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The otherwise calm and idyllic shores of the Caribbean weathered more than their usual share of tropical storms this past year. While most are already completely back in business or weren’t affected at all by hurricanes Maria and Irma, some islands are making big strides in their efforts to welcome travelers very soon. If you’re looking for the best warm, sunny Caribbean islands to cruise to right now, consider these seven gorgeous ports where you’ll find every attraction open and ready to welcome you.

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See breathtaking rock formations on a Caribbean cruise? ✅

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The ABC Islands (that’s Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) lie just outside the hurricane belt, so they’re usually safe ports for a dream cruise any time of year. There are, of course, plenty of other reasons why Aruba is the most popular destination in the southern Caribbean—think buildings beaming in brilliant pastels, lively casinos, the Dutch-flavored capital Oranjestad, great diving and miles of fantastic beaches.

Highlight: Aruba’s pristine Arikok National Park offers visitors a surf and turf experience, with both hiking and swimming. Experience it all when you sign up for the 4×4 Natural Pool Swim & Snorkel Safari, offered by Princess Cruises®. A Land Rover will take you past the historic Bushiribana Gold Mine and traditional desert homes called cunucu. Once you arrive at the park, you’ll spot Aruban parakeets, hike across a dramatic lava landscape and take a swim in a natural pool.

St. Thomas

We may leave the cities behind, but the memories stay with us forever. #ComeBackNew

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As part of the U.S Virgin Islands, St. Thomas has long been a beautiful entryway to the Caribbean for American travelers, offering plenty of modern conveniences such as fine dining and shopping. But where St. Thomas really shines is its top-rated beaches, where miles of soft sand, inviting turquoise waters and endless days of sun offer visitors complete relaxation. Of course, St Thomas has its wild side, too, enticing visitors to explore its jungle-covered cliffs, kayak its mangrove lagoons and dive its clear blue waters to come face to face with otherworldly sea life.

Highlight: Get to know some of the colorful creatures living in St Thomas’ warm waters with Princess Cruises’ Shipwreck and Turtle Coves Two Site Snorkel excursion. You’ll hop aboard a sailing catamaran and head to two different sites: An enchanting sunken vessel at Shipwreck Cove, teeming with tropical fish and encrusted coral, and Turtle Cove, where you’ll swim fin to fin with turtles and rays. All snorkel equipment, snacks and a post-snorkel open bar are included.

Grand Cayman

Double-tap if your dream day is a day at sea! #comebacknew

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The Cayman Islands came away from last season’s string of storms completely unscathed. Besides Grand Cayman’s beautiful year-round weather, the island also offers natural wonders galore, including incredible diving, some of the world’s most gorgeous white-sand beaches such as famed Seven Mile, and encounters with sea turtles and coral gardens. Meanwhile, the island’s manmade wonders include glitzy shopping and a wealth of fine dining options, thanks to the island’s role as an international banking center.

Highlight: One of Grand Cayman’s most popular experiences is also one of its most memorable, and that’s coming face to face with a fever of local stingrays (yes, a group of stingers is called a fever). Join Princess Cruises’ Stingray Encounter, Reef, Snorkel & Scenic Cruise and set sail from the Cayman Island Yacht Club over to Stingray City, a sandbar famous for its colony of very friendly stingrays. These curious creatures aren’t shy about approaching you for a little snack. Once you’re geared up with snorkeling equipment and provided with some treats, you’ll plunge into the crystal waters where the graceful southern stingrays will glide tranquilly around you, literally eating right out of your hand. Next stop: Snorkeling at an adjacent reef of coral heads, willowy soft corals and colorful tropical fish.

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Next stop: paradise.

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Antigua is among the Caribbean islands hurt most by the misperception that the Caribbean is closed to visitors. While sister island Barbuda was almost completely destroyed, Antigua suffered minimal damage, re-opening just four days after Hurricane Irma. Sunseekers would be wise to plan a return while tourism is still down—the island’s endless sun, sea and sand make it the ideal place for sailing, snorkeling and kayaking and, right now, you’re much more likely to have one of its gorgeous beaches all to yourself.

