10 Well-Known Western Caribbean Cruise Ports You Should Visit

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Discover these 10 well-known Western Caribbean cruise ports to help you plan your itinerary and choose exciting things to do during the voyage. Western Caribbean cruises typically visit ports of call in Central America and the beautiful Caribbean Sea. These tropical destinations include various ports in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras, and tropical islands such as Grand Cayman and Jamaica. 

Here’s our informative guide for cruisers covering these popular ports of call. We include terminal and pier info, which ports have tenders, popular shore excursions, and things to see and do independently if you don’t want to join an official cruise shore excursion.

Cozumel, Mexico

Lying just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the island of Cozumel is one of the most popular ports of call. The port is towards the west of the island. The cruise terminal can accommodate up to eight cruise ships at a time with three dedicated cruise piers: Punta Langosta, the International SSA Pier and Puerta Maya.

Additional ships use tenders to transport passengers ashore. Punta Langosta is just a five-minute stroll south of downtown and the Main Square. The other two cruise piers are further south and visitors can use shuttle buses or take a taxi for the 5-minute trip.

Cozumel Cruise Pier
Photo Credit: CathyRL / Shutterstock.com

Once ashore, there’s plenty of duty-free shopping and authentic Mexican restaurants to explore before you even leave the port area. Cozumel has some of the best and clearest diving and snorkeling sites with caves, underwater tunnels and a coral reef brimming with marine life.

Take your pick from jet boat tours, fishing trips, Jeep excursions to Mayan ruins and Tequila tastings. There are plenty more thrills, such as ziplines and glass-bottom kayaking at Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park.

Cruise lines visiting Cozumel in 2024-25 include:

  • Holland America 
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Marella Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages
  • TUI Cruises
  • Viking Cruises
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Margaritaville at Sea

Grand Cayman

Located in the Western Caribbean, midway between Cuba and Jamaica, Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands making up the Cayman Islands. The cruise terminal is in the capital, George Town, on the sheltered west coast.

Grand Cayman is a tender port, which means the ships drop anchor in the harbor and use tenders/ lifeboats to transport cruisers ashore. There are three terminals: South, North, and Royal Watler. They have modern facilities for welcoming cruisers along with duty-free shopping and excursion departure points.

Cruise Ship in Grand Cayman, Caribbean
Cruise Ship in Grand Cayman, Caribbean (Photo Credit: eric laudonien)

Once famous for its turtles, the island has an interesting Turtle Center where you can learn more about turtle conservation and see new hatchlings and fully grown turtles up close. Go snorkeling with rays at Stingray City, swim with dolphins or visit Starfish Point Beach to see bright red starfish in abundance.

Relax and enjoy swimming and watersports on idyllic Seven Mile Beach, or visit Hell, a rocky area of jagged black limestone, and send a postcard from Hell to your family and friends. 

Cruise lines visiting Grand Cayman in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Marella Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Phoenix Reisen
  • Crystal Cruises

Costa Maya, Mexico

Located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Costa Maya is just north of the town of Mahahual. It’s about 100 miles south of the popular resort of Playa del Carmen and the Mayan site at Tulum.

The port has modern facilities with duty-free shopping, restaurants and bars. There are plenty of local taxis to take you independently to Mahahual or other tourist attractions. Some cruise lines offer shuttle services to Mahahual, which has beautiful sandy beaches.

Cruise Ship Docked in Costa Maya, Mexico
Cruise Ship Docked in Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya is an exciting Caribbean cruise destination with an incredible number of attractions, including two biosphere reserves at Banco Chinchorro and Sian Ka’an. More reasons to visit Costa Maya include pristine beaches, jungle adventures and amazing watersports.

Visit Xcalax, an authentic fishing village, or take a tour to see exotic wildlife, including beautiful jaguars, monkeys, and crocodiles. Divers can visit shipwreck sites and see turtles, rays, tigers, and hammerhead sharks. All this, plus Mayan temples and carved pyramids at Kohunlich and Chacchoben. 

Cruise lines visiting Costa Maya in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Virgin Voyages

Roatan, Honduras

Honduras is the largest of the Bay Islands. The offshore island of Roatan is a popular port of call for cruises due to its cultural diversity and aquatic fun. The main cruise port is the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, which is owned by Carnival Corporation. It is located on the southwest coast of the island near the town of Coxen Hole.

Tenders are generally used to transport guests to and from the ship. The Cruise Center actually has its own shopping village. From the cruise terminal, you can walk along a nature trail or take a chairlift down to the beach.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Roatan, Honduras
Carnival Cruise Ship in Isla Roatan, Honduras (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin)

There’s also the Cozen Hole cruise ship dock, which is used by other non-Carnival cruise lines and opened in 2008. This facility features a mall and stores for cruise visitors to enjoy.

