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Cruisers' Guide to the Southern Caribbean

By Viator, August 2018

4.5 3100 Reviews | Add your review

The heady ports of call in the southern Caribbean include far-flung exotic islands such as Aruba, Barbados, and Curacao, all with a potpourri mix of Spanish, Dutch, French, and British influences. Here are your options for southern Caribbean cruise destinations.

Cruise liners visiting Antigua dock at the capital of St. John’s on the island’s west coast, while Antigua’s sister island of Barbuda is an easy day trip by catamaran for shore visitors. In St. John’s, visitors can stop at the market, head out on an off-road beach safari, or hit the water at Cade Reef for snorkeling. Barbuda has its own pristine beaches, as well as a popular frigate bird sanctuary.

Ships sailing to Aruba dock in Oranjestad, the island’s capital on its southwest coast. You’ll hear English, Spanish, and Dutch spoken here, and although the official currency is the Aruban florin, US dollars are widely accepted. A shore excursion tour will show you the highlights with the option to learn to dive, snorkel, or sail on at the famous white-sand beaches.

This is a little slice of England in the Southern Caribbean. English is spoken, and US dollar bills (but not coins) are accepted. Ships dock in the capital of Bridgetown, full of shops, historic buildings, and the famous Mount Gay rum distillery.

Pastel-painted, gabled houses with red roofs welcome cruise ships to Curacao’s capital, Willemstad. English, Spanish, and Dutch are spoken, and although the local currency is the Antillean guilder, US dollars are accepted. Cruise ships dock on the western side of the channel at Otrobanda, just a short walk over the bridge to the shops and restaurants in Punda. 

British and French influences are evident on Dominica, and you’ll be docking in the former French port of Roseau on the island’s southwest coast. Popular shore excursions include water-based activities like kayaking, rainforest river tubing, and beach snorkel tours by jeep.

There are so many things to do and so many different ways to relax when you're spending time on Grenada, the Caribbean's Isle of Spice. Bring your camera to capture stunning waterfalls, your swimsuit to cool off in tropical pools, and a sense of wonder and adventure.

This high, green island is one of the Caribbean's top fashionable resort destinations, but it's still a long way from being overdeveloped. Bananas are still bigger business than tourism in this archetypal island paradise, and the western shores are a fine place to be from February to April when the rain eases off.

St. Kitts is as hopping as Nevis is sleepy, but relaxation and a rum punch are requisites on both islands. The dual island nation offers a menu of plantation-cum-boutique hotels, palm tree-lined beaches, and adventurous hikes. Between February and May, the hot and dry conditions will fuel your tropical dreams. Other months can get quite wet, with a hurricane season from August to October.

Tours & Tickets

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Aquaventure Oasis at Atlantis with Lunch, Nassau, null
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Aquaventure Oasis at Atlantis with Lunch

Spend the day at Atlantis Paradise Island to experience Aquaventure, the Caribbean's largest water park! Jump into the mile long Current where slow waves turn ...  Read more

Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $175.75
Nassau Shore Excursion: Island Highlights Sightseeing Tour, Nassau, Water Parks
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Nassau Shore Excursion: Island Highlights Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 386 Reviews

Explore Nassau on this 2-1/2 hour historical tour. Visit some of the cities most famous attractions like the Queen's Staircase, John Watling's Distillery and ...  Read more

Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Duration: Flexible

From USD $30.00
St Maarten Shore Excursion: Snorkeling and Speed Boat Tour, Philipsburg, Ports of Call Tours
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St Maarten Shore Excursion: Snorkeling and Speed Boat Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 47 Reviews

When your cruise ship docks in St Maarten, spend your time exploring its top snorkel sites. Your 6-hour shore excursion takes you by speedboat on a sightseeing ...  Read more

Location: Philipsburg, St Maarten
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $125.00
Nassau Shore Excursion: Exuma Powerboat Adventure, Nassau, Ports of Call Tours
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Nassau Shore Excursion: Exuma Powerboat Adventure

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

If you're on a cruise and only have one day to spend in the Bahamas, you must simply take a trip to the Exumas! Hop aboard the high-speed powerboat and spend ...  Read more

Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $245.28
St Maarten Shore Excursion: Orient and Maho Beach Half-Day Tour, Philipsburg, Ports of Call Tours
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St Maarten Shore Excursion: Orient and Maho Beach Half-Day Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 301 Reviews

While in port in St Maarten, enjoy fun in the sun at two of St Maarten’s renowned beaches – Orient Beach and Maho Beach. Your friendly guide will deliver you ...  Read more

Location: Philipsburg, St Maarten
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $40.00
Amber Cove Shore Excursion: Damajagua Jump and Slide Party, Puerto Plata, Ports of Call Tours
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Amber Cove Shore Excursion: Damajagua Jump and Slide Party

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

The Best Amber Cove Damajagua Waterfalls Shore Excursion and Party in Puerto Plata awaits! Your REAL adventure starts with a narrated, countryside drive to the ...  Read more

Location: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.00
Puerto Plata Shore Excursion: Damajagua Waterfalls Tour For Amber Cove Cruise Ship Passengers, ... 
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Puerto Plata Shore Excursion: Damajagua Waterfalls Tour For Amber Cove Cruise Ship Passengers

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 44 Reviews

One of the top ten things to do in Puerto Plata and the most exhilarating shore excursions for adventure seekers!  Whether you choose to hike, slide, swim and ...  Read more

Location: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.00
St Maarten Shore Excursion: Island Sightseeing Tour from Philipsburg, Philipsburg, Ports of Call ... 
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St Maarten Shore Excursion: Island Sightseeing Tour from Philipsburg

4.5 star rating: Recommended 268 Reviews

While in port in Philipsburg, discover the enchanting towns, stunning beaches and local cuisine of the island of St Martin on this 4.5-hour shore excursion. ...  Read more

Location: Philipsburg, St Maarten
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $44.00
Barbados Shore Excursion: Pirate's Cove Turtle and Shipwreck Adventure, Barbados, Ports of Call ... 
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Barbados Shore Excursion: Pirate's Cove Turtle and Shipwreck Adventure

4.5 star rating: Recommended 32 Reviews

There is no better place in the world to spend a day at the beach than Barbados. Carlisle Bay has the whitest sand and amazingly blue turquoise sea that anyone ...  Read more

Location: Barbados
Duration: Flexible

From USD $25.00
St Kitts Shore Excursion: ATV Adventure, St Kitts, Ports of Call Tours
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St Kitts Shore Excursion: ATV Adventure

4.5 star rating: Recommended 34 Reviews

Spend your time in port on St Kitts on an adrenaline-pumping tour through the island’s lush countryside by all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Enjoy views of volcanic ...  Read more

Location: Basseterre, St Kitts
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $98.99

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