Antigua: Your ship will dock in Heritage Quay in St. John's. Within walking distance are shops, restaurants, and ATMs. Taxis and rental cars are available.
Aruba: Cruise ships dock in Oranjestad, which is the capital city of Aruba, so there is plenty to do within walking distance. Beaches require a taxi ride or public bus.
Barbados: You’ll depart your cruise ship at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, which is a mile from Bridgetown. Locally there are souvenir shops, but the walk/taxi ride to Bridgetown will provide you with many more shopping options. You can rent a car, but be wary of the roads; everyone drives on the left.
Bonaire: Cruises typically dock in downtown Kralendijk, which is withing walkin distance of restaurants, bars, shops, and snorkeling and diving sites. Taxis and rental cars are available to explore the rest of the island.
Curacao: Larger ships dock in the Curacao Mega Pier, which is a short distance from downtown West Willamstad. Smaller ships can dock at the Curacao Cruise Terminal, which is also close to Willamstad.
Dominica: Ships stop at Roseau Cruise Ship Berth, conveniently located in the heart of Roseau.
Grenada: Melville Street Cruise Terminal in downtown St. George’s is where your cruise ship will drop you off. Taxis, buses, and rental cars are readily available.
Guadeloupe: You'll get off at Centre Saint-John Perse, which is a short walk from Pointe-a-Pitre, a major Guadeloupean city.
Martinique: Cruise ships dock in two piers that are walkable from the bustling Fort-de-France.
Nevis: You'll be anchored and tendered into Charleston, where many sites are within walking distance. Taxis and public buses are readily available.
St. Barth's: Cruise ships stopping at St. Barth's are anchored and tendered into the capital city of Gustavia. Shops, restaurants, resorts, and beaches are reachable by foot. Taxis are rare, and small rental cars are available, but be wary of the small roads and steep curves when driving.
St. Kitts: Cruise ships can unload passengers at Port Zante, which is geared towards tourists with its shops and restaurants. Within walking distance is Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts.
St. Lucia: When your cruise ship anchors in St. Lucia, you will be a short walk from Castries, the only major developed area in St. Lucia. Transportation options include public bus, rental car, and taxi. If you plan on renting a car, note that St. Lucians drive on the left.
The low down on the most popular Southern Caribbean cruise destinations:
Antigua: Antigua boasts many beaches, claiming to have one for every day of the year. There is shopping in close proximity to the port. Sailing and yachting are also popular here, and prestigious international competitions are held annually. The capital of Antigua is St. John's.
Aruba: One of the ABC islands, Aruba is mostly desert, cactus and secluded rocky coves, and its capital is Oranjestad. There are many beaches, casinos, duty-free shops, dive sites, shipwrecks, and a championship golf course on the island. Aruba is out of the hurricane belt, so it is safer to travel here during hurricane season.
Barbados: Formerly a British colony, this island sports a very British atmosphere. There are many opportunities to explore the history and culture of Barbados, but if that’s not your scene, you can stay in the tourist sections and relax on the beach or shop in the duty-free stores. The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown.
Bonaire: For many, the "B" of the ABC islands is a diving and snorkeling destination also known for its abundance of plant and animal species. Not only is Bonaire out of the hurricane belt, there is no rainy season, so the conditions can be very desert-like. The capital of Bonaire is Kralendijk.
Curacao: The "C" of the ABC islands is a vibrant paradise that appeals to active travelers, watersports enthusiasts, those who want to relax, and everyone in between. The capital of Curacao is Willamstad.
Dominica: A nature lover’s paradise, filled with exotic species, rainforests, hiking trails, and more. The capital of Dominica is Roseau.
Grenada: Known as the "Isle of Spice," Grenada is the second smallest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere. The capital of Grenada is St. George's.
Guadeloupe: This scenic and attractive French island has various markets, boutiques, and pastry shops. Guadeloupe is home to the highest point in the Lesser Antilles, La Soufriere volcano.
Martinique: This French island is home to white and black sand beaches and its French and Creole specialties. The capital of Martinique is Fort-de-France.
