. And for the ultimate outdoor adventure, take a CruiseTour into Alaska’s interior where you can hang with huskies in Denali, and scale glaciers in Alyeska.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Alaska Cruises Insider

The sheer size of Alaska lends itself to a wide variety of terrain and travel experiences. This diversity means you need to be prepared for a lot of change while traveling.

The best time to travel to Alaska depends on your priorities. If you're interested in the Midnight Sun, the longest day of the year is June 21, when you can experience close to 20 or more hours of sunlight in some parts of the state. If you're more interested in the Alaska Northern Lights, the earlier sunset in later summer will allow more contrast and better views of this natural wonder.

No two days will be the same, and you'll need to pack your clothing to prepare for temperature changes throughout the day. Think layers: zip-up sweaters, boots, rain jackets.

Cozy Cabins and Scenic Restaurants in the Alaskan Wilderness

Visiting Scenic Restaurants in Alaska

June 7, 2024

Plan your romantic Alaskan cruise with our adventurer’s guide to discovering the coziest vacation spots and most scenic restaurants for couples traveling in Alaska.

Craft Beer Tap Bartender

The Best Craft Breweries in Alaska

For all the beer lovers planning an Alaskan cruise vacation, we’ve curated the ultimate zythophile guide to visiting 5 of the best craft breweries in Alaska.

Woman looking at Exit Glacier, Harding Ice Field, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The Most Instagrammable Places in Alaska

Find the most Instagrammable places for your next vacation cruise to Alaska. Come discover the prettiest spots to take pictures with our travel photo guide.

Alaska, Bull Moose Wildlife

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Discover the top tips for planning a cruise to Alaska and uncover the best times of the year to spot Alaskas wildlife, locate must-see attractions, find Alaskan cruise deals and more.

Alaska Yukon Skaqway White Pass

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Your Guide to the Best Cruises From Alaska. Learn more about the most stunning destinations you can visit on an Alaska cruise from Seattle or Vancouver.

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May 22, 2024

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Anchorage, Alaska Glaciers

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When planning a trip to Alaska, many travelers wonder if it's better to explore the state by land or by sea. Here's why travel by cruise ship is best here.

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Enjoy an insider’s guide to discovering the best family cruises for your next vacation onboard Brilliance of the Seas. Start sailing today.

Alaska Hubbard Glacier Mountain Blue Ocean

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Mount Roberts Tramway above the forest, Juneau, Alaska

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Take the guess work out of what to pack for a cruise to Alaska with this guide that tells you what to bring and why you'll be glad you did!

Vegan pancakes with Birch syrup and raisins

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The best Alaska food to try on a cruise includes king crab, salmon, fry bread, birch syrup, wild berries and more.

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Haines Alaska Coastal Homes

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Whether you're curious about Alaska native culture or other Alaska traditions, here's how to make these an integral part of your trip up north.

Radiance Hubbard Glacier Alaska

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Denali, Alaska Highest Mountain Peak

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Alaska, Juneau Mendenhall Glacier

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Couple Enjoying Glacier Tour, Juneau, Alaska

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Whether you're a history buff or a nature nut, there are numerous bucket list destinations to experience while traveling on your Alaska cruise vacation.

Zip Lining in the Summer, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

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Sled Dog Racing Alaskan Malamute, Alaska

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Best Helicopter Tours to Take when Flying over Alaska

Alaska Helicopter Tours

There's nothing quite as exhilarating as a helicopter tour over Alaska's sprawling landscapes. Take your breath away as you travel above its amazing glaciers.

Alaska is not a formal place; people even wear jeans to the opera. Focus more on comfort when deciding what clothing to pack.

Cameras, binoculars, rain ponchos and jackets are useful, but add these to the souvenirs you'll be picking up and soon your bag will be too heavy to tote around. Bring along a quality day pack to make it easier to hold your necessities.

Learn a few words in Alaska's local lingo: The "Alcan" is the Alaska-Canada Highway, for example, and "fish stories" are the local version of tall tales — unreliable yarns of mythological proportions, often told by fisherman.

ALASKAN CUISINE WILD IS THE WAY 

Alaskan food focuses on locally sourced ingredients that reflect the state's rugged terrain and the vast oceans surrounding it. These nutrient-rich waters serve up some gorgeous fish and shellfish, from super-fresh salmon to huge Alaskan King Crabs that can feed a crowd, while game meats and berries from the wilderness form a perfect marriage of flavor.

