Overview Antigua Cruise Ship Port | IQ Cruising

Overview - Antigua Cruise Port

Panoramic Photo St. Hohn.s, Antigua Cruise Port


By: Editor-in-Chief | Date: February 10, 2017

Introduction to Antigua

Antigua is one of the most popular destinations in the Eastern Caribbean cruise itineraries with most cruise lines visiting the island all year round. Thanks to the diversity of its charms that range from paradisiacal beaches, easiness to explore on your own, natural beauty and historical landmarks, Antigua appeals to visitors that travel on cruise lines as different as Carnival and Seabourne, Norwegian and Crystal, Royal Caribbean and Silversea, Princess and Regent.

Photo of Cruise  Pier in Antigua

Cruise Pier Antigua

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The beaches of Antigua are as stunning as numerous - in fact, the island proclaims to have as many beaches as there are days in the year. On these beaches the sugar-white sand blends with clear turquoise clear waters in idyllic settings backed by resorts, restaurants, and bars offering all kinds of water activities. To make is even more tempting, the cruise traveler can easily take a taxi at a very affordable cost to any of these beautiful beaches.

Photo of Heritage Quay Antigua

Heritage Quay, Antigua

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Docking at Heritage Quay

Because cruise ships dock at Heritage Quay, at no more than 5-minutes-walk from the piers to downtown St. John's, the landmarks, and attractions of Antigua's main city and capital are easy to reach on foot and on your own. Heritage Quay is itself an attraction for many a cruise traveler with over 30 prestigious duty-free shops, a food court, and a casino. For those that love shopping when cruising the Caribbean, this is one the places to exercise bargaining skills in outlets such as the ubiquitous Diamonds International, Tanzanite International or Colombian Emeralds but also others like the Body Shop, Sunglass Hut and Goldsmitty.

Photo of Redcliff Quay Antigua

Redcliff Quay, Antigua

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The Redcliff Quay is connected to the Heritage Quay by a boardwalk along the south shore of the Deepwater Harbor. This quaint and very neat spot in St. John's is a must see, particularly if you ready to taste local flavors; besides a good number of handicraft shops (and higher-end ones) ideal to buy souvenirs, there are a handful of cafes, bars, and restaurants to enjoy caribbean delicacies but also Belgian waffles, a Pizza, a glass of wine or just a botle Wadadli (the local beer).

Downtown St. John's

Outside the Heritage and Redcliff Quays, you will find yourself in downtown St. John's. This small town (with around 30,000 souls) has a charm of its own and safe to walk around and explore on your own. Locals go about their business and will not harssing visitors but if you need any help with directions they are very friendly. At walking distance, less than 10-minute walk from the pier, the Anglican St. John's Cathedral is a must see, which has been under restoration for some time. As you sail into St. John's the magnificent towers dominated the skyline and you will see these baroque structures as you walk around. Close by, on the corner of Market and Long Streets, the old courthouse (dating back to 1750) is now occupied by the small but interesting Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

Photo of St. John's Cathedral Antigua

St. John's Cathedral, Antigua

Photo © IQCruising.com

Walking the main streets of St. John's, the cruise traveler will not miss imposing buildings such as the Ebenezer Methodist Church on St. Mary's Street, and numerous banks with well-known international names. But you will need to walk to the end of Market Street (to the south) if you would like to explore a typical West Indian Public Market with its colorful stalls and lively bargaining.

Beyond St. John's

To explore Antigua beyond St. John’s, the cruise traveler should consider either an excursion or hiring a taxi to visit highlights like Nelson's Dockyard, Shirley Heights, Betty's Hope Plantation, Devil's Bridge or to enjoy famous beaches such as Hawksbill, Dickenson Bay, Valley Church Beach or Half Moon Bay.

Photo of Shirley Heights Antigua

Shirley Heights, Antigua

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Most taxi-drivers are reasonably good guides as well and, considering the size of the island, will take you to most highlights in a half-day tour. Although drivers are required to show a rate card (fares are officially fixed), make sure you agree on a fare before entering the taxi. For a half-day tour, you shouldn't be paying more US$ 120 (for the taxi with as many as 4 passengers).

Photo of Nelson's Dockyard Museum Antigua

Nelson's Dockyard Museum, Antigua

Photo © IQCruising.com

Renting a car is not the best solution unless you are familiar with driving on the left-side and are willing to discover your away around as roads are poorly signed. Besides, a temporary driving license will be imposed ($20) in addition to a minimum of $50 for a one-day rental.

