A decade ago, when your cruise ship pulled into St. Thomas your options were shopping, lounging at the beach or snorkeling in nearby St. John. Today's Caribbean cruise ship passengers will find activities ranging golf, 4x4 nature excursions, riding in high-speed jet boats along the coast to joining the crew of an ocean racing yacht.
As the number of families and active cruisers has increased, cruise lines have added more intriguing shore excursions, especially in the Caribbean. While you can still take a Bacardi rum factory tour in San Juan, there is also the option of a Bioluminescence Bay Kayak Tour or a rainforest hike in El Yunque. From mountain biking in St. Martin to a zipline canopy ride in Barbados, each Caribbean port offers the chance to try new experiences that enhance the travel experience.
Cruisers who aren't seeking high adrenalin adventure will also find Caribbean tours that suit any interest. For example, if golf is your passion it's a cinch tee off at some of the world's top Caribbean courses and photographers can join local photo experts who take them to places that capture the most scenic shots on the island. Nature lovers can explore local flora on an off-road Land Rover expedition while learning about local culture, history and folklore.
While the Caribbean was best known for pristine beaches, cruisers today are often introduced to activities they never experienced before. After taking a white water rafting excursion in Costa Rica a few years ago, I became hooked on the sport and explore it close to home. A friend signed up for an intensive scuba program that resulted in getting certified and today follows her new passion on repeat Caribbean cruises.
Multi-generational cruising, which has grown in popularity especially in the Caribbean, is further enhanced by the opportunity for passengers to pick excursions that are fun for the whole group or let each family member pick his or her own activities. For example, the kids may opt for a jet boat ride while the parents go kayaking or play a around of golf. Grandparents may opt for something more leisurely, like a 4x4 tour of the island.
Cruising today is about choices and you can be as active or laid-back as you choose, especially when it comes to planning your time ashore. With a list of excursions as long as your arm, plan to try at least one activity you've never done before on your next Caribbean cruise.