Nevis: This small island in the Southern Caribbean is known for its history, beauty, and proximity to St. Kitts.
St. Kitts: The larger of the two-island nation St. Kitts and Nevis, this island is growing in popularity and development, but still remains largely open. Lush vegetation and a dormant volcano attract eco-tourists to St. Kitts.
St. Barth's: This French island in the Lesser Antilles is known for its beautiful beaches and fine Caribbean cuisine. The capital of St. Barth's is Gustavia.
St. Lucia:This exotic island is known for its colorful markets, vast rainforest, and waterfalls. The capital of St. Lucia is Castries.
Barbuda: A short ferry ride from Antigua will take you to this beautiful beach island which has snorkeling sites and a bird sanctuary.
Downtown St. John's: Home to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Island Safari: Guided half-day excursions to scenic, undeveloped areas of Antigua.
Antigua Recreation Ground: Cricket matches.
Antigua Beaches: Jabberwock Beach (for kite surfing), Dickenson Bay (for watersports), Half Moon Bay, Deep Bay, Galley Bay Beach (for surfing), Darkwood Beach, Long Bay (for snorkeling), Pineapple Beach, Carlisle Bay, Turner's Bay, Valley's Church Beach, Jolly Beach.
Jolly Roger: Hop aboard this pirate ship docked outside Antigua and learn how to be a pirate in this family-friendly adventure.
Antigua Historical Sites: Betty's Hope (sugar plantation and museum), Nelson's Dockyard, Fort Shirley, Fort James.
Harmony Hall: Italian-owned and -operated art gallery, sugar mill bar and restaurant.
Stingray City Antigua: Get up close and personal with friendly stingrays.
Indian Town National Park: Scenic ocean views in Antigua; home to Devil's Bridge, a natural limestone arch on the shoreline.
Helicopter to Montserrat Volcano: A 45-minute flight over Montserrat island, where you’ll see Soufriere Hills Volcano, an active volcano.
Aruba Beaches: Baby Beach (for snorkeling), Bachelor’s Beach (for snorkeling), Malmok Beach (for snorkeling), Palm Beach (for everything), Eagle Beach, Rodger’s Beach, Arashi Beach, Punta Beach, Druif Beach, Manchebo Beach, Hadikurari (for windsurfing).
Butterfly Farm: Located in Aruba.
California Lighthouse: Located in northwestern Aruba, where the famed Californian ship sank.
Aruba Casinos: 11 are found on the island; Crystal Casino and Seaport Casino are within walking distance of the port.
Balashi Brewery Tour: Aruba isn’t all about rum; located adjacent to a restaurant/bar.
Aruba Horseback Riding: Available at Rancho Notorious and Rancho Daimari.
Tierra Del Sol: Aruba golf course.
Aruba Ancient Caves: Arawak drawings can be seen at Gudarikiri Cave and Fontein Cave.
Kukoo Kanuku Party Bus: Party bus to take you bar hopping in Aruba.
Aruba Snorkeling: Available through Pelican Adventures and Red Sail Sports.
Mount Gay Rum Tour: Tour of a Barbados rum factory.
Holetown: Beach resort area in Barbados; lined with exclusive resorts, public beaches, and souvenir shops.
Barbados Botanical Gardens: Orchid World, Flower Forest, Andromeda Botanic Gardens.
Barbados Historical Sites: St. Michael’s Cathedral, Francia Plantation House, Synagogue (built in 1654), Gun Hill Station.
Barbados Scenic Areas: Welchman Hall Gully National Park, Farley Hill National Park, North Point (with Animal Flower Cave and 80-foot cliffs), Harrison's Cave.
Barbados Museum: Look back into the history and culture of Barbados.
Arbib Heritage and Nature Trail: Guided tours through the towns and undeveloped areas of Barbados.
Barbados Beaches: Brighton Beach, Payne’s Beach (for watersports), Crane Beach, Rockley Beach, Harrismith Beach, Bottom Bay, Batts Rock, Mullins Beach (for snorkeling), Church Point, Paradise Beach, Brandon’s Beach, Fresh Water Beach, Silver Sand Beach, Casuarina Beach (for windsurfing).
