Traveling on a cruise is all about relaxation, luxury, and adventure offered onboard and in exciting destinations. Snorkeling is one of the greatest oceanic experiences that anyone can have, just strap on the flippers and a diving mask and dive right in!
Snorkeling is possible for many different types of swimmers, whether you only feel comfortable floating at the surface or want to deep dive through the coral reefs – snorkeling can be a magical experience for all.
Best Snorkeling Cruise
Each snorkeling experience offers something unique to visitors. Some waters have more fish or coral but as long as the water is clear, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself.
When booking your snorkeling cruise, keep in mind the locations you’d like to explore. Many cruises port at snorkeling hotspots, below are several of the most incredible locations and reasons they stand out among senior travelers.
1. Buck Island, Virgin Islands
Buck Island reef is a national monument of the Virgin Islands. It’s an underwater national treasure with an easy-to-follow snorkel trail through over 700 acres of protected oceanic beauty. You will have to book a day trip with the local snorkeling tour company and take a boat out to the snorkeling location.
What makes this location ideal is the 700 ft long self-guided snorkel train that has underwater descriptions and signs for the many species of coral and fish. On Buck Island, you can encounter hawksbill turtles, needlefish, and occasionally eagle rays.
With the snorkel train and educational signage, the Virgin Islands has created the ideal snorkeling adventure for senior travelers. There is no need to worry about getting lost or tiring yourself out prematurely when you can easily follow the snorkel train at your own pace.
2. St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Another snorkeling cruise hotspot in the US Virgin Islands, St Thomas offers a senior-friendly snorkeling experience. If you’re out of shape and worried you may tire easily in the open ocean, St Thomas’ beach access snorkeling might be the solution. Sapphire Beach has a great reputation for friendly and active sea life very close to the shoreline, making it the perfect place for cautious swimmers.
3. Bonaire, Caribbean Islands
Most beaches and locations in the Caribbean offer extraordinary snorkeling experiences. The western coastline of Bonaire has several snorkeling spots accessible from the beach.
As long as there hasn’t been a recent storm the water should be clear and the water is always warm, so jump right in! Almost every cruise to the Caribbean will offer an opportunity to snorkel and encounter the special sea life.
Bonaire is home to over 55 species of soft and hard corals and more than 350 species of fish. This includes Hawksbill, loggerhead, and green sea turtles which are common on many snorkeling spots around the island.
Because of the rich sea life, all visitors of the Marine Park must purchase a $25 “nature tag” as admission to help in the preservation of Bonaire reefs.
Can you go snorkeling on a cruise?
Many (if not all) cruises will port at ideal snorkeling locations. The Cruise ship itself offers snorkeling experiences but you can also arrange your own experiences on the day or ahead of time.
If you know you want to snorkel, it would be wise to choose your cruise based on the right region and season for your snorkeling and diving goals.
The Caribbean and Virgin Islands are popular snorkeling locations but climate and weather conditions do prevent travelers from exploring at certain times.
You should plan your itinerary carefully. Travel agencies and internet bookings can help you plan your tour.
Which island has the best snorkeling cruise experiences?
It’s possible to snorkel along any coastline, but there’s something magical about exploring the seas near an island. Islands are able to cultivate more diverse sea life as they are less affected by human activity than some cities and coastlines. Here are some of the best island snorkeling options:
- Kona, Hawaii
- Koh Kraden, Thailand
- Bonaire, Caribbean Islands
- Tahiti, French Polynesia
- Antigua, Caribbean Islands
Which Caribbean Island has the best snorkeling from shore?
It was previously mentioned that Bonaire has picturesque shore snorkeling, but there are many other Caribbean beaches where you can snorkel safely along the shoreline.
- Anse Chastanet Beach, St Lucia
The Caribbean has immaculate shorelines. The best time to visit the Caribbean is often between December and April when the skies are clear and sunny with dry weather. However, there is never a guarantee as the weather can be unpredictable and dangerous
Where is the clearest water for snorkeling?
Since Covid-19 the world’s waters and oceans have been slightly clearer than in recent years, due to lessened human activity. Still, there are some oceans with water so clear it leaves you spellbound watching the wildlife with such clarity. Below is a list of some of the clearest waters to take a snorkeling cruise across the globe:
- The Maldives Islands
- Wakatobi, Indonesia
- Enchanted River, Philippines
- Redang Island, Malaysia
- Cayo Coco – Cuba
- Raja Ampat, Indonesia
- Cayo Arena, Dominican Republic
- Linapacan Island – Philippines
- Los Roques, Venezuela
- Sabah – Malaysia
More places that have good snorkeling:
Previously the snorkeling options were gentler for less experienced and physically fit swimmers, but if you’re interested in experiencing the best that our oceans have to offer, look no further than the following destinations:
- The Great Barrier Reef – Australia – the world’s biggest coral reef system
- Komodo National Park -Indonesia – most diverse wildlife
- Bay of Donsol – Philippines – best for viewing whale sharks
- Baa Atoll – Maldives – best for viewing manta rays
- Maui, Hawaii – USA – most unique lava rocks and coves
- Silver Bank – Dominican Republic – best for viewing humpback whales
- Bora Bora – French Polynesia – best for clear waters and diverse wildlife
- Isla del Cocos, Costa Rica – best for volcano tunnels. Coves and coral reefs
- Los Cabos, Mexico – one of the oldest coral reef systems with diverse wildlife
Snorkeling often requires a boat ride out to the coral reefs, and a time cap dependent on your boat driver’s and cruise schedule – but it will be worth the effort to personally see the ocean’s majesty up close.
It’s true that to snorkel you will have to swim and dive for an extended time, if this seems daunting, choose a guided or shoreline snorkel destination. It’s also possible to take a life jacket with you.
If it is not too warm, you can always wear a wet suit as it keeps you buoyant. But do not miss the opportunity or you will regret it!
After you have been on your snorkeling cruise, you may want to try some themed cruises as well. There are so many to choose from: Star Trek: The Cruise VI, The 80’s Cruise, The Beach Boys Cruise, High Seas Rally, Mah Jong Cruises, and so much more.