How to Plan a Caribbean Cruise Family Vacation

Boats on peaceful Caribbean island

The Caribbean is one of the most popular spots for family vacations. It’s got it all; beautiful beaches, pleasant tropical weather, and lively culture that will have you begging for more. It’s one place you can count on to relax with your family after a fast-paced work season.

There’s something for everyone to do here, and combining a location with a humid climate and a family cruise gives you a top-notch adventure of a lifetime where you get to spend quality time with the ones you love.

If you’ve never had a cruise vacation experience, be prepared to have the time of your life. Perhaps you already know what it’s like to hop on Patagonia island cruises or other port vacation spots, and even a special treat awaits you in the Caribbean.

Here, relaxation mode kicks in as soon as you get on the ship with your family. You don’t have to disturb yourself with the typical travel logistics of searching the internet for a restaurant that suits everyone’s taste or arranging transportation.

All these will be taken care of on board, which means you get to relax and enjoy your vacation from the get-go. However, before setting out to visit, here are some boxes you need to tick on your to-do list:

Choose a Destination

There are many incredible family-friendly islands in the Caribbean, so it can be hard to choose between them. You’ll find sun-drenched beaches, fun-filled shore excursions, and a whole lot of shopping spots at each stopping point.

Ships usually sail to the Caribbean’s Southern, Eastern, and Western regions with a port of call in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Montserrat, Trinidad and Tobago, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You can choose to visit Mayan ruins at Zona Arqueológica San Gervasio, ride a zip line at Castries, St. Lucia, or go on a swimming adventure with plenty of Dolphins waiting to welcome you at Turks and Caicos or Amber Cove, a cruise terminal in the Dominican Republic.

There are also lots of enticing shore excursions perfect for a family get-together where you can enjoy outdoor recreational activities like whitewater rafting, river tubing, and turtle adventures, which your kids will love.

Caribbean cruise ship docked in Turks and Caicos

Pick a Sailing Date

Ships sail to the Caribbean all through the year, and you can always select a sailing date that suits your schedule perfectly. You can opt for long Caribbean cruises to visit more places or shorter ones, which should take you to your destination within two to five days.

Other Travel Plans

While you’re considering a sailing date, remember to factor in how long it will take you to arrive at the departure port. Perhaps you live far away and will need to board a flight, or maybe you live a short drive away from the cruise terminal. Plan to arrive at least a day before your scheduled sailing date, so you can have enough time to relax before kicking off your family vacation.

If you plan to arrive early, you may decide to choose a fanciful departure port location and take a quick tour around the city with your family. Exploring for a few days is always good before setting out on the sea. Perhaps, you have relatives living in these locations; it can be a great opportunity to bond with them.

Pursue Some of the Onboard Activities

One of the sweetest things about cruise vacations is that you don’t have to wait till you arrive at your destination before enjoying your vacation. The fun starts as soon as you step onboard. 

Take a good look at some of the available onboard activities you can explore with your family while sailing. Some cruise ships have onboard water parks where you can enjoy pool time, sports courts, movie theatres, bars, casinos, spas, comedy clubs, and other exclusive recreational spots for children and adults.

Note that onboard activities may vary depending on the ship you board and your destination.

Choose a Cruise Ship Room

Choosing the perfect cruise ship room (or stateroom) for you and your family can enhance your vacation experience even more. Depending on your budget, you may opt for a private balcony, interior room, or ocean view. 

A private balcony is perfect for couples cruising without their kids onboard. Here, you can watch the water dance to the tune of the wind. You can also choose the pocket-friendly interior room, especially if you’ll be spending only a few days onboard.

Also look at what dining options you get with the type of room you book.

Pay for the Cruise

After making your selections, the next thing to do is book a ticket from a reputable cruise line website like Carnival. Check out the preferred payment options on the site. Some cruise lines allow you to pay in installments, so if you’re short on cash at the moment, you can make a deposit and complete your payment until your sail date.


Of course! Take time to make a list of things you want to pack for the cruise. Advisedly, do this a few weeks before your scheduled traveling date. 

Get yourself some casual wear and a few fanciful dresses for dinner on board. Don’t forget to pack essential items for your kids, swimsuits, boat shoes, and other pool gear. It can get pretty sunny at the beach, so bring along sunscreens and hats to fend off sun rays. 

You should also get all the needed travel documents ready, plus some extra cash. And that’s it! You’re good to go.

Author’s Bio – Tiffany Wagner

Tiffany lives in Miami. She started freelance writing as her full-time job when the COVID pandemic closed her office. She lives with her mother, younger brother, and their parrot, Sinbad. She loves to read and chill, watching Netflix when she isn’t writing. She also enjoys traveling.

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A large cruise ship sailing through the Caribbean captioned how to plan a Caribbean cruise for your next family vacation

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