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Cruises to Barbados From Florida

Cruises from florida to barbados.

On a cruise to Barbados from Florida, you’ll wind your way through the Southern Caribbean to the archipelago’s easternmost island, fringed by both Caribbean and Atlantic coastlines. In Barbados’ undulating interior, you’ll find sleepy villages, rippling fields of sugar cane, and grand old plantation houses, some now serving as museums and galleries. Bridgetown, the historic capital, has some fine 18th-century architecture, the famous Mount Gay rum distillery, and the Kensington Oval, where you can catch a cricket match. Barbados boasts some of the most pristine and idyllic beaches in the Caribbean, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and fine, golden and white sands.

Cruises from Florida to Barbados also visit St. Maarten, part French and part Dutch, and known for its sandy beaches and wonderful cuisine. Verdant Dominica is wild and lush, packed with adventure. You could also stop at Antigua, fringed with 365 beaches; mountainous St. Lucia; the laid-back British Virgin Islands; fragrant Grenada; and St. Kitts, packed with historic interest. You’ll sail on one of our state-of-the-art ships, where service is second to none and menus are designed by a Michelin-starred chef. Dine al fresco by the sparkling pool and relax in blissful outdoor spaces including the Magic Carpet (on Edge-series ships) and the Lawn Club (on Solstice-series ships) as you soak up the Caribbean sunshine.

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Beach life meets a thriving arts scene, some of the finest dining in the Caribbean, and fascinating history on pretty Barbados. Swim with sea turtles in the balmy waters of the west coast, or stroll the more remote east coast beaches, which are pounded by the Atlantic. Shop for handmade jewelry in Bridgetown, the capital, and explore the British garrison. Head inland to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, home to rare green monkeys, and make time to sample island rums at one of the distilleries.

Mountainous Dominica is quite the contrast to some of its neighbors, all forest-draped mountain peaks and ribbon-like waterfalls tumbling into lush valleys. Join a river-tubing adventure through tunnels of shaded green and visit the twin cascades of Trafalgar Falls. Hike rainforest trails, crossing gullies and streams. Swim off Champagne Beach, where bubbles of gas fizz up from the ocean floor, which serve as a reminder that this wildly beautiful island is volcanic.

Enchanting St. Maarten is famed for its sandy beaches, among them glamorous Orient Beach, lively Maho Beach, and dreamy Grand Case Beach, close to some of the best French restaurants in the Caribbean. Go shopping for French designer fashions in Marigot, and visit 17th-century Fort Amsterdam for sweeping views. Dive into vibrant coral reefs teeming with life, or brush up your sailing skills on a thrilling jaunt on an original America’s Cup yacht.

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Barbados cruises give you the chance to experience tropical life with a refined twist. With pearly pink sand and a jaunty British lilt, Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s most captivating islands. Whether you’re cruising to or from Barbados, discover a hothouse landscape where old sugar plantations and rum distilleries dot the verdant sun-dappled hills. Or, start your travels here and give yourself more time to get immersed in the local culture while you vacation in Barbados. Spy a green monkey in a rainforest ravine, sample savory local rum, or simply follow the trail of bougainvillea blossoms to a glorious beach with Carnival cruises to Barbados.

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Cruises from Miami to Barbados

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Bridgetown, Barbados

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The most British of all the Caribbean islands, games of cricket are as common here as the typical island water sports. Visit the third-oldest Parliament in the entire Commonwealth. Stroll the inviting beaches of Carlisle Bay, tour a rum factory, or visit the historical Garrison area. Bridgetown is the only city outside continental North America that George Washington visited. The George Washington House, the actual house where he stayed, is now part of the Garrison Historic Area.

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Cruise to Bottom Bay in Bridgetown, Barbados

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Antigua Bay

Exploring Bridgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed colonial center is just the beginning of your Barbados adventure with Holland America Line. A number of Caribbean cruises call in the island’s capital for a chance to relax on its famous beaches, gawk at green monkeys, visit the world’s oldest rum distillery, and fill your Instagram feed on a Barbados photo expedition. Other Bridgetown shore tours take you underground at Harrison’s Caves and underwater on a submarine ride off Barbados’ coast. 

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Cruises From Bridgetown 2024

What’s the best Caribbean cruise for me?

Zachary Laks

Jul 15, 2024 • 9 min read

cruise from barbados to florida

Whether you're a family of four or a solo adventure junkie, the Caribbean has a cruise for you. Walter Bibikow / Getty Images.

It feels like just about everyone is headed on a cruise ship, and for good reason. There’s a real appeal to embarking on a getaway where your travel plans are already sorted; you only have to unpack once and arrive each morning in an exciting port of call.

Plus, new ships are rolling out incredible bells and whistles that push the limits of fun at sea (think indoor skydiving, roller coasters, and go-karts). At the same time, the cruise industry has shifted towards sustainable efforts that have emerged as fundamental to modern cruising. 

Recent statistics from CLIA (the official Cruise Line International Association) show an increase of nearly two million passengers in 2023 (totaling 31.7 million) compared to pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

And there’s no more popular cruising region than the Caribbean , where upwards of 37 cruise lines with 154 ships rove the idyllic paradise of islands. With so many options, sorting out which ship and itinerary fits you best can be confusing. 

Here’s a handy guide to help determine which cruises are best for you, along with tips and advice to ensure you’re setting yourself up for a smooth sail. 

Passengers relax as the Oasis of the Seas departs the Bahamas

What Caribbean cruise is best for me?

Sailing for adventure.

Whether you're into ziplining through the rainforest, scuba diving one of the world’s largest coral reefs or swimming at the base of a waterfall, cruises throughout the Caribbean offer excellent opportunities for adventure.

Cruise ports known for high-octane activities include St-Martin (known for its superb scuba diving), Belize (cave-tubing and ziplining throughout rainforest treetops) and St Lucia (the Sapphire Falls Hike). 

Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Holland America have cruises that frequent these ports.

Best ships for families

Look for larger ships with kid-friendly pools, expansive kids' clubs and family-friendly entertainment. Royal Caribbean’s fleet features action-packed decks great for families with water slides, laser tag and mini golf. 

Disney Cruise Line’s fleet sails extensively throughout the Caribbean to ports that span from Cozumel , Mexico, to Willemstad , Curaçao. The line’s most common Caribbean offerings are shorter 3- and 4-night itineraries that are perfect for families looking for a short trip.

Cruise lines with private islands operate predominantly in the Bahamas , including Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line. These stops are great family destinations as they feature enclosed, private environments with kids' activities and the ease of charging everything to your sea pass card.  

