Cruises to Jamaica offer visitors the chance to experience the island’s rich culture, tasty local treats, great shopping and stunning natural landscapes.
The lively city of Ocho Rios, laid-back Montego Bay or historic Falmouth are where your cruise ship will dock. Here is a little background on each Jamaican port before you go.
Ask a seasoned cruiser about Ocho Rios and they immediately reply with a laundry list of must-do activities ranging from speeding along a breathtaking zip line 300 feet above the rainforest floor to climbing Dunn’s River Falls or simply kicking back with a little shopping at Island Village or the two-story Taj Mahal, and lunch at the beachfront Margaritaville, all just a short walk from the port.
Montego Bay, affectionately known as Mo’ Bay is your setting-off point if you’ve dreamed about spending time on the white-sand beaches of Negril. The famous Seven Mile Beach in Negril is best visited on a prearranged shore excursion rather than on your own as it still takes a good one-hour drive to get to Negril even via the new highway system.
If ghostly haunts are your thing, head over to Rose Hall Plantation and tour the 200-year-old Great House. Built for Annie Palmer in 1770, she became known as the White Witch after word got out that she was into witchcraft and may have murdered a husband or two. Or three.
If shopping is more your bag, there’s Montego Freeport, a shopping area right next to the pier. If you like to bargain, a trip to the Old Fort Craft Market in the heart of Montego Bay is another option.
Royal Caribbean invested millions into the redevelopment of the port at Falmouth. Today, it offers dozens of small souvenir shops, name-brand designer stores and a few centuries-old historic buildings beautifully restored to their original designs. Falmouth is home to the Martha Brae River Village, a popular excursion for leisurely raft rides down the Martha Brae River and some of the best beaches in Jamaica. From Falmouth, you also have handy access to the huge variety of shore activities offered in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Or you can choose to stay in town and clip-clop through the sites on a horse-and-buggy ride.
Among the cruise lines visiting Jamaica are Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Ships leave from several U.S. ports, including New Orleans, Louisiana; Galveston, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; and Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida. Many cruises to Jamaica last about a week or two, with a Western Caribbean focus. For a broader experience, some trips blend a trek to the Western Caribbean with another region of the globe, such as Europe.