Balmy breezes, warm water and always-on tropical weather makes the Caribbean a favorite playground of world travelers, and a cruise is a perfect way to enjoy it. When travelling with Carnival®, you’ll have the option to explore multiple islands in one trip, so you can just relax, soak up the sun and enjoy the many treasures these tropical paradises have to offer.
A local departure from Galveston, Texas makes a Caribbean cruise getaway a logistical no-brainer for families and groups. Plus, Carnival’s ships offer a wide range of activities to satisfy the tastes of all travelers, from the tiniest explorers to more experienced globetrotters.
The Caribbean Islands have something for everyone too. From an unforgettable, underwater vantage point of the world’s second largest coral reef, to historical architecture from the Mayan and Colonial periods. And, of course, plenty of sand-and-surf time on the white beaches and aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Each island is unique, so we’ve put together a list of ten tropical spots you can visit on a cruise from Galveston, Texas:
Cozumel is the largest inhabited island in the Mexican Caribbean. Because of its stunning coral reefs, rich marine life and the perfect current that flows along the island, Cozumel is famed for its scuba diving. Beginners can take their very first dive into this tantalizing undersea paradise with an experienced guide who will introduce you to the basics of scuba diving before guiding you on a 30-minute descent into the deep.
On land, islanders today are still guardians of traditional Mayan culture and some of the most important archeological sites in the world. Visit the fabled Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza and behold the massive Kukulkan Pyramid “El Castillo” in the center of the sites, for a glimpse into tropical antiquity.
2. Costa Maya
Costa Maya is a stretch of Caribbean coast on Mexico’s eastern Yucatán Peninsula, and a popular port with many modern attractions and amenities. Take on some amazing Costa Maya shore excursions while you’re here. You could take a beach safari that leads into the jungle while riding in an all-terrain dune buggy, or visit the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins.
For family fun with an active group, come to Mayá, Lost Mayan Kingdom and enjoy a theme park with an adventure for everyone. Grab an innertube and immerse yourself in the Mayan jungle on a river expedition, or get your adrenaline pumping on nine different waterslides with heart-stopping twists and 60-foot plunges. When you’re ready to dry off, over 3,000 feet of zip lines await you, along with a breathtaking view of the surrounding sea and jungle.
Located in eastern Central America and bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a one-of-a-kind destination with many incredible topographical details. It has a lush green jungle and the massive Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef system in the world.
Spanning the length of the country, Belize’s unique draw is the hundreds of sandy cays, low-lying islands that have formed over thousands of years along the top of the massive reef.
Rich with marine life and incredible dives, this tropical spot is a remarkable destination, whether you choose to visit the jungle ruins, explore the country’s incredible caves or climb a Mayan temple for a panoramic view of the highlands of Western Belize. This award-winning tour includes a delicious Belizean lunch, and the opportunity to browse handcrafted pieces created by artisans from the local village.
4. Mahogany Bay
Mahogany Bay is located in Dixon Cove, a pristine pocket of protected water on the southern coastline of Roatán Island. To take in the full beauty of the coastline take a catamaran sail tour, which includes snorkeling and lunch on the open sea.
Everyone loves dolphins, and with a tour to Anthony’s Key and the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences, you can swim with these playful creatures in their natural habitat. Or, you may just decide to spend the day on Mahogany Beach.
Fly through the air and enjoy a spectacular and photo worthy view on the Magical Flying Beach Chair, a motorized chair lift which transports guests from the port’s welcome center to Mahogany Beach.
Foodies will find plenty to tempt them on the beach and beyond; fresh seafood and local fruit is served up on the islands many eateries and open-air stands.
Freeport is the largest city in the Grand Bahamas, best known for its oceanfront district, Lucayra, with its world-class shopping and culinary scene. With an incredible expanse of white beaches and crystal-clear waters, snorkeling, kayaking, underwater caves and nature trails make this destination a popular one for adventurous and active travelers.
If you want to see a little bit of everything, you might want to hop on a bike. This guided tour takes you through 12 miles of shoreline, including a bit of local history, and ends with a rewarding dip in the sea.
Stretching between Nicaragua and Panama along the Caribbean Coast, Limon is a geographically diverse region of Costa Rica. White-sand beaches and coconut trees line the coast, and a lush jungle and mountains serve as a stunning backdrop. You can take it all in on an exhilarating white-water raft trip through the rainforest.
Do you love chocolate? Visit a village community to learn how they are caring for the earth while creating delicious chocolate. See how the cacao bean is harvested, cooked and prepared and even sample the final product.
You can visit other growers too, including organic banana and sugar cane plantations and see how these crops are grown sustainably in their native environment. The region is also rich in history with ample opportunities to learn more about the Afro-Caribbean settlers and the traditions they still preserve today.
7. Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the location of the territory’s capital, George Town. The city is a major port with many shopping and dining options, as well as fascinating ruins from the Colonial-era and other historical architecture.
Do you know the difference between stalagmites and stalactites? Visit the crystal caves and marvel at these incredible crystalline formations, as well as stories of the pirates that once used the caves as their hideouts.
With its gorgeous beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and ubiquitously delicious rum cakes, this island is an unforgettable and tasty stop.
8. Montego Bay
Spicy Jamaican jerk cuisine, rum-tasting and white beaches forever. When you cruise to Montego Bay, your options are seemingly endless. You can visit Ocho Rios & Dunn’s River Falls, relax at an adult all-inclusive resort, or shop and eat in the city center.
For those who want a more local experience, you can immerse yourself in the Rastafari movement in a remote mountain village and experience first-hand the music, food and traditions of African-Caribbean culture.
For those with an appetite for adventure in the wild, your day can begin 700-ft high atop the tropical rainforest canopy in a Jamaican bobsled, and end with a thrilling plunge through the jungle on a zip line.
Welcome to the capital city of The Bahamas! Nassau is a bustling metropolis with a hilly topography and distinctive pastel-pink colonial-era architecture to explore, making walking tours a popular option for the curious.
For those who would prefer to get away from it all, a 35-minute boat ride will deliver you and your crew to a private hideaway, the Blue Lagoon Island. In this adult-only paradise, you’ll be pampered with cool face towels, upgraded lounge chairs and butler service. Enjoy mimosas, bottled water and iced tea, and explore the island you’ll share with the dolphins, sea lions and stingrays that call it home.
10. Key West
Key West is a U.S. city that is part of the Florida’s Keys archipelago. It’s famous for the Duval street bar scene, magnificent coral reefs and stunning sunsets. Home to many artists and writers both past and present—Ernest Hemingway helped make it famous—its creative culture infuses the city with a vibrant, bohemian vibe.
An essential destination for diving and snorkeling, and watersports like jet skiing and parasailing, Key West offers endless adventures for explorers who seek outdoor thrills. For those seeking other types of activities, walking tours, pub crawls and historical tours are popular options for those who wish to partake in its storied history.
The Caribbean has things for everyone to do, and a cruise can help you see and do more. Family cruises departing from Galveston, Texas are a great option for multigenerational families and groups who want to spend time together and also cater to the interests of each individual. And don’t forget, there are always memories to be made onboard, as you unwind from your adventure and enjoy all the amenities and activities your Carnival ship offers!