Singles at sea

Cruises can be an excellent place for singles to mix and mingle. A standard cruise stateroom rate is usually calculated at a minimum two-adult rate. Singles wishing to book a standard stateroom are typically charged a single supplement fee ranging from 50% - 100% of their base fare. 

As the demand for single cruise accommodations grows, new ship builds include solo staterooms, both interior and with balconies. Look to Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, and Norwegian Cruise Lines for some of the best accommodations for solo travelers. 

Most relaxing getaways

The most relaxing cruises sailing through the Caribbean tend to be the smaller ships focusing on a more “resort at sea” vibe. The higher-end ships with all-inclusive rates offer the luxury of seamless vacations. Windstar, Seabourn and Viking are the best lines for a relaxing cruise.

On these ships you’ll find daily activities that swap dance parties and poolside games for fitness-oriented activities like yoga and strength training classes, lectures on upcoming ports and ample lounge chairs to soak up the sun by the pool.

From your first step onboard, all your food and drinks (except for certain vintage wines and spirits), activities and sometimes your port excursions are included in your rate. 

Itineraries like the Viking Ocean Cruises’ West Indies Explorer sail a 10-day itinerary roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, with stops that include Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Kitts, Saint Kitts & Nevis and Roseau, Dominica. Rates for Viking Ocean Cruises include one shore excursion per port.

The top of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship with a balcony looking down over a pool with people and lounge chairs.;

Best parties at sea

As the classic notion of cruising sunsets – goodbye white glove service, shuffleboard, Baked Alaska – a new era of fun is afloat.

Large ships are built to maximize fun, whether you're hopping pool parties, dancing the night away at late-night discos or cheering your team at rousing sports bars. Special interest cruises are also an excellent option for the most immersive fun at sea, whether that’s a full ship charter rock concert like the Rock Legends Cruise , a trip dedicated to Golden Girls fans , or an LGBTQ+ charter like VACAYA . 

Favorite lines that feature an upbeat party vibe include Margaritaville at Sea (particularly on their new Islander), Virgin Voyages and Norwegian Cruise Line.

A quick getaway

You’ll find cruise lines are leaning into shorter itineraries that offer weekend getaways to nearby ports in the Caribbean. Most of these sailings are roundtrip from Florida’s top cruise ports: Miami , Fort Lauderdale and Orlando (Port Canaveral). These are often 3- and 4-night sailings featuring a stop in The Bahamas or Bermuda . 

The vibe onboard is often more upbeat and celebratory, as guests do their best to maximize their limited time at sea. 

A few favorite lines for this style of travel include Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean (who is launching Utopia of the Seas this summer as its first-ever large-scale ship that will exclusively sail short getaways) and Disney Cruise Line.

An extended journey through the Caribbean

Smaller cruise lines offer longer, extensive itineraries throughout the Caribbean; smaller ships can port far off the beaten path at more remote destinations. Itineraries like Seabourn’s “25-Day Captivating Antillean Treasures” sail to some of the lesser trafficked parts of the Caribbean including Marigot, St. Martin; Carambola Beach, Saint Kitts and Nevis; and Sopers Hole (Frenchmans Cay), BVI. Lines like Silversea, Windstar Cruises and Azamara are favorites that route to these idyllic destinations. 

When should I go on my cruise?

There are sailings throughout the Caribbean year-round, with high season running from November through April. This period is known for its optimal sailing conditions and weather. 

You’ll find cheaper sailings during the hurricane season, typically July through September, though you risk the chance of your trip being canceled or rerouted to avoid inclement weather. 

Holiday sailings (particularly during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve) are also excellent times to sail as cruise lines curate impressive decor and holiday-themed activities.

How do I know if my cruise line is operating sustainably? 

Conservation efforts have become a vital tenet of the future of cruising, with the industry gearing towards carbon-zero sailings by 2050 . Efforts underway include ship engines that run cleaner on alternative fuels, advanced wastewater systems that can better clean sewage water and exhaust gas cleaning systems to improve air quality at sea and in port. 

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card is a great resource to assess a ship’s sustainability efforts. 

A few lines at the forefront of sustainable sailing include Ponant, Disney Cruise Line and Hurtigruten. Ponant recently became the first maritime cruise line to receive Green Globe certification, which recognizes the line’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.  The line has shifted away from heavy fuel oil and installed catalytic systems to reduce atmospheric emissions.

Disney Cruise Line aims to operate with carbon emissions at net zero by 2030, in part by shifting to alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrotreated vegetable oil. 

Hurtigruten is currently developing a zero-emission propulsion ship, which is aiming to be unveiled by 2030. 

There are still a large number of travelers who oppose the notion of cruise ships for not only their impact on the environment, but on local economies as well. Groups like Friends of the Earth , CLIA and Oceana are excellent organizations devoted to regulating the cruise industry.  

ruise ships docked at pier on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, with passengers walking on the pier

Need to know before you go

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when you’re booking a Caribbean cruise. 

Book in advance...

Cruise lines offer better rates further from your sailing date, often making sailings available to book more than a year out. The earlier you book, the better the selection of staterooms to choose from. 

Or take advantage of last minute deals

Cruise Plum is our go-to with a comprehensive overview of discounted inventories if you're angling for a last-minute getaway. 

Opt for third-party travel insurance for hurricane season protection

Travel insurance is the best way to ensure smooth sailings on your Caribbean cruise. Typical cruise insurance rates hover around 5 to 10% of your total trip cost. 

Don’t just opt into the cruise line’s designated insurance option; shop around on a platform like Squaremouth for the most value. 

Look for a plan specific to cruise travel, with coverage that includes compensation for delays, cancellations (particularly helpful during hurricane season), emergency medical, and the premium option of canceling for any reason (CFAR). 

Be hurricane-aware

Hurricane season in the Caribbean is typically July through September. The outlook for the 2024 season from NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season with the potential range of 8-13 hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph. 

Cruise lines work expeditiously to avoid sailing into the path of any major tropical storm or hurricane, often rerouting or shortening itineraries as threats arise. Cruises rarely encounter major storms as they’re able to chart the course of the weather and route accordingly. 

In the event you encounter a major storm while at sea, head to the middle of the ship where you’ll feel the rolling of the ship less, take over-the-counter aids like Dramamine or Bonine and keep your eyes on the horizon for stability balance.

You don’t necessarily need a passport 

Passports are not required for closed-loop sailings that begin and end at a US port. All you need is a boarding pass, a government photo ID (if you’re 16 years or older) and a certified birth certificate or certificate of US naturalization. 