Best Alaska Smoked Salmon

SALMON IS CENTRAL

Fresh-caught wild salmon is served up at backyard BBQs and the finest restaurants. For something different, try the sweet and savory treat Indian Candy, salmon that is sweetened and smoked till hard.

Typical Alaskan Sourdough Bread

SOURDOUGH WON'T LET YOU GO

Sourdough is such an important part of Alaskan culture that long-time Alaskans are actually called sourdoughs in local parlance. Try a sourdough bread bowl filled with salmon chowder for a hearty lunch.

Alaskan Wild Berries Pie Dessert

GO WILD FOR BERRIES

Alaskan wild berries are sweet and pack a powerful punch of flavor. Whether served up in jams, candies, pies or cobblers, Alaskan blueberries, high-bush cranberries and other local wild berries are a staple when it comes to Alaskan summer eats.

RELATED PORTS

Whether you're interested in hiking through a forest, trekking to glaciers or a shopping spree downtown, the towns along Alaska's inside passage provide a variety of adventurous activities. Alaska cruise ports such as Juneau and Ketchikan are small cities with their own personalities. Anchorage is the state's largest city and a gateway to the rest of the state. Denali National Park takes you out of the city altogether, into a wilderness full of spruce forests and snow-capped mountain peaks.

 National Park Mountains Snow, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Flowers Nature Mountains , Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

Misty Fjords National Monument, Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

Coastal Town Seascape Views, Sitka, Alaska

Sitka, Alaska

National Park Forest, Inside Passage, Alaska

Alaska Inside Passage, Alaska

Iceberg Snow Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Vancouver Island Mountains, Inside Passage, British Columbia

Inside Passage, Canada

Seascape Mountain Side Ocean, Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Glacier Icy Snow, Endicott Arm & Glacier Dawes

Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, Alaska

Chilkat Peninsula, Skagway, Alaska

Skagway, Alaska

Alaska Glacier Bay Mountains

Glacier Bay (Cruising), Alaska

Chilkoot Lake Haines Alaska

Haines, Alaska

Downtown Lodge Houses Stilts, Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan (Ward Cove), Alaska

Resurrection Bay Mountain Side Ocean Kayaking Nature, Seward, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

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Caribbean Princess - May 4, 2024

Caribbean Princess May 4, 2024 Cruise Itinerary Map

Click For Interactive Map

Caribbean Princess

May 4, 2024

May 4 - 31, 2024

Caribbean Princess

Caribbean Princess

Princess Cruises

27 Night Western Europe Grand Adventure

27 Night Western Europe Grand Adventure

from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The May 4, 2024 cruise on the Caribbean Princess departs from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. On this 27 Night Western Europe Grand Adventure sailing, the ship will visit a total of 15 different cruise port destinations, including its departure port. The Caribbean Princess sets sail on a Saturday (May 4, 2024) and returns on a Friday (May 31, 2024).

The Caribbean Princess was built in 2004 and is amoung Princess's 17 ships in it's fleet. The Caribbean Princess is included in the cruise line's Grand Class. In the cruise ship stats below you'll find the Caribbean Princess vs all other Princess ships.

All Itineraries

Day 1: At Sea

Ft. Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale has 23 miles of beaches, 300 miles of inland waterways and swimming pools galore, but immersing yourself in this city doesn't require a drop of water. Dive into a culture as deep as any ocean, a culture characterized by Seminoles and Broadway shows, golf and whimsical water taxis, fine cuisine and tasty jazz. And just like the horizon here, the list of attractions goes on and on.

Ft. Lauderdale has 23 miles of beaches, 300 miles of inland waterways and swimming pools galore, but immersing yourself in this city doesn't require a drop of water. Dive into a culture as deep as any...

Day 2: At Sea

Take advantage of the many on board activites during your day at sea. You'll have more than enough to fill your day!

Day 3: At Sea

Ponta Delgada

You'll be astonished to see, in the depths of the huge crater at the center of the island, two lakes--one emerald green, the other sky-blue. More astonishments: a cluster of hot springs bubbling in the mist.

You'll be astonished to see, in the depths of the huge crater at the center of the island, two lakes--one emerald green, the other sky-blue. More astonishments: a cluster of hot springs bubbling in...

