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.

 

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Port of Call Roatan Honduras

The Caribbean Island of Roatan, Honduras

The main cruise dock and visitors village

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. To accommodate the cruise ships the Honduras government helped develop Mahogany Bay with docks, duty free village and a beautiful beach 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 La Loma  and some 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 fair price.

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 accepted.

Attractions

Outdoor recreation is the focus on this Caribbean island with sandy beaches and clear, warm water being the main attraction. There are 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, that includes water sports equipment, beach loungers and umbrellas along with some excursions leaving right from this cruise port.

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

 

The Windward Passage Hotel, St. Thomas

Blackbeards Castle Resort
Blackbeards Castle Resort

 

Looking for a modest priced hotel in St. Thomas right in the center of the action in Charlotte Amalie?

The Windward Passage is not a fancy beachfront resort but it is a moderately priced accommodation for the budget minded in an excellent location in Charlotte Amalie.

We’ve been kicking around the Caribbean for over forty years. Our business has taken us to well near three quarters of the Caribbean’s islands, several more times than we can count. At one point we were making plans to move to St. Croix but a storm named Hugo changed our minds. We have also operated a couple of offices in the islands and our children refer to a number of islanders as their aunts and uncles.

The Mamas & Papas 1965
The Mamas & Papas 1965

My first visit to the Caribbean was in 1965 when my Navy ship stopped in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas for three days. There was a popular club called Lion in the Sun where a band called the Mamas and the Papas were playing at night, usually after working restaurants and bars in the Creeque Alley area during the day (thus their song Creeque Alley). I was a diver and St. Thomas was my first visit to a coral reef and from that day on I was hooked on the Caribbean.

During our business travel days we rarely stayed at beach resorts but used hotels that catered to business travelers. We had a number of accounts in St. Thomas that required frequent attention so we were there often. Our favorite hotel in Charlotte Amalie was the Windward Passage.

The Windward Passage, is a large waterfront hotel in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Overlooking the picturesque Charlotte Amalie Harbor, it is a business-class hotel centrally located just steps away from duty free shops, good restaurants and nightlife. The hotel is a large building with clean, nice-sized rooms. It also offers complimentary van service to the airport, the beautiful white sands of Magen’s Bay Beach, Coral World, an underwater marine park and observatory, “The Sky Ride” cable car that takes you 700 feet above sea level, and the “99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie”* for the most amazing views of the Caribbean. With a good location on the Harbor in Charlotte Amalie it makes for convenient day trips to neighboring St. John. There is a ferry to St. John that leaves the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie several times a day for a $20 round trip (there is more frequent service from Red Hook).

We have some fond memories of this place as our oldest son, who is now in his thirties took his first steps at this hotel.

*Step streets in Charlotte Amalie are historical walkways called 99 steps (actually more than 99) and were built in the seventeen hundreds from the ballast bricks of the ships coming from the old world.

Cruise Port St. George, Grenada

St George Harbor

Once an out-of-the-way island, Grenada is gaining in popularity as a cruise ship port of call. The capital of St. George is considered by many as one of the Caribbean’s most picturesque towns wrapping around a half-moon shaped harbor. Called the spice island it is also a great place to shop for nutmeg and other spices.

 

Where the Ship Docks – St. George has a well equipped cruise pier and terminal located below Fort St. George and attached to the Esplanade shopping mall.

Fort St. George sits above the town.
Grand Anse Beach

Transportation – Getting around the island usually requires a taxi, water taxi or renting a car. Rental cars are available in St. George but you will need to pay about EC$30 for a temporary drivers license.

Taxis – Taxi fares are reasonably inexpensive with a trip around town costing less than EC$11 or US$4 or out to Grand Anse Beach for EC$27 or US$10.

Money – Grenada is part of a group of islands that form a common market and use the Eastern Caribbean Dollar with EC$2.67 equal to one US Dollar. US Dollars and credit cards are normally accepted.

Christ of the Deep statue

Attractions –

Beaches – Grenada has an abundance of great beaches but the most popular is Grand Anse Beach not far from St. George.

The Rain Forest – This island is blessed with some of the richest rain forests in the Caribbean offering a number of nature trails and waterfalls to visit.