However, keep in mind that you might not be able to disembark the ship at certain ports (those ports include Barbados , Martinique and St-Barthélemy ).

Third-party excursions can be a better value play

If you want to stretch your dollar further, consider booking with local tour operators before arriving at each port. It’s important to note that third-party excursions are the best when they’re morning-only activities. 

The ship won’t wait for you if you’re late returning from a third-party excursion. For full-day excursions, consider the line’s offerings, as the ship will wait for you, and there’s nothing worse than missing the boat.

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Cruises from Florida

Best Cruise Line Itineraries

Recommend Magazine, 14-time Winner

Picture this: you and a group of your choice lounging on a white sand beach in the sunshine. Maybe you’re reading that page-turner novel you’ve been eyeing for months or sipping a fruity drink. Doesn’t that sound relaxing? The good news is this dream can become a reality when you take a cruise from Florida. 

Florida is considered a top cruise port for a reason. It’s a lovely place where you can hop on a cruise ship to some of the most desirable tropical locales you could imagine. Let’s dive into what cruises from Florida look like and some of the luxurious destinations you could set sail to this year.

Cruise from Florida on a Tropical Vacation You’ll Love

Florida is known for being a cruise hotspot, with around 19 million people passing through the sunshine state’s port’s last year. There are two main reasons for that. First of all, Florida is a prime spot for ships to sail to a wide range of places. The other reason is because Florida itself is a vacation-worthy destination.

Tropical Vacations from Florida to Explore:

6-day western caribbean with mexico: see the stunning costa maya, mexico; roatan, honduras; and cozumel, mexico. , 6-day eastern caribbean with turks & caicos: experience amber cove, dominican republic; san juan, puerto rico; and grand turk, turks & caicos. , 7-day western caribbean with bahamas: explore princess cays, bahamas; ocho rios, jamaica; grand cayman, cayman islands; and cozumel, mexico. , cruises near me in florida.

When you board a Princess® ship from Florida, you’re destined for the vacation of a lifetime. Princess ships leave from two main Florida ports, and both are spectacular. Here are some of the highlights of the two main Florida port cities:

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is located on the southeastern tip of Florida, only a short distance from the Bahamas. It has stunning beaches, a rich culture, and a thrilling nightlife. On top of that, it’s only a short distance from all three of the Florida national parks . This port city boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing and shopping. So extend your vacation with a stay in Fort Lauderdale and enjoy the convenience of getting on one of the fantastic Princess Cruise ships.

Port Canaveral (Orlando)

Orlando is the space and theme park capital of the world. Explore all of the amusement parks or check out the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to take advantage of these fantastic attractions. Then head over to Port Canaveral for your spectacular cruise. This port is a hot spot for tropical cruise destinations.

Top Florida Attractions

Florida has some of the best beaches in the United States. Kick off (or end) your vacation by relaxing by the sea. Dive into crystal blue waters — you might see a rare Florida manatee.

Golf courses

Florida is known for some excellent golf courses. People travel to this state to get to play a round of golf on these courses. When you choose a Florida cruise, you have a prime opportunity to play a little golf on world-renown courses.

National parks

Florida is home to three national parks of extraordinary beauty. Take an airboat ride through the Everglades to see alligators or experience the Florida keys at Biscayne National Park. Or head out to the remote islands that make up Dry Tortugas National Park. These three locales are packed with adventure, and they’re close by when you’re taking a cruise from a Florida port.

Theme Parks

The Florida classic is exploring the local theme parks. Why not take the ultimate vacation by having a theme park adventure and then relaxing on the tropical beaches on a relaxing cruise?

A city tour

Explore the vibrant heart of Florida! Take a city tour to uncover fascinating sights, rich history and exciting activities. Discover the unique charm and energy of each port, making your visit unforgettable.

Enjoy convenient pickup and dropoff solutions to your cruise between Brightline Fort Lauderdale Station and Port Everglades with complimentary round trip shuttle service provided by Princess Cruises. Brightline makes for a convenient cruise experience aboard Princess Cruises. Get your bags delivered from Brightline Orlando Station in partnership with Orlando Health or Brightline West Palm Beach Station directly to Port Everglades.

Unmatched Florida Cruise Destinations

Set sail from Florida and discover an array of captivating destinations. Here are some of the incredible places you can explore on a Florida cruise:

From ancient ruins to dazzling beaches, Mexico has it all. In this beautiful country, you can relax on the beach or snorkel in crystal clear tropical waters. You could also spend time exploring Mayan ruins and seeing amazing historical sites. On top of that, enjoy fantastic tacos and other Mexican cuisine.

The Bahamas

So many people picture the Bahamas when they think of a perfect vacation. Make that your reality by taking a cruise that goes here. Experience some of the most stunning ocean views and relax in paradise.

Central America

Central America has many fascinating countries with spectacular opportunities for adventure and scenic views. Experience Honduras or Belize with jungle adventures. Or go zip lining through the trees in Costa Rica.

The Caribbean

The Caribbean is packed with stunning islands. If you want to visit a bunch of them, a cruise is one of the best ways to do so. The ship will take you from each island, and you can experience all the beautiful beaches and adventure each stop has to offer.

New England

If you’re not in a tropical mood, you could always travel north! New England has stunning coastlines full of rocky shores and dazzling cliffs. Hop off the ship and hike in Acadia National Park or get your fill of crab cakes. A fall-time New England cruise could also take you to some of the best autumn foliage in the world.

Keep heading north for a Canadian adventure. Experience the tranquility of Prince Edward Island and immerse yourself in the culture of Quebec City.

South America

Have a Brazilian adventure and climb the Corcovado Mountain and visit one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue. Or explore the pyramids of Mesoamerica and dive into immense history and culture.

The Panama Canal

One of the cruising wonders of the world is the Panama Canal. Experience what it’s like to travel through the world-famous locks, including the Agua Clara and Cocoli Locks. You can get a front-row seat to the engineering marvel that connected the world and experience new cultures.

Spain and Portugal

Relive the Golden Age of ocean travel and take a cruise ship from Florida to the Iberian Peninsula. Immerse yourself in the cityscapes of Madeira, Portugal; Seville, Spain; Malaga, Spain; and Barcelona, Spain. Enjoy the coastal sites and eat delicious food as you explore these stunning countries. You can even go to Gibraltar and Morocco!

