Ask someone to describe their idea of paradise and they’re likely to reply with the same tropical elements; white sandy beaches, shady palm trees and breathtakingly clear, blue seas. This description perfectly encapsulates the Caribbean.
Of course, it isn’t just the stunning natural scenery that makes the Caribbean one of the most desirable destinations in the world. Sumptuous food, fascinating cultures and colourful architecture also add to the allure of these islands.
Working on a Caribbean cruise ship
Now imagine being paid to travel around this glorious part of the world, visiting some of the most popular Caribbean cruise destinations. Not only will you significantly strengthen your travel portfolio, but you will do so while performing the role you adore. While this might seem like a scenario far beyond the realms of possibility, it is, in fact, a reality for doctors, nurses and paramedics who work aboard a Caribbean cruise ship.
Taking on a cruise ship medic job allows you to experience exotic sights and sounds that others can only lust over as they thumb through the pages of a glossy travel brochure. Each role also offers a degree of mystery, as you are never quite sure which parts of the region you are going to be visiting until a short time before your deployment.
There’s even ample opportunity to improve your practice. Working as a cruise ship doctor, nurse or paramedic allows you to come into contact with an array of passengers suffering from a wide range of complaints. As an experienced medic, you must ensure that your patients, receive the best care possible until their health improves or they can be transferred to a medical facility on land.
Where do Caribbean cruises go?
With over 7,000 islands making up the Caribbean archipelago, this is certainly an area worth exploring. From perusing the famous floating markets of Curaçao to enjoying stunning views of Martinique’s Mount Pelee, one of the world’s most famous active volcanoes, you’ll be able to create memories that will last a lifetime.
There are plenty of pristine beaches on which you can kick back and relax with a cocktail, while the potential to take to the sea in search of colourful marine life may prove too great to resist. You can even indulge in some of the finest, freshest cuisines as you explore the beach-side restaurants of Aruba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic (to name but a few of the destinations on offer).
Beyond the region’s islands, Caribbean cruises also dock in both Central and South America, allowing you to experience new and exciting cultures and activities - all part of the perks of working as a medic on a cruise ship. Mainland destinations may include Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Colombia.
Where are the best places to visit in the Caribbean?
The Caribbean is widely considered to be one of the most aesthetically stunning regions on earth. Luckily, as a cruise ship medic, you have the chance to explore the various cruise ship destinations when you are off duty.
You may be entitled to participate in excursions, too. Generally available at discounted prices through the ship’s events team, you can join guests on guided tours and other activities when docked.
However, with so many unbelievably beautiful destinations to explore, it can be tricky deciding which ports to visit during your downtime. Luckily, we have handpicked five destinations that you simply must visit whilst you are working as a medic aboard a Caribbean cruise ship.
Castries, Saint Lucia
Home to some of the most Instagramable scenery on the planet, Saint Lucia offers an exotic blend of towering mountain peaks, vivid rainforests and tranquil beaches that enjoy the gentle caress of the Caribbean Sea.
Calling at Castries, the island nation’s capital city, you will have the opportunity to experience all aspects of life in Saint Lucia, from the relaxing vibes emanating from the palm-lined Vigie Beach to the lively backdrop of the city’s bustling marketplace.
During your visit you can explore the city, taking in such sights as the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, home to an array of colourful murals, and Derek Walcott Square. Alternatively, you can head straight for the coastline where you can snorkel to your heart’s content.
Located off the northern coast of Venezuela, Aruba is a tropical island paradise that boasts glorious white-sand beaches, crystal clear seas and spectacular sunsets.
Cruises call at the nation’s capital, Oranjestad, a cute and compact city that offers a real insight into Aruban life. Meaning Orange Town, Oranjestad is the perfect destination for those who enjoy a more relaxed approach to life and the allure of succulent seafood.
The city’s beaches offer plenty of places to soak up the sun or escape the heat if you can find the shade of a Divi Divi tree. Of course, if you prefer to keep active, you could explore by foot, taking in the island’s colourful buildings, dramatic coastal scenery and indigenous biota.
Home to a varied landscape of mountains, rainforests and waterfalls and a culinary scene that is the envy of the region, Puerto Rico is a Caribbean haven that offers something for everyone.
You’ll visit the island’s capital San Juan, which is ideal for history lovers with the old neighbourhood – a UNESCO World Heritage Site - offering an array of colourful, Spanish colonial-style buildings and colossal fortresses.
The city also caters to those who enjoy a vibrant social scene with plenty of beach bars and casinos stretching along the coastline of the Isla Verde region.
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Also known as Little San Salvador Island, Half Moon Cay is a private island paradise that houses incredible white sandy beaches and clear blue waters and is ideal for those who enjoy beach life.
Despite the island measuring only 2,400 acres (of which 50 acres is developed), there are still a whole host of activities to keep you entertained. These include swimming, snorkelling, cycling, kayaking, parasailing, horseback riding and deep-water fishing.
Of course, if you’d rather just sit back and relax, you can always grab a deckchair and embrace the sun’s warming glow or take to the water and kick back on a lilo.
Located on the island of Roatan, around 65 kilometres off the coast of Honduras, Mahogany Bay is a diver’s nirvana. Sitting atop an ancient, exposed coral reef, the bay is home to a unique underwater ecosystem filled with mesmerising sea creatures.
There’s also plenty to see on land, too. The island is teeming with butterflies, hummingbirds and monkeys and the surrounding beaches offer an ideal place to recuperate after your shift. Kayaking and zip-lining provide real draws for adrenaline junkies, while stores selling locally produced art are only a stone’s throw away.
What is the weather like in the Caribbean?
One of the major positives of working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean is that you get to enjoy the high temperatures that the region enjoys.
The weather in the Caribbean is warm and sunny for the majority of the year, with a tropical climate throughout. Temperatures typically reach the high 20s and early 30s (°C), but rarely exceed the overly warm heights of 38°C.
Rainfall is common between May and October, with tropical showers occurring on an almost daily basis. Hurricane season runs from June through early-November, but advanced warnings are provided to cruise ships travelling in the area.
Once your cruise ship route has been confirmed, we recommend researching the climate of each destination you will be visiting.
What currencies will I need for a Caribbean cruise?
Despite there being so many islands in the Caribbean, the US dollar is widely used. This means there is no need to take a variety of local currencies.
However, as US dollars are not the primary currency of many of the Caribbean islands, it is worth establishing the exchange rate before making an on-land purchase.
You can obtain US dollars before you travel with rates varying amongst providers. Alternatively, you can exchange money during your time aboard ship.
It is also worth noting that the French islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and French Guiana all accept the Euro.
Interested in working on a cruise ship?
If the notion of exploring the Caribbean whilst performing the job you love sounds appealing, why not discover more about the wide range of cruise ship jobs we have to offer?
You can also discover what living and working as a doctor, nurse or paramedic aboard a cruise ship is like on our cruise ship FAQ's page.