A Taste of Barbados: Guided tour through Barbados; stops include the rum factory, Heritage Park, Sunbury Plantation House, and a mahogany carving factory.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve: Home to herons, turtles, peacocks, and more.
Bonaire Flamingos: They can be spotted at Goto Meer and the flamingo sanctuaries in southern Bonaire.
Bonaire Diving and Snorkeling: 86 sites are designated as diving sites; numerous resorts offer programs and diving excursions. Glass-bottom boat tours are also offered.
Donkey Sanctuary: Over 300 donkeys are in this Bonaire attraction; you can feed the donkeys here, too.
Bonaire Deep Sea Fishing: Available with Captain Chris Morkos.
Washington Slagbaai National Park: This national park contains a lighthouse, bird watching, and the highest point in Bonaire.
Bonaire Windsurfing: Available at Lac Bay.
Bonaire Horseback Riding: Available at the Riding Academy Club.
Bonaire Beaches: Lac Bay (for windsurfing), Pink Beach (for snorkeling and scuba diving), resort beaches.
Klein Bonaire: An uninhabited island off the coast of Bonaire that is ideal for snorkeling and diving.
Curacao Trolley: Beginning at Fort Amsterdam, the trolley takes you on an island tour of Curacao.
Museum Kura Hulanda: Ancient African artifacts can be found in this Curacao museum.
Maritime Museum: Located in Curacao.
Curacao Art Galleries: Landuis Bloemhof, Classic Caribbean, Arawak Craft Products, Kas di Alma Blou.
Curacao Golf: Its only golf course is designed by Rocky Roquemore and can be found at the Blue Bay Golf Resort.
Ostrich and Game Farm: Located in Curacao.
Landhuis Chobolobo: Flavored liquor factory in Curacao; tours are available.
Amstel Brewery: Tours of this Curacao facility are available.
Curacao Sea Aquarium: Get up close and personal with marine life.
Mushroom Forest: Ideal site for diving and snorkeling in Curacao.
Curacao Beaches: Seaquarium Beach, Playa Porto Mari (for snorkeling and diving), Cas Abao Beach, Playa Kaiki (for snorkeling and swimming), Westpunt, Playa Forti, Playa Kenepa, Playa Abao, Playa Lagun, Daaibooi (for snorkeling and swimming), Blue Bay (for snorkeling and diving), Santa Barbara (for watersports).
Curacao Natural Sites: Hato Caves, Table Mountain.
The Insulinde: Sailing ship that departs from Curacao for scenic ocean views.
Fort Nassau: Restored 18th century fort in Curacao.
Willemstad: Filled with shopping centers, Mikve Israel-Emanuel (the oldest continually worshipped-in synagogue in the New World) and the centuries-old Fort Amsterdam.
Caracas Bay Island: Designed for the active vacationer in Curacao; activities include bird watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, banana boat rides and snorkeling tours.
Roseau: The capital city of Dominica contains Old Market Plaza, the Roseau Cathedral, Botanical Garden, and Dominica Museum.
Dominica Hiking: Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Trafalgar Falls, Cabrits, Boiling Lake, Soufriere Volcano.
Indian River Boat Ride: Great for birdwatching in Dominica.
Carib Indian Reservation: Located in Dominica; home to native Dominican Indian tribes.
Dominica East Coast Sites: L'Escalier Tete de Chien (The Snake’s Staircase), Red Rocks.
Dominica Beaches: Soufriere Bay (for snorkeling and kayaking), Picard Beach (for windsurfing and snorkeling), Hampstead Beach, Hodges Beach.
Grenada Beaches: Grand Anse Beach, Morne Rouge Beach (for snorkeling), La Sagesse Beach (for birdwatching), Pink Gin Beach.
Grand Etang National Park :Grenada rainforest; be sure when hiking here to check out the volcanic crater lake.
St. George's: The capital city of Grenada is home to the Grenada National Museum, Market Square, Fort George, Fort Frederick, and churches.
Carenage: A town of shops, restaurants, and historic Grenada forts are a short distance from St. George's.
