St. Kitts - Basseterre
Cruise Port Zante: Pier, Terminal, Must Know

Panoramic Photo of Port Zante in Basseterre, St. Kitts

St Kitts (Port Zante) Overview for Cruise Travelers
- Docking, Tendering, Piers, Terminal, Excursions and On Your Own.

By: Editor-in-Chief | Date: February 3, 2018

St. Kitts Island and its port - Port Zante (as it is officially named) - has become in the last years one of the most popular and loved cruise port destinations in the Eastern Caribbean itineraries.

Photo of Port Zante Pier (St Kitts).

Port Zante Pier in St. Kitts

Photo ©

In fact, since 2005, when Port Zante started to be developed with the extension of a long pier, all major cruise lines have included St. Kitts in their itineraries. The construction of a new pier will be finished soon (due to start in January of 2018) and the cruise lines that haven't yet called at St. Kitts will be visiting the island in the near future.

Piers, Docks and Tenders in St. Kitts

But do not think that all cruise ships will be mooring at this pier (or the future one). As it happens now, if there isn't enough space to dock at a pier, cruise ships will anchor at the Basseterre Bay (where Port Zante is located) and tender boats will transport passengers to the yacht marina close by (on the West side of the Terminal and less than 100 yards from its Central Square).

Photo of Port Zante Tender (St Kitts).

Tender in Port Zante, St. Kitts

Photo ©

It can also happen that Cruise Ships will dock at the Cargo Port, which is located 1.5 miles (just over 2 km) east of Basseterre and the Terminal of Port Zante.


The Terminal of Port Zante

There are many reasons why St. Kitts has become such a successful cruise port in the Caribbean. One of them is the fact that Port Zante has a wonderful setting and has been very well developed - similar to the Historical Port in Falmouth, Porta Maya in Cozumel or the Cruise Center in Grand Turk.

Photo of Arrivals Hall, Port Zante in St. Kitts.

Arrivals Hall of Port Zante in St. Kitts

Photo ©

The proximity of the port to Basseterre (the Capital of St. Kitts) is another reason why so many cruise travelers love St. Kitts, specifically because it is safe, local population is very friendly and the city has quite a few interesting landmarks to explore on your own.

Photo of Tourist Information Kisok, Port Zante, in St. Kitts.

Tourist Information Kisok, Arrivals Hall

Photo ©

After disembarking the ship and walking the pier, the cruise traveler will enter the 'Arrivals Hall' building where a tourist information kiosk, restrooms, and tour dispatch are found. This is also where boarding cards are controlled on the way back to the ship. The Arrivals Hall opens into a large square lined with the typical Duty-Free shops found all over the Caribbean cruise ports (Colombian Emeralds, Effy, Diamonds International) all of which, surely, your onboard shopping guide will endlessly promote to exhaustion before arriving in Port.

Photo of Bar in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Bar in Port Zante

Photo ©

There are three pedestrian pathways out of the square, all lined with shops, but the larger one right in front will take you to a smaller square with the Rum Barrel Bar at its center. As you may have realized by now, this smaler square is also lined by shops and more shops. The Rum Barrel is just one of many bars in Port Zante.

Photo of Shopping Street in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Shopping Street in Port Zante

Photo ©

From this square, there are different possible paths: turning right will take you to the Taxi Terminal (ideal if you planning to go to a beach or tour on your own), to the left another path lined with shops will lead to the National Museum and the nicest exit into the Historical Town of Basseterre. The latter exit is the Editor's recommendation if you wish to explore the Historical part of the city. This exit is, in fact, an archway trough the Museum - a must see ($3.00 entrance free for children under 12).

Photo of Taxi Dispatch in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Taxi Dispatch in Port Zante

Photo ©

Most cruise travelers enjoy spending some time in this vast pedestrian area of Port Zante with all sorts of Duty-Free shops but also a few nice bars and restaurants. It is a nice place to hang around before returning to the ship after a tour, a day at the beach or an exploration of the Old Town.

Photo of Bar in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Bar in Port Zante

Photo ©


Excursions and On Your Own

Most excursions offered onboard - aka shorex - have tours to the most famous highlights of St. Kitts. In the descriptions of these excursions you will surely find places like the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the Historic Romney Manor, the Clay Villa Plantation, the Amazing Grace Experience or the Timothy Hill. Top and very popular tours include the Scenic Railway ride, and famous spots like Friars Bay or Frigate Bay to spend some time on the beach and/or enjoy all types of watersports.

Photo of Scenic Railway in St. Kitts.

Scenic Railway in St. Kitts

Photo: Public Domain

Many a cruise traveler feels more comfortable to book the onboard excursions and there are many to chose from. But you can also explore most of these attractions on your own with a taxi driver - official rates are regulated but it is always advisable to double-check before entering a taxi. Going to one of the beaches, where bars and watersports can easily be found, couldn't be easier than with a taxi - just get one at the Taxi Terminal.

Local Tour Guides and Services.
As in many Caribbean Islands, there are excellent independent tour operators and local guides in St Kitts that provide outstanding service with matchless pricing. Considering how easy it is to book tours online with these local guides, it is advisable to do some basic research before paying for a shorex with your cruise line. Among many other advantages, it should be underlined that most local guides offer specifically tailored tours and, above all, with much smaller groups.


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