Bermuda vs. Caribbean Cruises: Smackdown!

bermuda caribbean cruise destination best bettter
Bermuda has charm, but the Caribbean has variety. - Photo by Lev Savitskiy / Shutterstock

Lots of travelers automatically think of the Caribbean when they consider cruise vacations from the east coast, but Bermuda is a great option, too. At certain times of the year it’s not as hot and humid, and has an elegant charm that won’t be found on most Caribbean islands. However, the Caribbean is chock full of unique activities that you can’t find in Bermuda. We’re breaking down each destination, so you can decide for yourself which might be a better fit for you.

Itineraries

Because Bermuda is much further north in the Atlantic than the Caribbean, cruises there tend to leave from ports in the northeast, such as Boston, New York City, and Baltimore. This is great news for those that live nearby, because there aren’t usually as many cruise choices when sailing from this area. Most Bermuda sailings are a week long, and spend several nights in a single Bermuda port, simply because the ship can’t reach any other port. Caribbean cruises can range from five days to two weeks or more, and have a plethora of islands to stop in so there is a myriad of destinations to choose from.

Our Pick: Caribbean for sheer choice and variety.

Beaches

Both destinations have beautiful beaches that will satisfy any lover of sun and sand. Bermuda is world-famous for its pink sand beaches, a unique feature that makes them a bucket-list item. The Caribbean may not have pink sand, but it wins when it comes to variety: Whether you want calm and clear, big waves for surfing, or a reef shallow enough for snorkeling, everyone can find a favorite beach in the Caribbean.

Our Pick: Tie - Bermuda's pink sands are a unique standout, but again, the Caribbean offers more choice and variety.

Activities

Bermuda is full of charm and is a British Overseas Territory, which means it’s got a lot of English influence. Visitors can take part in all of the typical island activities, like snorkeling, sailing on a catamaran, swimming with dolphins, kayaking, and taking a glass bottom boat tour. But the most special part of the country is its history and culture. Some highlights include an 18th century fortress, the smallest drawbridge over the Atlantic, the Gibbs Lighthouse, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. George. The Caribbean takes its influence from many countries, so you’ll find French, British, American, and Dutch islands to explore, among many others. Any type of activity you want to do, you’ll find it somewhere in the Caribbean, from history tours to zip lining, snorkeling, four wheeling, and boating.

Our Pick: Tie.

Kids

Families with young kids will enjoy Bermuda’s glass-bottom boat tours, swimming with dolphins, or spending a day at the beach. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of variety that will keep most kids’ attention (like historical tours), and parents should be aware that many Bermuda beaches have a stronger undercurrent than they might be used to. The Caribbean is a kid’s paradise, and nearly every port will have something for every age group, like zip lining, aqua parks, animal sanctuaries, cave tubing, and of course, beach days.

Our Pick: Caribbean - Variety is critical when keeping children entertained, and the Caribbean has it in spades.

Weather

For vacationers looking for a hot, tropical feeling island, summer is the best time to visit Bermuda. However, visiting during the spring or fall can be easier on those who don’t like heat, and those sailings will probably have less kids, too. On the other hand, the Caribbean is hot year-round, even more so in the summer months. Be prepared to take the heat no matter when you cruise there. As far as hurricane concerns go, both destinations are impacted, so keep in mind that hurricane season runs from June through November.

Our Pick: Tie — Caribbean is better most of the year, but Bermuda wins during the summer.

Safety

As a whole, Bermuda is more upscale than most Caribbean islands and has a good reputation for visitor safety. Public transportation is plentiful, and those using it shouldn’t be concerned about it’s safety. Some Caribbean islands are much less safe, and crime rates can be very high — Jamaica in particular. Exploring on your own is not the best choice in many Caribbean ports, so read up on the islands you will be visiting and consider reputable tour operators like those we offer on cruiseline.com. Also, remember that no matter which destination you visit, keep your valuables close at all times as there’s a chance of pickpocketing in any tourist hot-spot.

Our Pick: Bermuda

Overall

Our Pick: Tie. Bermuda is a unique island nation that leaves guests wanting to go back nearly every time. Its elegance and British charm along with the pink sand beaches and fun sights mean there’s plenty of variety no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for. On the other hand, the Caribbean is the top cruise destination in the world and with good reason. There are dozens of Caribbean ports that large cruise ships visit regularly, each with their own unique appeal and activities for any kind of vacationer.

Join The Discussion

Which destination would you choose for your next cruise?

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