Western Europe

Set sail from Florida to Western Europe and immerse yourself in its rich culture and stunning scenery. Explore the Netherlands, England, France, Ireland and Belgium where you can enjoy escargot in Paris, savor a real Belgian waffle or see the Thames from the London Eye.

The Mediterranean

A region of the world known for its coastal scenery is the Mediterranean. So hop on a ship in Florida and head to Italy and Greece. Eat pasta on the Amalfi Coast or island-hop in Greece and see the unbelievable cities of Santorini and Corfu.

If you’re ready for a cool experience (literally the coolest), head to Antarctica and explore the southernmost point on the globe. See the stunning and rural landscapes of the mysterious seventh continent.

Can’t decide which of these fantastic locations to visit? Consider a World Cruise that departs from Florida. These multi-month cruises or shorter segments can take you anywhere from South Africa to Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii.

Preparing to Cruise in Florida

Ready to board your dream cruise in Florida? Here are some tips to help you make the most of your vacation:

Prepare with sunscreen:  There’s a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State. It’s warm and sunny. That’s why sun-bathing is a year-round activity here. Prepare to be sun-soaked in Florida but you don’t want to end up with a sunburn on your vacation, so lather up every few hours.

Consider transportation options:  Depending on what you want to do and where you’re coming from, you’ll want to decide about your transportation options. If you plan to drive your own car, you can explore Florida before your cruise and conveniently book a parking spot at our Princess lot at the cruise port. If you’re flying to Florida, many find that renting a car is a great way to explore the area.

Dress for success:  Pack comfortable casual clothing like shorts and t-shirts  for the warm Florida weather. Also, include a jacket and warm clothes for cooler destinations and some dressier outfits for onboard dining and events. Don't forget swimwear, a hat and sunscreen for days spent by the pool or on the beach.

Be prepared for hurricane season:  Florida is a stunning state, but it does come with some weather challenges occasionally. Hurricane season runs through the summer and fall. To be prepared, monitor weather reports surrounding the period of your departures, and be aware of any delays or cancellations. These months often offer the cheapest cruising prices, so don’t be afraid to book a cruise then! They can be some of the best months to cruise. 

Bring your passport:  Not every destination you’re going to explore will require a passport, but the US government recommends that you bring yours just in case.

Ships That Cruise from Fort Lauderdale

Sun Princess® and Star Princess® are our next-generation cruise ships featuring an epic sphere atrium, first ever geodesic dome, innovative entertainment venues and premium Suites.

Our Princess fleet includes some of the best cruises out of Fort Lauderdale. Find the comforts of home along with the luxuries you deserve on board any of our ships. Discover what makes our fleet so unique.

Majestic Princess®

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Enchanted Princess®

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The Princess Cruise Difference

Princess provides you and your traveling companions with a unique experience unlike any other vacation. You can cruise for some of the best value on the sea. Enjoy a plethora of destinations and only unpack once. Princess has service that goes beyond knowing your name -- our crew treats you like family.

Discover why Princess is rated as the best cruise line for food lovers by Food & Wine Magazine . Enjoy globetrotting dining on some of the best cuisine at sea.

Book your dream vacation from Florida with Princess Cruises, and get ready for a vacation your whole gang will love.

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Set sail on a spring break cruise with Princess and return relaxed, recharged and reinspired to take on the world. Our itineraries were designed with you, your budget and your schedule in mind. 

Packing Tips for a Warm Weather Cruise Vacation

Princess Cruises offers a wide variety of itineraries to choose from that can take you to tropical, exotic destinations, whether you're interested in a Caribbean cruise or a trip to South America. 

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Prepare to be awed as you sail into the best Caribbean cruise destinations with Princess, where relaxation and adventure are the only things on your to-do list. 

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The Bathsheba Beach Rock Climbing, Bridgetown, Barbados

THE BEST DESTINATIONS YOU’LL VISIT ON A CRUISE FROM BARBADOS

By Amanda Mesa | Published on December 1, 2021

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Why You Should Consider Cruising From Barbados

An island that offers plenty to see and do.

Couple Snorkeling Underwater Next to a Coral, Bridgetown, Barbados

In addition to unlocking some of the most popular shores in the southern Caribbean, a cruise from Barbados is also worth considering because the island is an amazing destination in and of itself. Bridgetown, Barbados’s capital and main cruise port, offers the perfect combination of Caribbean vibes and European charm. The streets are lined with well-preserved colonial buildings and brightly painted wooden houses, bustling open-air markets and quaint seaside cafes where you can watch sleek catamarans bobbing in the bay. If you venture beyond the city, you’ll find your pick of sun-kissed beaches, wild nature trails that are perfect for hiking and even an extensive network of caves you can explore. Snorkelers and divers should hit Carlisle Bay’s famous underwater shipwreck trail. And make sure you don’t miss a visit to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, where you can mingle with the green monkeys that roam free around the island. 

The food scene is also out of this world, fueled by a unique fusion of African, English, Portuguese, Irish, Creole and Indian flavors. No matter what you’re munching on, you’ll find that big flavor is a staple ingredient in all Bajan cuisine. Sit down at an upscale seafood restaurant for fresh catches prepared to your taste. Or grab a golden-fried fish cake or an aromatic conkie — a mix of cornmeal, pumpkin, coconut, sugar and spices all wrapped in a banana leaf — at one of the island’s many street food stalls. Make sure to add some spicy Bajan sauce to your bites. 

How To Get To Barbados

Sea Breeze Beach House, Barbados

Though Barbados may feel a million miles away from the bustle of everyday life, getting to this secluded island is actually quite easy. Many major cities in the U.S., including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Charlotte, offer direct flights to the island’s capital, Bridgetown. London also offers direct routes that will take you straight across the Atlantic to this sunny southern Caribbean isle. If you’re thinking about a cruise out of Barbados, you can take the stress out of planning your vacation by opting into the Royal Caribbean Air2Sea program. It guarantees you’ll get the lowest airfare on your chosen airlines. It also offers 24/7 support from air specialists, so you can rest assured you’ll make it onto your cruise from Barbados, even if there are flight delays or cancellations. In fact, Royal Caribbean has even reserved seats on airplanes and chartered flights for each sailing, so you’ll always have options.

Going through customs in Barbados is easy, too. All you need is a valid passport — there are no visa requirements as long as your visit is less than six months. You’re going to want to spend a few days in Bridgetown before or after your cruise from Barbados. Planning your island stay is easy and stress-free, as Barbados is home to several hotels and resorts that offer all-inclusive specials.

Wondering where a cruise out of Barbados can take you? Keep reading to learn more about some of the top island destinations you can visit when you sail from Bridgetown with Royal Caribbean. 

