Cruise Port of Call Barbados

The Barbados Cruise Port is a popular cruise port of call on southern Caribbean itineraries.

General– Barbados is in the Lesser Antilles, the eastern most island in the Caribbean. It is an independent British Commonwealth nation, bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Caribbean Sea.

Where You’re Docked– At Barbados cruise port cruise ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal and free shuttles take passengers from the ships pier to the terminal building. There are lots of shops inside the terminal and WiFi is available but not free. A walkway into Bridgetown runs along the waterfront. The distance into town center is approximately two miles. Most stores are open during the week but close at noon on Saturday and are not open on Sunday.

Boardwalk heading into Bridgetown

Transportation– There are lots of taxies available from the Barbados cruise port  area. The fares are regulated by the government but it is still important to agree on a price before the trip. The Georgetown Bus Terminal is located two blocks outside the port area, behind Pelican Village. Exact fares must be paid for bus rides and tokens can be purchased at the bus terminal. Rental cars are available but the rates are fairly steep and you will have to pay for a Barbados tourist driving license. Driving is on the left side of the road and, once you leave the city areas, many roads do not have name signs

The coast at The Crane, Barbados

Money

The official currency is the Barbados dollar (BBD) but US dollars (not coins) are widely accepted. The current exchange rate is US $1.00 = BBD $2.00.

Nearby trips:

Bathsheba, Barbados on the Atlantic coast

There are many beautiful beaches in Barbados but the easiest one to get to is Boatyard Beach on Carlisle Bay. It is about a 20 minute walk from the terminal or an inexpensive taxi ride. A fee of $20.00 is charged to use the facilities which includes a beach chair, shared umbrella, one cocktail, WIFI and free transport back to the ship.

 

Mount Gay Rum Distillery (web site) in Brandons, St. Michaels offers tours Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday. The current fee is $20.00 which includes a presentation on the rum’s history and a tasting. Tickets can be booked online.

Harrison’s Cave

Harrison’s Cave (web site) in St. Thomas is a network of caves, waterfalls, lakes and streams approximately 170 feet below ground. Tours are offered daily for a fee. The area above ground is a good place to spot green monkeys.

Earthworks Pottery (web site) is located mid island in St. Thomas Parish. It is an opportunity to view local potters at work and purchase some hand made souvenirs. Closed Sunday.

Bridgetown Harbour

George Washington House in Bush Hill welcomes visitors Monday through Saturday. It is the only place outside the United States that George Washington ever visited.

Bathsheba on the rugged Atlantic coast (eastern shore) is a great place to see surfers and enjoy a lunch at one of the local restaurants.

Black Pearl Party Cruises (web site) provides a 4 hour trip on the Jolly Roger which includes a buffet lunch, swimming, snorkeling, dancing and unlimited house drinks. The price is just under $90.00 with discounts for online booking and groups.

IMPORTANT – Do not wear camouflage clothing as it is illegal in Barbados; Only smoke in designated areas; Avoid touching or standing under the big shady Manshineel Trees as they are poisonous. Most of these trees are marked in red or banded in red.

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Port of Call Roatan Honduras

The Caribbean Island of Roatan, Honduras

The main cruise dock and visitors village
Sailing into Mahogany Bay

Roatan is the largest of the Honduran Bay Islands in the Caribbean and is becoming a popular cruise itinerary destination. Like many Caribbean destinations it is recognized for its beautiful beaches, water sports, including premier scuba and skin diving, and modern resorts. It also has a growing number of American and Canadian ex-patriots and seasonal residents. To accommodate the cruise ships the Honduras government helped develop Mahogany Bay with modern docks, a well equiped duty free village and a beautiful beach recreation area.

Where You Dock

Most Cruise ships now dock at the Mahogany Bay facility on the southwest coast. The beautifully laid out area includes piers, a duty free shopping area and a beach area. In addition there is also the Port of Roatan located a bit farther west past Barrio Loma Linda and occasionally cruise ships may still dock there. It is about five miles between the two port facilities.

Transportation

The best way to get around Roatan is by hired taxi or a rental car. Taxi’s are inexpensive and you can usually negotiate an island tour at a good price (share with other passengers).

Money

The local currency is the Honduras Lempira with one being worth about US 5¢. US Dollars are usually welcome and most major credit cards are accepted.

Mahogany Bay beach area

Attractions

Outdoor recreation is the focus on this Caribbean island with sandy beaches and clear, warm water being the central attraction. There are also several zip line facilities on the island and a dolphin encounter at Anthony’s Key Resort that’s very popular.

