With the promise of year-round sunshine and tropical heat, Florida is a popular starting point for Caribbean cruises. Served by the world’s best cruise operators, visitors can bank on top-notch amenities and facilities, exhilarating itineraries and sparking service. There are plenty of affordable options too.
Florida is home to five cruise ports: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville and Port Canaveral. While Miami is undoubtedly the largest, the others are all well served by notable operators too, so don’t write them off immediately. A cruise is often the cheapest way to see several islands in one trip and with hundreds of world-class liners cruising out of Florida every year, budget-minded travellers looking for a last minute getaway won’t be stuck for choice. If you’re considering a tropical getaway, here are some of the best cruises from Florida.
3 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale
Of all the Caribbean cruises on our list, this Princess Cruise is the shortest and possibly sweetest. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, the 3 day cruise sails to the Princess Cays in the Bahamas and back again. With a half-mile of white sand shoreline on 40 acres of private paradise, it’s the perfect tonic for those craving escape. Back on board, there’s an open-air poolside amphitheatre, casino and an ultramodern theatre to keep you entertained. With 1400 balconies and the SeaWalk®, a glass-floor walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, it’s perfect for sea-loving travellers. From $269 ($90 per night)
4 Night Caribbean Cruise from Tampa
Calling only at Cozumel in Mexico, this laid-back cruise is perfect for those looking to make the most of Royal Caribbean’s renowned facilities and amenities. Onboard, expect world-class dining, award-winning entertainment and stunning service. From whirlpools and rock climbing to chef’s table dining and outdoor movie nights, this liner is crammed with luxury touches to ensure a sumptuous stay. And, you’ll get to explore the lively tropical reefs, crystal-clear waters and ancient ruins at Chankanaab National Park in Cozumel too. From $257 ($64 per night)
4 night Caribbean Cruise from Miami
Operated by MSC Cruises, this 5 day cruise makes two stops in the Bahamas. The first stop is Nassau, famed for its colourful colonial architecture, fascinating pirate history and world-class water adventures. You’ll spend a day here, before moving on to Ocean Cay in Baha, an MSC-owned marine reserve. Feast your eyes on palm tree cabanas, white sand beaches and rich marine life beneath crystal clear waters. Hitting a destination every day, this is the perfect option for those who prefer to get out and explore. Onboard, there’s a fitness and spa, dozens of dining options and a dedicated running track on deck too. From $139 ($35 per night)
5 Night Bahamas Cruise from Port Canaveral
Departing from Orlando, this five night cruise packs in three full days in three iconic Bahamas destinations. After exploring Nassau, the capital city, guests head to the private island Half Moon Cay, where nine miles of white sand beach and a 1700 acre turquoise lagoon await. The final stop is Freeport, where travellers can explore the Lucayan National Park or play with dolphins at the Marine Sanctuary. Carnival Elation, operated by Carnival Cruises, offers an adult-only retreat deck too, making it a great option for couples and solo travellers. From $279 ($56 per night)
6 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Tampa
One of the best bargain Mexican cruises we’ve seen, Carnival Cruise’s Western Caribbean offering departs from Tampa and ticks off Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya before returning to Florida. Discover beaches, tropical rainforests, wetlands and Mayan ruins. Designed with children and families in mind, the Carnival Pride features an outdoor pool and splash park, character parades and a Lip Sync Battle Carnival. From $419 ($70 per night)
7 Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami
Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship. It’s a popular option for families, with plenty of facilities and amenities to keep the whole family entertained, from teens to toddlers. The 363 metre long cruise ship features a zip line, water slides and an ice rink on the top deck alone. For adults, there’s a comedy club, casino and huge solarium too. This seven day itinerary calls in at some of the smaller Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas, St. Maarten and St. Thomas Island. From $808 ($115 per night)
7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Tampa
With stops in Mexico, Belize and Honduras, and just two days at sea, this is one of the most action-packed itineraries on our list. The Norwegian Dawn is a luxurious, albeit more compact liner, at 294 metres long. There’s a variety of fine dining options to choose from, and burger joints and a Mexican cantina too. It’s equipped with a large casino, volleyball and basketball court and library, as well as the longest indoor lap pool on any cruise ship. From $755 ($96 per night)
8 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale
If you like ticking off tropical islands, this voyage serves up some of the best, in style too. Setting off from Fort Lauderdale, the cruise travels to the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico, returning to Fort Lauderdale with a quick stopover at Key West eight days later. The Volendam, operated by Holland America Line, is a beautiful liner, with grand public spaces, sumptuous suites and a large spa with a treatment room. For days at sea, you can keep up your connection with the natural world with BBC Earth in Concert. From $589 ($74 per night)
9 Night Panama Canal Cruise from Miami
This cruise is one of the more expensive entries on our list, but at $102 per night it’s still a bargain, considering what you get for it. Operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, this sunshine cruise travels to Panama City via Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, Willemstad in Netherland Antilles, Oranjestad in Aruba and Puerto Limon in Costa Rico. This is a one-way trip, so it’s a good option for those looking to spend a few days in Panama City and beyond. There’s plenty of fun diversions for all ages, onshore and at sea. The cruise features ten dining options, two sprawling swimming pools and a two-story show lounge. From $916/ $102 per night
9 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Miami
This ten day trip ticks off some of the best-loved islands in the Caribbean. The first stop is Puerto Plato in the Dominican Republic, followed by a day exploring blue waters peppered with sailing boats and lined with colourful cottages in St. Thomas. Then, there’s a day exploring St. Lucia’s coastline by Catamaran, a day in the charming capital of Barbados, followed by beach hopping in St. Johns. Back at sea, there are whirlpools, a solarium, nightclubs and fine dining options to be explored aboard the Radiance of the Seas too.
From $735 ($81 per night)