Caribbean cruise

Travel Tips

I am not a fan of beach holidays. That is, I love the sea, sun and sand, but this has never been enough for me for a full-fledged trip. When I asked the question “Would I like to go to the Caribbean?”, My answer was always: “Only if it’s a cruise.” Therefore, when a business trip to the Caribbean countries loomed on my horizon, I had no questions about the method of transportation. The best way to get around the Caribbean is on a Caribbean cruise.

If you want to order a comprehensive planning of your trip to the USA and the Caribbean, or, conversely, learn how to organize your own trips, then you are here 🙂


Whole information about the specifics of a cruise holiday, which I managed to collect over 3 years of work in this area, I share in this article. It will be useful not only for people who are going on a cruise themselves, but also for travel agents selling cruises and organizers of excursions for cruise passengers.

Now back to the Caribbean.



Since I had to fly through the USA, then, accordingly, I had to apply for an American visa. I described the whole process of obtaining a visa to the USA here. As for the countries of the Caribbean, they are extremely loyal towards Russian citizens – some are enough to have an American visa in their passport, some are asked to present a return ticket. In general, in my case, a US visa was enough.

Cruise season in the Caribbean

I was supposed to go on a cruise in the first half of May. Although you can cruise the Caribbean throughout the year, summer is considered to be the “low season”. Many cruise lines relocate their ships from the Caribbean region to Europe, where the “high season” begins just in May. Therefore, the choice of cruises for this time of year was small.

Carnival Cruise Line

The aforementioned cruise line is considered a low-cost airline in the global cruise market. Regardless, Carnival is probably the biggest player in the Caribbean. Not surprisingly, they had a cruise to exactly the islands that I needed to visit, and exactly when I was supposed to go. In other words, I didn’t have much of a choice.

When booking a cruise you need to choose the time for dinner. Choosing it, I knew absolutely nothing about the difference between the exact and free dinner time. However, I was lucky, and I chose, in my opinion, the most successful option. But I’m talking about it here.

Cabin categories

Since the decision on my trip was delayed for a long time, at the time when it was nevertheless made, only cabins with a balcony remained available. While the difference between inside cabins and window cabins is usually not very big, balcony cabins are always much more expensive. We ended up paying $2,700 for 7 nights which is very, very expensive for a Carnival cruise.


As you probably already understood, I had no time for excursions, because I had to negotiate all day long, so I can’t share my experience in this matter. But after studying the proposals, I came to the conclusion that apart from water activities, the Caribbean, with rare exceptions, has nothing special to offer.



I flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday evening. My Caribbean cruise was supposed to start on Sunday at 10pm. Consequently, I had a full day to explore the city. Rather, in my case it was half a day of negotiations and several hours for various sightseeing things.

Given my restless nature and limited time, I did not sit in the hotel on Saturday evening and went for a walk. The hotel in which I stayed was located in the new part of the city, and just nearby was one of the most party places, somewhat resembling St. Petersburg’s Dumskaya. The girl at the hotel reception marked this place on the map and showed me the direction in which I needed to go.

Leaving the hotel on a dark San Juan street, I realized that I really did not want to take out a map and identify myself as a tourist. White skin, blond hair and blue eyes, of course, did not allow me to merge with others, but nonetheless. Therefore, it is not surprising that I missed the necessary turn. And how did I understand it? A local guy just met me on the street. It was he who took me to the center of San Juan nightlife. He also introduced me to his sister and bought a local Puerto Rican beer in a bar. By the way, taught by bitter Boracay experience, I always watch what they pour me, but in general I ask for a drink in a bottle that is opened in front of my eyes. Such a precaution can save you from all sorts of troubles.

After talking with the guys, I moved towards the hotel. Tomorrow is a very busy day for me.

In the morning I had breakfast, negotiated and went to the old part of the city, where the cruise terminal was located. My bag was small, and, judging by the map, the journey should have taken no more than 30 minutes. Therefore, there were no thoughts about any taxis.

Registration for the cruise

Registration for the ship began at 2:00 pm, around this time I approached. The heat was terrible, and as luck would have it, the air conditioning system broke down in the terminal. And, of course, it was not possible to avoid terrible queues. It immediately became clear that My main co-cruisers will be representatives of Latin American countries. I cannot say, but it seems to me that I was the only Russian among the approximately 2,000 passengers on the ship.

