If you find yourself daydreaming about sunny days and crystal clear waters, it’s time to indulge your wanderlust and head south. You may think that it’s not the best time to travel to the Caribbean after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but the majority of Caribbean destinations were actually untouched when the storms passed through and are open for business as usual. What’s more, sailing to countries that sustained some damage can crucially boost recovery efforts through tourism dollars. Since you can still sail to the vast majority of these nations, and it can help those in need, now is the perfect time for a Caribbean vacation.
Adventures Await At Open Ports
It’s important to keep in mind just how large the Caribbean is: 28 countries and dependent territories dotted throughout one million square miles of sea. Western ports closer to Southern Mexico and Central America were untouched by the recent storms and there are plenty of six and seven night cruises that can take you to these pristine destinations.
You can sail from Florida or Texas to ports in Jamaica, where you can hike to the famous Dunns River Falls, Cuba to experience legendary Havana nightlife, Grand Cayman where you can snorkel the aptly named Stingray City, or Mexico and Belize to explore jungles and Mayan ruins.
The Southern Caribbean was also largely untouched by the hurricanes. Ships can take you to the incredible (inactive) volcanoes of Grenada, the rich island culture of the lesser-known Barbados and the popular, picturesque beaches of Aruba.
While destinations in the Eastern Caribbean were most affected by the hurricanes, there is still an abundance of islands to visit. In St. Kitts for example, you can head off the beaten path to summit the towering Mount Liamuiga. There’s also Royal Caribbean’s private island Labadee in Haiti, where you can take a zipline from 500 feet up a mountain all the way to the pristine beach. The many other options include visiting the colorful, colonial buildings, breathtaking beaches, and historical naval forts of Antigua.
Some ports in the Eastern Caribbean were heavily damaged by the recent hurricanes and ports such as St. Croix and Dominica are currently closed as the islands continue to rebuild. As they recover, we are working with the local government to help that process. Other islands that were hit have come a long way thanks such efforts and are opening soon. Adventure of the Seas will be returning to St. Thomas on November 10th thanks to our restoration partnership with the island’s government, so cruising there will soon be an option again. In addition, Freedom of the Seas will head back to San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 30th, and St. Maarten will be open to visitors again on December 17th when Grandeur of the Seas returns.
Rising to Help
All Caribbean ports will be open for cruising by the end of the year, so catching a cruise early in 2018 means you can see any Caribbean destination you’d like, and help those hit by the storm while vacationing. Since we have such a close relationship with the region, we have had ongoing humanitarian efforts to help deliver emergency provisions, much-needed supplies and to transport people from affected areas wherever possible. You can contribute directly to this relief as well by making a donation here, which Royal Caribbean will match.
But an excellent way to help is to visit the Caribbean, so if you’re ready to experience the idyllic island life, check out our latest itineraries to help you plan your next voyage here.