Caribbean Region

The Caribbean cruising industry is one of the largest in the world. Over 45,000 people from the Caribbean are directly employed in the cruise industry.17,457,600 cruise passengers visited the islands in the 2011-2012 cruise year (May 2011 to April 2012. The industry is responsible for over $2 billion in direct revenue to the Caribbean islands in 2012.

Cruise lines operating in the Caribbean include Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, P&O, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, however there are also smaller cruise lines that cater to a more intimate feeling among their guests.

The three largest cruise operators are:

  1. Carnival Corporation,
  2. Royal Caribbean International
  3. Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Some of the American cruise lines in the Caribbean depart from ports in the United States, “nearly one-third of the cruises sailed out of Miami”. Other cruise ships depart from Port Everglades (in Fort Lauderdale), Port Canaveral (45 miles east of Orlando), New York, Tampa, Galveston, New Orleans, Cape Liberty, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Charleston, Norfolk, Mobile, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Some UK cruise lines base their ships out of Barbados for the Caribbean season, operating direct charter flights out of the UK and avoiding the sometimes lengthy delays at US immigration.

The busiest ports of call in the Caribbean for cruising in the 2011/2012 year are listed below


Rank Port/City Country Passenger Arrivals (2012)
1 Nassau  Bahamas 3,052,183
2 Cozumel  Mexico 2,730,000
3 Charlotte Amalie  United States Virgin Islands 1,887,096
4 Phillipsburg  Sint Maarten 1,754,900
5 George Town  Cayman Islands 1,443,200
6 Freeport  Bahamas 1,240,016
7 San Juan  Puerto Rico 1,176,700
8 Bridgetown  Barbados 770,600
9 Belize City  Belize 731,200
10 Cockburn Town  Turks and Caicos Islands 676,647
11 Castries  Saint Lucia 671,577
12 Basseterre  Saint Kitts and Nevis 629,200
13 Saint John’s  Antigua and Barbuda 594,800
14 Oranjestad  Aruba 590,200
15 Falmouth  Jamaica 572,741