San Juan. The capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521. It is famous for its many beautiful beaches, hotels, museums and other tourist attractions that make it one of the most popular ports of call for all cruise lines. Several historical structures dating from its earliest days under Spanish rule include Fort San Cristóbal, Fort San Felipe del Morro, and La Fortaleza, which is the oldest executive mansion continually occupied in the Americas. When cruising the Caribbean, be sure to check out Old San Juan, located on Isleta de San Juan and offering a connection to the main island in the form of a causeway and two bridges. Old San Juan is an architecture lover’s dream, with several residences and forts in the classic Spanish design, including a house once owned and occupied by founder Ponce de Leon and his family.
St. Maarten. Located on the southern half of the island of St. Martin, St. Maarten was colonized by Dutch settlers in the early 1500s but was first claimed by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Popular tourist destinations include white sandy beaches, and numerous British and Dutch era forts, including Fort Amsterdam. The French side of the island features Marigot featuring lovely shops and French bakeries.
St. Kitts. An island in the West Indies bordering the Caribbean and Atlantic, St. Kitts is a neighbor to the island of Nevis. It features the famous Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, where visitors can walk a military fortification built by the British during their ongoing battles with the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors cruising the Caribbean often stop to explore its capital, Basseterre, located on south-western coast and founded in 1627 by French trader Pierre Belain d’Esnambuc. For the truly adventurous in spirit, St. Kitts offers three volcanic mountain ranges worth exploring: the Mount Misery Range, Verchilds Range, and the Olivees Range.
Now is a great time to begin searching for Caribbean cruises in winter specials from major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, whose spacious Independence of the Seas plies the warm, clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean from Miami down through Puerto Rico to Labadee and other ports of call. Labadee is a private resort off Haiti belonging exclusively to Royal Caribbean, whose guests enjoy private beaches, water slides, snorkeling, sumptuous meals, and a multitude of other activities to make their visit truly memorable. Some of the most popular stops in the Caribbean include San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and many other ports, so look for departure dates and schedule your winter cruise today!