We’re in the middle of that seemingly endless stretch between the holidays and flip-flop season. If you’re ready to trade in your puffy coat and hot cocoa for a bikini and a tropical drink, you’re in luck: Royal Caribbean cruises are already sailing to several of the most desirable destinations in the Caribbean.
Here are five must-see locales to help spur your vacation planning as you set course for sandy beaches, exotic vibes, and most importantly, sunny skies to warm you up. What’s best—you’ll even be able to hit more than one in a single cruise!
Average March Temps: High – 84°F, Low – 72°F
Get there: Departing from Florida ports like Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as well as Galveston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana, these four- and seven-night cruises set sail for Cozumel as well as George Town, Grand Cayman; Costa Maya, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras.
Take it in: This island just off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is filled with lush rainforests and hidden treasures—and you can explore both! Take an off-road ATV trip through the heart of the jungle to reach the mystical Jade Cenote freshwater cavern, where you can swim beneath stalactites. You can also explore Mayan ruins in the jungle, like the towering Coba pyramid or the ancient walled city of Tulum on the Mexican coastline of the mainland.
Average March Temps: High – 86°F, Low – 72°F
Get there: Go a little further afar on a Seven-Night Western Caribbean cruise visiting Belize City from Tampa, Florida or Galveston, Texas, with other stops such as Costa Maya or Cozumel Mexico and Key West, Florida.
Take it in: Head inland to Bacab Eco Park, a 20-minute drive from Belize City, where the vibrant jungle is home to more than 200 species of tropical plants, massive hardwood trees, palms and wildlife you can explore before relaxing poolside. Belize is also home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, where you can snorkel alongside the underwater inhabitants.
Average March: High – 87°F, Low – 76°F
Get there: Catch a seven- or eight-night Southern Caribbean cruise to Curacao from San Juan, Puerto Rico, with other possible stops like Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Oranjestad, Aruba or Basseterre, St. Kitts. You can also choose from nine- to twelve-night vacations from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or even Boston, making other stops in Labadee, Haiti or Bridgetown, Barbados.
Take it in: Underwater exploration goes a step (or a splash) further with the Seaworld Explorer. Walk into the hull of this underwater submarine/observatory and come face-to-face with sea turtles, vibrant angelfish or spotted eagle rays. You can also tour caves and the city as you experience the Dutch island’s rich history and architecture and the mystical underground lake of the Hato Caves, which indigenous people used as shelter 1,500 years ago.
Average March: High – 86°F, Low – 71°F
Take it in: Of course, Jamaica has plenty of picturesque beaches with laidback vibes, like Bamboo Beach Club with its reggae beats and gourmet local cuisine, or Blue Waters, offering massages right by the waves. If you’re up for adventure, tube over the limestone riverbeds of one of the most scenic rivers to reach the famous Blue Hole, where you can climb up waterfalls and jump into this gorgeous natural pool.
Average March Temps: High – 83°F, Low – 75°F
Get there: Take a six- to eight-night cruise from places like San Juan, Puerto Rico or Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, Florida, with other stops like Philipsburg, St. Maarten or Castries, St. Lucia. If you are looking for a longer adventure, nine- to twelve-night itineraries sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Galveston, Texas; Cape Liberty, New Jersey or Baltimore, Maryland, San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Take it in: Hop on a scenic tramway ride up to Charlotte Amalie’s Paradise Point, where you’ll have breathtaking views from the mountain top. From here, you have a bird’s eye view of the quaint town and can even see your cruise ship in the sparkling blue waters.
Closer to shore, you can enjoy the warm water, which means swimming with sea lions, or taking a catamaran cruise (with champagne on hand) to Virgin Islands National Park, where you may see dolphins or even migrating whales in the surrounding waters.