Jamaica is one of the most popular stops on any Caribbean cruise itinerary. With its vibrant and unique culture, tropical landscape, picture-perfect beaches, and accessible location, it is no wonder it is one of the region’s most sought-after cruise destinations. We’re going to delve into five Jamaica cruise ports to help give you more of an understanding of what’s available for an upcoming cruise vacation.
No doubt you’ll want to know the most popular Jamaica cruise ports. Not only will this help you understand what you can expect, it will help you get the most out of these ports of Jamaica. From exciting excursions to having the opportunity to explore the island nation’s rich history and culture, and even knowing which cruise lines visit which ports, it’s time to know more!
Location: Northwestern Coast of Jamaica (approx. 3 miles west of downtown Montego Bay)
Port Type: Pier
Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Marella Cruises, Viking Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises
The Montego Bay Cruise Port is Jamaica’s third busiest cruise port, so there is a good chance you will stop here if your cruise itinerary calls for a stop in Jamaica.
The port is located along the northwestern coast of Jamaica, so it is easily accessible for cruise ships traveling from Cancun or the cruise ports of the Dominican Republic. Not only is the Montego Bay Cruise Port situated in the ideal location for cruise ships, but it also offers cruise ship passengers access to Montego Bay’s numerous attractions.
Montego Bay is Jamaica’s fourth largest city by population, and it offers visitors immediate access to many of the attractions that make Jamaica such a popular tourist destination. With plenty of restaurants serving delicious Jamaican dishes and flavorful rum cocktails, it is perfect for those hoping to get a true taste of Jamaican cuisine.
Beyond the food scene, the cruise port also allows passengers to shop for souvenirs and duty-free designer items from some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Colorful buildings and murals also surround the port. Plus, the city is also known for its striking beaches, like Doctor’s Cave Beach and Tropical Bliss Beach.
For those who are a bit more adventurous, there are numerous excursion providers that work with cruise lines to take departing passengers out for exciting experiences, like snorkeling in the Montego Bay Marine Park and zip-lining adventures in the tropical countryside outside of the city.
Location: Northern Coast of Jamaica (approx. 20 miles east of Montego Bay cruise port)
Port Type: Pier
Cruise Lines: Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line
Falmouth Cruise Port is less busy than Montego Bay Cruise Port, but it still can be a bustling place, with many cruise lines featuring it in their itineraries. The Jamaica cruise port is mainly used by Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line, but some other cruise lines, a lot less.
The port also offers visitors a more historical look at what makes Jamaican culture so unique. With well-preserved colonial-era buildings and cobblestone streets, you will feel like you have been transported into the past.
Most visitors take time to explore Georgian architecture, like the historic Greenwood Great House. The town also boasts numerous restaurants and street food vendors where you can sample iconic Jamaican dishes, like jerk chicken, curry goat, and Jamaican patties.
If taking a stroll back in time isn’t your thing, the town of Falmouth is also situated near plenty of nature trails and rivers that lend well to excursions. Hiking enthusiasts should consider the Nine Mile Bob Marley Walk.
You will walk along tropical hiking paths to visit the birthplace and grave of the legendary singer. Most excursions also feature a fully catered lunch made up of local cuisine. It’s a must-do for nature enthusiasts and Reggae fans alike. There’s also rafting at the horseshoe-shaped Martha Brae River.
Location: Southeastern Coast of Jamaica (approx. 120 miles southeast of Montego Bay cruise port)
Port Type: Tender
Cruise Lines: Marella Cruises, Sebourn, Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises
Located a short distance from the coastline of Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, Port Royal offers cruise passengers an experience unlike any other. In its heyday, the port was even known as one of the world’s most notorious pirate haunts, which explains its historical title, “The Wickedest City on Earth.” Unsurprisingly, this distinct past has given the port a lasting and unique look and feel that will be a memorable part of any cruise vacation.
Visitors have a wealth of possibilities when deciding how they will enjoy their time in Kingston. This historical and bustling city can be a history buff’s playground, with plenty of 17th-century architecture, like the remains of Fort Charles and the tilted Giddy House, which was shifted to a 45-degree angle following a major earthquake in 1917.
Since Kingston’s core is just a short drive from Port Royal, many cruise visitors will take time to enjoy the city’s cultural experiences, like the Bob Marley Museum and the city’s famous Coronation Market. With countless restaurants, bars, and stores, you shouldn’t have any difficulty filling your time in Kingston.
Since it is arguably Jamaica’s busiest cruise port, Port Royal is also home to numerous reputable excursion companies. Enjoy horseback riding, hikes, ATV trips, and driving tours to some of Jamaica’s most iconic tourist stops. It’s mainly visited by smaller luxury lines.
Location: Northwestern Coast of Jamaica (approx. 70 miles east of Montego Bay)
Port Type: Pier
Cruise Lines: Costa Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, NCL, TUI Cruises, P&O Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Royal Caribbean
The Ocho Rios Cruise Port is relatively close to the Montego Bay Cruise Port but offers visitors a slightly different atmosphere and experience. Rather than being a more bustling city, Ocho Rios acts as more of a resort town. Most passengers will be heading through the Turtle Bay Pier and Cruise Terminal, which can dock to two mid-sized ships or one larger vessel.
With countless excursion operators offering a wide range of fulfilling day trips to cruise ship passengers, it is an amazing place to enjoy the natural side of Jamaica’s beauty. Whether you prefer to enjoy the sun and waves of a white sand beach, or you are more drawn to the action and excitement of an adventure excursion, you will be able to find what you are looking for if your cruise ship lists Ocho Rios as one of its ports of call.
