Imagine kicking back on a white sand beach in Aruba with water of many shades of blue at your toes and the wind carrying notes of reggae and calypso. Or you could be hiking up an ancient pyramid in Mexico to catch great views from above the jungle canopy before cooling off in a refreshing cenote (a swimming hole).
Whether you’re looking to escape the dropping fall temperatures or just need time to recharge, there’s a cruise for you. From Barbados to Bermuda, to Colombia and Curacao, and even a private island destination in The Bahamas, dozens of Caribbean locales are among the 240-plus destinations you can explore with Royal Caribbean. Setting sail from cities like Miami, the Big Apple and Galveston, Texas, there’s a range of cruises you can choose from, like weekend getaways, 14-night adventures and everything in between.
For inspiration, here are five cruises to take this fall that pack plenty of experiences for you, your friends and family:
Escape with the Perfect Weekend Getaway
You can easily change up your weekend routine with a quick getaway to The Bahamas. Jump on a three-night cruise from Florida to Royal Caribbean’s private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas, and Nassau, its capital.
At Perfect Day, you’ll find the ideal mix of thrill and chill. There are 13 waterslides that make up Thrill Waterpark, including the tallest one in North America. You can also soar on the 1,600-foot-long zip line and Up, Up & Away, a helium balloon experience that goes as high as 450 feet in the air. Kids can play at spots like Splashaway Bay aqua park or Adventure Pool while adults enjoy everything from a swim-up bar to beaches and even the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas at Coco Beach Club.
Nassau is where you can dive into swashbuckling history across cobblestone streets, fortresses and landmarks like Parliament Square and Government House. Also head out on a food tour (the island’s cuisine reflects its Spanish, West African and British influences) and grab a local snack, like rum cake, between adventures.
Cruises to choose from: Find three-night weekend cruises that set sail from Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Freedom, Independence and Mariner of the Seas and more.
Pro tip: You can spend another day at sea with a four-night Bahamas and Perfect Day cruise. That means even more time to enjoy the adventures on board, from the FlowRider surf simulator to a rock climbing wall, to Italian trattorias like Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Asian-inspired spot Izumi.
Go Big From Texas
Texas is your ticket to a vacation in the Western Caribbean. Choose from four- to 10-night cruises that visit destinations like Colon, Panama; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Cartagena, Colombia; and more.
In Costa Maya, for example, you can explore one of the most biodiverse places on Earth—the 1.3-million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If history is your thing, scale Maya pyramids and ruins, like Kohunlich, which was built around 500 A.D.
Over in Roatan, take in natural wonders like Gumbalimba Park nature reserve. You’ll get great views from the zip line as you fly through the lush rainforest, and, back on solid ground, you can hang with monkeys and snorkel alongside tropical fish.
Cruises to choose from: Set sail on these four- to 10-night cruises from Galveston, Texas, to the Caribbean on ships like Adventure, Allure and Harmony of the Seas.
Pro tip: Set sail on Allure if you and your family are big fans of activities: With 20-plus restaurants that range from Italian to Mexican, surf simulators, an ice skating rink, a zip line, dedicated spaces and experiences for kids and teens and a lineup of original entertainment productions, it’s perfect for families.
Have the Ultimate Family Vacation on an Oasis Class Ship
You can pack more family adventures into one trip on Oasis Class ships Allure, Harmony, Oasis, Symphony and Wonder of the Seas than on other vacations. Seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, for example, will take you to places like Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
Get a bird’s-eye view of Puerto Plata’s rolling hills, cacao farms and beaches on a cable car to the top of the 2,600-foot-tall Mount Isabel de Torres, where you’ll find a Christ the Redeemer statue, botanical gardens and caves to explore.
Then there are picturesque towns like Charlotte Amalie, with a beautiful harbor full of sailboats and that’s surrounded by charming cottages and verdant hills. You can also kick back at the most beautiful beaches, such as Sapphire Beach and Magen’s Bay, and fuel up with island bites like chocolate-dipped coconut patties.
Exchange the Snow for Sun from the Northeast
A Caribbean cruise from cities like New York and Baltimore, Maryland, will have you forgetting all about the cold as you explore the tropics. See places like like St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis, among many others.
In St. Croix, visits to the Captain Morgan and Cruzan Rum distilleries are must-dos. If you’re about underwater adventures, go diving at Salt River Canyon, an underwater canyon formed by the remains of a bygone river and waterfall.
Over in charming Barbados, look out for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, where there’s architecture from the 17th to the 19th centuries to see, like the Parliament Buildings. And when it comes to unique beaches, look no further than Crane Beach, where there’s rare pink sand.
Take the Caribbean Adventure of a Lifetime
From Barbados and Bonaire to Colombia and Panama, a 14-night cruise to the Caribbean is the ultimate way to savor the very best of more than 700 islands, reefs and cays. Unpack only once to uncover history and discover beautiful beaches in as many as 10 different destinations.
The adventures in store run the gamut. Dance salsa and merengue in the streets of Cartagena; feel like you’re in a Caribbean-inspired Amsterdam while exploring the colorful harbor of Willemstad, Curacao; see sloths as you hike around the 3,212-acre Veragua Rainforest Park nature reserve in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and set your sights on the Panama Canal.
Cruises to choose from: The 14-night Ultimate Caribbean cruise sets sail from Barbados on Rhapsody of the Seas.
Whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins, scuba dive or lay on a beautiful beach, see the Caribbean cruises you can take in the fall here.