Day 9: At Sea

A town of churches, bridges and pubs, Cork is best known for Blarney Castle where you are invited to kiss the famed stone to acquire the "gift of gab." St. Patrick Street, the town's main thoroughfare, is good for shopping and people watching. See the Shandon bells in St. Anne's church. Those who are willing to climb the 134 winding steps to the top of the steeple will be rewarded with a wondrous view of the city, harbor and hills.

A town of churches, bridges and pubs, Cork is best known for Blarney Castle where you are invited to kiss the famed stone to acquire the "gift of gab." St. Patrick Street, the town's main thoroughfare...

Day 13: At Sea

Falmouth is located in the Carrick district of Cornwall, England. The town is perched on a peninsula, and has long been an important center of trade. Falmouth is a popular resort and sailing area, boasting sandy beaches, fair climate, and a spacious harbor. Try to swim the width of the English Channel, if you dare.

Falmouth is located in the Carrick district of Cornwall, England. The town is perched on a peninsula, and has long been an important center of trade. Falmouth is a popular resort and sailing area...

Day 14: At Sea

Weymouth is a British port city. It boasts a fine swimming beach, a scenic harbor, and a long and colorful history. King George III felt that swimming in the Weymouth waters helped his mental condition. Sailing, windsurfing, and fishing are also popular Weymouth activities. There is also golf, hiking, bicycle riding, and more in the area. Visit the Timewalk, Brewery Days, and Sea Life Park.

Weymouth is a British port city. It boasts a fine swimming beach, a scenic harbor, and a long and colorful history. King George III felt that swimming in the Weymouth waters helped his mental...

Day 15: At Sea

Le Havre is the gateway for optional tours to Paris, the "City of Light." See the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Champs Elysees. In Le Havre itself, cruise visitors can explore at leisure and learn something of the French "art de vivre." Visit fish and vegetable markets, public parks, modern architecture, a long seaside promenade and a vast beach.

Le Havre is the gateway for optional tours to Paris, the "City of Light." See the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Champs Elysees. In Le Havre itself, cruise visitors...

Day 16: At Sea

Southampton

Southampton is the gateway to the immensely civilized city of London. There are museums to visit, pubs to try, and shops to browse, ranging from Harrods to open-air markets. There are more parks and green belts here than in any other city in the world. There are also caches of stately squares and noble monuments, holdovers from a time when the island ruled a significant portion of the globe.

Southampton is the gateway to the immensely civilized city of London. There are museums to visit, pubs to try, and shops to browse, ranging from Harrods to open-air markets. There are more parks and...

Day 17: At Sea

Located along the North Sea, Zeebrugge is located ten miles north of Brugge (Bruges) and serves as its port. The Brugge-Zeebrugge Canal connects the seaside resort with the cultural mecca that is its sister city. Visitors to Brugge will see stunning representations of gothic and roman architecture and collections of Dutch and Belgian art.

Located along the North Sea, Zeebrugge is located ten miles north of Brugge (Bruges) and serves as its port. The Brugge-Zeebrugge Canal connects the seaside resort with the cultural mecca that is its...

Day 18: At Sea

One of the largest and most modern ports in the world, Rotterdam is the major foreign-trade center of the Netherlands and its second largest city. Among the noteworthy buildings that survived the German air bombardment of 1940 were the stock exchange, the city hall, and the Van Beuningen Museum, with its collection of paintings by Dutch masters.

One of the largest and most modern ports in the world, Rotterdam is the major foreign-trade center of the Netherlands and its second largest city. Among the noteworthy buildings that survived the...

Day 19: At Sea

Norway's political and cultural capital, Oslo was recently selected as the city with the highest quality of life in Europe. It's not surprising, considering the city's treasures: beautiful Frogner Park filled with modern sculpture, the emotional power of the Munch Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, forested mountains and secluded coves, all within the city limits.

Norway's political and cultural capital, Oslo was recently selected as the city with the highest quality of life in Europe. It's not surprising, considering the city's treasures: beautiful Frogner...

Day 21: At Sea

Sweden's second city, Gothenburg - situated on the country's west coast - has a magnificent harbour and a brilliant showpiece boulevard. The most popular attraction in Sweden, Liseberg is one of the world's best amusement parks. Gothenburg is easily accessible by air, bus, train and boat and, once you're there, a bunch of spanking new hostels in the city center awaits your weary head.

