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Tips for Traveling the Caribbean on a Cruise

I want to give you these tips for traveling on a Caribbean cruise which is undoubtedly one of the most elegant ways to explore the region. It usually takes a cruiser or two to tighten the ropes.

Most Caribbean cruises follow one of the three basic arcs through the Western Caribbean, the Eastern Caribbean, or the Southern Caribbean. The Western Caribbean route works for travelers who want to visit numerous ports of call and experience activities like scuba diving.

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travel on a caribbean cruise

Destinations can be Jamaica, Key West, Cozumel and the Cayman Islands. The Eastern Caribbean means more time at sea, making it a better option for travelers who want to enjoy the cruise itself. Typical stops include Puerto Rico, Santo Tomás, and San Martín.

Trips to the southern Caribbean include ports of call to Grenada, Barbados, Santo Tomas, and Antigua, among others. South Caribbean routes often last a little more than 10-12 nights, compared to a week in other parts of the Caribbean.

Some cruise lines also offer shorter three-day cruises to nearby cities.

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The 10 Best Tips for Traveling on a Caribbean Cruise

The Caribbean islands are easy ports to visit, which is one reason they are such popular vacation destinations filled with warm beaches. Next here in Grand Hotelier We give you some tips for a successful trip:

What currency do you need?

What currency do you need

What currency do you need for a Caribbean cruise? There is no need to exchange money before your Caribbean cruise because all ports accept your money. The Caribbean islands depend on tourism, especially cruise ships.

Many islands have their own local currencies. If cruise ships had to exchange money for each of the islands they visited, visitors would be overwhelmed by the complexity.

When you pay in cash, you may receive the change in a local currency. If you pay with a credit card, it can be charged in local currency and your credit card company will change the currency.

Tour operators are also willing to accept tips in USD or Euro. Bring cash before boarding, use credit cards, or get cash from most casino ATMs.

The only exception so far is the island of Cuba, you must exchange your money for Cuban peso, and credit cards are not accepted.

The Caribbean Islands are Safe to Visit

The people of the Caribbean islands are kind and friendly people. Cruise ships will always have something to complain about. Use common sense as you would anywhere. Make sure someone knows where you are going. The most common crime is theft. Violence is rare.

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Plan your excursions in advance if you are concerned about safety. Someone will be waiting for you. The best way to avoid being a target is to not look like a tourist. Do not wear expensive jewelry or wear luxury brands so as not to attract attention.

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The Weather on a Cruise

Prepare for the weather

The Caribbean has two seasons, dry and wet. From November to April, the Caribbean has a moderate climate, with temperatures ranging between 70 (21C) and 80 (26C). Nights can reach 60 (15C). May through October can be warmer, with highs in the mid to high 90s (35C). Scattered showers are common, but pass quickly.

A Caribbean cruise is very humid, the heat and humidity can cause heatstroke and heat exhaustion more quickly. Air conditioning is your friend and you will find it in abundance on a cruise. When you go out, the humidity will hit you.

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Hurricane Season on a Cruise

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

It is rare, but hurricanes can form in May and January, these massive storms can cause cruise ships to move like a rag doll, which is why most cruise lines avoid them as much as possible.

When planning your Caribbean cruise, avoid high season months like August and September. Some cruise lines have meteorologists who keep track of weather conditions and give recommendations on where ships should go.

They want guests to have the most enjoyable experience. Safety is always the priority. If a tropical cyclone destroys a port before your cruise, the cruise line could change its itinerary if the damage is severe (like in 2017 - Hurricane Maria and Irma).

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How to Protect Yourself from the Sun on a Boat

Bring sunscreen

The Caribbean sun is real. When approaching the equator, you get significantly more exposure to UV radiation, even in December and January. If you have fair skin, sunscreen is your best friend. Your skin can burn in as little as 10 minutes in June and July.

The intense sun can cause third degree burns (severely red to purplish skin discoloration, blistering skin accompanied by chills, mild fever, nausea, headache, or dehydration).

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How to Prevent Zika When Traveling

Zika is still a threat - Tips for traveling on a Caribbean cruise

The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites and still poses a significant threat to everyone (not just pregnant women) who visit destinations south of Miami.

It is a good idea to use insect repellent when leaving the boat in ports. Fortunately, you will not find mosquitoes in the open sea. The sun decks on a cruise ship are too high for mosquitoes to fly, so you will be safe on the boat.

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You don't need a tourist visa to Travel by Cruise

You do not need a tourist visa to visit the Caribbean on a cruise ship. Visas are only required for guests staying 3 months or more.

Cuba is the exception. Visitors must have a valid passport and tourist visa to enter Cuba (yes, even Canadians and Europeans). It's not a big deal, though. There is no need to buy the visa in advance. You will receive and pay for it on the ship.

What Excursions are on a Cruise

Excursions - Tips for traveling on a Caribbean cruise

You can probably guess that excursions in the Caribbean focus on the watersuch as beach breaks, snorkeling, diving, or marine life. Most of the islands have charter boats like catamarans to take you on a cruise, a tour of the island from the water, or to watch dolphins and whales.

Some places offer adventure excursions such as off-road with 4 × 4 or Jeeps, hiking or tourism. In Santa Lucia you can see the active volcano and the waterfalls. Other excursions focus on culture, such as island tours or food tours.

Because each island has a different European influence, some drive to the left and others to the right. If you rent a car, check to see if they drive on the same side of the road as you.

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Swimming with dolphins

A word of caution regarding swimming with dolphins. There is a lot of information on keeping aquatic animals in captivity and the negative psychological and biological effects it has on these precious creatures.

Suffice it to say that while swimming with dolphins is a romantic idea, giving dolphinariums your money encourages the illegal capture, poaching, and captivity of animals that deserve a better life. If you like animals, there are tons of fun activities to do instead.

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Languages ​​and Culture

Most of the islands speak English, in addition to other languages ​​such as French, Dutch, Spanish, or local Creole, depending on which country is the most influential. European nations fought for the Caribbean colonies between the 1400s and 1700s to determine which nation would exploit their natural resources.

They all share a common history of slavery and compulsory migration. Today this means that the islands are a mix of cultures with European and African roots, including Indian (Eastern) and Hispanic / Native American.

Although they share many similarities, each has a different story. The local sites of the UNESCO, popular culinary dishes, economies, geography, climate and history vary from island to island.

The islands are very close. Eastern Caribbean cruises that originate from islands like Puerto Rico can visit a new one each day without the need for days of sailing.

Do not forget to follow each of the tips that I have given you, they will be very useful so that you have the best experience of your life and without last minute setbacks. Happy journey!

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