If your ship docks at Mahogany Bay you can spend the day right at the ports beautiful beach. It’s equipped with water sports equipment, beach loungers and umbrellas with a number of excursions leaving right from the cruise port.

A little over a mile from Mahogany Bay is the town of Barrio Loma Linda. It is not a resort area but a typical small Honduran town with stores and restaurants along with a couple of crafts facilities working in leather and wood.

 

Port of Call Akaroa, New Zealand

The cruise port of Akaroa, New Zealand is a popular resort area for New Zealanders being less than fifty miles from Christ Church and is also seeing more frequent visits by cruise ships with the growing popularity of cruising around Australia and New Zealand.

The cruise port of call Akaroa, New Zealand is located on the southeast side of sheltered Akaroa Harbor, centered on the cute resort township of Akaroa. It is on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island. The current population is only about 650 permanent residents with a significant increase in season.

Historically its heritage is unique as it was the only French settlement in New Zealand. The region was named for the botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain Cook on the Endeavour.

Geologically it was originally an island formed by two ancient volcanoes. The current peninsula has two ancient craters that feature spectacular volcanic cliffs which form Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbors. 

Where You’re Docked

Cruise ships need to anchor out and use tenders to reach the Akaroa dock. The dock is the focus of a number of boat tours and water attractions and is located right in the town near restaurants and shops.

Money

New Zealand uses the NZ$ which currently is worth US$0.70 and you will need to exchange money or use credit cards while visiting as US Dollars are not usually accepted.

Attractions

Explore the village with its colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores, and cafés. Akaroa, is famous for its several beautiful bays and harbors and there are numerous scenic boat tours available including dolphin watching. The protected waters are also perfect for sea kayaking. In Flea bay, a couple of miles southeast of town, there is a penguin colony that is rare for this region. Akaroa harbor is home to the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphins  and Akaroa is the only place in the world where you can take a trip out to swim with them. A short walk out of town is Meniscus Wines, a vineyard which usually is open when ships are visiting. Also not to miss is The Giants House, a unique sculpture mosaic garden above town.

 

Port of Call Villefranche-sur-Mer

The Beach in the distance
Villefranche Beach

Villefranche-sur-Mer or just Villefranche is a picturesque town on the French Riviera featured on many cruise itineraries. The town itself is between Monte Carlo and Nice with Cannes only a little farther (19 miles) away. The quant waterfront is lined with cafes and restaurants and stretches from the marina, where the tenders tie up, around a natural harbor past a number of beautiful beaches. Its nearness to Monte Carlo and Nice is probably one of its biggest attractions for the cruise lines as it affords them a number of tour opportunities. But even if you book a tour don’t pass up spending some time at a cafe or restaurant on this remarkable waterfront.

Where Your Ship Docks

The waterfront

While Villefranche has one of the best protected harbors on the Riviera it has no major docking facilities and cannot accommodate cruise ships. This is a tender port where you land at the visitors center right in town. The visitor center offers maps, good advice on getting around and has good public facilities.

Transportation

Villefranche is an easy town to walk around in with plenty of shopping opportunities and good restaurants, but the streets do climb steeply up from the waterfront. Less than a half mile around the waterfront is the train station where you can catch frequent trains to Monte Carlo, Nice or Cannes. They run about every twenty minutes and a trip to Monte Carlo takes only fifteen minutes and costs usually under €7.00. So before you sign up for that expensive tour consider some exploring on your own.

A cafe across from the visitors center

Currency

The French currency is the Euro and you should not expect them to accept Dollars or Pounds in Villefranche. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATM machines available as well.

Citadelle Saint-Elme and Fort du Mont Alban
Citadelle Saint-Elme with Fort du Mont Alban in the distance

Attractions

The biggest attraction is the Riviera itself. Famous beaches, casinos, yachts at anchor and of course French cuisine. With Cannes and Nice to the west and Monaco only seven miles to the east a train trip is a fast and inexpensive way to see the glamour of the Riviera up close.

There are also a number of reasons to simply stay in Villefranche:

Citadelle Saint-Elme on the waterfront
Citadelle Saint-Elme

Just as you exit the visitor center to the left is Citadelle Saint-Elme a thirteenth century fortification which also now houses art exhibits

Chapelle de Saint-Pierre des Pecheurs – Beautiful chapel right on the harbour with an interior decorated by Jean Cocteau.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – A villa, museum and fantastic gardens located on the opposite side of the harbor. Admission is about €15 but well worth it.

