With an island for every taste, the Caribbean is the ultimate place for relaxation. You'll find white sands and turquoise water throughout the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Some islands are lush, with rainforests and mountain trails, while others have desert climates and coral beaches. Wherever you visit, taste regional specialties such as conch fritters and get out on the water with snorkeling and sailing excursions.

What is the best time to cruise to the Caribbean?

The Caribbean is a year-round cruise destination spanning a region containing thousands of islands. Traveling during shoulder seasons in fall and spring months help to avoid crowds in port. For more information: Best Months to Cruise the Caribbean.

What cruise lines go to the Caribbean?

The Caribbean is arguably the most popular cruise destination, and therefore nearly every cruise line has itineraries across the Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean -- from the world's largest ships to small sailing yachts. Examples of cruise lines that go to the Caribbean include Norwegian, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Viking Ocean, Princess and Windstar. To help you decide: Compare Top Cruise Ships in the Caribbean.

What are some things to do in the Caribbean?

Apart from beaches and bars, the Caribbean contains endless islands with unique identities that offer historical and cultural attractions as well as active pursuits. Hike the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John, USVI; snorkel an underwater sculpture park in Grenada or zip line in an eco park in St. Maarten. For just a sample of what to do, check out: Best Western Caribbean Shore Excursions.

Do you need a passport to take a cruise to the Caribbean?

You can visit the Caribbean without a passport on a closed-loop sailing (one that begins and ends in the same U.S. port). Examples include cruises that depart and return to Galveston, Tampa, Baltimore or Orlando. Some Caribbean ports, including Martinique and Guadeloupe, will not allow cruisers to get off the ship and enter the country without a passport, so check your itinerary and cruise line instructions.

What should I pack for a cruise to the Caribbean?

In addition to your lightweight clothes, pack sun protection while visiting the Caribbean -- and consider reef-safe sunscreen and bug spray. Sun showers can happen, so a thin waterproof layer or umbrella might keep you dry during a surprise thunderstorm.