Registration took me about an hour.. I received my passenger card (it is also the key to the cabin) and went to the ship.

My cabin made me very happy. Still – not only is there a window, but also with a balcony. Straight luxury 🙂

I left my things and, already light, went to explore the Old Town of the Puerto Rican capital.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

How I liked it there! I rarely get so impressed by cities, but San Juan has definitely sunk into my soul. Narrow streets, bright colored houses, thousands of flowers, cozy cafes and shops and, of course, Punta del Moro with Fort Fuerte San Felipe del Moro. The territory of the once majestic fort is a large green meadow where people relax and fly a huge number of kites into the sky. Atlantic, greenery, ancient buildings, blue sky and bright sun – amazing! I could not even resist and took off my shoes to walk barefoot on evenly cut grass.

It’s a pity that I didn’t have much time, and after enjoying the local beauties for a couple of hours, I went to the ship where I was expected safety meeting. Such meetings are a mandatory procedure before sailing. They last about an hour and end with the passage of the path from the gathering place to the location of the boats.

After the meeting, I immediately went to bed – the day was busy and there was no energy left for dinner. Thus began my Caribbean cruise.

Saint Thomas

The first island we visited was Saint Thomas. Located right next to the port large shopping area. Tourists who have bought excursions are also met here. Here you can also take a taxi and go to one of the beaches, as there are no “bathing” and “sunbathing” beaches right next to the port. In general, apart from sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, diving and shopping, there is nothing to do on this island. Let’s go further.

successful acquaintance

Since I went alone, I came to dinner in splendid isolation. But, as usual with me, it didn’t last long. A pleasant woman in her 50s approached me from a nearby table and invited me to join their company. I, of course, agreed. Who could have imagined that a company of 5 New Yorkers aged 50 to 70 would be a real gift of fate for me. These beautiful American old men told me every night at dinner about how their day went, what excursions they went on, taught me how to play bingo, went to evening shows and stand-ups with me and had endless fun. I could not have dreamed of a better company.

Day at sea

I almost went crazy. That’s honest. I did not take books because I was traveling light, the Internet on the ship is terribly expensive and disgusting, the day cruise program was not to my liking, so I spent the whole day looking at the sea, sunbathing on the upper deck, eating and sleeping.

In general, my advice: if you don’t like to “loaf”, then look for cruises without days at sea.

Bridgetown (Barbados)

Here the city is already bigger, and the excursion is more interesting, but not by much. The port is located a little away from the center and the largest beach, but you can easily get there by taxi. In general, Bridgetown left the impression of some kind of pirate town.. It’s not for nothing that the island of Barbados is called 🙂

For some cruise passengers, Bridgetown was the final destination of the cruise. And for someone, on the contrary, the cruise has just begun.

Saint Lucia

The island where hills from Twin Peaks. Around the port is again an extensive trading area. You have to go to the beach to swim. The island seemed nice to me. And some of my friends who have explored the Caribbean far and wide consider Saint Lucia to be one of the best destinations in the Caribbean.

St. Kitts

Fu Fu Fu! Dirty, noisy and generally. And again the shopping area, go to the beach, plus the locals all strive to put a monkey on your shoulder so that you can take a picture with it. My opinion: avoid this island.

And finally, St. Maarten (or St. Martin)

This american elite🙂 Clean, green, nice, expensive. The port is aside, but you can walk to the city in 15-20 minutes. And again, there is a large shopping area around the terminal.


I deliberately left this topic for last. The reason is that the same crew members will try to serve you throughout the cruise. This applies to cabin cleaning, meals, and some additional services. The goal is to please you and get a tip at the end of the cruise. So, during dinners, my American friends and I were always served by the same waiters – very funny Romanian and Thai. They did an excellent job and received an envelope from us during the farewell dinner.

End of the cruise

At 6 am we returned to San Juan. Right at the exit from the terminal, I took a taxi and in 15 minutes I was at the airport.

This is how my Caribbean cruise ended. I cannot say that I have become a fan of cruise holidays, but this is something that, in my opinion, you need to experience at least once in your life.

I know that I wrote very little about excursions and some “technical” moments of being on a cruise – all this is described in more detail here.

And finally, here’s a dose of Bahamian photos for you 🙂 I flew there for 1 day before starting my Caribbean cruise.

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