Sweden's second city, Gothenburg - situated on the country's west coast - has a magnificent harbour and a brilliant showpiece boulevard. The most popular attraction in Sweden, Liseberg is one of the...

Day 22: At Sea

Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark, and travelers find it incredibly charming. For historical interest, explore the streets of Christianborg and Amelienborg palaces. Leisure seekers can stroll the streets or lounge in the cafes of Stroget. Visit Tivoli Gardens, too, and don't forget to see the statue of the Little Mermaid, a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen.

Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark, and travelers find it incredibly charming. For historical interest, explore the streets of Christianborg and Amelienborg palaces. Leisure seekers can stroll...

Day 23: At Sea

Arhus, Denmark, bills itself as the World's Smallest Big City. Arhus takes pride in being home to the only Women's Museum in the world. Visit the open-air urban museum known as Den Gamle By, complete with winding cobblestone streets. For the young at heart, the Tivoli Friheden amusement park is a must-see. The city is alive with music, featuring live tango, classical, jazz, and more.

Arhus, Denmark, bills itself as the World's Smallest Big City. Arhus takes pride in being home to the only Women's Museum in the world. Visit the open-air urban museum known as Den Gamle By...

Day 24: At Sea

Hamburg's port on the river Elbe has been busy since medieval times, when it was a cornerstone of the Hanseatic League. It is a graceful city of parks and lakes, and grand old buildings like the Rathaus (City Hall). Brahms and Mendelssohn were born here, and Hans Leip, who wrote Lili Marlene.

Hamburg's port on the river Elbe has been busy since medieval times, when it was a cornerstone of the Hanseatic League. It is a graceful city of parks and lakes, and grand old buildings like the...

Day 26: At Sea

caribbean cruise in may

Embarking on an Eastern Caribbean Cruise: A Personal Guide

W ith the sea as my second home and over 50 cruises to reminisce about, I’m more at home on water than on land. For seasoned sailors and landlubbers alike, I’ve gathered a treasure trove of tips for an Eastern Caribbean cruise—a region where turquoise waters meet diverse ports, from Amber Cove to the storied streets of San Juan.

Sailing Through Seasons: Picking the Perfect Time

Cruising knows no off-season, with the sun-kissed decks welcoming travelers year-round. There are now even waiting lists for many US ports. The fall and winter seasons promise tempting deals and breezy weather—the perfect backdrop for your sea adventure, but remember that hurricane season looms through October.

Choosing Your Nautical Steed

From the grandeur of Holland America to the family-friendly vibe of Carnival, I’ve walked the gangways of the crème de la crème on many an Eastern Caribbean cruise—including Costa , NCL, Royal Caribbean , Windstar , Disney , and Celebrity . Each brand holds fast to its unique charm and sets sail to meet a mariner’s every need.

Once your voyage is charted, the quest to curate your land excursions begins. Perhaps the serenity or fun of the ship is all you seek—a floating sanctuary where time is measured in sunsets and meals you don’t have to cook or clean up after. But for adventurers yearning to tread less familiar paths, allow me to be your compass as you wander ashore.

Amber Cove: A Dominican Delight

In the heart of the Dominican Republic lies Amber Cove , a port that dazzles without a single step beyond its bounds. Yet, beyond the gates lie the island’s true wonders. Shop to your heart’s content, dine in savory splendor at modestly priced eateries, or plunge into a pool complex where the fee is included in your cruise vacation.

Zip, Swim, or Hammock in the Cove

Be bold and zipline over the crystalline waters, claim a beach hut painted with vivid colors or sway in a hammock’s gentle embrace. If exploration beckons, the DR’s cultural landscape awaits—from touring the iconic Amber Museum to visiting the historic churches or spending the afternoon at a five-star resort soaking up its amenities.

There’s Cabaret Beach for the sunseekers—with plenty of waves and golden sands. Or perhaps the thrill of natural rock water slides at Rio de Damajagua calls to you.

In Puerto Plata, step into the local rhythm at Independence Square, where the town comes to life in a lovely juxtaposition of old and new. There are many souvenir opportunities here, including excellent street vendors’ artworks.

Bahamas Bliss: Half Moon Cay and Beyond

The Bahamas are a constellation of island retreats, each shining with its own light on your Eastern Caribbean cruise. On Eleuthera, Princess Cruises offers a secluded slice of paradise; at Half Moon Cay, Holland America invites you to a private cruise ship sanctuary.

