Almost 20 cruise operators ply the Caribbean, and with 700 islands to explore from there’s an itinerary to suit everyone.

It’s your job to find the right ship and itinerary for yourt client – use our guide to the best Caribbean cruises for families, island-hoppers, luxury travellers, adrenaline junkies and foodies.

 

For families

Cruise:Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Ship:Carnival Splendor
Operating: November 2008 to March 2009

This 113,300-tonne, 3,000-passenger ‘fun ship’ does not enter service until spring 2008, but will be ideal for families.

Mums will enjoy the largest spa in the fleet, spanning 40,000sq ft, and kids will be captivated by the fleet’s largest playroom and massive water park. Dad can to tee off on the nine-hole mini golf course.

The cruiseline is expected to carry a record 575,000 children this year, thanks to its Camp Carnival kids’ programme.

Sample product: The seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise setting off from Florida and taking in Puerto Rico, St Thomas in the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Nassau in the Bahamas, leads in at £1,099 per person including flights.

Alternative cruise:Disney Cruise Line’s Bahamas programme on board Disney Wonder. Itinerary includes stop-offs at private island Castaway Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas.

 

For island-hopping

Cruise:Treasure Islands
Ship:Fred Olsen’s Braemar
Operating: October 2007 to March 2008

This 15-night cruise visits 10 Caribbean islands. These are supported with a variety of shore excursions so passengers can see the sights. Ideal for mature culture lovers.

Sample product: The 16-day cruise, taking in Barbados, St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, Tortola in the Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Curacao and Grenada, leads in at £1,315 per person including flights.

Alternative cruise: The Complete Caribbean cruise on board Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl. Ports of call include Grand Cayman, Dominican Republic, Tortola in the Virgin Islands, Barbados and St Lucia.

 

For luxury

Cruise:Connoisseur’s Caribbean
Ship:Cunard’s Queen Mary 2
Operating: November 2007 to March 2008

Queen Mary 2 is billed as the “grandest, most magnificent oceanliner ever built”.

Most of the 1,320 ‘staterooms’ and suites have private balconies. Crew to passenger ratio is 1:1; facilities include the lavish Canyon Ranch Spa, the Royal Court Theatre and three main dining rooms. Nothing but the best comes as standard.

Sample product: The 12-day cruise sails from New York and calls at Tortola in the Virgin Islands, St Kitts, Barbados, St Lucia and St Thomas. Prices lead in at £1,199 per person, including flights.

Alternative cruise: A 14-day South American Rhythms Cruise on board Silversea’s elegant, all-suite Silver Wind. Ports of call include Barbados, Grenadines,  Antigua, St Thomas and Grand Turk.

 

For activities

Cruise:Western Caribbean
Ship:Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas
Operating: until March 2008

The activities on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom-class ships defy belief. The largest cruise ship afloat offers an ice rink, rock-climbing wall, FlowRider, nine-hole golf course, spa, casino and numerous water sports, from diving to banana boat rides.

Sample product: The 10-day cruise sails from Florida and calls at Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel in Mexico. Prices lead in at £1,349 per person including flights.

Alternative cruise: The nine-day Sugar and Spice cruise on board Ocean Village Two taking in Grenada, Martinique, St Vincent and Barbados. Excursions are geared to adrenaline junkies with mountain biking, river rafting, diving and jeep adventures just some of the optional tours.

 

For food

Cruise:Coral and Sunsets
Ship: Crystal Symphony
Operating: November 2007

This cruise celebrates the Crystal Wine and Food Festival. Passengers can view cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, enjoy specially prepared four-course dinners and indulge in free wine tastings.

Speciality restaurants on board include Jade Garden.

Sample price: The 10-day cruise takes in Tortola, St Barts and Curacao and leads in at £2,545 per person, including flights.

Alternative cruise:Caribbean Collection Cruise on P&O’s Arcadia. The cruise calls at Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Martin, St Lucia and Barbados during the day and dine in the Gary Rhodes restaurant in the evening.