Port of Call St Thomas
Photo By: Rennett Stowe (Flickr)

One of the main reasons for booking your dream cruise holiday are the ports that the cruise ship calls at. On many voyages the ports are what defines the cruise and can make a huge difference in the experience.

Cruise Hive is going to look at some ideas on how you can make the port day as smooth as possible because in many cases it can be more stressful than actually enjoyable. You may even be scared if it’s a ports of call you know nothing about.

Cruise Line Information

The cruise line will surely provide information on the cruises upcoming port of call. To do this some lines will put on a talk show by ships staff to explain important information and what to do when on land. Extra details about the port are usually given in your package details along with daily newsletters given onboard the ship. Always check the cabin television too for port information as most cruise lines will have a dedicated channel for this. The details provided usually tell the best places to visit while on land including shore excursions and restaurants. They will also tell you the best beaches to enjoy and even provide suggested fees that you could be charged.

CRUISE TIP: Listen to the experts and read the port guides given.


When a cruise ship come into port the locals are always right at the cruise terminal entrance ready to take your money. Most ports have agreements with the local authorities with transports. You’ll often see trolley or minibus taxi’s available but be careful because the drivers will try to charge more especially if their just single public taxis.

Try and stay in large groups and if you know any other fellow passengers that are going to the same place as you then why not travel together, it will also be more fun and you get to make new friends on your cruise. Another point to note is in some ports they will have a big board near the transport pick up and drop off points with fair prices to popular tourist places.

CRUISE TIP: Don’t use taxi’s outside the port area.


Make sure you don’t take all your valuable items on shore with you. You can leave them in your stateroom safe or give to the information desk as some cruise lines do offer a secure safe service. Make sure you get a bottle of water before you get off because you don;t want to be waiting your shore time looking in the shops to buy water. Plan your day and just get the amount of cash needed, in most cases Caribbean ports will take dollars but other cruise regions will use that countries own currency.

CRUISE TIP: Use your cabin safe, don’t keep ALL your valuables on you in port.


It would be wise to have breakfast onboard before you get off the ship and then have lunch outside. An important aspect of experiencing a port of call are the local restaurants. Usually the cruise line will give information on the most recommended places to eat on shore. Try to choose a place that is local and serves local dishes so you can try something new and gain the most experience from the port. Don’t try to take any fresh food back onboard with you as it’s not allowed. That means you’ll have to eat as much as possible while on shore! We know that won’t be a problem.

CRUISE TIP: Eat local dishes at local restaurants.


What do you really need when going ashore? Well in today’s world there is at least one device passengers will take but the most important is a phone. It would be wise to know the emergency number of the country and to check to see if your phone will work in port. it’s suggested to check online or simply ask the cruise ships information desk about his. Electronic devices can be heavy especially when carrying more than two so try to limit them. Cruise ship passengers are often surprised at how often they have to walk in port and if it’s a hot climate it can be struggle.

CRUISE TIP: Limit electronic devices but always have a phone.

Time Limit

Time in port is precious so decide what you want to do the day before at the latest so you can book shore excursions if needed and purchase items that you might have not brought with you. Try to find a balance when visiting the port of call and choose a nice place to relax and dine at when you can. Everyone has their own way of experiencing a port of call but we do suggest that something new is done, you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy it. Don’t spend time visiting the local pharmacy unless it’s urgent, try to make a list before your cruise on urgent items that you might need.

CRUISE TIP: Plan and be organised before the day you go ashore.

Feel free to add some more cruise tips in the comments below.