Sand, Surf and Sun: My Favorite Cruise Ports

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My favorite cruises are those with ports of call in the Caribbean islands. While you might think that this Miami girl would want a change of scenery when she travels, that isn’t the case. I love the tropics, I love the sunshine and the smell of salt water in the air…as the saying goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” When I begin planning a cruise, I always look through the ports of call to ensure that at least one of my favorite ports is included in the itinerary. While I do love discovering new places, there are certain Caribbean islands that are quite expensive to travel to from Miami via air, so spending a day there on a port of call is the perfect solution! Prepare to experience a serious case of Wanderlust, because today we’ll be talking about My Favorite Cruise Ports!

My Favorite Cruise Ports

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas

Half Moon Cay is a private island owned by Carnival Cruise Line and is only accessible via a port of call. It’s really the perfect spot; you can spend the day on the beach, eat at the restaurant on the island, have a few tropical cocktails…and charge it all to your stateroom card! As it’s a private island run by Carnival Cruise Line, you can pay for everything with your Sign and Sail card.

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas

When you arrive, you’ll find the most picturesque Caribbean waters, a palm-tree lined beach and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet!

I love the Bahamas, and Half Moon Cay is no different in that everyone embraces the spirit of hospitality and friendliness.

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas

You can book an excursion to go horseback riding, snorkeling, or a number of other exciting water sports, but you will find that you can enjoy the day just as well by lounging on the beach and soaking up the rays. You’ll find children and adults alike busying themselves building sandcastles – the last time I was there, the ship had even organized an island-wide sandcastle-building contest!

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

I’ve written about my love of Turks and Caicos before, but it bears repeating: Grand Turk is one of the most beautiful ports of call I’ve ever seen.

Grand Turk Turks and Caicos

There’s just something about the atmosphere in Grand Turk: the people are friendly, the water is gorgeous and there are so many things to do right at the port that you don’t even need to book a shore excursion to have an awesome time!

Grand Turk Turks and Caicos

There are plenty of beach chairs, there are cabanas for rent, there are name-brand restaurants, a huge pool and water slide, as well as an area of duty free shopping and places to pick up trinkets and souvenirs.

Grand Turk Turks and Caicos

Of course, if you love the water and want to book a shore excursion, Grand Turk is the place to do it! There are so many options when it comes to shore excursions, but my favorite is snorkeling! One of the best snorkeling trips of my life was a shore excursion in Grand Turk. That trip is actually what prompted me to invest in waterproof camera equipment; the experience we had underwater was so amazing that it just about broke my heart not to be able to share it through photos when we came home.

Grand Turk Turks and Caicos

Grand Turk Turks and Caicos

Grand Turk is definitely on my “must go snorkeling there again” list!

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

I have two great loves in my life: the water and animals. One of my favorite cruise ports offers both of these in abundance: Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. On my last visit to Grand Cayman, I booked a Carnival Cruise Line shore excursion to visit the Turtle Farm and Stingray City – and I was not disappointed! It’s one thing to see marine life in the wild, but it’s another entirely exciting experience to get up close and personal with some of your favorite sea creatures!

Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands

At the Turtle Farm, you walk through a guided tour to learn about their conservation efforts and then have the option of snorkeling with sea turtles or lounging at their pool or water park. You can touch the baby sea turtles, feed them – it’s really a fun experience for nature loving adults as well as children.

Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands

Stingray City was by far one of the best experiences I have had on a cruise. Your tour operator will take you out to “Stingray City,” an area off shore where stingrays tend to congregate to feed. After giving you a lesson in safety, your tour operator will allow you to get into the water with them!

Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands

It is really quite amazing how many stingrays appear in this area – at one point I counted ten different stingrays!

Do you have a favorite cruise port? I would love to hear about it!

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

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  1. Cathereine S says

    These all sound like great cruise ports. I have been to Cozumel twice and really enjoyed the cruise port. Everyone was nice and they give away a lot of free tequila. My next cruise will be to the Bahamas.

  2. says

    It’s actually hard for me to pick a favorite. I’ve found that all the ports I’ve visited are incredible in their own way. The discovery is actually my favorite part.

  3. says

    We love the Caribbean and have cruised there a few times, all with Carnival. I think Ocho Rios, Jamaica takes my top port spot. The Bob Marley excursion we went on was epic!

  4. Rosey says

    Look at that gorgeous crystal blue water. I’d love to take a cruise, and this makes me want to do it even more. :)

  5. says

    Wow these photos are just beautfiul. I’ve never been on a cruise, or anywhere with water like that. But hope to someda, so beautiful!

  6. says

    HI, thanks for the great post. Grand Turk sounds wonderful and the pictures are amazing! I have been to Nassau, that’s about it. Someday we will go. Thinking about Aruba next yearz1 We’ll see :)

  7. says

    I have not traveled enough to have a favorite port, never been to one. Glad you are sharing what your favorite ones are! Looks like a spectacular location!

  8. Ann Bacciaglia says

    The Bahamas looks so beautiful. I have always wanted to go on a cruise. I was thinking of booking one in the next year as a treat for myself.

  9. says

    I’ve traveled a lot but not cruising. Your post and photos make me feel like I’ve just had a vacation. These beaches and water are extraordinary! I will admit after just watching Shark Week the snorkeling made me twitchy but what a fun time!

  10. says

    I have never been on a cruise. I would like to try one, but I am so afraid I will get restless, I find flying to my preferred destinations is just so much faster. One day I will have to cruising a go and see if it changes my mind. Except no stingrays for me, they have always creeped me out!

  11. Elliott says

    My favorite now is St. Croix USVI.
    I bought a condo there :) It will be my retirement home for six months of the year.
    Great weather, great beaches and friendly people.

  12. Nina Rowden says

    Some of my favorite port of calls would have to be grand cayman snorkeling was the best thing ever there. u would think you’re going to snorkel in 4 feet of water but wrong. We snorkel in 60 feet of water and it was beautiful we saw a shipwreck, a car, beautiful tropical fish, turtles it was magnificent!

    My other favorite port would have to,be Nassau Bahamas when u dock u see these beautiful colored stores and homes, paradise island that property is amazing.

    my last favorite port would have to be cozumel Mexico the water there is gorgeous u get off u can stay In that one area and have a good time.

  13. claudia says

    I agree with all of these!! Just went to Grand Turk & Half Moon Cay in July!! Grand Cayman on a previous cruise. The only correction is at Half Moon Cay you don’t pay for lunch it’s included in your cruise :)

  14. Marion says

    We cruised on Carnival in March, and Nassau Bahamas is so beautiful. Had a ball on the ship, it was a
    amazing vacation ready for another one somewhere.

  15. beach baby mama says

    We love St. Thomas a LOT! we get off the boat and pay $9 a piece to go to Coki Beach. We take rolls or dog treats with us and walk to the left end of the beach where the rocks are. Once you’re in about knee to waist deep water, drop a piece of bread in and watch the fish com out. If you have Milk Bones, you can hold your hand in the water, and the fish will nibble on the milk bone right in your hand. We’ve had as many as 4 dozen fish (as near as we can tell with them constantly swimming around us) feeding at one time. Take your mask/snorkel and underwater camera with you.

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