Moliniere Point: Ideal snorkeling site in Grenada.
Annandale Falls: Waterfall and nature trail outside St. George's, Grenada.
Dougaldston Spice Estate: A tribute to Grenada's once-booming spice industry; nearby is Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, where tours are available.
Bianca C: The Caribbean's largest wreck site; located off the coast of Granada.
Rhum Runner 1 and 2: Party boat and snorkeling adventure departing from St. George, Grenada.
Trailblazers: Guided mountain biking tours in Grenada.
Sauters: Northern Grenada neighborhood featuring the Morne Fendue Plantation House and Carib's Leap, a 100-foot cliff.
Grenada Sportfishing: Catch blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and yellowfin tuna through True Blue Sportfishing.
River Antoine Rum Distillery: The oldest working water mill in the Caribbean; located in Grenada.
Seven Sisters Falls: Contact your cruise line for excursions to this site in Grenada.
Pointe-a-Pitre: Busy city in Guadeloupe; home to Place Gourbeyre Flower Market, Cathedral of St-Pierre and St-Paul, Marche St. Antoine Market, Marche de la Darse market.
Grand Terre Driving Tour: Views on this tour of Guadeloupe include the resort area of Gosier, the rocky Pointe des Chateaux, and St. Francois marina.
Basse Terre Driving Tour: Views on this tour of Guadeloupe include Trois Rivieres village, La Soufriere volcano, and Guadeloupe’s capital, Basse-Terre.
Basse Terre: Popular activities in the Guadeloupean capital are snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing. Nearby Cousteau Underwater Park is ideal for diving.
Marie-Galante: Less-developed Guadeloupean island; home to beaches and Chateau Murat, a restored 17th century sugar plantation and rum distillery.
Guadeloupe Beaches: Gosier, Pigeon Island (for snorkeling), Ste-Anne, Anse Carot, Anse de Vieux Fort.
La Pagerie: Martinique museum honoring Napoleon's wife, Empress Josephine.
Pointe du Bout: A ferry's ride from Fort-de-France; here you'll find beaches, resorts, cafes, and shops.
Fort-de-France: The capital city of Martinique contains Sacre-Coeur de Balata Cathedral, La Savane park, Rue Schoelcher shopping district, Rue Victor-Hugo shopping area, Bibliotheque Schoelcher (Roman/Byzantine-style library), Justice Palace, and St. Louis Roman Catholic Church.
Fort-de-France Tour: Stops include Bibliotheque Schoelcher, La Savane park, a vandalized statue of Napoleon's Empress Josephine, and shopping centers.
St. Pierre: At Martinique’s original city you’ll find black sand beaches, cafes, and Mont Pelee, the volcano that destroyed the original town over a century ago.
Macouba: A fishing village in northern Martinique; home to scenic views, JM Distillery, and a rain forest.
The Galleria: The largest shopping mall in the Caribbean; located in Martinique.
Martinique Beaches: Anse Mitan, Anse-a-l'Ane, St. Anne (for snorkeling), Pointe Les Salines, Diamond Beach.
Martinique 4x4 Adventure: Tour the Martinique countryside; sights include the rainforest, villages, and the Caribbean coast.
Parc des Floralies: Martinique botanical gardens.
Anse-d'Arlets: Snorkeling site in Martinique.
Alexander Hamilton Birthplace: Home to the Museum of Nevis History, a 17th century manor, and many Hamilton artifacts from his early childhood in Nevis.
Ft. Ashby: Ideal site for diving; this settlement went underwater after an earthquake centuries ago.
Nevis Botanical Gardens: Eight acres of lagoons, waterfalls, streams, rain forest, and a plantation house.
Nevis Golf: Available at the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Nevis Equestrian Center: Horseback riding and a petting zoo.
Beekeeping Tour: Located in Nevis.
Hermitage Plantation and Restaurant: Horse-and-buggy rides followed by lunch.
Nevis Beaches: Oualie Beach (for watersports), Pinney's Beach, Lover's Beach.