Seize the day with outdoor escapades, refueling with a beachside feast of sizzling grills and extraordinary delights—all on the house. What’s included? A typical beach lunch features jerk or BBQ meats, vegetables, ice cream, fruit, burgers, and hot dogs.

Another option is to stroll the shores with a drink in hand or paddle through azure waves. Have you ever wanted your hair braided? This is the place to do so.

A Private Paradise

On these private sands, choose your adventure—go cycling, rent a dune buggy, seek sun shelter in a clamshell, or go paddling among the shimmering shoals. I love renting the foam mats to float in the ocean, allowing maximum sun. Be cautious and reapply sunscreen quite often to avoid burning.

Lounge chairs are provided free of charge. And there are designated swimming areas. Drink in the sun or indulge in a cabana’s luxury, flanked by soft white sands, before picking up some authentic souvenirs at one of the island kiosks.

Castaway Cay: Disney’s Caribbean Crown

Castaway Cay is more than a port—it’s a splash of Disney magic amid the Caribbean blues. Every detail is steeped in enchantment, from island 5Ks to Christmas decorations that rival Santa’s workshop.

Beyond providing all the island indulgences, Disney’s jewel outshines the rest with a signature blend of joy and creativity that only the masters of imagination can deliver. In other words, Disney’s private island is the best. It’s even more fun to visit when it is decorated for Christmas.  

Pro Tip : Remember to pick up exclusive trading pins at this port of call. 

Grand Turk’s Barefoot Bliss

Imagine the perfect day when ocean waves kiss white sandy shores and nature’s palette comes to life—a reality in Grand Turk. Though it spans just seven square miles, this gem offers more than meets the eye. I’ve visited multiple times on cruises and land trips, and it is a vacation destination I’d recommend repeatedly.

Grand Turk’s Margaritaville (the largest in the Caribbean) awaits with its inviting pool and upbeat rhythms. It’s a place to unwind or mingle to your heart’s content—all at no cost. It’s a haven where chill tropical cocktails, more fun served at the swim-up bar, and leisure reading under the warm sun are daily norms.

Adventure beckons with dune buggy thrills and wildlife encounters—wild horses and donkeys may stroll by as you trek towards the island’s historic weathered lighthouse or on the opposite side of the island. Two other adventures I always enjoy are the Gibbs Cay stingray encounter and visiting the Salt House Museum.

Indulge in underwater escapades like scuba and snorkeling or reel in the excitement with a fishing expedition; Grand Turk is all about the vibe of island life.

Puerto Rico’s Colonial Charm

Over fifteen years, I’ve watched San Juan, Puerto Rico , transform its streetscape, enhancing the past’s splendor with the present’s touches. Wander this gorgeous city, where a local café invites you to savor tapas and sip refreshing mojitos at places like Rosa de Triano.

Experience a tapestry of taste and history through the ‘Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour.’ For the memory-makers, the monumental forts stand tall, safeguarding stories and stamper’s delight for National Park Passport bearers.

From skies reflecting in glass-bottom kayaks to trails best seen from horseback, San Juan is where past and present dance harmoniously on your Eastern Caribbean cruise.

St. Kitts: Nature’s Masterpiece

Nestled in the Lesser Antilles, St. Kitts, paired with Nevis, paints a portrait of natural majesty. Lush mountains backdrop historic fortresses and the sugarcane heritage stretching under clear blue skies. Walk through time in the museum dedicated to Alexander Hamilton and marvel at the unmatched colonial architecture setting St. Kitts apart.

St. Maarten/St. Martin’s Dual Delight

A unique twofold nation island, St. Maarten/St. Martin mesmerizes with its blend of culture and beachside allure. Philipsburg reflects the Dutch spirit through its charming buildings and sandy retreats like the famous Orient Beach, with its eclectic mix of sunbathers—an invisible border’s subtle reminder of the distinct experience awaiting on either side.

The town of Marigot shifts the mood to French chic, where designer labels and award-winning dining become the day’s focus. I adore both sides, but the pulse of tourists tends to favor St. Maarten’s shores.

St. Thomas: The Pinnacle of Paradise

St. Thomas, with its notorious pledge to pirate tales and luxurious hotels, consistently captures the heart of the Caribbean seeker. Ascend the famous Mountain Top for its iconic banana daiquiri and panorama that’s beyond Instagrammable. This would mark the spot of one of the best photo op coordinates in the world.

