Planning port activities during cruise stops can be overwhelming. There are generally many appealing options to try during your limited time in each place. It’s hard to decide between visiting the local shops in town, heading to the beach for some fun in the sun, or venturing into the hills for a nature-packed adventure. Here’s our recommendations of things to try during your Southeast Caribbean cruise based on our experiences!
St. Thomas – US Virgin Islands
Hit the Magic Ice Bar for your chance to chill out in the tropics! This bar has amazing ice sculptures that will truly impress and entertain you and the drinks are awesome!
Compared to another ice bar we visited in the States, Magic Ice gives you way more bang for your buck! We like it because it is bigger and better, with impressive ice sculptures that are fun and interactive and has a super friendly staff.
As a bonus, they will let you take your camera in and take all the pictures you want (unlike other ice bars). All of this is about a 30 minute walk from port so don’t pay for the ride there! Afterwards, stroll around town and check out the shops for a bit! It’s near all the downtown shops, so there’s plenty of time visit with the friendly vendors too!
Next, stroll back toward the port and take the tram to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views of the ocean, island, and Charlotte-Amelie! Admission up to the top is cheap and the ride is fast. You won’t be disappointed! Not far from here, on the far side of the port, is the butterfly pavilion. This is a great stop to see some truly beautiful and colorful butterflies! My favorite is the incredible blue Morpho butterfly!
The golf course in St. Kitts was so beautiful, we knew we had to spend some time on the links. You can rent clubs, balls, and a cart for a reasonable price, and the views can’t be beat. This is one of our favorite tropical golf courses. We like it because it was not at all crowded and there was no pressure to play at a certain pace or par level, which is good for us! If you want to save a few bucks, pack a handful of golf balls in your luggage. You can spend the rest of the time checking out the island and port area.
A trip to St. Lucia is not complete without visiting the amazing Pitons!
Cruises dock in Castries, but there are plenty of fast and fun catamaran trips to the peaks that will allow you to see the amazing island as you make your way down the coast line. You’ll also get to stop in places like Marigot Bay to see all the wind surfing boats.
We like this option because the Pitons are breathtaking, the cruise is fun, and the fun is plentiful!
St. Martin/St. Marteen
While this island has two sides (Dutch and French), plenty of upscale shopping and a variety of activities, a trip to St. Martin isn’t complete without spending time at Maho Beach.
Grab a cab and head straight to the beach from the ship to maximize your time plane spotting. The beachside Sunset Bar is the perfect place to grab some food and monitor plane arrivals too. To see we like this exhilarating beach, read this post. Also, be sure to have a Guavaberry Colada while on the island.
You’ll thank me for that tip later!
We started our day in Barbados with a submarine tour and honestly, we do not recommend this. We only saw a few fish and you are so packed into the submarine it is not very fun. I actually had a very large man who was spilling over his seat on top of me for over an hour. I couldn’t wait to get off that thing. However, if you like rum, a trip to Mt. Gay Rum Distillery is a quick and easy outing. You’ll get to see how the rum is made and sample several of their specialties.
This tour is pretty quick, leaving you plenty of time to add in other activities such as walking around Bridgetown or heading to a nearby beach to enjoy the warm, crystal clear water.
We would suggest Carlisle Beach because it is really close by and the water is beautiful, but we also had a sketchy experience there which you can read about here.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Stroll through charming Old San Juan as you make your way to Castillo San Cristobal. You’ll hear Latin rhythms in the streets and smell the wonderful foods everywhere in this charming part of town. Old San Juan is the epitome of an historic Caribbean city and buzzes with energy!
Once you reach the fort, you can wander through this amazing world heritage site that offers breathtaking ocean and city views. See the armory, prisoner quarters and more as you imagine what it must have been like defending the city against the invading ships! These a both great places to spend the day in San Juan.
While we planned a few of these excursions in advance, most of them were done on our own after getting off the ship. Have a great time exploring the islands of the Southeast Caribbean! For tips on more sustainable cruise travel, click HERE. Share your favorite cruise stops in the comments below!
I’m not a very huge fan of cruises, but San Juan de Puerto Rico looks beautiful! Great post!
They definitely aren’t for everyone – even I have some very mixed feelings about them! Puerto Rico is beautiful!!
Wow you did so much! Me and Phil haven’t done a cruise yet, but we plan to one day. We’ve actually been looking at if we could afford to go to St. Marteen, that beach with the planes looks like a lot of fun! I’ve done the Mount Gay Rum tour a while ago, that’s one of my lasting memories of Barbados, the rum punches!
Oh yes, the rum punch! Yum, yum! Hopefully you guys can make it to St. Marteen – it’s an island I’d highly recommend and love to return to one day!
Great ideas on the cruise excursions to take in the Southeast Caribbean. Love your photos which make me want to go there right now! I have only been on a couple of cruises but the hardest part is deciding which excursions to take. San Juan looks amazing to see along with Mt. Gay Rum Distillery! #feetdotravel
Aren’t you cruising this fall?! Can’t wait to hear about that trip! Let me know if you need help planning 😊
Wow you guys really hit up some amazing places on your trip! It’s like the highlight reel of the Caribbean! Would love to visit Puerto Rico and see the planes land on St. Maarten and explore St. Lucia. Great post!
As much time as we’ve spent in the Caribbean, the places this cruise traveled to have ended up being some of our favorites. Hopefully you can make it down to these spots at some point too!
I love the ice bar, and San Juan is one of our favorites. It looks like you had an incredible trip 🙂
It was great! Would love to return some day. Glad you liked San Juan as well!!
What a great list, it’s just so helpful! When we visited St Lucia, I have to confess we didn’t visit the Pitons as we had just been to Dominica which has a similair landscape, plus the weather was overcast … guess I will just have to return! In Barbados, we went on a catamaran cruise to snorkel with turtles and I have to admit, that was amazing but sadly, the local company we chose is no longer running otherwise I would definitely recommend them … however, now you mention it, I don’t recall seeing any other fish! Love the ice bar, as we married in the Ice Hotel, I love to feel that coldness and uniqueness again in other places around the world! #feetdotravel
So glad you have been able to experience some of these amazing places! I’d love to get to Dominica sometime. That’s interesting that you didn’t see many other fish on Barbados either! Thanks for commenting!!
I took a cruise that was this exact same route. The destinations are amazing, and I would love to go again!
An ice bar in the Caribbean?!? I really want to visit St Lucia and Puerto Rico, so perhaps a cruise would be a great way to see them. Look like you had a great trip with so many different excursions, never same old same old.
I love cruising!! I wish I could afford to go on a fancy one like you did! The Carribeans look spectacular and I love your review! The ice bar looks awesome too! Thanks for sharing!
We are not really into cruises usually but you sold us that one! Seems like you had a great time. San Juan de Puerto Rico looks great. Patrick and Cécile
This was actually one of the first cruises we took, and it was the best! We highly recommend this itinerary!