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5 Best Caribbean Cruise Lines for 2024 Travel

February 7, 2024 | The Aerial, BVI

The best Caribbean cruise lines offer you the chance to experience the white-sand beaches, azure waters, and tropical paradise destinations of the Caribbean. But with so many Caribbean cruises to choose from, how do you choose the best cruise line for you?

Before researching different cruise ships, have a clear idea of the destinations you would like to visit and then search for cruises that stop there. Some of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean include the Bahamas, Belize, Cozumel, and the Dominican Republic. If you’re looking for a different type of experience than the typical tourist packed cruise stops, consider finding a cruise that ports at destinations such as the British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, and Antigua.

The Caribbean Is the World’s Top Cruise Destination

The Caribbean’s status as number one in popularity for cruises will come as no surprise to anyone who has been there. In 2022, the Caribbean welcomed more than four times as many passengers as its nearest competitor, the Central and Western Mediterranean. There were nearly 8,400 passengers from North America who visited the Caribbean on a cruise in 2022 and another 600 or so passengers from other parts of the world.


Tourists flocking to the Caribbean are attracted to the stunning weather, paradise seascapes, and idyllic beaches the Caribbean islands offer. Their arrival is also facilitated by the large number of cruise lines working in the Caribbean. With so many to choose from, there’s bound to be something for every traveler.

1. Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is perhaps the most famous of all Caribbean cruise lines. As a well-established and prestigious company, choosing a Royal Caribbean cruise gives you access to many island itineraries and diverse shore activities that cater to different profiles of travelers. Royal Caribbean is also the recipient of many accolades, including the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards Best Cruise in the Caribbean award in 2023.

So what makes cruises with Royal Caribbean so appealing?

Onboard Experience

The onboard experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise includes many innovative, fun, and exhilarating activities to keep you occupied throughout your cruise. Activities include water parks, crazy golf, rock climbing, ziplining, and skydiving simulators. Every day is an adventure!

Royal Caribbean Ships

Royal Caribbean ships are among the most modern and innovative. From luxury suites to incredible observation decks, every part of each ship offers class and style.

A Family Experience

Royal Caribbean cruises aren’t only for families, but they’re a great option for adults and children alike. Kids can enjoy the kids’ club and plenty of entertainment options to keep them busy during the cruise.

2. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises offers a wide range of 7 or 10-night cruises that stop off in the British Virgin Islands. These cruises, traversing the eastern and southern highlights of the Caribbean, include up to eight destinations on each trip, to give travelers a little taste of everything.

Celebrity Cruises sets itself apart with its premium luxury offerings.

Stop off at The Aerial, BVI

The Aerial, BVI in the Caribbean, a popular stop for cruise line travelers

If you’re looking for a unique experience during your time in the British Virgin Islands, visiting our health and wellness resort for the day might be just what you’re looking for. Our beach day includes:

  • A round trip from Hodge’s Creek Marina in Tortola
  • A nutritious lunch
  • Bottomless house wines, Prosecco, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Access to the stunning beach and loungers
  • Watersports, including clear-bottom kayaks, snorkeling, and paddleboards
  • Access to the outdoor tribal gym, volleyball, and other beach games

Travelers love the private island experience that The Aerial, BVI offers and the chance to spread their wings away from the ship. Look for cruises that stop in Tortola to add this experience to your unforgettable Caribbean vacation.

3. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line boasts the world’s largest fleet with 26 cruise ships around the world. This means there are plenty of different itinerary options, port combinations, departure cities, and cruise durations to choose from.

Carnival cruises are known for the fun factor they offer passengers, with day and nighttime entertainment, live music, casinos, deck parties, and more. This is in addition to incredible top-deck attractions like huge pools and waterslides.

Carnival cruises can cater to all ages. Consider this cruise line if entertainment tops your priority list.

4. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is another great choice for your Caribbean cruise. Flexibility is the name of the game on Norwegian cruises as guests can choose what to do and when; this even includes dining. Unlike some other cruise lines, there aren’t any dress codes on the ship. Perfect for free spirits!

Family activities are also a highlight. Families will find unique experiences like laser tag as well as favorites like go-karts, pools, and aqua parks. Keep in mind that the newer ships will have the most modern activities and facilities.

5. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises are known as perhaps the most elegant cruise ships. Featuring a central piazza and gold details, this cruise experience is truly a luxurious one. Princess pioneered the idea of Movies Under the Stars, a movie screening on the deck with pizza. Other top-class entertainment options appeal both to kids and adults.

Princess’s offers options for everyone, ranging from shorter 7-day cruises to 20-day premium getaways. The 20-day Caribbean Explorer cruise stops off at three destinations in the British Virgin Islands, including Tortola. This means that travelers can experience BVI scuba diving at several gorgeous beaches.

