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The Eastern Caribbean is one of the most popular cruising destinations in the world today. This is because it visits some of the most beautiful islands, can be completed on itineraries as short as seven days, and offers something for just about everyone in the family.  

A cruise of the Eastern Caribbean will get you to such beautiful islands as St. Marten, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. Most of the mass market cruise lines also maintain their own private island paradises in the Eastern Caribbean. The sheer variety of places to visit on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary makes it the perfect sailing to please a variety of age groups with varied interests.

Why visit Eastern Caribbean?

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One of the best cruise destinations which is suitable for all

The islands in the Eastern Caribbean are best known for their diving and snorkelling opportunities, and they offer some of the best diving and snorkelling around. Just about every cruise ship offers shore excursions where people can pursue their water-bound passions under safe, supervised conditions. Certified SCUBA divers will find a variety of dive operators, both through the cruise lines and independently, who can take them to dive a variety of sights, including coral gardens and ancient shipwrecks. Just don’t forget to bring your “C” card along with you.  

For the uncertified diver, many dive shops offer “discovery” dive tours. These provide for an hour or so of small group instruction, followed by an introductory dive under close supervision. These “resort certifications;” which allow participants to be certified to dive to their heart’s content just with the one operator at the one location, serve as a great introduction to the sport of SCUBA diving.  

For the person who wants to do a complete SCUBA certification while on holiday, some cruise lines, such as Princess and Regent Seven Seas even offer onboard SCUBA programs on various itineraries. The way these work is that you do your classroom study and pool exercises on the ship, mainly on sea days, and then do your open water certification dives while in various ports. The advantage of such a program is that the you can do everything in a relaxed manner while on holdiay, ending up with full certification by the end of it. The disadvantage is having to study and attend classes while sailing on a beautiful cruise ship offering so many other amenities.  

There is a lot on tap in the Eastern Caribbean for people with other interests as well. Of course, St. Thomas is a shopper’s paradise, offering stores with great deals on a variety of merchandise such as electronics, jewellery and a host of fine leathers and apparel items.  

Beaches abound as well, including some out of the way places reachable only by ferry.  

Finally, don’t forget about the cruise line’s private island paradises. These are small islands and cays that the cruise lines have leased and developed. They also offer a host of activities, including escorted snorkelling excursions, sting ray encounters, parasailing, eco-hikes, and other such diversions while docked there. Many include some shopping, usually a barbecued lunch, a variety of beach venues (some family, some adult, etc.), and of course, a nice outdoor bar where one can enjoy Caribbean music while sipping on their favourite libation.

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