I like these itineraries for their breadth, combining the familiar with the exotic - especially those that stop in Curaçao; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Saba; Bonaire; St. Barts; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Dominica or Guadeloupe.

Most of these cruises are offered on more than just these dates. Prices shown are per person based on double occupancy.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas: Departs Dec. 3 for 11 nights. Ft. Lauderdale; Antigua; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; St. Lucia; Barbados; Bonaire; Aruba, Ft. Lauderdale ($1,019 oceanview).

Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas: Departs Dec. 29 for seven nights. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola ; St. Maarten; St. Kitts; Guadeloupe; Barbados, San Juan ($1,249 oceanview).

Carnival Valor: Departs Aug. 18 for seven nights. Miami; Grand Turk; La Romana, Dominican Republic ; Aruba; Curaçao, Miami ($979 oceanview).

Celebrity Summit: Departs Dec. 8 for six nights. San Juan; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. Croix; St. Kitts; Dominica; Grenada, San Juan ($598 oceanview).

Seabourn Spirit: Departs Jan. 13 for 13 nights. St. Maarten; Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands; St. Barts; St. Kitts; Guadeloupe; Martinique; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Barbados; St. Lucia; Antigua; Saba, St. Maarten ($5,022 oceanview).

Norwegian Star: Departs Oct. 21 for 14 nights. New York; St. Thomas; Antigua; Barbados; Curaçao; Aruba; Cozumel, New Orleans ($2,199 balcony - oceanview sold out)

Silversea Spirit: Departs Nov. 30 for nine nights. Ft. Lauderdale; Grand Turk; St. Barts; Antigua; St. Kitts; Tortola, Ft. Lauderdale ($4,199 vista suite).

Prices are from Expedia, Silversea.com and Seabourn.com as of June 2012.



Southern Caribbean ports (in bold) are less visited, but they are more exotic.

1. Bahamas (4.2 million cruise visitors in 2011)

2. Cozumel (2.9 million)

3. U.S. Virgin Islands (2 million)

4. St. Maarten (1.7 million)

5. Cayman Islands (1.4 million)

6. Jamaica (1.1 million)

7. Puerto Rico (1 million)

8. Belize (700,000)

9. Barbados, Antigua, Aruba (600,000 each)

10. Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Haiti, St. Lucia (400,000 each)

11. Dominican Republic, Dominica, Grenada (300,000 each)

12. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique (less than 100, 000 each)

(Source: 2011 data from Caribbean Tourism Organization)


Ellen Creager: ecreager@freepress.com