Views around Fort George down to Port of Spain

St. Vincent And The Grenadines

A view across Fort Charlotte, Kingstown, Saint Vincent.

Finally, Curaçao rounds out the ABC Islands with plenty to satisfy even the most daring outdoor adventurers. Its rugged north coast is home to Shete Boka National Park, where you’ll find secluded pocket beaches, winding trails through lava hills, and limestone bluffs that offer unparalleled views of the island and the glimmering Caribbean. There’s an ancient crater carved by waves and currents that forms a natural blowhole. And then there are the Hato Caves, a network of subterranean chambers you can access easily and one of the island’s top natural wonders. Of course, Curaçao also offers all the more traditional charms of a Caribbean island escape — like gorgeous beaches and streets filled with culture, delicious cuisine and the sound of Calypso rhythms. Your cruise out of Barbados will take you to Willemstad , Curaçao’s capital, which overflows with European charm. Stroll along the cafes that line the cobblestone streets around Sint Anna Bay, or head to the famous Floating Market, filled with boats selling produce from south America and the surrounding islands.    

From peaceful beaches and sleepy fishing villages, to vibrant coral reefs, sepia-toned desert landscapes and majestic mountain ranges, the southern Caribbean is full of spectacular destinations. And now, with Royal Caribbean cruises departing from Barbados onboard Grandeur of the Seas ®, exploring this region has never been easier. Whether you’re looking for a getaway rich with outdoor adventure and dazzling natural beauty, a relaxing beach escape that involves hopping from one sun-soaked shore to the next, a culture cruise that’s all about history, heritage and cuisine, or a blend of all three — a cruise from Barbados is the perfect way to satisfy your wanderlust in the tropics.

Want to learn more ahead of your cruise out of Barbados ? Check out these insider tips. 

-  Before you book, keep an eye out for cruise deals on sailings from Bridgetown. Royal Caribbean  offers frequent sales online. -  Once you’ve made your reservation, consider staying in Bridgetown for a few days before or after  your cruise from Barbados to explore the island.  -  Barbados is considered the birthplace of rum. Add some to your list of souvenirs to bring home      from the island.   

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Bathseba Beach Rock Formation, Bridgetown Barbados

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Cruises to Bridgetown, Barbados

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Bridgetown Barbados Port Guide

On your Barbados cruise, you’ll dock in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados and an important port city in the Caribbean. What’s not to love about Barbados? Miles of sandy beaches, turquoise island waters, and an abundance of plantations and historic sites to tour mean you’ll find plenty to occupy you during your time here. Be sure to try traditional Barbadian dishes like cou cou and macaroni pie, and make time to enjoy a rum tasting or distillery tour.

Children and families will be captivated by protected species like the West African green monkey at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. You can head east to Bathsheba for plentiful chances to snorkel, surf, and dive. If your cruise ship docks in Bridgetown, be sure to stop in the numerous shops and boutiques in the historic downtown and visit sites memorializing British rule over the island. On your Caribbean cruise , Bridgetown stands out. It’s colorful, historic, and laid back, and the rest of Barbados is easily accessible by car or taxi.

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Top sights & attractions for cruises to bridgetown, historic bridgetown.

Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, and the city recently became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. While on your Barbados cruise here, walk the winding streets (built naturally instead of in a typical grid system), tour the area’s Parliament House, and visit the British colonial garrison. There’s plenty in Bridgetown to take up an entire day, from historic sites to languid buffet-style lunches at spots like Brown Sugar or The Balcony.

Harrison’s Cave

Take an underground tram to reach these caves. As one of Barbados’ most popular attractions, these limestone caves are unlike anything else in the region. The walking paths outside of the caves paint a picture of Barbados’ lush landscape, while the cave stream itself is a perfect excursion for nature lovers and geology experts.

St. Nicholas Abbey

This former sugar plantation now offers tours of its steam mill as well as tastings from its rum distillery, making for a perfect 2-3 hour afternoon tour of the abbey. Walk through the plantation gardens, enjoying the local flora. The last tour goes out at 3:30 pm, and the abbey is closed on Saturdays.

George Washington House

George Washington stayed at this historic home in 1751, when he was just 19 years old. Today, a tour of the house is well worth a visit, and will give you a sense of Bridgetown’s history from hundreds of years ago, including how underground tunnels beneath the house were used for very interesting purposes.

St. Michael’s Cathedral

While on your cruise to Barbados, you can’t miss St. Michael’s Cathedral in the center of Bridgetown, where the Anglican church still has weekend and weekday services. U.S. President George Washington once went to a church service here in the 18th century. The church dates back to the 1600s and has been built and rebuilt over the centuries.

Learn More About Bridgetown Shore Excursions

Top things to do in bridgetown, go swimming with turtles.

While you’re on your Barbados cruise, take a catamaran offered variety of other tour operators in Bridgetown. Swim with leatherback turtles in Barbados’ crystal waters. Turtle watching and swimming is a popular day-long activity with cruise passengers because it combines time in the water with stops at historic shipwrecks for snorkeling as well as snacks and drinks.

Marvel at Protected Animals at Barbados Wildlife Reserve

Drive less than 45 minutes north of Bridgetown for a day among protected species and lush forest. Home to green monkeys, snakes, various bird species, and many others, kids and families will love seeing these animals walking freely through the habitat. The best time to see the animals is at their lunchtime around 2pm each day.

Enjoy Barbados’ Many Beaches

There’s an abundance of beaches on the island, almost too many to choose from, but each has its own vibe. Crane Beach has strong waves and turquoise water, but it’s better for activities like snorkeling and swimming, or head to Bathsheba less than an hour from Bridgetown for excellent surfing waters and a more rugged shorefront. If you want to stay here the port in Bridgetown, there’s Brownes, where shipwrecks in the area mean there’s plenty for divers and snorkelers to see underwater.

Take a Drive Along the Island’s East Coast

Take a drive or a taxi tour towards Bathsheba, Barbados, where you’ll hit the east coast of the island in no time. Stop in small fishing villages or enjoy the unique beaches here, which are characterized by jutting rock formations. It’s a more rugged landscape here than in Bridgetown, so you shouldn’t miss it for a complete picture of the island.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Bridgetown Cruise Port

Cuz’s Fish Shack

Address: 39JR+R6 Pebbles Beach Bridgetown, Barbados

Look for this casual blue sandwich stand near Pebbles Beach for tasty fish sandwiches that receive rave reviews from visitors. The shack has been serving the area for nearly 70 years. It closes at 3pm, or whenever the fresh catches of the day run out. Try their signature sandwich, a fish and cheese cutter.

