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Norwegian's Official Travel Blog

Top Southern Caribbean Cruise Destinations

A Southern Caribbean cruise offers an exploration in some of the most pristine beaches in the world and stunning views of turquoise waters. The Southern Caribbean islands are a veritable paradise, with white sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean.

Where is the Southern Caribbean? Geographically, it comprises the islands to the south and east of popular Saint Maarten, which are still under heavy colonial influence from countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France.

Because of this, cruises to the Southern Caribbean consist of a culturally enlightening experience in which European influences mingle with the native traditions of the islands. If you're seeking a Caribbean cruise that will provide unspoiled views, warm weather, and stimulating exotic experiences, look no further than these prime cruise destinations in the Southern Caribbean.

1. Aruba

See Pink Flamingos on a Cruise to Aruba with Norwegian

What to Do in Aruba

Aruba is one of the best beach destinations in the world, with a glorious tropical climate that's perfect for a tranquil Southern Caribbean vacation. Cruising to Aruba gives you access to an amalgam of Dutch and local culture, which is most apparent in the food and drink available on the island. Dig into the caldereta de cabrito (goat meat stew), which Arubans enjoy for many meals. You'll also want to try the Keshi yena, a cheese casserole that will comfort any homesickness you might develop.

Aruba Cruise Port

When cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line, you'll make port at Oranjestad, the charming capital city that's known for its historical architecture and thriving shopping culture. Walk down the streets to enjoy the vibrant, pastel-colored buildings while you window shop at the luxurious jewelry stores and upscale retailers. If you're craving a bit of fun in the sun, stop by nearby Eagle Beach, which offers miles of powdery white sand and palapa huts for your relaxation. You can even rent a Jet Ski or banana boat here for a water adventure.

2. Antigua and Barbuda

Take in the View in Antigua

What to Do in Antigua and Barbuda

This dynamic island duo is an independent country known for its versatility for travelers. Everyone can find something to keep busy, whether you're looking for late-night parties in the sand, gentle and shallow waters where your children can play safely, or gorgeous and deep waters for snorkeling and diving. Antigua is the more popular of the islands, meaning that Barbuda is an excellent respite from the touristy environment. One of the main attractions that call to cruisers are the views from the top of Shirley Heights, which offer miles of stunning turquoise waters.

Antigua Cruise Port

On your Norwegian Cruise Line journey, you'll make a port stop at St. John's, which is the capital of Antigua. This bustling town offers cruisers a glimpse into the past with intact historical forts and several preserved buildings reflecting colonial life. Drink the rum that's easily found at every local establishment, interact with the friendly and optimistic locals, or relish the colorful wildlife as it meanders through downtown.

3. Curacao

Swim in the Turquoise Waters of Curacao

What to Do in Curacao

Perhaps most well-known for its signature liquor, Curaçao is far more than just a tropical-drink lover's mecca. It's yet another island with a diverse heritage, with influences from South America, Spain, and the Netherlands, creating a culture that's truly unique in The Caribbean. The island is known for its color, from the vivid street murals on abandoned alleys to the colorful homes and buildings that line winding streets of the cities. Stay up all night to enjoy the live music emanating from various venues, or take a journey to Christoffelpark to explore some untainted nature.

Curacao Cruise Port

A port stop in Willemstad will be part of your Norwegian Cruise Line itinerary, which has a history going back to 1634. The city itself has been named a Unesco World Heritage site for its fantastic views, crumbling abodes, and European influences. Indulge in some fresh fruit from the floating market, stop by the Museum Kura Hulanda to learn more about slavery in The Caribbean, or grab a print at Nena Sanchez's downtown art gallery. Of course, the biggest draw in Curacao is the beach experience, and you'll find more than 35 beautiful beaches here.

4. Barbados

Kick Your Toes in the Powdery White Sand in Barbados

What to Do in Barbados

Another island that's renowned for its beaches, Barbados is the place to go if you just want to kick your toes in the sand and practice the backstroke in the teal waves. Of course, there's plenty more to see on this island other than the 70 miles of tranquil waters, including the poignant remnants of plantation life. Journey through sugarcane fields to get a better idea of how this substance is harvested, visit giant plantation homes to understand how island life used to work, and sip on freshly made rum cocktails to appreciate the bounty of the island.

Barbados Cruise Port

Another Unesco World Heritage site, Bridgetown will be your port of call on a Norwegian Cruise Line adventure. Chomp down on fresh lobster from the sea, or enjoy the mix of West Indian, Caribbean, African, and European cuisines. Catch a horse race at the lush Savannah, or tour the George Washington House, a Georgian-style mansion constructed in 1751. Bridgetown is also a wonderful place to dive under the water for glimpses of fish, turtles, coral, and more. For this type of adventure, head to Carlisle Bay, where you can even see old shipwrecks littered along the ocean floor.

Witness Unspoiled Beauty in Barbados

Visit More Southern Caribbean Vacation Destinations

These are just a few of the many great Southern Caribbean destinations available to you. When choosing to embark on a Norwegian Cruise Line vacation to the Southern Caribbean, you'll be pleased to know you have three cruise departure ports to choose from: Miami, New York City, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This makes it easy to find a cruise trip that meets your travel needs. Pack your bags, slather on the sunblock, and get ready for a Southern Caribbean experience that will change your life.