10 Must Visit Ports For Your Next Luxury Caribbean Cruise

Date:

Share:

Jump To

The Caribbean calls to mind the infinite possibility of golden sands, crystal clear waters and Creole cuisine. But to only allow the imagination to take you that far is to deny the other pleasures the region has to offer in abundance.

Sure, the beaches are secluded, but the ports and towns are buzzing with life and swagger. Yes, the waters are clear, but they’re also teeming with sea life rarely seen in such variety anywhere else on the planet. Of course, Creole cooking is great, but the culinary diversity of the area is greater.

But how best to experience these diverse, delectable experiences first hand? Why, on a cruise of course. With that in mind, here are 10 must visit ports for your next luxury Caribbean cruise.

Havana, Cuba

Havana, ooh na na. Sorry, we couldn’t help it. The Caribbean’s most famous city is the perfect combination of beautiful beaches, cobbled streets and underrated food. With its 1950s American cars and peeling Spanish-style buildings, it’s like being in a particularly hazy, extremely trendy Instagram shoot for your entire stay.

Old Havana is a UNESCO-protected site, with 500 year old plazas, churches and winding streets just waiting to be explored. A must on any itinerary for luxury cruises.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

The capital of the U.S Virgin Isles, the first thing that strikes you about Charlotte Amalie is the architecture, which blends its Danish colonial past with palm trees and flourishes of sunkissed colour so beloved of the region.

It’s a great place for a party; the city was formerly called ‘Taphus’ meaning ‘beer hall’, and the harbour used to be a favourite of some of the most enthusiastic drinkers in history, Blackbeard and Bluebeard. Tours of the town replete with pirate folklore are available to visitors, along with a stop off at a few watering holes along the way!

King’s Wharf, Bermuda

King’s Wharf is a popular port of call as the Royal Naval Dockyard is an expansive, six acre site and is able to receive a huge volume of tourists disembarking from the boats. In the port you’ll find the National Museum of Bermuda, an intriguing exploration of the history of the island, as well as a ferry dock which connects you to the capital of Bermuda, Hamilton City, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. Georges. Plenty of options, then, for those wanting to get out there and explore.

Falmouth, Jamaica

Historic Falmouth is a key stop off on any Caribbean cruise tour, as it offers unique history, an interesting array of churches and Georgian architecture. The port area is recently renovated and a National Heritage site and now safeguarded by the World Monuments Fund, and is one of the most pristine places to spend some time in the whole Caribbean.

Falmouth is also the focal point of the country’s rum and sugar cane trade. While you’re here, it’d be rude not to take a rum distillery tour; the Hampden Estate is just half an hour from the port. And don’t leave without sampling the perfect amalgamation of the town’s most famous exports; the rum cake.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Well, we couldn’t only go to just one place in Jamrock, now could we? Montego Bay is another major cruise ship port with loads to offer the intrepid (or even trepid) traveller. Referred to as the ‘Second City’, MoBay, as the locals call it, is crucial to the country’s economy, owing to the huge number of tourists it receives. As such, there’s some excellent duty free shopping options including City Centre shopping plaza and the Holiday Village Shopping centre.

If you’ve got time, then a couple of hours’ drive east, you’ll find the popular resort of Ocho Rios, which boats spectacular beaches and plenty of adventure sports.

Cozumel, Mexico

The island of Cozumel is Mexico’s gem in the Caribbean Sea; a peaceful island with some of the best scuba diving on the planet and Mayan ruins, specifically the San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site, offering historical intrigue. Sure, it gets busy, receiving five million visitors a year, but that’s testament to the quality of the activities on offer on the island.

Aside from the world class diving and heritage sites, the Punta Sur Ecological Park (which includes the island’s best beach) covers 2500 acres and contains a rich ecosystem, including crocodiles in the marshland, sea turtles close to the shore and exotic plants native to Cozumel. Don’t forget your camera!

