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The Top 10 Shore Excursions and Best Caribbean Cruise Ports for Your 2024 Cruising Shortlist

Cruisers taking a voyage out to the Caribbean are in for a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences! Picture yourself basking in the radiant sun on powdery white-sand beaches, surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters that seem to stretch into eternity. Dive into bright coral reefs, where colorful marine life dances before your eyes. Explore lush rainforests teeming with exotic wildlife as well as Mayan ruins waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re exploring historic colonial towns, embarking on thrilling water sports adventures, or simply savoring the serenity of the beach, the Caribbean promises cherished memories for every cruiser.

Welcome to the Caribbean:  a Dream Destination for Many Cruisers

When it comes to dream destinations for cruise ship excursions, the Caribbean is undoubtedly at the top of the list. This special part of the world, with its enchanting blend of sun-kissed beaches, crystal-clear waters, vibrant culture, and lush landscapes, offers an idyllic setting for the perfect cruise vacation.

The Caribbean is a subregion of the Americas with several distinct islands — some in the Caribbean Sea and others bordering the Atlantic Ocean. These islands cater to every type of traveler, from adventure seekers to relaxation enthusiasts, history buffs to foodies, and nature lovers to party animals.

Whether you’re planning your first cruise or looking for fresh ideas for your next voyage, join us as we uncover the top 10 Caribbean cruise excursions.

Driving/Walking Tour of Nassau and Atlantis

A visit to Nassau and Atlantis is special because it offers a unique blend of stunning tropical beauty, spirited Bahamian culture, and the experience of world-class luxury and entertainment at Atlantis Resort, creating unforgettable memories for every traveler.

Exploring iconic landmarks in Nassau’s city center takes you on a historical voyage, starting with the imposing Fort Fincastle with its breathtaking views of the island. You will have some free time here to explore, climb up the Queen Victoria Staircase, and do some shopping on your own.

Meet back up with your group and travel to the heart of Nassau’s shopping district where you can stroll through the bustling Straw Market. The regal Government House and Rawson Square give you a good window into the local culture and craftsmanship.

But perhaps the crown jewel of Nassau is the world-famous Atlantis Resort, a destination unto itself. Take some time here to explore the lobby, pop into the many shops, and try your luck at the largest casino in the Bahamas.

Relaxing Beach Day Excursion in Costa Maya

Cruisers should consider a relaxing beach day excursion in Costa Maya where the turquoise waters, soft sandy beaches, and warm tropical breeze offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of a voyage.

Picture yourself lounging on pristine white sand beaches, soaking in the warmth of the sun, and gazing at the mesmerizing crystal-clear waters stretching as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or prefer a laid-back day, there’s something for everyone here. You can indulge in thrilling beach activities and water sports, from jet skiing and snorkeling to paddleboarding and beach volleyball.

Take a break from the fun at the all-you-can-drink open bar offering a refreshing array of tropical beverages. Restaurant service is also available on the beach, with unlimited Mexican snacks and dishes that tantalize your senses with the flavors of this sizzling island.

Sightseeing/Kayaking Tour of the Chacchoben Ruins and Lake Bacalar

Embark on a thrilling adventure through the heart of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where history and nature converge. You’ll start your day by visiting the Chacchoben Ruins, a site steeped in ancient Mayan culture. As you explore the intricate architecture and learn about the rich history of this sacred place.

Next, paddle your way through the gorgeous waters of Lake Bacalar, often called the “Lake of Seven Colors” due to its ever-changing hues of blue. Kayaking or canoeing on this serene lake offers you a novel jungle experience as well as plenty of photo ops. Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking scenic views from the water and from the land when you enjoy a short walk in the lush jungle surrounding the lake.

Walking Tour of Costa Maya’s Chacchoben Mayan Ruins

Travel back in time to the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization with our walking tour of the Chaccoben Mayan Ruins. Here you will explore awe-inspiring pyramids, courtyards, and temples hidden in the lush Mexican jungle. Our expert guides will unravel the mysteries of this ancient culture, providing historical insights that will help bring these ruins to life.

Immerse yourself in the rich Mayan heritage as you walk in the footsteps of this fascinating civilization. This tour promises not only to awaken your sense of wonder but also to deepen your understanding of one of the world’s most intriguing and enduring civilizations.

Boat Excursion to Stingray City, Barrier Reef, and Starfish Beach at Grand Cayman

Get ready to set sail on a boat ride to two of our most popular destinations in the Caribbean: Stingray City and Starfish Beach! This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interact with and feed gentle stingrays as you wade through the crystal-clear waters and make new aquatic friends.

While here, dive into some of the finest snorkeling the southern Caribbean has to offer at the nearby Grand Cayman’s Barrier Reef, where a bounty of marine life awaits beneath the surface. Marvel at the vibrant corals and colorful fish that call this underwater wonderland home.

Afterward you will head to Starfish Beach, a tranquil oasis where you can spot starfish in their natural habitat and unwind on the beach while sipping on tropical beverages, surrounded by the beauty of the Caribbean.