Brown Sugar Restaurant

Address: Bay St., Bridgetown, Barbados

When you’re feeling particularly peckish, head to Brown Sugar for an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. The buffet is comprehensive, featuring local dishes like macaroni pie, Bajan fish cakes, baked plantains, and dessert favorites like coconut cream pie and rum balls.

The Balcony

Address: Broad St., Bridgetown, Barbados

When you’re done exploring historic downtown and Broad Street, take a lunch break at The Balcony, which is another lunch buffet spot in Bridgetown serving traditional Caribbean fare. Get the flying fish here, or take a break from fish to enjoy one of their beef or chicken dishes. The atmosphere is relaxed and the food won’t break the bank.

Address: The Boardwalk Main Road, Highway 7, Bridgetown, Barbados

For a more upscale dining experience in Bridgetown, take a seat on the boardwalk for lunch or dinner at Tapas, a wine bar and restaurant where the waterfront views add to the charm. You’ll find an extensive tapas menu and a great wine list, in addition to dinner menu items like spaghetti al mare, seared tuna, lamb shank, and more.

Culture & History of the Bridgetown Cruise Port

European colonization came to Barbados in the 16th century, but before that, the area was home to the native Arawaks and the Caribs. Barbados is heavily influenced by West African culture and the effects of over 300 years of British occupation. The region’s profitable sugar cane trade was built by the slave trade, but it took until 1834 for slavery to finally be abolished in Barbados. In 1838, former slaves celebrated their full freedom in the streets of Barbados by singing and dancing folk songs. In 1966, Barbados was declared a constitutional monarchy.

Barbados is known for its unique culinary offerings too, from macaroni pie, cou cou, fish cakes, and other regional delicacies must be experienced while on your Barbados cruise. They take their food and drink seriously, whether those are cheap eats downtown or spending time at one of Bridgetown’s many rum shops. Food is a huge part of the culture here.

Bridgetown Port Facilities & Location

You’ll find standard cruise port amenities here like free WiFi throughout the port, an information desk, and duty-free shopping for souvenirs. Within the port, there’s an area for tour guides to set up so passengers can purchase tours and depart from the port with their tour group. There are now over 60 businesses and shops located within the port. Bridgetown’s port welcomes you to Barbados with a festive, lively atmosphere, sometimes including performances from entertainers.

Transportation in Bridgetown

While on a cruise to Barbados, know that there are a variety of ways to get around once you’re there. Downtown Bridgetown is about a mile away from the cruise port. Taxis tend to be inexpensive in Barbados except during rush hour, and there will be taxi drivers waiting to pick up passengers outside the cruise terminal. You can arrange for a taxi to pick you up later, or to take you to multiple destinations. There is also a shuttle service from the port into Bridgetown available for cruise passengers to take.

Shopping Near the Bridgetown Cruise Port

Bridgetown isn’t known for its shopping, but there are still many options for all kinds of offerings. You’ll find duty-free shops near the port, ideal for quick souvenir shopping or if you eye any must-have jewelry or clothing while you’re in the cruise terminal. Shopping on Broad Street is most popular for jewelry and higher-end wares, including a Tiffany and Co. Swan Street is where locals shop for clothing and shoes.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The official currency of the area is the Barbadian dollar (B$), but US dollars are often accepted on the island, particularly at larger institutions like hotels. You’ll find banks along Broad Street, and ATMs are plentiful. At restaurants, your bill will typically already have a 10-15% service charge included, and unless the service was excellent, it’s not required for you to tip additionally. If the service charge isn’t included, leaving a 10% tip is customary. Be sure to establish a fare with a taxi driver before you set off.

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World's second-largest cruise ship to call Port Canaveral home

ORLANDO, Fla. — Port Canaveral has a new, very large resident.

The world’s second-largest cruise ship — Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas — arrived Thursday morning.

What You Need To Know

The world's second-largest cruise ship  — royal caribbean’s utopia of the seas — arrived in port canaveral thursday according to the cruise lines international association's 2023 state of the industry report, port canaveral second busiest u.s. port for cruises, and third in the world, in 2022 the disney cruise ship treasure is coming to port canaveral at the end of 2024, and royal caribbean's star of the seas is expected to arrive in 2025.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association's 2023 State of the Industry report, Port Canaveral was the second-busiest U.S. port for cruises, and third in the world, in 2022. 

Only PortMiami and Barcelona Cruise Port in Barcelona, Spain, were busier, the report says .

Travel agents and port officials say the demand is strong enough to close the gap.

According to Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral trailed Miami by about 400,000 passengers in 2023 — which would be down significantly from the approximate 800,000 difference for 2022 noted in the CLIA 2023 report.

But, when it comes to what industry has been thriving lately in Central Florida, people have to look no further than in the waters.

Tabbitha Stewart, CEO of Premium Travel Concierge, says bookings for cruises in the past year have nearly doubled out of Port Canaveral.

She said a big factor in that is the port's affordability.

“Three- to four-day cruise, you are looking at $200-300 per person,” Stewart said. “Then, a seven-day cruise is about $700 per person.”

“Most of my clients, even outside of Florida are coming to Orlando,” Stewart added. “That’s our No. 1 destination, and there are people asking would we be able to do Disney and a three- or four-day cruise out of Port Canaveral?”

Aside from the now Utopia of the Seas in the port, the Celebrity cruise ship Equinox will be in port come December.

The port doesn’t look to stop there.

The Disney cruise ship Treasure will be arriving at the end of the year, and next year the Star of the Seas, a second Icon Class ship from Royal Caribbean will also be in.

Between new ships and added parking lots that altogether can hold up to 100,000 cars at one time, Murray says Port Canaveral is not just a seasonal port, but a year-round one.

Murray also said 2024 is on pace for a record year for travel at Port Canaveral.

In 2023, which was a record year for Port Canaveral , 6.8 million passengers arrived. This year the port is on pace for 7.5 million, and in 2025 they are projecting another new record of more than 8 million passengers.

Is the Eras Tour coming to a Disney Cruise? What to know about Taylor Swift cruise

Portrait of Samantha Neely

Editor's note: Story was edited to clarify this is a fan-led event, the "Getaway Cruise" has no affiliation with the Disney Cruise Line.

Ahoy, Swifties! If you were unable to attend the Eras Tour in Tampa or didn't grab tickets for the new Miami dates , you're in luck .