Highlight: You could literally spend a year trying to explore Antigua’s 365 beaches but with most cruises giving you just a short time in port, you’ll want to make sure you make it out onto the water, as well. The best way to do it all is to join the Catamaran and Lobster Lunch, Scenic Cruise & Swim excursion offered by Princess Cruises. The Mystic will take you to Deep Bay Beach, where swimmers can explore a 100-year-old shipwreck. (A delicious lobster buffet and open bar while sailing the coast past sugar-white beaches, quiet bays and upscale resorts doesn’t hurt either.) Hoping to soak up a little Caribbean culture in Antigua? They’ve got that onboard, too, with a live Caribbean band providing the soundtrack to your day at sea. 


Despite lying just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the island of Cozumel immerses visitors in a tropical Caribbean vibe. The island offers its own set of can’t-miss adventures such as top-notch scuba diving around the Mesoamerican Reef, including an underwater museum featuring 500 submerged sculptures. Those looking to bask in nature’s tropical beauty will also want to experience the Chankanaab eco park, where you can spot dolphins, manatees and sea turtles swimming around the lagoon and underwater caverns.

Highlight: This being Mexico, an an exploration of Mayan ruins is in order. You’ll have to head to the mainland for that, though, so it’s best to book an excursion such as Princess Cruises’ VIP Tulum Mayan Ruins & Cenote Swim with Lunch. Take a ferry to Tulum where you’ll be guided to and through the ancient temples nestled dramatically along the coastline. Next, you’ll head to a cenote, or natural swimming hole created by a limestone sinkhole, and have a chance to go canoeing or indulge in a hammock siesta. You’ll also visit a Mayan village and learn how locals live and sample some of their traditional dishes as part of a Mayan-style lunch.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts was relatively untouched by the season’s storms so you can expect business as usual (“business” here, of course, means lounging on perfect white-sand beaches and delighting in all manner of water sports). The island entices sun-seekers as much as it does history buffs, offering sights such as sugar plantation ruins and the 300-year-old Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers breathtaking views of forests, mountains and fields. If St. Kitts is among your ports of call, be sure to also add the island’s dormant volcano, its crater lake, green vervet monkeys (they’re everywhere!) and rainforest trails to your sightseeing list.

Highlight: One of St. Kitts’ most charming experiences is its Scenic Railway, which once hauled sugar but re-opened in 2003 as a coastal sightseeing excursion. Ride the “Last Railway of the West Indies” on the Scenic Railway Ride & Circle Island Drive excursion offered by Princess Cruises and you’ll explore an unspoiled tropical paradise from the comfort of the train’s open-air observation platform—or from the lower air-conditioned parlor. Just sit back and relax as you spot crumbling plantations, the volcanic slopes of Mt. Liamuiga, steel girder bridges and even a few black sand beaches.


Discover an endless summer.

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If you know only one thing about Bonaire, it’s that it has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. Another good thing to know? Bonaire is outside the hurricane belt, so cruise itineraries here are rarely affected. As usual, the island’s stunning coral reef, which is a protected national park, is open and ready to dazzle visitors with its eagle rays, seahorses, sea cucumbers, manta rays and other marine life. Also be sure to keep a look out for the island’s iconic pink flamingos.

Highlight: This one will come as no surprise. The one thing you must do in Bonaire is… explore the reef! Make the most of your time in port with the Bonaire Marine Park, Snorkel & Beach Break excursion on Princess Cruises. The trip launches at beautiful Coco Beach, where you’ll suit up, get a snorkeling lesson, then submerge yourself (quite literally) in Bonaire National Marine Park, a legally protected area since 1979. Here, you’ll discover a pristine coral refuge teeming with fish in a rainbow of colors—look for parrotfish, damsel fish, butterfly fish, angel fish, sea turtles and maybe even a moray eel.

We spy with our little eye… Regal Princess! #ComeBackNew

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With storm season behind us, there’s never been a better time to return to the Caribbean. These seven islands—and many others—are ready for you, offering gorgeous beaches, intriguing historic sites and thrilling aquatic adventures. Be sure to book your cruise soon and see for yourself!

Tagged: aruba, Caribbean, Cruise, Mexico

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Martina Sheehan

Martina Sheehan

Martina is a Chicago-based travel writer and editor who has written for the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Budget Travel, Forbes Travel Guides, and Time Out Chicago, among other publications. You can find her at

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