The most beautiful cruise ship ports in the Caribbean
July 9th, 2016, Posted by travelwith2ofus
If you think about it, one of the most exciting elements of a cruise is pulling into the cruise ship port of the country you are visiting. The excitement overwhelms and you will see hundreds of passengers rushing up to the deck to get the perfect vantage point as the ship makes it way inland.
We have been there, and trust me at that moment you feel a sense of pleasure, excitement, and anxiety all wrapped into one. So it is safe to say that one of the highlights of any cruise is entering the port. But, have you ever given it any thought? Which are the most beautiful cruise ship ports you have entered?
Have a look at these Caribbean cruise ship ports and let us know which one you think is the most beautiful of the lot.
Nassau, The Bahamas - Prince George Dock
The Bahamas is undoubtedly one of the more popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean. The Prince George Dock was dredged on three occasions, 1966,1969 and again in 2009. In December 2009 the largest ship at that time, the Oasis of the Seas, docked in its port.
So, you have cleared customs and immigration and you want to start having fun. What do you do? There are many tour operators offering many packages, but what else is there to do if you want to explore on your own. What can you do that's not very far from the dock?
After passing through Festival Place, the welcome center at the dock, and having a dance to the live Bahamian music you can head to downtown Nassau to get some shopping done. Of course you know you don't always get the best prices where all the tourist shops are, so talk to the locals and you can find out where to get better prices, maybe. Make sure and visit Bay Street, it is the main shopping street and you can find everything from local handmade gifts to international brand name goods.
Something more exciting to do?
OK, so you are not interested in shopping! You want some adventure right! Something more exciting to do? Well you can have all the fun you want at the Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis Resort. Trust me, Nikki and I had mad fun on the water slides when we visited the Bahamas. The Abyss was a bit scary, but the Lazy River Ride was so relaxing. Cruise ship guest can get a day pass for the Atlantis Aquaventure park and enjoy some of the rides.
Wanna know more about Pirates in the Bahamas?
OK! OK! I get it, you're a history buff, you love pirates, and you are crazy about museums and all the stuff they display. Then, you have to visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum. You will see a pirate ship replica fully loaded as it would have been back in the 17th century as well exhibits and interactive displays about piracy back in the day. Since you are in your museum element you can also visit the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, that is, if you need to know about slavery, abolition and emancipation as it relates to The Bahamas.
What? Flamingoes marching!
Oh! So, you love animals? Then, you will love to see marching flamingos at the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo. The privately own conservation facility features over 300 native animals. You will have to pay to get in, but those flamingos may make you smile.
If art is your thing!
If you dream about Picasso, Van Gogh and Da Vinci all the time, then you definitely are an art lover and being in this part of the world you would surely want to see some of the work of Bahamian artists. You can do that at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. It's not too far from the Prince George Wharf and it features paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles and ceramics as well.
Hey don't be Un-Cruise-Like
Of course you can't come to the Bahamas and not dip in the ocean, sit on the shore and full your face with tropical drinks. It would be un-cruise-like. Hey, look we created a new phrase! There are many beaches you can visit in Nassau and on Paradise Island including Delaporte, Sandyport, Montagu, Cable and Cabbage beach.
Always remember to bag you trash, be nice to locals and leave with fond memories.
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands – Havensight Harbor
St Thomas has two cruise ship docks, Havensight and Crown Bay and both are a short walk away from the capital Charlotte Amalie. Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean dock at Havensight, which is also known as The West India Company Dock. Larger ships like the Oasis and Allure as well as ships from Cunard, Princess and Holland America dock at Crown Bay most of the time.
If you insist on taking a taxi to the capital it will take between 10-15 minutes. Once you are there you can do some shopping along Dronningens Gade also known as Main Street. You can also check out Back Street for deals. Try to limit your shopping to daytime as robberies have been reported there at nights.
Take selfies on Government Hill
So, you purchased some items and you are on the move. What can you do next? You can probably head to Government Hill, where you can get an amazing view of the capital as well as the harbor. While on the hill you can take a couple of selfies with the Government House in the background.
If you're interested in architecture, then you should make a quick stop at Emancipation Park, it is a short distance from Government House and you can also check out the architectural style of the St Thomas Legislature Building and that of Fort Christian.
Exotically named bars
If you have time and want to dine at a fine restaurant or prefer to sit at one of the exotically named bars and have some drinks then you can head to Frenchtown. The area is lined with restaurants, bars and eateries with names like Rum Shandy, The Pie Whole and a local favorite Betsy's Bar.
Snuba. Is it extreme snorkeling?
You love the sea right? And even though you're on the water a good part of the trip you won't get to interact with ocean creatures. If that is your cup of tea then, you should check out the Coral World Ocean Park. Activities include swimming with sea lions, turtles and if you dare, sharks. There is also something called Snuba Diving. Yes, you read it correctly. It's like Scuba diving, but without you having to actually learn all the diving stuff before you jump in. It's like intense snorkeling. Sounds good to me. So, if you do get in some Snuba give us a shout and let us know what you think.