There is also a small town that caters to tourists, so you can take in the sights and sounds of local street performers, enjoy delicious and authentic Jamaican cuisine, or simply wander the streets taking photographs and purchasing affordable souvenirs. You’ll even find a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in town if you want to unwind with tropical cocktails. There are plenty of local cafes that are walking distance from the port.
While the town and beaches near the cruise port are ideal for those looking for a more relaxed experience, the lush greenery and stunning waterfalls surrounding the port are the real attractions. In fact, Ocho Rios actually means “Eight Rivers” in Spanish, so it is no surprise that the region offers rafting, waterfall hikes, and all kinds of other thrilling nature experiences.
If you have the pleasure of visiting Ocho Rios as part of your cruise itinerary, make sure you make the most of it. You will quickly realize why so many Jamaicans and foreign tourists choose the region as the destination for their vacations.
Location: Northeastern Coast of Jamaica (approx. 126 miles east of Montego Bay cruise port)
Port Type: Pier
Cruise Lines: Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Port Antonio is considered the least popular stop for cruise ships on our list, but it still offers plenty for those listed as a stop on their upcoming cruise itinerary. Numerous beaches and coves offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful afternoon, which can be a welcome opportunity to distance yourself from the crowds on board your ship.
With that said, Port Antonio isn’t just known for its tranquil beaches; it is also located near some iconic Jamaican sites, like the famous Blue Lagoon and the Rio Grande River. If you want to spend some time listening to rolling waves and taking in some sunshine, the beaches of Frenchman’s Cove are also close to the port. There, you will find beachside vendors offering cold drinks and tasty snacks and classes where you can enjoy beach yoga and meditation.
Transportation to these iconic sites is fairly straightforward, with many local transport organizations working with visiting cruise lines to ensure that passengers are returned to their respective ships in time for departure.
If beaches aren’t your thing, there are more exciting excursion options, like river rafting and snorkeling, as well as historical sites you can visit, like the Georgian-era DeMontevin Lodge and Folly Point Lighthouse.
No matter which of Jamaica’s cruise ports you visit, it’s important to ensure you know what you can expect. This is important for your safety and will help you enjoy a seamless and memorable experience.
Always exercise caution when visiting an unfamiliar area. While this is not unique to Jamaica, some areas of Jamaican cities can be dangerous for foreigners, especially after nightfall. Avoid getting into unlicensed vehicles while you are exploring the ports. Instead, stick to official transportation options or those provided by excursion organizers.
Petty crime, like pick-pocketing, can also be an issue in some more crowded areas. We would recommend being discreet and careful with valuables. Consider leaving valuable and expensive items, like jewelry and large amounts of cash, in a safe location on the ship, like your cabin safe.
You should also be aware that some street vendors will attempt to take advantage of tourists. Understand that you may be charged a higher price, so don’t be afraid to walk away if something seems more expensive than it should. You should also avoid being aggressive when negotiating prices; instead, be polite but firm.
Whether it is Jamaica or any other port of call, we recommend keeping your emergency contact information handy. This should include the contact information for the cruise line you are traveling with.
If you are booking an excursion, we recommend going with one partnered with your cruise line. Not only will this mean that they have been vetted for safety and authenticity, but the operators will be familiar with your cruise ship’s departure schedule so that they will get you back in time.
While the official currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar, most of the major vendors will accept the major credit cards, like VISA and Mastercard.
For smaller purchases from local food vendors and souvenir stalls, there is a good chance they will accept American dollars, but it is not a guarantee. If you want to play it safe, it can be a good idea to take out some local currency beforehand, especially if you have a particular souvenir that you would like to purchase to remember your time in the country.
To avoid any stomach issues, we would recommend sticking to bottled water while you are in Jamaica. You will also want to ensure that you are eating from reputable establishments with high sanitation and food storage standards.
Unfortunately, water treatment facilities in Jamaica are not up to the same standards as those in the United States, so the tap water is not drinkable. Even if you are in a restaurant, we advise paying extra for bottled water and other drinks.
What is Dunn’s River Falls and is it accessible from the main cruise ports?
Dunn’s River Falls is located just outside the town of Ocho Rios (approximately 10 miles away). The waterfalls offer a unique and stunning glimpse of Jamaica’s natural beauty, which has made them one of Jamaica’s top tourist attractions. As such, numerous providers offer shore excursions that transport cruise ship passengers to Dunn’s River Falls.
Given the fact that the falls are located so close to Ocho Rios, they are accessible to most of Jamaica’s main cruise ports, including Ocho Rios Cruise Port, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Falmouth Cruise Port. If you would like to visit the falls and experience their cascading waters and jungle backdrop, check with your cruise line to see if they partner with any local excursion providers.
With stunning beaches, picture-perfect jungle backdrops, and exciting towns proudly displaying one of the world’s most unique cultures, Jamaica’s cruise ports are often one of the main highlights of a Caribbean cruise vacation.
No matter if you are visiting the busier Jamaican ports, like Ocho Rio, Montego Bay, or Port Royal, or one of the island’s quieter areas, like Port Antonio, make sure you take the time to take in everything Jamaica has to offer. Listen to live reggae music, enjoy some jerk chicken, and kick back with a rum cocktail. More importantly, have the type of experience you crave.
Whether relaxing on a quiet beach or a thrilling trip to the lush jungles and rolling hills, Jamaica is there to be discovered and enjoyed!
“]] Do you want to see more? click on the link