Cozumel’s incredible sights and sparkling sea make it a favourite port for luxury cruises. Explora Cruises, for instance, includes a day trip to Cozumel in several of its cruise packages, allowing visitors to explore the best of what the island has to offer. Visitors can kayak through the mangroves of Cozumel, enjoy its hiking trails, and, of course, dive into its kaleidoscopic waters before sitting back and enjoying some Mezcalitos to wrap up their day.

Read: An insider’s guide to San Miguel de Cozumel

Bridgetown, Barbados

Tucked away from the main hurricane belt in the southeastern most point of the lesser Antilles, Barbados is known across the globe for its pink-tinged beaches, luscious gardens, vibrant culinary scene and friendly locals.

Bridgetown, the capital, features a UNESCO World Heritage site, named Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison. Here you can learn the history of one of the Caribbean’s earliest established towns, and take in some of the fascinating colonial architecture. Close by is Harrison’s Cave, a natural limestone cavern which features streams, pools, stalagmites and stalactites – a wonderful way for adventure-seekers to spend a couple of hours before you get back on the boat.

Read: 2024’s best honeymoon destination, Barbados

Belize City, Belize

Though not a port as such (your cruise ship will drop anchor a couple of miles from shore and speedboats will ferry you into Belize City’s Fort Street Tourism Village), the chance for scuba diving and snorkelling in Belize Barrier Reef, the world’s second largest coral reef, is just too good to miss. A water taxi from the city to the famous (and frightening) Shark Alley Reef should only take about an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s not only about swimming with sharks though, the Southern stingray is an even bigger draw to scuba and snorkelling enthusiasts.

Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis

The capital of St. Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre, is a port of call with a difference; it’s compact, pretty and seemingly not as dwarfed by the cruise ships as some others in the region are. There’s a ramshackle, uncommercial charm to the place. With a population of just 14000, it’s a city with carries cultural capital much belying its size. The Saint Kitts Music Festival has previously hosted huge global acts John Legend and Lionel Richie, amongst many others, and several 2007 World Cricket Cup matches, too.

Virgin Gorda, The British Virgin Isles

If you’re a Virgin Gorda virgin, then fear not, you’re very much in company. However this pocket of paradise is predicted to be one of the hottest holiday destinations in the coming years, with china white sands and ecological intrigue for as far as the eye can see.

It’s home to some wonderful natural attractions, including The Baths, which is actually a boulder-strewn beach, undoubtedly the best-known landmark in Virgin Gorda, and arguably one of the most impressive land features in the entire Virgin archipelago. They’re situated on the north shore of the island and consist of enormous granite boulders (some nearly 50 feet) leaning precariously against each other.

This dramatic formation creates a seaside labyrinth, forming many sheltered sea pools along the beach that are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and exploring. Owing to its popularity with the cruise crowd, those keen for a quiter experience usually come early in the morning to avoid the crowds. If the hordes later on get too much for you, a quick walk down a well trodden path will take you to quieter beaches such as Spring Bay to offer some relief.

And for a very different type of cruise, check out our tips for having a luxury holiday on France’s canals. You won’t regret it!

Travel Team
Travel Team
Just like you, we love to get out there and discover the world. To help inspire your next adventure, we create travel guides and share tips so you can dream up your ideal getaway.

Latest From Us

Like That? You'll Love This...

Everybody's clicking on

Just Published...

Where To Eat Near Alexandra Palace, London

Ally Pally (or, you know, ‘Alexandra Palace’ for adults who relish a couple of extra syllables) is one of London’s most iconic venues, steeped in history but always with an eye on the present, too.  Sitting...

The Best Restaurants Near London Waterloo

It’s certainly a surprise to say that, despite it being the capital’s second busiest station, London Waterloo is somewhat bereft of great dining options.  Sure, the clarion call for your 18:38 to Surbiton may ring out...

The Best Restaurants In Bath: The IDEAL 22

Ideal for superlative dining in arguably the UK's most picturesque city... The transformation of Bath’s restaurant scene, from one dominated by chains and tea rooms to one of the South’s culinary powerhouses, has been nothing short of...

All Our latest content...