Port Zante Terminal
in Basseterre (St Kitts)
Cruise Port Guide and Review

Everything you must-know about Port Zante cruise port terminal in Bassetere (St Kitts): where ships dock, anchoring and tender boats, the piers, sopping, dining, services, amenities, and what's within walking distance.

Updated: May 30, 2023

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.

Major cruise lines with large cruise ships such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian (NCL) and Princess call regularly at St. Kitts. But so do small and luxurious cruise lines like Regent, Oceania or Windstar.

Photo of Port Zante Pier (St Kitts).

Port Zante Pier in St. Kitts

Photo © IQCruising.com

Where Cruise Ships Dock in St Kitts

Most cruise ships dock at the main pier in Port Zante, which is perpendicular to the shoreline. This pier has two berths for large ships. The distance between the gangway and the entrance to the Terminal (known as Arrivals Hall) is less than 500 feet (150 meters).

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

Arrivals Hall of Port Zante in St. Kitts

Photo © IQCruising.com

The construction of a $48 million new cruise pier terminal in Port Zante started officially on May 2018 with works expected to be completed in 18 months. Naturally, with two piers in Port Zante, cruise lines that haven't yet called at St. Kitts will be visiting the island in the near future.

Piers, Docks, Anchoring 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 © IQCruising.com

Docking at the Cargo Port

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. Some cruise lines will offer shuttles to downtown Basseterre and the Terminal.

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 (in Jamaica), Porta Maya in Cozumel or the Cruise Center in Grand Turk.

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 © IQCruising.com

Arrivals Hall and Basic Amenities

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.

Duty-Free Shopping

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 Shopping Street in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Shopping Street in Port Zante

Photo © IQCruising.com

Bars and Local Flavors

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 smaller square is also lined by shops and more shops. The Rum Barrel is just one of many bars in Port Zante.

Photo of Bar in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Bar in Port Zante

Photo © IQCruising.com

In reality, regardless of the path you take, it is guaranteed that sooner or later cruise travelers will come across a nice shaded place to enjoy a refreshing drink or savor local flavors. Or even gamble in a local casino.

Photo of Bar in Port Zante, St. Kitts.

Bar in Port Zante

Photo © IQCruising.com

Taxis in Port Zante

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).

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

Taxi Dispatch in Port Zante

Photo © IQCruising.com

Within Walking Distance: Basseterre Old Town

To the left of the man square in the Terminal, 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 through the Museum, which is a must see ($3.00 entrance free for children under 12).

The Port Zante Cruise Terminal 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. Many cruise travelers enjoy spending some time in this vast pedestrian area with all sorts of Duty-Free shops, nice bars, and restaurants. However, there is so much to see and do in St Kitts that it would be a pity not to discover the highlights this charming island.

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