What are the top things to do on a cruise to The Bahamas and the Western Caribbean? Where are the ports, and where do cruise ships dock? What to do on shore excursions or explore independently?
Many passengers on a cruise to Puerto Costa Maya choose to stay at the cruise port terminal without realizing that there is much more to do and many attractions to enjoy nearby.
Generally speaking, the cruise ports in The Bahamas and the West Caribbean have attractions with more diversity than those in the islands of the Eastern Caribbean.
You will find stunning beaches in Costa Maya or Cozumel, like those in Antigua, St Thomas, or St Maarten.
However, the cruise ports in the Western Caribbean have unique historical, cultural, and archeological highlights not found anywhere else in the World.
To learn more about the cruise ports in the Western and South Caribbean, read the reviews and port guides below:
In 2019, over 4.5 million cruise ship passengers visited Cozumel 3 cruise terminals. Nassau had 3,473,300 cruise passengers visiting the port in the last year before the suspension of cruises. By far, Nassau and Cozumel are the two most popular cruise ports in the Western Caribbean itineraries.
❯ The cruise port in Nassau is not everyone's cup of tea, has been a preferred target of bad reviews and many cruise visitors do not leave the ship when calling at Nassau. But, even so, it is one of the most visited ports in the Caribbean.
Montego Bay is a cruise port regularly visited by Carnival and NCL cruise ships. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships call almost exclusively at the port in Falmouth. The cruise port of Ocho Rios serves smaller cruise lines like Regent and Crystal but also Carnival and Norwegian.
❯ Montego Bay is a popular port of call for cruise lines like Carnival, NCL and Oceania. Cruise ships dock in what is known as Montego Bay Freeport, 3 miles west of the second-largest city in Jamaica.
❯ Unlike what you may read in many port guides, blogs, and reviews, the cruise port in Falmouth is the safest and more hospitable to explore on your own in all of Jamaica. And with the best location to explore the island.
Besides a few private islands, Grand Cayman and Belize City are the only two major ports in the Western Caribbean where cruise ships anchor and passengers are transferred to cruise terminals on land.
❯ George Town is the capital city of Grand Cayman Islands and the port which all cruise ships visit. Cruise visitors that have never been in this very popular cruise port, should be aware that local tender boats transport passengers to one of 3 cruise terminals in town.
❯ Port guide: many passengers on a cruise to the port in Costa Maya choose to stay at the wonderful cruise terminal without realizing that there is much more to do and many attractions to enjoy close by.
❯ The cruise port in Progreso is the gateway to the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, Dzibilchaltun, and Uxmal. And the colonial city of Mérida. But you can also enjoy a day on a beach, horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, or sightseeing.
❯ Freeport is known for not having any attractions close to cruise terminal where cruise ships dock. Many cruise passengers enjoy the amenities of the cruise terminal but the top things to do are between 20 and 40 minutes away.
❯ Most cruisers do not realize that there are two distinct ports and terminals in Roatán. Frequent cruisers that have called at Roatán with the same cruise line may believe that the port where a specific cruise line docks is the only one in Roatán.
❯ Cartagena de las Indias is one of the most stunning Historical Cities in the West Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. In the last decade, the port and its Walled City was cleaned up (both architecturally and socially) and has become a must-see jewel.
❯ Key West's laidback ambiance, pleasant weather, vernacular architecture, and delicious cuisine have more of a Caribbean character than what you expect of an American city. And all cruisers love it.
❯ Aruba is one of the most popular destinations in the south Caribbean itineraries. There are good reasons why most cruisers fall in love at first sight with this island. Aruba is a neat island, clean, very well kept, and organized.
❯ Bonaire is the B on the island trio known as ABC - Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. These islands have a lot in common but cruise passengers shouldn't infer that if you “have seen one you have seen them all”.
The port of Amber Cove boasts many attractions for cruise visitors. The Cruise Center is a must for those that like to stay within walking distance of the pier. There are lots of things to do nearby, and the historical city of Puerto Plata is a delight to explore ... read more ❯
❯ The Amber Cove Cruise Center is a large open-air complex around the corner from the cruise ship gangway with many activities, excellent services, and top amenities.
❯ Besides all activities in the Amber Cove Cruise Center, cruisers should not miss the opportunity to explore the highlights close to the port.
Labadee Port Guide: Unlike what you may read in less acurate reviews, Labadee is not an island. The cruise port of Labadee is in a small peninsula of Haiti with a vast area that is in fact a gatted resort for the exclusive privilege of passengers of Royal Caribbean ... read the full review ❯
Discover all port guides by IQCruising to find out everything you must know about all Caribbean cruise ports in over 150 reviews. Explore ❯