Fort du Mont Alban – If you are into hiking, a walk up Mt Alban toward Nice is worth it as it stands over 600 feet above the harbor and the views are well worth the climp. The fort itself built in the 16th century is not open to the public but is still impressive from the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Port of Call Cabo San Lucas

Baja California is a slender peninsula sticking south from the continent in western Mexico for almost a thousand miles. To the west is the Pacific Ocean and to the east is the Sea of Cortes blessing it with almost two thousand miles of spectacular beaches. At the very southern tip is a world class destination known for fantastic beaches, boating, deep sea fishing and five star amenities known as Cabo San Lucas but often referred to as just Cabo.

Cabo from the sea
Approaching Cabo

Baja California, is the Sovereign State of Baja California and a state in Mexico. It is the northernmost and westernmost of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1952, the area was known as the Northern Territory of Baja California.

The harbor of Cabo
The harbor of Cabo San Lucas

Cabo is a popular port of call for cruises out of California as well as Panama Canal cruises and cruise ships traveling in and out of Hawaii.

Where Your Ship Docks

Cabo has no facilities to support cruise ships so this is a tender port. Ships anchor outside the small harbor just off Lands End. The tender dock is right in the middle of the popular harbor with easy access to shops, cafes, restaurants, excursion and charter boats. The downtown area is only a short walk away. There are also a number of good public facilities in the harbor.

A cruise to Lands End
Transportation

The best way to get outside of the city is to rent a car. All of the major agencies are represented from Avis and Alamo (not a popular name in Mexico) to Dollar. Because of where Cabo is situated it is somewhat isolated but there are a few attractions worth an extended trip. If you are interested in a distant location you can negotiate a fare with a local taxi.

One destination of particular interest is the Cabo Pulmo National Park about thirty miles up the east coast from Cabo. It features incredible beaches and spectacular coral reefs near shore. Take a look at the official web site HERE.

Headwear Senior Frogs
Currency

The local currency is the Mexican Peso but the U.S. Dollar is readily accepted. All major credit cards are welcome. One area of caution is be careful of pay phones and ATM’s. They can have very high fees if you aren’t cautious.

Attractions

The Cabo Wabo Cantina. This nightclub founded by Sammy Hagar of Van Halen is still an attraction. Watch a live rock band performing. In addition to the bar the cantina serves breakfast and lunch with dinner at the nearby Tequila Factory restaurant. Sammy Hagar is known to sometimes make an appearance.

El Arco at sunset

El Arco. This beautiful rock formation off the coast of Cabo San Lucas is visible from Medano Beach. There are glass-bottomed boat tours, whale watching charters, diving or snorkeling tour getting you up close. The waters around El Arco are clear and teeming with life, and it’s a popular site to snorkel, dive, and watch for whales. It’s the signature attraction of Cabo San Lucas.

Lover’s Beach. This secluded cove is hidden at the tip of Land’s End, surrounded by cliffs and accessible only by boat. It’s a perfect attraction for those looking to get away from the crowds and vendors at Medana Beach. It features beaches facing both oceans. Swim only on the Sea of Cortes side – the Pacific side can be dangerous.

The Sand Falls. Ninety feet beneath the waves, a stunning waterfall of sand cascades to depths of 120 feet and more, past hundreds of species of tropical fish and sea life. If you’re a diving enthusiast, you won’t want to miss it. This breathtaking sand chute was originally discovered by Jacques Cousteau, and it remains one of the chief diving attractions of Cabo San Lucas to this day.

Lighthouse of the False Cape. This lighthouse was built in 1890 to guide ships into port at Cabo San Lucas. It’s a ruin now, perched above gently rising sand dunes. The lighthouse is a common attraction with ATV tours and horseback riding excursions. In addition to the lighthouse ruins is beautiful ocean vistas.

Entrance Hotel California
Hotel California

The Hotel California. Made famous by the Eagle’s song of the same name it is a popular destination for scenic tours up the Pacific coast. Located about forty-five miles north of Cabo the drive itself is well worth the trip. The Hotel California Web Site.

 

Port of Call Cozumel Mexico

 

Cozumel is a port of call and is actually an island on the southeast coast of Mexico with the port city being San Miguel de Cozumel. It is part of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and a very popular cruise stop on most western Caribbean itineraries. Its real claim to fame are the beaches and the diving sites but it is also a good place for shopping as well.

The cruise terminal
Terminal de Cruceros

Where Your Ship Docks

Terminal de Cruceros or Cruise Ship Terminal is the major location for cruise ships but there is another major terminal located in the town proper. With this destination being so popular there is a possibility that your ship could dock at either location.