Magen’s Bay, lauded globally, boasts a shoreline that could rival any artist’s canvas. The ocean calls for exploration here via catamaran, scuba, or snorkeling.

I’ve been to the island so often that I like to walk into town (Charlotte Amalie), browse the shops, have a tasty lunch at the Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar, and check out the open-air markets with beautiful jewelry. Larimar is a stone abundant in the USVI and makes an excellent purchase for you or your loved one.

St. John offers a quieter excursion. Less-trodden paths lead to stellar waterfront mansions and the allure of ivory sands that beckon travelers back time and again. It used to be my favorite of the three US Virgin Islands, but I have not been there since Hurricane Irma devastated it in 2017.

Set Sail with Confidence all new

An Eastern Caribbean cruise is a voyage through cultures, flavors, and thrills—a canvas where your story is painted in ocean shades. My journeys are shared to recount and inspire your travels over horizons near and far.

Bon Voyage!

Read more about cruising in these posts:

Cruising Canada and New England

Visiting Curacao

Remembering My Alaskan Cruise

Here is what to expect on an Eastern Caribbean cruise and visiting the gorgeous Amber Cove, Bahamas, Grand Turk, and St. Thomas cruise ports.

Watch CBS News

He fell ill on a cruise. Before he boarded the rescue boat, they handed him the bill.

By Bram Sable-Smith

Updated on: May 27, 2024 / 9:41 AM EDT / KFF Health News

Vincent Wasney and his fiancée, Sarah Eberlein, had never visited the ocean. They'd never even been on a plane. But when they bought their first home in Saginaw, Michigan, in 2018, their real estate agent gifted them tickets for a Royal Caribbean cruise.

After two years of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, they set sail in December 2022.

The couple chose a cruise destined for the Bahamas in part because it included a trip to CocoCay, a private island accessible to Royal Caribbean passengers that featured a water park, balloon rides and an excursion swimming with pigs.

It was on that day on CocoCay when Wasney, 31, started feeling off, he said.

The next morning, as the couple made plans in their cabin for the last full day of the trip, Wasney made a pained noise. Eberlein saw him having a seizure in bed, with blood coming out of his mouth from biting his tongue. She opened their door to find help and happened upon another guest, who roused his wife, an emergency room physician.

Wasney was able to climb into a wheelchair brought by the ship's medical crew to take him down to the medical facility, where he was given anticonvulsants and fluids and monitored before being released.

Wasney had had seizures in the past, starting about 10 years ago, but it had been a while since his last one. Imaging back then showed no tumors, and doctors concluded he was likely epileptic, he said. He took medicine initially, but after two years without another seizure, he said, his doctors took him off the medicine to avoid liver damage.

may-botm-cruise-01.jpg

Wasney had a second seizure on the ship a few hours later, back in his cabin. This time he stopped breathing, and Eberlein remembered his lips being so purple, they almost looked black. Again, she ran to find help but, in her haste, locked herself out. By the time the ship's medical team got into the cabin, Wasney was breathing again but had broken blood vessels along his chest and neck that he later said resembled tiger stripes.

Wasney was in the ship's medical center when he had a third seizure — a grand mal, which typically causes a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. By then, the ship was close enough to port that Wasney could be evacuated by rescue boat. He was put on a stretcher to be lowered by ropes off the side of the ship, with Eberlein climbing down a rope ladder to join him.

But before they disembarked, the bill came.

The Patient: Vincent Wasney, 31, who was uninsured at the time.

Medical Services: General and enhanced observation, a blood test, anticonvulsant medicine, and a fee for services performed outside the medical facility.

Service Provider: Independence of the Seas Medical Center, the on-ship medical facility on the cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International .

Total Bill: $2,500.22.

What Gives: As part of Royal Caribbean's guest terms , cruise passengers "agree to pay in full" all expenses incurred on board by the end of the cruise, including those related to medical care. In addition, Royal Caribbean does not accept "land-based" health insurance plans.

Wasney said he was surprised to learn that, along with other charges like wireless internet, Royal Caribbean required he pay his medical bills before exiting the ship — even though he was being evacuated urgently.

"Are we being held hostage at this point?" Eberlein remembered asking. "Because, obviously, if he's had three seizures in 10 hours, it's an issue."

Wasney said he has little memory of being on the ship after his first seizure — seizures often leave victims groggy and disoriented for a few hours afterward.

