Back Caribbean Cruising In 2021

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Excited To Be Back Caribbean Cruising In 2021

After a long break from cruising, we are excited to be back Caribbean cruising in 2021. Albeit, we squeezed this trip in at the last minute in December.  A fun way to wrap up our travel for 2021.

This Caribbean cruise leaves from Miami and takes us back to some of our favourite Eastern Caribbean Islands – St Barts, St Maarten, St Kitts and St Lucia. We return for a day in San Juan in Puerto Rico. And we finish with a new stop at the Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

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We booked some fun excursions in advance. And are looking forward to enjoying time onboard the Oceania Cruises Riviera. We know we will have no trouble filling our 10 days at sea.

Heading Back Out To See

Since we began cruising, we spent over 300 days at sea onboard cruise vessels. Our cruise trips took us to 180 ports and 76 countries. In the early part of 2020, we cruised around South America with Oceania Cruises for several months. And sadly just as our cruise was getting ready to end, we were stranded at sea by Covid-19. The Oceania Cruises leadership and staff responded with excellent customer service and we ultimately made it safely and healthy back to Miami with no incidents onboard.

For the South America cruise, Oceania Cruises issued passengers with future cruise credits. We booked a Caribbean cruise in March 2022 and figured the pandemic would be a thing of the past. But we all learned differently. When we needed to finalize our March 2022 cruise, we felt there was still much uncertainty about travel more than 4 months away.

We were delighted when we were able to switch our booked cruise to an almost immediate departure. With such a short runway, we had clarity about the Covid requirements. Some quick planning ensured we could book the needed flights and hotels. So we were happy and finalized Caribbean cruising in 2021.

We loved cruising and missed so much about cruising while the Covid pandemic roared. We found lots of ways to remember our cruising days. But it was not the same. With less than 2 weeks to wait, we started planning our cruise.

A Short Stop In Miami

Our Caribbean cruise will start in Miami. On previous cruises from Miami, we stayed in the city and enjoyed Miami as a cruise port base. We always found lots to see and do in Miami.

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On this trip, we booked at the last minute and had other appointments on our calendar. So we really could not head to Miami too early. But we were not those people who flew in the day of the cruise. Especially with winter conditions in Toronto. And the changing and growing Covid-19 requirements.

We booked a direct flight for the day before our cruise left. And booked one night to return to the lovely JW Marriott Marquis Miami in downtown. This was the same hotel we used when we left for our South America cruise. With our Marriott loyalty status, we even had a free night certificate that covered this stay!

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It was great to have one night in Miami to start our Caribbean cruising in 2021. And we knew the view of the Oceania Cruises ship entering the harbour at dawn was always a sight to behold.

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Relaxing Days At Sea

Our cruise started with two days at sea as we moved south in the Eastern Caribbean. We were definitely excited to enjoy all the activities onboard. And to look for so many of the great people we met sailing on Oceania Cruises.

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Oceania Cruises Crew Activities.jpg

We looked forward to time spent lounging on deck or on our balcony. But we did plan to walk the deck for our daily exercise.

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There was always lots of entertainment and education activities on board. And more were set up for full days at sea. We were sure to find something to keep us engaged. Although I was happy to find a quiet spot and read.

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And no cruise with Oceania Cruises trip was complete without enjoying the Finest Cuisine at Sea. On board, we never waited long for our next opportunity to be delighted from breakfast through Afternoon Tea and onto the many dinner venues.

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Oceania Cruises Cuisine Food - Caribbean Cruising In 2021.jpg

It was exciting to think about two full days lounging at sea when Caribbean cruising in 2021.

Fun Excursions Booked Caribbean Cruising In 2021

Before we even boarded the ship, we booked some fun outdoor excursions for port days. Our first port stop was in Gustavia on St Barts. On our first visit to St Barts, we enjoyed an ATV tour around the island. Our second visit found us exploring the great beaches. On this cruise, we planned a boat trip for snorkelling. We were always happiest in the water.

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On our first cruise visit, we had an amazing zipline adventure in St Kitts. For this return visit, we booked a day that allowed us to enjoy the open top scenic train around the island. And then return to the pier on a catamaran. We knew we would see more of St Kitts and have fun too.

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Before we started Caribbean cruising in 2021, we knew we had several fun outdoor activities scheduled.

Some Return Port Stops Are Still Being Planned

On this Caribbean cruise, we returned yet again to St Lucia. We visited St Lucia by cruise ship several times. And have stayed on St Lucia and enjoyed all three of the Sandals Resorts. So this was a port stop we knew well. Unfortunately we were waitlisted for a snorkel trip but hoped our status would clear. We knew how great the underwater world was in St Lucia.

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We are also returning to St Maarten. On our first trip to St Maarten we loved the chance to crew one of the America’s Cup 12 Metre racing sailboats. There were several excursions that interested us on this new cruise. But we wanted to talk with the Oceania Cruises excursion specialists before we committed.

