We wanted to visit as many Caribbean islands as possible. We googled the transportation options – flights, ships, ferries, we even contacted some local fishermen and asked if they would be willing to give us a ride from one island to another. But we soon realized, that taking a cruise ship is by far the most comfortable, fast and economic way to see the Caribbean. Online we found a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Line – one of the largest travel companies in the world. The itinerary sounded awesome, so we booked it. 🙂
How do cruises work?
A cruise ship is actually a luxurious floating hotel, a fancy restaurant, a huge entertainment center and a mean of transportation all in one. You travel from one destination to another on a ship that provides everything from accommodation, (mostly) unlimited food and drinks, and many different kinds of entertainment. They also help you plan your shore activities and generally make your visa arrangements, if needed. We advise you to inform your cruise manager, that you’re on your honeymoon or if you’re celebrating your anniversary or any other special occasion – there’s a good chance that they will prepare a special treat for you. 😉
The ship usually reaches a destination early in the morning and stays in port for about 5 to 9 hours (sometimes less and some stops are as long as a couple of days). Always inquire about the set time of departure and make sure not to miss it, because the ship might depart without you. If you’re having too much fun on the ship, you don’t have to disembark at all.
Carnival cruise line is all about fun – as they like to point out and as we soon established on our own. They make sure their guests are constantly entertained – day and night. Their itinerary offers music, dance and game shows, theatre, movies, stand up comedies, art exhibitions, dance classes, live music, lip sync battles, karaoke and much more. Surely you will not get bored.
Cruise ship vacations also have their downsides. First, there are good chances that you will get seasick, especially in stormy weather, and second, cruising has a pretty big negative impact on the environment.
Carnival’s 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary
Departure from the Port of Miami on Dodge island at 4 PM. First, we went to our stateroom and unpacked. The room was small but clean and comfortable. It had one twin bed and a private bathroom. After settling in, we attended the muster drill – a mandatory safety exercise. The crew prepared us for the unlikely event of an emergency and after that, the party finally started – literally. 🙂 We went to explore the ship and located all of its extraordinary features: two dining rooms, a show lounge, a library, a casino, a nightclub, a video arcade, a seaside theatre, a spa, a sports deck, three pools, hot tubs, and many shops, bars, and restaurants. We were left speechless. By the pool, there was an ongoing welcome party, so we stayed there until dusk. At around 8 PM we went to have dinner. We were able to choose between the dining room and many other restaurants. We chose the elegant dining room, so we had to dress up accordingly. After the heavenly dinner, we visited the casino and after that, we went to see a movie at the seaside theatre. It was time to call it a day and what a day it was.
Bahamas. At 9 AM we arrived at the heavenly Half Moon Cay. It’s a private island with exotic vegetation, white sand, and crystal clear water. Pure paradise. The shore excursions included horseback riding, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming with southern stingrays, and many different island tours, but since all of these organized activities are (in our opinion) overpriced, we decided to explore the island on our own. We found some secluded beaches and simply enjoyed the beautiful day. At 5 PM we had to return to the ship.
Fun day at sea. On board of a Carnival cruise ship, it’s impossible to get bored. 😉
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. We arrived at 10 AM and went straight to the beach – as is expected of true beach lovers. After a few hours of swimming and sunbathing, we decided to visit Magic Ice, the well-known exhibition of ice sculptures of different shapes. It was a refreshing (literally) change from the tropical outdoors. After that, we went to the market and at 6 PM we returned to the ship.
San Juan, Puerto Rico. We arrived in the capital of Puerto Rico – San Juan at 7 AM. After having breakfast aboard (like we did every morning), we went to explore the city and its surroundings. First, we took a bus to a nearby beach. Next, we visited the San Juan National Historic Site, where we saw the beautiful San Felipe del Morro fortress. After that, we returned to the city center, where we wandered the city’s streets, admired its colorful architecture and drank some Don Q, one of Puerto Rico’s finest rums. We returned to the ship at 3.30 PM.
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. At 11 AM we arrived in Grand Turk, the largest island in the Turks Islands and went straight to a nice, secluded beach. We were told that there are lots of stingrays in the water, so we rented a snorkeling mask. After a few hours, we got lucky and actually spotted one. Afterwards, we had a lovely, relaxing afternoon at the beach. The ship departed at 5.30 PM.
Another fun day at sea.
At 8 AM we returned to Miami. The cruise was over, but the memories will last forever.
We paid 1,267.48 USD (1,077.5 EUR) for both of us. The price included cruise charges (cruise government taxes and fees (249.48 USD/212 EUR) and the cruise rate (888 USD/755 EUR), which included a stateroom, unlimited food and drinks (except alcoholic beverages) in various aboard restaurants and bars, most of the entertainment features, unlimited access to the fitness center, pools and whirlpools, 24-hour room service (excluding specialty items)) and optional charges (vacation protection (130 USD/110,5 EUR)). The price did not include shore excursions, dining in specialty restaurants, spa treatments, salon services and select fitness classes, gambling, video arcade games, internet access, laundry service, service gratuities, and tips or any personal expenses.
Best time to go
There is no bad time to visit the Bahamas or the Caribbean islands. The temperatures are warm year-round and the weather is usually great. To avoid the crowds and score the best hotel prices it’s best to visit the islands in their offseason/rainy season (between May and November), but watch out for the possible hurricanes. Since those don’t usually start until July, May and June may be your best bets.
♥ Top romantic experience and adventure
The entire cruise was amazing. After all, we found cruising to be the most relaxing, fun and comfortable way to travel. But if we’d have to choose our favorite part or destination it would definitely be the Bahamas. The island was more beautiful than any place we had ever been before. We could have engaged in some of the many planned adventurous activities, but instead, we enjoyed the romantic sights and it was perfect.
Have you already been on a cruise or to the Bahamas, the USVI, Puerto Rico or the Turks and Caicos Islands? We invite you to share your top romantic experience and top adventure in the comment section below. 😉