Caribbean Facts and Figures

Interesting
Caribbean
facts & tidbits

Tourist count

Roughly two million tourists visit the Caribbean Islands per year.

World’s top cruise destination

The Caribbean accounts for nearly half of the industry’s passenger count. Most of the world’s major cruise ships winter here.

Economy

Tourism drives the economy of most Caribbean islands. And the United States is the chief trading partner in goods and raw materials.

Caribbean compared to the Atlantic

The Caribbean water is significantly warmer, calmer, clearer and less salty. These attributes draw tourists.

Size

The Caribbean Sea is the world’s second largest sea. The biggest, the Mediterranean, is only 9% larger.

Depth

The Caribbean Sea’s deepest point is 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) below sea level.

Number of Islands

The Caribbean officially has over 7,000 islands (but that figure includes small cays, reefs, and islets). Only about 150 islands are inhabited.

Population

When Columbus arrived in 1492, the Caribbean had an estimated population of 700,000. Today, the number is about 40 million. Most descend from African slaves.

Language

Creole, Dutch, English, French, and Spanish are the top five languages spoken in the Caribbean. The entrenched European language on any given island reflects the island’s colonial heritage.

Nautical link

The Caribbean Sea connects the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean (with the assistance of the Panama Canal).

Geographical origins

The rugged-mountain islands (think Jamaica) are mainly volcanic in origin. Flat islands (like Barbados) were formed by coral formation and rising sea beds.

Etymology

The Caribbean is named after the native Carib people who once dominated many of the islands.

Best Caribbean cruise lines

Best luxury

Silversea Cruises ships are modest sized and sport spiffy interiors. Passengers are sophisticated, congenial, and well-traveled. Food and service are highly regarded. Crew-to-passenger ratio is high.

Best luxury-upmarket

Azamara Club Cruises has two ships, each accommodating up to 644 passengers. Its price point is between upmarket and luxury. They provide vacationers with a needed niche between luxury and mid-priced fares.


to see my tip-and-photo pages on the Azamara Quest ship.

Best upmarket

Celebrity Cruises is upmarket, thus clearly superior to the mid-priced lines in many ways, including cabin space, service, entertainment, food, and passenger sophistication. Most ships carry about 2,000 passengers.

Best 20-something party boat

Carnival Cruise Line has a well-documented fun, party-boat reputation. Fare are mid-priced and ships are quite large (about several thousand passengers). Has glitzy Las Vegas style entertainment and decor.

Best for families

If your children
are 9 or younger

Disney Cruise Line has four ships, all family oriented. Pleasing kids is the prime focus, but there’s something for everyone. The Fantasy is the best and newest Disney ship.

If your children
are teens

Royal Caribbean International has specialized facilities and programs for teens. But there’s plenty going on to please parents and other adults. Passengers: About 3,000.

If your children
tweens ( to 12)

If 9 to 10, Disney Cruise Line is a better fit.  If 11 to 12, Royal Caribbean is better.

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