What to Look for in a Caribbean Cruise

The destinations that interest you will most likely be the most important factor in choosing one cruise line over another. However, there are several additional factors to take into account when choosing a Caribbean cruise:

Start Destination

Many Caribbean cruises share the most popular stop-offs but start from different locations. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando in Florida are common starting destinations but are not the only ones. Shop around to find the start destination that’s closest to you. 

Onboard Experience

You’ll be spending a lot of your cruise on the ship, so choosing one with enough options to keep you entertained is important. All cruises will offer staples like swimming pools and live entertainment like shows or music. However, luxury cruises may have a wider range of activities and better quality onboard entertainment.

World Class Dining

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included in your fare on a cruise. This includes food in the main dining room but some specialty items may be charged separately. Luxury cruises will of course offer world-class dining options though more exclusive dining options are paid for as an extra.

Generally, cruise ships offer a dining room where you can order from a menu. They typically have a dress code. Apart from the main dining room, most cruises also offer a buffet close to the pool. Many ships also have themed restaurants where you’ll have to pay for your dinner.

The Cruise Ship

Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes and differ in the level of luxury they afford their passengers. Some travelers may prefer a cozy and intimate small ship like those in the SeaDream fleet, which can accommodate 112 passengers. Medium-sized ships like the Windstar cruise ships hold 148-310 passengers, while the mammoth Icon of the Seas ship holds up to 7,600 passengers at full capacity.

Huge ships may suit some travelers as they typically offer more onboard entertainment options and come with all the bells and whistles. Larger ships also invariably have a different atmosphere than smaller ships. The good news is that there are options for every traveler!

Best Caribbean Cruise Recommendations

The cruise that best suits you will depend on what you like and also who you’re traveling with. Logically, a family with small children won’t necessarily want the same as a couple on their honeymoon or solo cruisers. When shopping around for a cruise, make sure you understand who the cruise is aimed at to get the best possible experience.

Best Small Cruise Ship

Small cruise lines offer a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere and have the added bonus of being able to stop in smaller ports.

Small cruise ships are best suited to adults because smaller ships typically don’t offer kids’ programs or the flashy attractions offered by larger ships like surf simulators and go-karts.

Top Choice: Windstar Cruises

Windstar has a fleet of six ships that accommodate 148-310 passengers. Cruises on their yachts allow you to visit small islands like Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, providing the perfect opportunity to go kitesurfing at Sandy Spit (an islet located close to Jost Van Dyke) or just relax on the beach.

Best Caribbean Cruise for Families

Family-oriented cruises will offer onboard entertainment like waterslides, go-karts, kid-oriented entertainment, and fun excursions little ones will love. While some cruises are explicitly aimed at kids, like Disney cruises, other more traditional cruise lines like Royal Caribbean also offer child or family-friendly cruises that cater to families.

Top Choice: Disney Cruises

For travelers with kids and a large enough budget, Disney Cruise Line is a kid’s dream come true. Offering many different routes through the Caribbean, Disney ships offer excellent entertainment and food and have entertainment options for everyone, not only children. There are even adult-only restaurants for a more relaxed dining experience.

The highlight of Disney cruises is the beach party at Castaway Cay, Disney’s spectacular private island in the Bahamas. Unsurprisingly, Disney pulls out all the stops on their cruises and offers an unforgettable experience for grandparents, parents, and kids alike.

Top Caribbean Cruises for Couples

Celebrity, Princess, Viking, Virgin, and Royal Caribbean all offer romantic cruises that are perfect for couples. The Caribbean is a wonderful place for a romantic getaway, and a cruise can be a wonderful experience with your partner. The best options for couples include:

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises offers a luxury romantic cruise for couples. Celebrity is also famous for its world-class dining options. This is the perfect option for couples who enjoy romantic dinner dates with a stunning backdrop.

Princess Cruises

Princess is a wonderful option for a romantic escape. The Love Boat offers a 7-day voyage from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera that is perfect for loved-up couples.

Best Caribbean Cruise for Solo Travelers

Solo travel can all too often go against people traveling alone as they’re forced to cover the cost of their “missing” partner in a standard room. Luckily, some Caribbean cruises offer single cabins.

Top Choice: Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Cruise Line was a pioneer in this field, and its ship Epic still offers 128 single cabins. There’s also a gathering area for solo travelers on Norwegian Epic to meet for breakfast or cocktails.

Single cabins offer a comfortable and cost-effective option for solo cruisers, but be aware that the studio cabins are very small.

Bon Voyage!

With a backdrop of blue skies, paradise beaches, and turquoise waters as far as the eye can see, you’re bound to love your Caribbean cruise no matter which cruise line you choose. Base your choice on the destinations you most want to see and also who the cruise is aimed at to ensure the cruise experience is right for you.

When prioritizing where you want to stop on your Caribbean cruise, the British Virgin Islands have plenty of attractions for adults and families alike. As the first stop on some cruises starting from Florida, we recommend the BVI as the perfect introduction to any Caribbean cruise experience.