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I just read this answer on Caribbean cruises, which points out the importance of choosing a cruise line that fits your "style of travel". The answer, however, didn't give clues as to which lines cater to what audience.

That made me wonder… Do any of the companies running Caribbean cruises have anything at all like the following on offer?

  • Lots of stops, preferably also longer ones that allow you to really investigate some of the ports of call.
  • A sociable atmosphere, and something aimed at "younger" people too; say, 20-40. (Or as long as the majority of the clientele aren't pensioners...) It should not be too family-centric either; maybe even some singles thrown in, if that's possible.
  • Not high-end, but not necessarily the most budget-conscious option either. ("Backpacking", in my opinion, doesn't always have to mean shoestring budget.)
  • Maybe around 4-7 days. (However, if there are longer cruises that allow a lot of time for investigating the islands etc, or shorter cruises attracting a party crowd, feel free to mention.)

Also, I'd personally consider it a plus if there's a stop at any of these places:

  • Yucatán peninsula in Mexico
  • Cuba (Yeah, I've heard the US and Cuba have some issues, but still. Maybe there are Canadian or Mexican cruises?)
  • Curaçao
  • San Andrés (Colombia)

I know a Caribbean cruise for the independent / backpacker style traveller might well be an oxymoron. I figured I'd ask to make sure :-)

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I'd say Windjammer Barefoot Cruises met your criteria, but they have been out of business for a few years. –  choster May 24 '12 at 22:07
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2 Answers

Naturally it depends how strict a budget you're on as a backpacker, or flashpacker or however you define yourself.

About suggests that Easy Cruise Caribbean is the best option - no frills, but is a cruise, at $55 a night, which seems pretty darn awesome. Travels to Barbados, St. Vincent, Martinique, the Grenadines, Grenada and St. Lucia.

Thorn Tree Forums backs this up with this quote:

One of the biggest gifts to budget travelers the last 2 years has been EasyCruise (www.easycruise.com). They were/are a no-frills cruise line (really just an interisland, overnight ferry service with cabins) that has traveled in the Caribbean the last 2 winters. They are owned by the same company that owns European budget airline Easy Jet. Their plan is/was to go a different circuit in the Caribbean every year from about mid-Dec to mid-April, then reposition the boat to Europe for the summer. I traveled with them in February and they were great. I was able to get a cabin for $37 per night (TOTAL for 2 persons! food was a la carte). Most people on the cruise were budget travelers who had never done any "mainline" cruises, as well as many locals who were seeing a few other islands for far cheaper than they otherwise could. I have read that they are trying to buy a couple more boats, but their plans for next year in the Caribbean are up in the air right now. If they don't secure another boat or two, they may not cruise in the Caribbean next year and may just stay in Europe. Check on their website before you go on your trip, because if they are running you simply can't come close to their deal for island hopping.

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Heh, flashpacker, that was new to me. easyCruise sounds really cool... unfortunately the page you link to says "Note: easyCruise has discontinued the Caribbean cruise service" –  Jonik May 30 '12 at 18:42
    
crud, well that blows that theory out the water (excuse pun). Ok I'll keep looking. –  Mark Mayo May 30 '12 at 19:50
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A backpacker friend of mine managed to get hired as crew member on a sail boat. As far as I understood his story, this seems a common option.

Asking Google with 'sailing crew wanted caribbean' query, I found this forum: Crew Wanted on sailnet.com.

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