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The port in San Juan, Puerto Rico was also one we visited several times. On our first visit, we explored the old town and marvelled at the beautiful statue art we found in the lovely Cementerio Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis spot that overlooked the water. The second visit found us wandering around Old Town. On this Caribbean stop we really wanted to head into town and enjoy the great coffee shops.

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We were happy that Caribbean cruising in 2021 we returned to some of our favourite Eastern Caribbean port stops. While we loved to explore new ports, returning to well known spots ensured we knew how to plan a great day visit.

One Brand New Port Stop

The final port stop for our Caribbean cruise was in Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. This was an island owned by the Norwegian Cruise Lines and it reminded us of Mahogany Bay in Roatan in the Honduras on a cruise around the Western Caribbean. The islands are set up with such a multitude of fun outdoor activities.

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For our stop in Great Stirrup Cay, we saw that snorkelling was close by the port. And we definitely planned to take our snorkelling gear on this cruise. There was stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and lots of kayaks to rent. We knew we could fill a full day with fun and did not need to firmly schedule anything in advance.

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This port included a day trip to see the swimming pigs. Since we enjoyed this fun activity on one of our visits to the Bahamas, we passed that fun!

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Bahamas Swimming Pigs - Caribbean Cruising In 2021.jpg

We loved that we finished our Caribbean cruising in 2021 in the Bahamas and had a short cruise back to Miami. And what a fun day it would be!

Changes On Board Caribbean Cruising In 2021 During The Covid-19 Pandemic

As the Covid-19 pandemic raged, we followed the changes in cruising procedures and requirements. A robust set was put in place to protect passengers and crew. But we know these were subject to change as the world learned more about this new virus.

We were both fully vaccinated. Which was good since this was a primary requirement to cruise. And to fly on Air Canada from Canada.

We will take a Covid test to enter the U.S. and Oceania Cruises will provide the PCR Covid test we need before we fly home to Canada.

We expect to find masking and social distancing requirements on board the ship. And we know that strong processes will be immediately implemented in the very rare instance that Covid finds it way onboard.

We expect that each of the cruise ports in the Caribbean may have slightly different rules. And we fully expect to be briefed early by Oceania Cruises. This meant we were not totally sure what policies might be in place for us to wander on our own in port. And we have already learned that two ports have changed from docking to tendering. But we accepted in advance that for some ports without booked excursions, we would enjoy the empty ship with delight!

With cruising just re-starting, we believed the Covid-19 risk was manageable. Even for older and maybe a bit higher at risk individuals. And we sure could not wait to be Caribbean cruising in 2021.

A Great Trip Planned For Caribbean Cruising In 2021

When we started our travels in 2021, we were not sure we would do any cruising. We enjoyed local travels, a road trip to Eastern Canada and then a long road trip to Western Canada. But as we headed towards the end of the year, the only cruising we did was on ferries.

When the chance to head out for a short trip Caribbean cruising in 2021 presented itself, we were ready to jump on board. And we are so excited to share our trip with you! You can follow our social media channels as we travel for updates as we go. And watch the blog for new cruising travel posts!

Have you been Caribbean cruising in 2021? What was your favourite part?

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About TravelAtWill 674 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

81 Comments

  1. I am confused as to when you took this trip. It says you crammed it at the last minute in December, but the post is published late November. Anyway, regardless of that, the trip looks amazing. The swimming pigs are always a highlight of any Bahamian cruise, but it would seem your experiences went much further than just that. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure – the itinerary looks fab!

  2. I have only cruised once and I didn’t have vegetables presented as pretty as those! I REALLY want to see the swimming with the pigs at Great Stirrup Cay, They are so unique and would be such a great memory.

  3. Your Carribean cruise trip looks fantastic and so does the pics from the cruise. The vast expanse of the cerulean blue sea paired with good food is so tempting!

  4. The only cruising I have done is for a few hours in the rivers in India. This Caribbean Cruise is like a dream holiday. The swimming pigs are so fascinating. It would be fun to do this cruise someday, I hope.

  5. I have never been on a cruise. I do hope to do it someday. Also this Caribbean cruise seems like a dream. That sight of a sunset is absolutely stunning. Also, swimming with pigs is so cute, I have always seen pictures of it and have never done it. And stopping by the port also looks lovely.

  6. What a fun and beautiful trip! We will be taking our first cruise next summer to Alaska, but looks like we will need to immediately begin planning the next one to the Caribbean!

  7. My neighbors just got back from a Caribbean cruise and had a great time. They went ziplining on their ship, and had a great time with their extended family. It was such a good time, they booked two more cruises! Glad to see travel is starting to get back to normal, with precautions of course.

  8. I am not sure if I would enjoy a cruise, but you make it sound like fun. I would definitely love to meet the swimming pigs on the Bahamas though. A cruise really seems to be the perfect way to experience some of the Caribbean islands.

  9. What a delightful cruise experience. Am glad you managed to go on it before planned. It has been my dream to scuba in the Caribbean and you managed to do just that. So envy you for it. And swimming pigs – never have I seen them like this. I sure would want to capture them myself. Cruise in general, looks amazing and comfortable.

