We just did the western in April 2004 and liked it so much that we're booked again for the western in April 2005 (on a different ship). The water was very calm when we sailed, but I do know someone who took the same cruise in February 2004 and had very rough seas. We also cruised to the Bahamas in April 2003 and it was smooth sailing.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
these two routes are very different and very diverse its hard to compare them. We love the Western route because of the snorkeling, sting rays, waterfalls, things like that.
We love the Southern route because it is more port intensive and you get to experience a bit more diverse culture. Both routes have great beaches.
Southern routes tend to be a bit hotter, and they they are out of the hurricane belt.
I have done a cruise on the eastern, western and southern and only experienced rough seas on the eastern. I think deciding by the sea conditions will get you into trouble because it's so unpredictable. I think in the eastern you have to sail for awhile in the atlantic and that is why it is so rough. pick the cruise with the better ports and bring something incase of rough seas. I sailed at the beginning of the year Jan- Mar and it was very smooth sailing.
I think the southern route is more intriguing..Western is wonderful for water sport lovers, great beaches and the islands are a bit more rustic.
The southern can have a combination of eastern ports as well, depending on the itinerary..Aruba, Curacao, Martinique, Guadalpoupe, Grenada and Barbados,all of which I have visited, to my mind are wonderfully diverse, and offer many varied topographies,and people..Grenada can also claim one of the top 10 beaches in the world..Grand Anse...ahh, divine
I need a southern cruise now..thanks for the memories!
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
Hands down, it would be Southern before Western. You get to stop at more islands, since they are all fairly close to each other, although you get less "sea" days. Each of the islands offer things to do and see, plus there is shopping. You will notice, however, they all have the same name brand shops from island to island. Only other drawback is the airfare getting to San Juan rather than cruising out of Florida.
Itineraries are great for southern, it's the getting to P.R. that's the stopper. Somehow, for me anyway, having to fly pre and post cruise takes away the cruise glamour. But, I'm spoiled, so many choices and so many ports available without flying first.
As far as sea conditions, any part of the Caribbean can be calm as a mill pond, and any part of the Caribbean can experience rough waters at times. I don't think there is really any rule of thumb to say Eastern, Western, or Southern would be roughest on the average.
As far as ports, what is "all right" for one person can be "stupendous" for another! It is highly dependent on what YOU want to do. A very good start is to read all the ship's shore excursion descriptions. Whether or not you decide on a ship's excursion they usually give you a very good idea of what is available in each port.