The Terminal de Cruceros is a well developed area with excellent facilities, two shopping villages, a number of bars (the infamous Mini Senior Frog’s and Three Amigos) and a number of good restaurants. It is about four kilometers into downtown San Miguel. It is also right next to a remarkably good snorkeling area right at the “beach”.

The pier in San Miguel

The other cruise docking pier is central to San Miguel and an easy walk to the main shops, restaurants and the original Senior Frog’s.

Transportation

If you are looking to get to locations within a few miles of the pier the best choice is a taxi. They are plentiful and moderately priced. Just make sure you settle on a fare before heading out. If your goal is to do some diving or serious snorkeling the recommendation is to book with a tour operator of which there are a number right at the pier and they usually include transportation. Taxi drivers also will offer a fixed price tour of the island and most people we have spoken with have been happy having taken this option. There are also numerous tours you can book with your ship.

The shopping village

Money

The local currency is the Mexican peso ($1 about 2 pesos) but U.S. Dollars are commonly accepted. One word of caution – this is a location where liberating tourists from their money is a popular past time. Be cautious of ATM’s, pay phones and money changers. ATM fees can be very high and pay phones that take credit cards cannot be trusted.

 

Attractions

Shopping – Both at the terminal and in town there are a number of bargains to be found. Mexico is famous for silver, onyx and pottery and often the prices are too good to pass up. Two items that are always a good deal are vanilla and tequila. In shopping for vanilla don’t be tempted by those large, cheap bottles of vanilla available in many gift shops. They may not contain real vanilla extract, and sometimes may contain something that could hurt you. That “something” is coumarin, an extract of the tonka bean that imparts an intense vanilla aroma and thus makes it smell like the real thing. Coumarin was banned as food additive in the U.S. in 1940 because of moderate toxicity. Pay attention and make sure you know what you are getting.

Chankanaab Beach Park
Chankanaab beach

One good recommendation is a visit to a beach and one popular choice is Chankanaab. The cruise ships will offer tours including beach trips and snorkeling but if you are looking for a day at the beach our recommendation is to take a taxi to Chankanaab Beach Park and pay the park admission. You’ll save a lot of money over the tour cost and can go and return when you want. It’s not far and there are usually taxis waiting at the park to take you back to the ship. There is a beach bar, a couple of food options, snorkeling and beach chair rentals and the water is great. To get out to the better reefs it’s a bit of a swim though.

 

Port of Call Stanley, The Falkland Islands

Stanley the Capital of the Falkland Islands

Growing in popularity with cruise ships, the Falkland Islands are located over a thousand miles east of Argentina. The archipelago consists of two main and 776 smaller islands. The capital is Stanley on East Falkland which is home to a majority of the nation’s three thousand residents. The big attraction is the wildlife with some of the world’s largest concentrations of penguins along with seals and sea lions that come to breed and raise their young. It is also a frequent stop for cruise ships visiting Antarctica.

 

Stanley and the inner harbor

Where Your Ship Docks

Stanley is located on a large natural double harbor. Unfortunately, the docking facilities cannot accommodate most cruise ships so, for almost everyone, it is a tender port. The larger ships will most likely anchor in the outer harbor while the smaller ones can anchor closer to the town’s landing.

There are no facilities at the dock but restrooms can be found at the visitor’s center only a block away.

Transportation

Stanley is a very small town and there is little in the way of public transportation. Most visitors book tours out to see the wildlife but you can also visit battlefields and beaches or enjoy a little hiking.

 

Money

Oddly, the Falklands have their own version of the British Pound which probably cannot be exchanged outside of the Falkland Islands. The British government even warns visiting Brits to change it back before heading home. There are no currency exchanges or ATMs in town. Fortunately, many of the businesses will take Pounds, Euros and US Dollars. Ahead of our visit, we arranged with our guide to pay with US dollars and then just confirmed the exchange rate after our tour.

Christ Church Cathedral

Attractions

Penguins in the Falklands

As already noted, the big attraction here is the wildlife and taking a tour is highly recommended. You will also hear a lot about “the war” from the locals and there are a number of sites to visit. In town there is a really nice Falklands National Museum and Christ Church Cathedral has a magnificent whalebone arch which can’t be missed.

A Note of Caution – The Falklands were the focus of a war between Great Britain and Argentina in 1984. When the Argentine military seized the islands they installed over 30,000 land mines along stretches of the coast to stop the British from landing (it was useless). There is still an ongoing project to remove the mines and any marked areas extremely dangerous and should be respected.