  10. You guys clearly had a wonderful trip! I’d love to do a Caribbean cruise, it’s getting very cold here in northern Italy. Love the photo of the pigs trying to board, how funny! Next time, please take me with you, I really need some sun and Caribbean vibes!

  11. I haven’t visited any of these islands besides Puerto Rico, but they are all on my list! I would absolutely love to see those adorable swimming pigs in the Bahamas, they are too cute. This sounds like an absolutely wonderful cruising experience – and a great way to escape the winter cold!

  12. Excited for you on this trip! How I miss cruising and hoping to have the courage to travel again soon after everything that has happened during this pandemic. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. I enjoyed reading your post.

  13. Gah this makes me want to be on a cruise asap! I love sailing in the Caribbean – it’s close to the Continental USA, but feels like you’re in true paradise! Thanks for sharing so many lovely pictures! The food onboard looks delish!

  14. What a lovely experience and it looks like real fun.The more I see your cruising experiences the more excited I get to do few long cruises. It would definitely be an exciting experience meeting the swimming pigs on the Bahamas .Caribbean islands on a cruise sounds and looks great.

  15. Wow this looks like an amazing experience! The desserts on board look amazing. I haven’t been on any type of cruise before but I’d like to in the future.

  16. Wow! What a wonderful experience and such stunning scenery!

    We have never been on a cruise but have an Alaskan one planned for this coming summer. Now I will have to add a Caribbean cruise on our bucket list!

  17. Wow it really looks like you had an amazing time on the cruise! The more I see your posts about cruises the more it makes me want to take one. Our family had one planned, but once COVID hit we have not been able to re-plan once since! I could really use a relaxing trip in the Caribbean sometime soon!

  18. Ok! I can’t wait to hear how this all goes and if you feel comfortable with the onboard procedures. I hope the testing goes well too. All of it! Looking forward to your “post cruise” post!

  19. What a fantastic time you will have on the cruise, especially since you are a cruising expert already. Our cruise was cancelled because of you know what… and the company went bankrupt so we weren’t refunded either. I love cruising, and would love to visit these islands, especially Roatan. Thanks for firing me up again. The precautions the cruise lines are taking makes me think they are safe again, but it must have been scary being stuck on your last one.

    • I am sorry to hear that your cruise company went bankrupt and you did not get your money back. We were very happy to be able to use the cruise credits we had. Glad to know this fired you up for more cruising. We are glad we are enjoying this trip. But there may be another pause before we book. Things are again changing pretty quickly.

  20. Cruising is something I have not gotten around to doing – unless you count the two weeks my family was on a Navy ship going from San Francisco to join my Seabee dad in Japan in 1959! Your trip sounds wonderful. It is great returning to destinations you’ve previously visited so you can enjoy places you missed on prior trips.

  21. That zipline adventure sounds incredible! I haven’t been on a cruise in 10+ years, but I always loved those relaxing days at sea where you could just lay out on the deck and eat at your leisure throughout the day. So fun! Maybe I’ll need to try a cruise again soon; thanks for the reminder! Xx Sara

  22. Wow, sounds like this 10 day cruise was perfect! The perfect route, ship, food, and day trips. I’ve never done a cruise, but you’ve honestly really sold me on trying it out!

  23. We have booked a cruise for May in Norway and are just crossing our fingers that things are good then. As travelers, so many of us are just itching to get back to it. Bon Voyage.

  24. Last minute booking seems to be the best way to do any trips at the moment. I hope this one turns out as planned for you. I’ll look forward to an actual trip report and how the covid management practices actually work out.

  25. It’s good to hear that you will be getting out on a cruise again before the end of the year. I’ll be interested to read about your experiences after you complete the trip & find out what has changed. I have just returned from Barbados & was really impressed with how strict they are with their precautions. I hope you find the same & have a fantastic trip. Bon Voyage!

    • I wish I could report that all parts of our travel were as strict as we hoped for. But we kept ourselves masked and managed to have a great time. We were happy to get this trip in before things started to tighten up again.

  26. I have heard wonderful things about Oceana and would love to give them a try. Your itinerary looks awesome and I do hope one day to see the swimming pigs in the Bahamas.

  27. Ah! A Caribbean cruise sounds like everything I need right now! I’ve never been on a cruise before, but it looks like there are so many things to do! Seeing the swimming pigs looks like a blast! I’d definitely have that on my itinerary! Thanks for the great guide!

  28. It’s great that you had the opportunity to take another beautiful cruise after a longer, pandemic break. It’s good that the world is slowly opening up and it is possible to travel. I was only in Miami, and I know that it offers amazing criuises destinations. Eastern Caribbean Islands as St Barts, St Maarten, St Kitts and St Lucia are still on my bucket list! I think visited them during a cruise is a perfect idea. It’s also great that you had a time to do so many outdoor activities. Zipline adventure in St Kitts seems pretty thrilling.

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