Gustavia: Places to explore in St. Barth's capital: City Hall, Clock Tower, Musee Municipal, duty-free shops and more.
St. Jean: St. Barth's village near Gustavia that offers less expensive shopping opportunities.
St. Barth's Beaches: Anse du Governeur, Grande Saline, Flamands, St. Jean (for watersports), Lorient (for surfing), Anse de Cayes (for surfing), Toiny (for surfing), Grand Cul de Sac (for watersports), Colombier, Rockefeller Beach.
Corossol: St. Barth's fishing village; known for its straw baskets and the shell collection at Inter-Oceans Museum.
St. Barth's Horseback Riding: Available at Stables at Ranch des Flamands.
St. Barth's Deep Sea Fishing: Excursions departing from Lorient, Flamands and Corossol help you fish for tuna, mahi-mahi, Wahoo and barracuda.
St Barth's Overview and Beach: Break Bus tour of St. Barth’s; stops include St. Jean Beach, Saline, Grand Cul de Sac, and Saint Barth Beach Hotel.
St. Barth's Marine Park: Great site for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Fast 'n' Fun Boat Tour: Nautical tour that encircles St. Barth's before stopping so you swim around Rockefeller Beach.
Mount Liamuiga: Dormant volcano in St. Kitts.
Bassaterre: The capital of St. Kitts and Nevis boasts art galleries, music stores, bookstores, Internet cafes, boutiques, craft shops, a marketplace and Pall Mall Square, which was once a slave trade hub.
St. Kitts Historical Sites: Brimstone Hill Fortress, Romney Manor, Bloody Point, Berkeley Memorial Clock, Independence Square.
Black Rocks: Lava deposits in St. Kitts form unusual shapes.
Nature Reserve: Preserved animal species and plant species in St. Kitts.
St. Kitts Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Available at Booby Shoals and Nag's Head.
St. Kitts Beaches: Conaree Bay (for watersports), Turtle Bay (for watersports), Frigate Bay (for watersports), White House Bay (for snorkeling), Great Salt Pond, Dieppe Bay, Friar’s Bay, Sand Bank Beach, Cockleshell Bay (for snorkeling and swimming).
St. Kitts Scenic Railway: Double-decker railcars provide you with a scenic tour of St. Kitts.
Soufriere: The former French colonial capital of St. Lucia; home to Diamond Botanical Gardens, Soufriere drive-in volcano (a one-of-a-kind), and a view of the Pitons.
The Pitons: The twin mountains in St. Lucia are one its most visited attractions.
St. Lucia Beaches: Choc Beach, Anse Chastanet (for snorkeling), Anse Cochon (for snorkeling), Pigeon Island, Anse des Pitons, Vieux Fort Beach, Anse Des Sables (for windsurfing), Marigot Bay, La Toc Beach, Vigie Beach, Malabar Beach, Rodney Bay.
Castries: The capital of St. Lucia is its only real city. Here you’ll come across duty free shops, Castries Market, and Craft Market.
Pigeon Island: A family-friendly tourist attraction north of St. Lucia; sites here are Fort Rodney, Museum and Interpretive Centre and historic remains from the various battles between the British and the French.
Mako Watersports: Deep sea fishing excursions departing from St. Lucia.
St. Lucia Horseback Riding: Available in Gros Islet through International Riding Stables.
St. Lucia Golf: Available at the St. Lucia Golf and Country Club.
St. Lucia Helicopter Tours: Birds-eye views of the beautiful island of St. Lucia.
St. Lucia Highlights Tour: Stops include Soufriere drive-in volcano, Diamond Botanical Gardens & Waterfall, Morne Fortune and Marigot Bay.
Catamaran Cruise to Soufriere: Scenic views of St. Lucia, especially the Pitons.
St. Lucia Rainforest: Guided walking tours are offered to explore the 16,000 acres of protected vegetation and waterfalls.
Most cruises sail to the Southern Caribbean during the winter months, but a few offer year-round cruises. It is recommended not to travel there during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 but doesn't become too intense until August. Summer travel to Southern Caribbean locales is much less popular, so expect cheaper deals and open beaches.