Source: Itineraries from Royal Caribbean Cruises. Note: Paths are approximate.
Selected Cruise Itineraries, Caribbean
The typical itinerary is about 7 nights of duration, which enables to cover a sub-region of the Caribbean comprising of 3 or 4 ports of call. Cruise ships commonly arrive at the port of call early in the morning and leave in the evening, using the night to sail to the next port of call. Ships are constantly moving between ports of call and shore leaves are of low duration; 4.3 hours on average in the Caribbean. To take advantage of a location that does not have sufficient infrastructure to accommodate cruise operations, several cruise shipping companies developed private cruise terminals, including related private touristic amenities (beaches, craft markets, restaurants, etc.). A salient example is Labadee in Haiti, which is privately owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises. The facility is an enclave protected by private security forces and acts as a port of call for most of the company's Western Caribbean itineraries since the nearby Windward Passage is the main gateway to the region.
Another important type of itinerary concerns cruises of 3 to 5 nights in duration that will call 2 or 3 ports in the Bahamas. It caters a mass market of tourists wishing to take a short cruise, often using the largest ships in the fleet, that is commonly combined with a longer vacation (in Florida). This market is also very appealing for cruise lines since it concerns very short distances and therefore low fuel consumption, maximizing the use of their ship assets. To take advantage of this market opportunity, every major cruise line has established private resort facilities in the Bahamas such as Cococay (Royal Caribbean), Half Moon Cay (Holland), Castaway Cay (Disney), Princess Cay (Princess) and Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian). An example of combination cruise / resort concerns Disney Cruise Line which calls from Port Canaveral and offers 4 to 5 nights cruises to the Bahamas (Nassau and Castaway Cay). This cruise can be taken in combination with a vacation package at Disneyland Resort in Orlando, which is just 100 km inland of Port Canaveral.