But he certainly remembers being shown a bill, the bulk of which was the $2,500.22 in medical charges, while waiting for the rescue boat.

Still groggy, Wasney recalled saying he couldn't afford that and a cruise employee responding: "How much can you pay?"

They drained their bank accounts, including money saved for their next house payment, and maxed out Wasney's credit card but were still about $1,000 short, he said.

Ultimately, they were allowed to leave the ship. He later learned his card was overdrafted to cover the shortfall, he said. Once on land, in Florida, Wasney was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, where he incurred thousands of dollars more in medical expenses.

He still isn't entirely sure what caused the seizures.

On the ship he was told it could have been extreme dehydration — and he said he does remember being extra thirsty on CocoCay. He also has mused whether trying escargot for the first time the night before could have played a role. Eberlein's mother is convinced the episode was connected to swimming with pigs, he said. And not to be discounted, Eberlein accidentally broke a pocket mirror three days before their trip.

Wasney, who works in a stone shop, was uninsured when they set sail. He said that one month before they embarked on their voyage, he finally felt he could afford the health plan offered through his employer and signed up, but the plan didn't start until January 2023, after their return.

They also lacked travel insurance. As inexperienced travelers, Wasney said, they thought it was for lost luggage and canceled trips, not unexpected medical expenses. And because the cruise was a gift, they were never prompted to buy coverage, which often happens when tickets are purchased.

may-botm-cruise-04.jpg

The Resolution: Wasney said the couple returned to Saginaw with essentially no money in their bank account, several thousand dollars of medical debt, and no idea how they would cover their mortgage payment. Because he was uninsured at the time of the cruise, Wasney did not try to collect reimbursement for the cruise bill from his new health plan when his coverage began weeks later.

The couple set up payment plans to cover the medical bills for Wasney's care after leaving the ship: one each with two doctors he saw at Broward Health, who billed separately from the hospital, and one with the ambulance company. He also made payments on a bill with Broward Health itself. Those plans do not charge interest.

But Broward Health said Wasney missed two payments to the hospital, and that bill was ultimately sent to collections.

In a statement, Broward Health spokesperson Nina Levine said Wasney's bill was reduced by 73% because he was uninsured.

"We do everything in our power to provide the best care with the least financial impact, but also cannot stress enough the importance of taking advantage of private and Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, as well as travel insurance, to lower risks associated with unplanned medical issues," she said.

The couple was able to make their house payment with $2,690 they raised through a GoFundMe campaign that Wasney set up. Wasney said a lot of that help came from family as well as friends he met playing disc golf, a sport he picked up during the pandemic.

"A bunch of people came through for us," Wasney said, still moved to tears by the generosity. "But there's still the hospital bill."

The Takeaway: Billing practices differ by cruise line, but Joe Scott , chair of the cruise ship medicine section of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said medical charges are typically added to a cruise passenger's onboard account, which must be paid before leaving the ship. Individuals can then submit receipts to their insurers for possible reimbursement.

He recommended that those planning to take a cruise purchase travel insurance that specifically covers their trips. "This will facilitate reimbursement if they do incur charges and potentially cover a costly medical evacuation if needed," Scott said.

Royal Caribbean suggests that passengers who receive onboard care submit their paid bills to their health insurer for possible reimbursement. Many health plans do not cover medical services received on cruise ships, however. Medicare will sometimes cover medically necessary health care services on cruise ships, but not if the ship is more than six hours away from a U.S. port.

Travel insurance can be designed to address lots of out-of-town mishaps , like lost baggage or even transportation and lodging for a loved one to visit if a traveler is hospitalized.

Travel medical insurance, as well as plans that offer "emergency evacuation and repatriation," are two types that can specifically assist with medical emergencies. Such plans can be purchased individually. Credit cards may offer travel medical insurance among their benefits, as well.

But travel insurance plans come with limitations. For instance, they may not cover care associated with preexisting conditions or what the plans consider "risky" activities, such as rock climbing. Some plans also require that travelers file first with their primary health insurance before seeking reimbursement from travel insurance.

As with other insurance, be sure to read the fine print and understand how reimbursement works.

Wasney said that's what they plan to do before their next Royal Caribbean cruise. They'd like to go back to the Bahamas on basically the same trip, he said — there's a lot about CocoCay they didn't get to explore.

Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by KFF Health News and NPR that dissects and explains medical bills. 

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