Looking at cruise brochures, it have the right to be difficult to differentiate between the various Caribbean itineraries. Yet once you understand what you’re feather at, distinct distinctions emerge. Here, we compare the most famous two courses — Eastern and also Western — to see just how they stack up:

 

Itineraries 

Seven-night, year-round cruises are the most typical option in both regions. Eastern paths sail from ports in Florida or native ports along the eastern Coast. Western itineraries sail indigenous Florida or Texas, and sometimes brand-new Orleans.

You are watching: Is jamaica eastern or western caribbean

If you like visiting as numerous ports as possible, walk for east Caribbean sailings that depart from mountain Juan or St. Cutting board — the time you would have actually spent cruising from Florida is consisted of by avoiding at 5 or 6 islands. Western Caribbean routes, on the various other hand, rarely prevent at much more than 4 ports.


Our Pick: Draw. Different strokes for various folks. Western paths are best for history and nature, and Eastern ones rank high because that beach hopping.

Beaches

You’ll find great shores top top both routes: Jamaica’s Negril and also Grand Cayman’s 7 Mile coast in the West, and too plenty of to count in the eastern Caribbean’s British and also U.S. Virgin Islands, especially the perfect strips that white sand ~ above Jost van Dyke and St. John. The East’s small islands of St. Barts, Les Saintes, and also Anguilla are also home to drop-dead gorgeous coastlines.


Our Pick: Eastern. This is a nearby one, however we’re going through the eastern Caribbean due to its amount of gorgeous strands.

Activities

If friend need much more than sunbathing, shopping, and also bar hopping, climate the eastern Caribbean itineraries might seem limiting come you. Yes, you have the right to work up a sweat ziplining in St. Boy name or kayaking off the coastline of Tortola, yet generally speaking, Eastern paths offer much less to do past beaches and also water sports.

Western Caribbean cruises are well rounded: In Mexico girlfriend can explore pre-Columbian holy places or tube through underwater caves. Scuba dive turn off the coast of cool Cayman whereby dramatic underwater cliffs tempt abundant sea life, or try horseback riding through the surf in Jamaica, an island with a heritage of horse racing.


Our Pick: Western. You have the right to crawl around ancient ruins, walk bobsledding, and tour coffee plantations — all on a one-week cruise. 

 

For Kids

Most children love something to perform with beaches — playing in the sand, riding waves, and also taking banana boat rides. Both Eastern and also Western Caribbean itineraries offer good coastlines.

The western Caribbean, though, has much more than great beaches: Mexico’s Mayan ruins, snorkeling and diving follow me the coast of Belize, and also climbing close to natural attributes like Jamaica’s Dunn’s river Falls. The eastern Caribbean boasts a few outliers, including the great El Morro fortress in Old san Juan, however otherwise, the an ar is mostly about sand and also shopping.


Our Pick: Western. Among the water parks, rivers, and also coral reef, this ports space ideal, especially for family members traveling with active kids.

Weaknesses

Both regions have downsides: The Western’s cool Cayman deserve to be a dud, as the port is canceled relatively frequently as result of heavy winds and surf (ships anchor and also shuttle passengers ashore via soft boats), and also Jamaica is infamous for vendors with wild sales tactics. Meanwhile, St. Thomas and also St. Martin on east routes can see more than 10,000 cruise passengers in town at the very same time, causing epic traffic jams.


Our Pick: The east Caribbean has fewer downsides. If there are just three or four ports ~ above a weeklong west Caribbean cruise and one is canceled, it is a bummer.

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Overall

Our Pick: Western. The west Caribbean is much more of a smorgasbord 보다 the Eastern, so our poll goes because that variety.


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