The “Getaway Cruise” is a fan-led  Taylor Swift-themed event aboard that is set to launch from Florida next September.

The cruise will head for the Bahamas and Disney's private island from Friday, Sept. 5, 2025 to Monday, Sept. 8, 2025. Believe Vacations travel agents Kim Haig and Kira Ashline will be hosting the enchanted event.

"The Getaway Cruise was born when Kim’s ​daughter Grace said 'Mama, I wish there was ​a Disney Cruise for Swifties' … and here we are," the website shares. "This cruise is for all fans, so bring your besties, ​your kiddos, your parents, your neighbor, you ​name it! If you need a roommate let us know ​and we can help you find one."

Will Taylor Swift also be on the cruise?

Unfortunately, there will not be any appearances from the popstar.

Believe Vacations notes on its website that they have no affiliation with Taylor Swift or Taylor Alison Swift Rights Management.

What does the Taylor Swift-themed cruise schedule look like?

The cruise is a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas, sailing out of Port Canaveral on Friday, Sept. 5, 2025. The itinerary for voyage looks like:  

  • Day 1 - Port Canaveral, FL
  • Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas
  • Day 3 - Disney Castaway Cay
  • Day 4 - Port Canaveral, FL

Believe Vacations note the event will take place during the Disney Cruise Line's " Halloween on the High Seas " sailing, which includes exclusive entertainment and deck parties, character costumes and meet and greets, themed food and beverages, trick or treating and costume nights for spooky season.

What activities will be available on the Taylor Swift-themed cruise?

It won't be a cruel summer while on the cruise. Haig shared what planned for those on board the Swift-themed ship: 

  • Exclusive Welcome Gift
  • Private Reception (with open standard bar)
  • Disney and Taylor Inspired Theme Nights
  • Friendship Bracelet Trading
  • Costume Contest
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Taylor Trivia
  • Door Decorating Contest
  • Group Exclusive Fish Extender Exchange (a gift exchange that's a Disney Cruise Line "tradition" of sorts)

What’s included in the ticket price?

According to the organizers, the cruise fare includes:

  • Variety of Dining Options
  • Soft drinks, coffee, tea and juices

It also includes the exclusive Taylor Swift activities for fans.

Here's how to book the Taylor Swift cruise on Disney Wish

You won't have to deal with Ticketmaster this time. According to Believe Vacations officials, guests can book rooms for the "Getaway Cruise” directly on their  website .

What documents do I need to board?

The website says that a passport is the best ID document for travel. If using a passport it cannot expire within six months of sailin​g​.

U.S. Citizens can also cruise with a birth certificate on most sailings from ​the U.S. All birth certificates must follow Disney Cruise Line’s ​requirements as outlined on its website .

Where will the Taylor Swift-themed event take place?

Get ready to watch the sun go down on the Disney Wish in the water.

The Disney Wish is Disney Cruise Line's newest ship, first setting sail in summer of 2022. According to the website, some of the experiences on the 15-deck cruise include Marvel-themed dining, immersive water slides, Broadway-style show, character meet-and-greets and an adult-only Hyperspace lounge.

Are there other Taylor Swift-themed cruises this year?

Of course there are! The “ In My Cruise Era … ” is set to launch from Port of Miami in October.

The cruise, on the Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, leaves for the Bahamas the day after Swift's final show of her three-day stop in Miami. According to the website, the cruise fare includes stateroom accommodations, dinner in the main dining room nightly as well as additional buffet and a la carte options around the ship. It also includes entertainment.

The website does note that all 199 staterooms are currently booked and its waitlist is now closed, but officials said that those who previously joined the waitlist should "keep an eye on your email, we will offer spots in our group to members of our waitlist in the order inquiries were received."

When the word 'big' isn't big enough: FLORIDA TODAY looks at NASA's VAB and giant cruise ship

Portrait of Mara Bellaby

Sometimes it's fun to go big.

Sunday's FLORIDA TODAY takes a deeper look at an iconic Space Coast building and a new boat docking at Port Canaveral -- and in both cases, the word "big" isn't even big enough to describe them.

Let's start with the boat. Look for Business Editor Dave Berman's detailed report on our Style cover of everything you need to know about Utopia of the Seas, the world's second largest cruise ship , which started its twice-weekly sailings from Port Canaveral this weekend.

Dave's story on this new Royal Caribbean ship covers everything from what to expect in the restaurants to the ship's famous godmother. Here are some fun numbers from Dave's story that really illustrate the size of this floating city: Utopia features 18 decks (including 16 passenger decks); 2,834 staterooms; a crew of 2,290; and is 1,188 feet long. It has 22 restaurants; 13 bars and lounges; five pools; eight hot tubs; two casinos with more than 370 slot machines and nearly 30 table games; two rock-climbing walls; and a mini-golf course.

Got Olympics Fever?: 'A lot of jet lag': L3Harris engineer Canyon Barry heads to Olympics for 3x3 basketball

Next up in the go big category is NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building. Whenever I drive over the State Road 520 causeway, I'm always awed by the site of the VAB in the distance. Space Reporter Brooke Edwards decided to take a deeper look at its history and future timed around the 55th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which, of course, the VAB was constructed to support .

The VAB stands 525 feet, making it the equivalent to a 50-story structure. That's taller than the Statue of Liberty and just under half the size of the Empire State Building. But what's so remarkable about this building is that it's all one giant single-story structure; it's not subdivided like a typical skyscraper. And, of course, what's even more remarkable is what it represents: our nation's space ambitions, both those already achieved and those still being planned.

"You kind of think about it, the elevator cars themselves are original to the building, and you think about the past and think 'all those people have stood where I'm standing right now'," Elizabeth Kline, the element operations manager for the VAB, told Brooke.

I hope you not only spend time with our VAB story but also go to floridatoday.com to scroll through the accompanying photo galleries . Our photographers have captured stunning images of this historic building through the years.

Other stories I hope you don't miss in Sunday's FLORIDA TODAY:

  • Our front page story on Brevard County's budget proposal for next year . Dave Berman walks you through the priorities — and what this budget would mean for your taxes. It's probably no surprise that roads and other transportation-related infrastructure from bridges to sidewalks are top priorities. And topping that to-do list is widening and improving Ellis Road.
  • Education Reporter Finch Walker showcases some of Brevard's talented youth who competed this month in the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics during the NAACP national convention in Las Vegas.
  • Get some insight on investing from our financial planner columnist.
  • For all those pickleball fans out there, Trending Reporter Michelle Spitzer tells you about an indoor pickleball facility coming to Brevard. Playing indoors might be particularly welcome to those of us who are extra vulnerable to insect bites. Michelle also gives us the scoop on mosquitoes and why they bite some people more than others .
  • Finally, today is National Ice Cream Day. Read our story inside Sunday's newspaper then get out there and enjoy a scoop (or two). What's your favorite flavor? Mine is mocha chip.