Driving/Boating Tour of Roatan from Land and Sea

Roatan should be on your cruise destination list because it offers a captivating blend of impeccable beaches, shimmering coral reefs for snorkeling and diving, rich cultural experiences, and lush tropical landscapes, making it a perfect destination for both relaxation and adventure seekers.

On this unforgettable walking tour of Roatan, you will step into the island’s intriguing history and vibrant culture. Begin with a scenic drive through the island’s rustic landscapes and charming villages, visiting local attractions and cultural sites such as schools and churches. You will also stop by some shopping venues to see local handicrafts and purchase souvenirs. Along the way you will be guided by knowledgeable locals who share fascinating tales of the island’s past.

Then, set sail to explore Roatan’s stunning coastlines, winding through mangroves and discovering hidden coves on your boat. At the Institute of Marine Science you will learn about — and marvel at— playful dolphins before heading to the island’s iconic Barrier Reef, a snorkeler’s paradise where you can immerse yourself in the colorful underwater world.

Driving Tour/Beach Excursion on St. Maarten

Visiting St. Maarten is always a treat with its breathtaking beaches and rich blend of cultures. On this special tour you will experience both, and have the chance to visit parts of the island not usually seen by cruise guests.

Your adventure starts with a drive through the buzzy capital of Philipsburg where you’ll ascend to the picturesque Harold Jack Lookout, where breathtaking panoramic views of the island are just begging to be photographed. Continue your island exploration by venturing into the quaint town of Marigot, where French and Caribbean influences converge.

But the true highlight of this adventure is indulging in the iconic Orient Bay Beach. Here, you can bask in the sun, go for a swim, and savor delectable beachside dining options. You will have the option of being dropped off in Philipsburg on your return to port for a little free time to soak in the bustling atmosphere of this charming town.

Driving/Walking Tour of St. Thomas

Cruising to St. Thomas offers you a plethora of things to do and see, including delightful beaches, lively culture, excellent shopping opportunities, and the chance to explore historical sites.

Begin your journey with a drive to Charlotte Amalie with some free time to explore its dynamic shopping and dining districts, where you can revel in a little retail therapy and savor delectable cuisine. St. Thomas is the perfect shop-till-you-drop outing, with a myriad of unique boutiques and duty-free shops just waiting to be discovered.

At the appointed time you will rejoin your group for a little sightseeing and photo opportunities at breathtaking vistas, then you and your group will head to Mountain Top where a tropical bar awaits to quench your thirst with refreshing drinks and unparalleled panoramic views of this enchanting island paradise. You will also have some time to enjoy a little beach time before your trip back to port.

Driving Tour of San Juan Old and New

This fun driving tour is a tour of contrasts, where 400 year-old charm blends seamlessly with modernity, offering you a driving tour like no other.

As you navigate the winding streets of Old San Juan you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by narrow cobblestone streets, hidden plazas and beautifully preserved colonial architecture with 17th century Spanish ironwork. Along the way, you’ll discover the awe-inspiring San Juan National Historic Site and the iconic El Morro, where centuries of history come to life against the backdrop of the stunning coastline. Visit the historic San Juan Cathedral, and venture to the Capilla de Cristo. Finally, delve into the monumental Fort San Cristobal, a testament to the city’s resilience.

Touring the Condado area of New San Juan is a delightful experience. This upscale neighborhood is known for its stunning oceanfront views, luxury resorts, and a lively atmosphere. While here you’ll see a diverse array of restaurants, bars, and shops, each offering a taste of Puerto Rican cuisine and culture.

Explore Puerto Plata

Visiting Puerto Plata offers a unique opportunity to experience the stunning beauty of the Dominican Republic’s north coast, with its pristine beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage, making it an ideal destination for relaxation, adventure, and cultural exploration.

Begin with a scenic drive up to the summit of Mount Isabel de Torres. Upon reaching the top, you will be welcomed by the lush and lovely summit gardens, a typical countryside house, and the Christ the Redeemer statue (a smaller version of the one in Brazil). From this vantage point, the panoramic views of Puerto Plata’s coastline unfold, revealing a breathtaking spectacle of the azure Caribbean waters meeting the verdant landscape.

The descent from the mountain is equally inspiring, as you will descend via a scenic cable car ride, providing another perspective of the surrounding beauty. Continuing the journey, exploring the historic Fort San Felipe gives you a peek into the days of Spanish colonization, with a narrated tour providing insight into the fortress’s purpose and history. A leisurely walk through Parque Independencia rounds out the day, adding a touch of tranquility and local culture to the adventure.

So… What Strikes Your Fancy?

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking relaxation, there’s a shore excursion tailored to your interests and preferences. From the ancient ruins in Costa Maya to the active streets of St. Thomas and the colorful fish at Roatan’s barrier reef, each Caribbean destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

But don’t just take our word for it—seize the opportunity to experience one of these incredible adventures yourself. The Caribbean’s cultural richness and natural beauty are waiting to be explored, so take the plunge and book one of these top Caribbean shore excursions today. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or an adventure with friends, there’s an excursion that will make your cruise even more memorable.

Your next great adventure is just a cruise away. Bon voyage!

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