Grenada Rainforest

Spices – Known as the spice island you can find dozens of opportunities to buy spices at really remarkable prices. If you have the time take a tour of a plantation. One of the most popular spices grown here is nutmeg.

Port of Call Grand Cayman

General – George Town, Grand Cayman is a major cruise destination for Western Caribbean cruises. It is a modern town with good duty free shopping along with a number of good tour itineraries. The port requires tendering but the tender pier is right in town.

Transportation – There are basically three ways to get around this island:

Bus System – Cayman actually has a pretty efficient bus system with fares starting at CI$2.50. The central bus terminal is located in central George Town.

Taxis – Taxis a are readily available but like most thing is Cayman can be pricey.

Rental Cars – Cars are pretty easy to arrange but can be a bit expensive. Remember the drive on the left.

Sting Ray City

Money – The local currency is CI$ and is fixed at an exchange of US$1.25 to CI$1.00, so remember that everything is 20% more expensive than it seems. The US$ is readily accepted.

Local Attractions – Beaches, beaches, beaches with the centerpiece being Seven Mile Beach with its resort hotels and restaurants. The island is also a scuba and snorkeling paradise. Grand Cayman was the originator of the stingray tour called Sting Ray City.

Other attractions include swim with the dolphins at  Dolphin Discovery, The Cayman Turtle Center, Crystal Caves and visiting Hell (a gift shop with famous post office).

 

The Cruise Port of Barbados

               * Distance to Bridgetown

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 – Cruise ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal and free shuttles take passengers from the ships to the terminal building. There are lots of shops inside the terminal and WI FI is available but not free. A walkway into Bridgetown runs along the waterfront. The distance is approximately one mile. Most stores are open during the week but close at noon on Saturday and are not open on Sunday.

Transportation – There are lots of taxies available from the cruise terminal area. The fares are regulated by the government so it is 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, driving is on the left side of the road and, once you leave the city areas, many roads do not have name sig

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:

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 include a beach chair, shared umbrella, one cocktail, WIFI and free transport back to the ship.

Mount Gay Rum Distillery 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 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 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.

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 Pearly Party Cruises 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.

 

Cruise Port Antigua, W.I.

General – The sovereign state of Antigua & Barbuda is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands chain, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. In 2017, most of Barbuda’s infrastructure was destroyed by Hurricane Irma and the population was evacuated to Antigua. Rebuilding will be a slow and painful process as resources are extremely limited.

Where You’re Docked – The cruise ships normally dock at Heritage Quay or Redcliff Quay in the downtown area of St. John’s, the capital and largest city on the island. If there are a lot of ships in port, some may dock at the Deep Water Harbour Terminal approximately 1.5 miles from the city. It is best to take a taxi from this area as there are no sidewalks going into St. John’s from this location. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in the Quay area although many are closed on Sundays and public holidays. There are also several spots that offer WI-FI for either a small fee or free with a purchase. The beautiful St. John’s Cathederal which dates back to 1845 is a beautiful historic site to visit right in town.

Transportation – There are lots of taxi cabs available from the cruise dock area. Many taxis have a fixed fare set by the government but you can try to negotiate your fare before agreeing on the trip. There is limited public bus service but it can be complicated to use and very time consuming. Rental cars can be expensive because, in addition to the rental rate, a $20.00 temporary driving permit is required.

Money – The official currency is the East Caribbean dollar (EC) but US dollars are widely accepted. The current exchange rate is US $1.00 = EC$2.70.

Nearby trips:

Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. For tourists, one of the more popular ones is Dickenson Bay, approximately 15 minutes from St. Johns. It offers a lively atmosphere with restaurants, bars and resorts.

Best view of the island is from Shirley Heights which also offers a nice restaurant for a meal with a spectacular view. A visit can be easily incorporated with a trip to Nelson’s Dockyard, the only working Georgian Dockyard in the Caribbean.

English Harbor is the main town in the south and it is the heart of the yachting community.

A visit to Barbuda is possible via the Barbuda Express, a 90 minute ferry service operating from the ferry dock in St. John’s. The ferry runs 6 days a week (not on Wednesday) with one departure and one arrival daily. Adult r/t tickets run $85.00 and children’s are less. Advance reservations are recommended.