Starting this week, we'll be rolling out our local August primary election preview stories. We've got reporters working on many of the key races around Brevard County, so look for those stories at floridatoday.com and in your newspaper. Our goal is to make sure you have as much information as you need before casting your ballot.

Executive Editor Mara Bellaby can be reached at [email protected]. Thank you for subscribing and supporting local journalism.

Buying art on a cruise ship could get you in deep water (or not!) | At Home with Marni

COPY THAT! Whether a work of art is an original, a signed and numbered serigraph, or a poster of the same image will impact its value, said Candace Hill, a certified art appraiser in the Denver Metro area who offered this example. At auction, a signed poster (left) of Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn” sold for $952. A signed silkscreen print (center) sold for $156,250, and a signed original (right) sold for $28 million.

I know you’re going to make fun of me, so let’s just get this over with. I bought art on a cruise ship. OK, laugh. While gallery owners and art appraisers will mock you for this, you could do worse. 

My husband and I faced an unusual situation at our house: a blank wall. I had moved some art around leaving a glaringly empty wall in the entryway. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but DC and I have different tastes and different philosophies about acquiring art. I like to buy art from local artists. He likes art from “known” artists. We also both work, so don’t have the luxury of strolling through art galleries or going to art auctions at Sotheby’s. If, while out on my own, I see a piece I like, chances of getting him to see it are slim, and chances he’ll like it even slimmer. So, the wall stayed bare.

“We’ll look on our cruise,” DC said a couple months back, referring to a long-planned vacation coming up. I sighed. He’s a bigger fan of cruises. The thought of these oversized ships with their central parks, ice rinks, massive buffets and free-flowing alcohol used to make me want to climb into a tent with a granola bar and read a book by flashlight. But he convinced me to try. I have come around. And that’s marriage. 

He has also convinced me to attend the ship’s art auctions, which I used to think were cheesy, because, in fact, some of the art for sale is cheesy, like the kind where two olives hold hands and dance in a martini glass. This isn’t a judgment. It’s simply a fact.

Park West, the company that runs art auctions for many cruise lines, knows what their cruising customers like. They also know that when vacationers are out to sea with all their cares on a distant shore, they are primed to splurge. These mates hold a glass of champagne in one hand and a numbered paddle in the other. They sit on velvet chairs in a room with others in the same boat, literally. Next, a fast-talking auctioneer unveils artworks on stage, extols the virtues of the artist and the piece, and explains why you must that minute become its owner.

Numbers and money (from $50 to five-figures) fly. Gavels bang. And next thing you know, someone is going home with a signed, numbered, framed Salvador Dali. It’s crazy. But I’ve decided if my husband and his wallet are open to buying art on a ship, I’m on board. 

We agreed on this. We wanted a contemporary, preferably original work, about 30” x 40” with blues and oranges, a water motif since we live in Florida, and, oh, in our budget. Although the chances of finding a piece that hit that sweet spot was as likely as finding a casino on Mars, we told the auctioneer what we were looking for. He opened his laptop and pulled up several works on the ship, including one from a rising Florida artist that miraculously checked all our boxes. He showed us the actual piece and price.

We researched the artist online to find out what his pieces sold for. The opening bid for the framed original was much lower. “Sailing at Dawn” is on its way to our home.

The whole experience made me realize I needed a fine art refresher. Whether on land or sea, the uninitiated can quickly get into deep water buying art. Back home, I called fine art appraiser Susan Filebark of Vero Beach. Filebark learned her craft from her mother, who  appraised art for museums, and had as one of her maxims: “Never buy art on a cruise ship!” 

We got that laugh out of the way, then she helped me break down what affects art value, so if you ever find yourself with a paddle in one hand and champagne in the other, you’ll be ready.

· The artist.  How well-known the artist is will affect sales price. Some collectors only want signed originals or limited-edition art from listed artists, defined as an artist who has sold art at an auction. 

· Original or limited-edition.  Although a one-of-a-kind signed original will command the highest price,if an original by an artist you like is out of your price range, look for serigraphs, stone lithographs or engravings by that artist. These limited-edition prints are produced in multiples yet still considered fine art. Because the printing plates deteriorate with multiple impressions, production stops when the artist, who generally oversees the printing, no longer approves the quality, thus making a limited edition.

· Signed and numbered.  In the bottom margin of a limited-edition print is a fraction, such as 42/150, written in pencil. That indicates it is the 42 nd  print in a run of 150. The artist typically signs each print. Usually, these print runs are under 250. Runs much over that make the print less valuable. 

· Giclées.  An ink-jet printing technique that transfers digitized scans of fine art directly onto canvas, giclées allow for realistic reproductions at affordable prices. To tell the difference between a giclée and an original, look closely with a magnifying loupe for any pixelation or cross hatching. Also feel it. A giclée won’t have any paint buildup from brushstrokes. The exception is with hand-embellished giclées, where the artist (presumably) paints over parts of a giclée to give it an authentic look, and signs it. Though this will raise the value, it’s still a giclée underneath. 

· Open-edition prints.  These are basically posters with large press runs. They are worth only their decorative value. Sometimes artists sign posters, say at a museum exhibition, which may increase the value, but doesn’t make it a limited-edition print. 

· The value hierarchy.  If Filebark were to use dollar symbols like in a dining guide to assign value from most to least expensive, an original would be $$$$$, a signed limited-edition fine art print $$-$$$, and a giclée $. I have all of these in my home.

“If you want to buy art by a certain artist,” Filebark says, “look in the secondhand market. Watch for works to come up at art auctions or find the artist and buy direct from his studio.” Galleries are also an option. Or, if you like having a wide selection, a choice of frames, the cost of shipping included, and free champagne, check your snobbishness at the door and consider buying art on a cruise ship.

Marni Jameson is the author seven books, including the newly released “Rightsize Today to Create Your Best Life Tomorrow: A Motivational Guide for Those Seeking Their Ideal Home Later in Life” , and “What to Do With Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want.” You may reach her at marnijameson.com .

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    · Signed and numbered. In the bottom margin of a limited-edition print is a fraction, such as 42/150, written in pencil. That indicates it is the 42 nd print in a run of 150.