Please remember when you're out Snuba, Scuba or Snorkeling don't touch the corals or fish.
The AC Wathey Cruise Pier, St Maarten
St Maarten has grown considerably as a cruise destination. In 1980 it received only 105,000 cruise passengers, but by December 2002 it had over one million cruise passengers visiting. In 2015 over 1.9 million visitors made the trip to St Maarten.
Selfie with low flying airplanes
The ship is docked and you're on your feet heading out the port. It takes about 15 minutes from the docks to Philipsburg the capital. What can you do? If you know anything about St Maartin at all, you would know that it's the country where you go to take a selfie with low flying airplanes. Yep! And the name of the beach is Maho Beach, which is adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport. Aircraft landing pass over the beach to the excitement of beach-goers. You can kill two birds with one stone, take your selfie and relax on the beach.
Nature trails, champagne and bestie
If you think that is silly and you are into nature and hiking then you can head over to the Pic Paradis in St Martin. It takes about 40 minutes from Philipsburg. There are several hiking trails including Careta Ravine, Northeast Ridges and Eden Well. Loterie Farm Nature Reserve can be found at the bottom of Pic Paradis. There you will find tropical plants and animals. While you are there you can have a bite at one of the restaurants including the Sealounge, which is a racing boat that can take you to Anguilla, which is just 10 minutes away. You can enjoy the ride while you're sipping champagne, eating good food and continuously posing with your bestai for selfies.
Yawn... history and museums
Want to do something a little more educational, then you can visit the St Maarten Museum, which is located on Front Street in the capital and highlights the history of the country. Another place of interest is the St Maarten National Heritage Foundation, which also highlights the history of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. There you can learn why the island was divided into two parts.
Heritage Quay, St John’s, Antigua
The cruise ship terminal in Antigua is located at Heritage and Redcliffe Quay, in the capital of St John's. As soon as you get off the ship, you can pick up some local items or have a taste of the Antiguan cuisine or even purchase some brand name items at the duty free shops In Heritage Quay.
Chug a couple beers
So you're on your feet, tapping the asphalt road, phone with maps in hand wondering where to go. You could probably head to Jolly Harbour and get in a game of golf. However, if you're not into that you can still get in some fun there. They also have facilities for tennis and squash. Other activities include fishing, sailing and yachting. If you just want to relax you can chug a couple beers or have a couple glasses of Caribbean rum at one of the bars. If you want to have some international cuisine or try some local food you can get it there as well.
Uninhabited islands and coral reefs
Dickenson Bay is another one of the popular locations in Antigua. Beside the beautiful beach you will find many restaurants, bars and hotels. If you are into water sports or you are a fan of coral reefs then you're in the right place. At the end of the bay you will find several uninhabited islands as well as a coral reef that is about a mile long.
English Harbour is another location where you can spend some quality time. You can climb up to Shirley Heights and take in the spectacular view of the harbor or you can explore Nelson's Dockyard National Park, which is also located there. Also of interest is the Clarence House, which was built for King William IV.
If you are not into none of those activities, then you can visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. It features exhibits relating to the history and culture of Antigua and Barbuda. Another place of interest is The Dockyard Museum which features the history of Nelson's Dockyard as well as other Antiguan historical information and exhibits. Other attractions include the St John's Cathedral, Government House and Fort James.
Pointe Seraphine, Castries, St Lucia
Whether it is your first or last port of call, you would be equally excited when your cruise ship finally stop at the cruise ship terminal at Pointe Seraphine in Castries, St Lucia. As usual you can enjoy duty free shopping at the many shops located in the cruise ship terminal. If you plan to explore downtown Castries you can also get some shopping at the La Place Carenage Shopping Mall.
Huh! Take a mud bath?
There are a couple of things you should see and do while visiting St Lucia. The Piton Mountains are among them for sure. The two mountains, Gros Piton and Petit Piton are probably the most photographed landmarks in St Lucia. They are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not far from the Pitons you can also visit the Soufrière Volcano, also known as the Sulphur Springs and take a mud bath, which is rumoured to be good for your skin.
If you want to take a minerals bath, but you can't stand the scent of the emissions at the Sulphur Springs then have no fear. You can have your bath at Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens and Mineral Baths. Located in Soufriere as well, the attractions include the Diamond waterfall, botanical garden and the mineral bath spa.
You should also make a stop at Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island National Landmark as it is officially named, has a number of heritage attractions and amenities including ruins of military buildings, two beaches, a restaurant serving local food, an Interpretation Centre describing St Lucia's history and of course a pub to knock back a few when you are finished with your tour. There is also a breathtaking view of the Northwest coastline from the top of the fort.
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