Antigua Do and See at a Glance

Best Shopping Heritage Quay (next to Piers) and Redcliff Quay (300 meters from Piers - on the right). Open between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Best buys: Jewelery, Watches, Souvenirs.
Market: St. John's Public Market. 1/2 mile from port at the end of Market Street. Open between 7:00 am and 6:00pm.
Attractions in Town St. John's Anglican Cathedral. Under restoration. Open: everyday. | Antigua and Barbuda Museum. Open: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Closed Sundays
Religious: Catholic - St. Michael's Mount Church in downtown St. John. 0.7 miles (1 kilometer) from Pier/Termianl. Taxi Fare: US$ 6.00 (one way).| Ebenezer Methodist Church - St. Mary's Street.
Quick Bites: Hemingways (in Town) on St. Mary's Street; Big Banana, C&C Wine House and Napoleon on Redcliff Quay.
Flavors: Antigua's famous beer, Wadadli (Carib name for the Island), English Harbour 5 Year Old Antigua Rum and Cavalier Rum. Fungii and Steam Fish (local delicacy). Conch Fritters, Chicken Stew, Papaya Pie, Lobster and Fresh Fish.
Don't Miss: Nelson's Dockyard | Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation | Shirley Heights
Must See: Devil's Bridge (Natural Wonder) | Nelson Four Poster Bed (at the Dockyard Museum)
Must Do: Dive in the amzing waters close to Falmouth Harbour | Sail aboard a catamaran | Discover coves, seclude beaches and uninhabited islands by kayak.
Exciting: Kitesurfing, Windsurfing and Stand Up Paddling in Nonsuch Bay | Experience the Antigua Rainforest Canopy tour including a Zip Line
Adventure: Embark on a hiking adventure on different posible trails from Freeman's Bay up to Shirley Heights - exotic plants, spectacular vistas and lush vegetation.
Golf: There are two golf courses in Antigua. Cedar Valley Golf Club ( 18-hole, 70-par course, 3 miles north of St. John’s) | Jolly Harbour Golf Club (18-hole, 71-par course, East end of Antigua).
Best Beaches: Half Moon Bay, Nonsuch Bay, Dickenson Bay, Halcyon Cove, Buccaneer Cove, Darkwood Beach.
Day Pass Resorts: Hawksbill (20 minute drive, all facilities, US$ 40.00 from 11:00 until 16:00 ) | Sandals (15 min drive, all facilities, US$ 120.00) | Nonsuch Bay Resort (40 minute drive, all facilities, 10:00 am and 6:00 pm, US $150.00)

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Antigua Photos

Cheers Cafe

Photo of Cheers Cafe, Heritage Quay in Antigua.

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On Heritage Quay, FREE Wi-Fi and place to enjoy a beer before returning to the ship

Tourist Info

Photo of Tourist Info Booth in Antigua.

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As the cruise traveler exits the gated pier, Tourist Booth with maps and basic info.

Taxi Dispatcher

Photo of Taxi Dispatcher in Antigua.

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On Heritage Quay, official taxi rates to explore Antigua on your own.

Nelson's Dockyard

Photo of Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua.

Photo © IQCruising.com

A display of the 19th century British Naval power under Lord Nelson.

Hemingway's Restaurant

Photo of Hemingway's Restaurant in Antigua.

Photo © IQCruising.com

Wonderful spot to taste local delicacies: Conch Friters and Wadadli beer pair perfectly.

Redcliff Quay

Photo of Redcliff Quay in Antigua.

Photo © IQCruising.com

Old colonial buildings with modern shops, along the boardwalk leading to the Redcliff Quay

Antigua Basic / Essential Information

St. John's Population: 30.000 - one third of the Island's total.
Language English is the official language.
Tourist Information: Small Desk just outside the Pier Gate, on the right.
Entry Requirements: Valid Passport IS required for citizens of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. A valid photo ID (such as a driver's license) is required to enter the Piers. Cruise ship visitors are not required a visa provided that they arrive in the morning and depart the same evening.
Currency: The Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) is the official currency. However, U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted.
ATM's: On the main streets in Town - 5 to 10 minute walk from Pier.
Post Office Lower High Street - open 8:00 am to 3:00pm | There is also a Post Office in Nelson’s Dockyard.
Internet Most Cafes and Restaurants on both Heritage and Redcill Quays.
Phones: Country Code: 1-268. Many US phones may work but is advisable to check with your provider to avoid roaming charges.  
Electricity: Standard American 120 V current but also 110 V in resorts.
Rent-a-Car: Avis, Herzt and Dollar.
Driving: Driving is on the left.
Drinking: Legal drinking age is 16 years.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in public buildings but may be allowed in bars and restaurants outdoors.
Emergencies: Dial 999 - 911
Pharmacies: St. John's Pharmacy - right ouside the Heritage Quay at the start of St. Mary's Street.
Hospital Mount St. John’s Medical Centre - Queen Elisabeth Highway 10-minute drive from Pier.

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Last Update: February 10, 2017

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
It is advisable to confirm details with local tourist information before planning your tour of Antigua.
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