What makes Western Caribbean cruise destinations such a scintillating tropical area to visit? It's centered in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, providing warm tropical waters and amazing weather that is perfect for swimming any time of year. The Western Caribbean islands are composed of the territory to the south and west of Cuba, bordered on the west by Mexico, and the south by Central and South America. By cruising to the Western Caribbean with Norwegian, you'll embark on an adventure you'll never forget. Choose the following Western Caribbean cruise ports for pristine turquoise waters, luxurious white sands, and adventurous local cultures.
1. Grand Cayman
What to Do in Grand Cayman
As part of the Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is the largest and most popular destination of the Western Caribbean, and it's very accommodating to tourists and guests. You'll feel right at home with the numerous American restaurants and shops. But for a more authentic adventure, travel outside the main tourist areas. One of the biggest draws of cruising to Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach, an aptly named stretch of coast that frequently earns titles for being Caribbean's best beach for its unbelievably pure sands and azure waters. Spend the day here lounging in the sun or snorkeling in the shallow abyss.
Grand Cayman Cruise Port
The main port of call Norwegian Cruise Line makes here is George Town, which is the heart of the island. This luxurious retreat is an amalgam of new and old, with ancient buildings paired with modern amenities. Shop from a mix of upscale retailers and native vendors toting their handmade wares, or take a tour of what nature has to offer at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. If you're lucky, you'll see a rare blue iguana dashing for cover, so keep your camera at the ready.
What to Do in Cozumel
While it's really part of Mexico, Cozumel seemingly exists on its own island time. If your Norwegian Cruise Line adventure takes you here, you'll have plenty to do on your Mexican Riviera cruise. Trek inland to visit several ancient Mayan ruin sites, from San Gervasio, a shrine dedicated to the fertility goddess Ix Chel, to Castillo Real, a coastal watchtower perched precariously above the waves. If ruins aren't your style, try exploring one of the best beaches in Cozumel: Paradise Beach, Playa Corona, Passion Island Beach, or Playa Uvas.
Cozumel Cruise Port
Of course, the real attractions in Cozumel are snorkeling and diving. The island is surrounded by coral reefs, providing a vast abode for numerous sea creatures and plant life. The best area for underwater sights is Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, where you can dive 25 to 130 feet under the water to catch a glimpse of otherworldly beauty. You can also enjoy snorkeling at Punta Sur Eco Park or Chankanaab Park, two areas that do their best to protect and nurture the aquatic wildlife you're seeking.
What to Do in Belize
Abutting Mexico and Guatemala is the minuscule country of Belize. Size doesn't matter when it comes to this tropical paradise, as it has just as much to offer as many other Caribbean destinations. Adventure into one of the many lush tropical rain forests to spot vibrant flowers, insects, and birds, or stick to the pristine beaches for fun in the sun. Of course, you can also take to the water to see the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest in the world and features over 500 kinds of fish and 100 types of coral, and accessible from Harvest Caye, part of The Norwegian Edge program.
While cruising to Belize with Norwegian, you'll stop at Belize City, the island's main urban center. With its cultural wonders and exuberant locals, Belize is a nice change from the vast and untamed wilderness the rest of the island has to offer. Here, you'll be able to try many of Belize's diverse cuisines, with influences from Mayan, East Indian, Creole, Garifuna, and Mestizo cultures. Munch on stewed chicken or rice and beans while you take in the sights of the Fort George district, such as the Swing Bridge.
4. Bay Islands, Honduras
What to Do in the Bay Islands of Honduras
The Bay Islands of Honduras are a hidden treasure that hasn't been overwhelmed with tourism, providing a more natural and authentic experience than some of the other destinations. Go diving off the coast to see sea turtles swimming happily under the waves, whale sharks prowling for a meal, and coral reefs swaying in the current. While beaches here aren't the highlight, they're still prevalent throughout the country, with the main ones on the cays around Utila. You can also experience the jungle atmosphere inland on a Norwegian excursion.
Roatan, Honduras Cruise Port
Your Western Caribbean cruise with Norwegian will take you to the port stop of Roatan, the largest city in the Bay Islands area of Honduras. It's the real place to go if you want to try diving or snorkeling for the first time, as coral reefs wrap around the entire coastline. Drop-offs of over 100 feet provide breathtaking underwater vistas that encapsulate much of the beauty the ocean has to offer. If you'd rather enjoy some time outside of the water, Tabyana Beach and Turquoise Bay Beach are your two best options.
Visit More Western Caribbean Vacation Destinations
Of course, these are just a few of the great destinations the Western Caribbean has to offer. Norwegian Cruise Line offers plenty more ports of call to invigorating tropical towns across the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to satisfy the needs of all cruisers. Whichever place you choose, prepare yourself for a journey of fun in the sun, photos that will look like they belong on a postcard, and a cultural experience that will broaden your horizons.