On Roatan, you can snorkel and scuba dive on one of the largest reef systems in the world, visiting caves and shipwrecks while spotting sharks, eels, and colorful marine life. And where else can you visit a Sloth Farm or an Iguana Park that protects toucans, parrots, monkeys and reptiles? Other attractions to see from a water taxi tour include the multicolored stilted houses of fishermen in Oakridge and 17th-century pirate fortifications at Coxen Hole. 

Cruise lines visiting Roatan in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Perched on the northern coast of the Caribbean island of Jamaica, Ocho Rios is Jamaica’s largest cruise port. It is also a lively coastal town backing onto lush tropical hills.

Most larger cruise vessels drop anchor just offshore and use tenders to transport guests ashore. From there, cruisers can head to the local craft markets and beaches or take an excursion to see more of the island. Street performers are a popular sight around the port shopping area, providing entertainment and music.

Cruise Ship in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Photo Credit: Rory Burchenson / Shutterstock

Ocho Rios offers some unique opportunities for adventure, including the chance to climb up Dunn’s River Falls, a dramatic cascade that is 180 feet high.  At the top of the falls is a Craft Market where cruisers can pick up fragrant Blue Mountain Coffee that is grown on the island. The 600-foot-long waterfall ends at the beach.

Visitors can also enjoy hiking in the lush rainforest, lagoon swims, boat rides, ziplines and thrilling bobsleigh rides. Everywhere you go in Jamaica, you’ll hear the beat of reggae. Of course, Bob Marley fans can pay homage at his hometown of Nine Mile St Ann. 

Cruise lines visiting Ocho Rios in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • MSC Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • AIDA Cruises

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay is a popular port of call on many Western Caribbean cruise itineraries. Located on the northwest side of the island, this buzzing port is the second-largest cruise port in Jamaica and can accommodate up to four ships at a time. The MoBay terminal has good amenities, including duty-free shops, restaurants, bars and excursion desks.

Montego bay Cruise Port
Montego Bay Cruise Port (Photo Credit: Viktor Hladchenko)

Montego Bay cruise terminal is within easy reach of many attractions on the island, such as the Rastafari Indigenous Village, just 15 minutes away by taxi. Four championship golf courses combine a round of golf with stunning scenery. The vibrant Hip Strip is the main hub for shopping and local businesses, such as the world-famous Margaritaville, which combines water slides and pools with cocktails in the sun.

Read Also: Jamaica Cruise Ports – Full List and Overview

Montego Bay has some of the finest white sandy beaches and clear blue waters in the Caribbean. Chill out and sunbathe, browse the local shops or visit one of the historic plantation homes such as Rosehall. A rafting trip down Martha Brae River is the ultimate excursion from your cruise around the Western Caribbean. 

Cruise lines visiting Montego Bay in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • MSC Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Marella Cruises
  • Viking Voyages
  • AIDA Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Ambassador Cruise Line
  • P&O Cruises

Progreso, Mexico

Located 30 km from the city of  Merida in northwest Yucatan, the port of Progreso dates back to Mayan times. It remains a pretty fishing port as well as a busy cruise terminal that is growing in popularity as a port of call.

Progreso has an exceptionally long four-mile (6.5km) pier that goes over the shallow continental shelf to allow docking by larger cruise ships. Shuttle buses are provided to transport cruisers to the Progreso terminal. From there, you can walk just three blocks to the beach.

Carnival Ship Docked in Progreso
Carnival Ship Docked in Progreso

The most famous part of the port is El Malecon, an elegant mile-long seaside promenade that provides access to the sandy beach and has beautiful Gulf views. One of the main features is the traditional carousel right on the sand. The waters are warm and crystal clear for swimming.

The original Mayan city of Merida is worth a visit. Rebuilt by Spanish Conquistadors, it has grand Spanish-influenced architecture and palatial mansions. Shopping on the fashionable Paseo de Montejo is said to rival the Champs-Elysees in Paris!

Cruise lines visiting Progreso, Mexico in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Margaritaville at Sea
  • American Queen Voyages

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Playa del Carmen is a very popular resort on the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. The nearest dock for visiting cruise ships is at Calica Quarry Docks, about a 10-minute drive to downtown. Consequently, most cruise ships use Playa del Carmen as a tender cruise port, transporting passengers to the ferry pier near the downtown plaza.

Playa del Carmen
Photo Credit: posztos / Shutterstock

There are endless attractions and experiences on offer when visiting Playa del Carmen. If your cruise is docking in Cozumel, you can even take a 30-40 minute ferry ride from Cozumel, visit ancient Mayan temples such as the Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza, or just relax on miles of golden sandy beaches.

For something more unusual, book an excursion to one of the freshwater cenotes and swim in the clear waters of these limestone sinkholes. For families on a Western Caribbean cruise, a day at the Xcaret eco-archaeological park combines Mexico’s history, culture and cuisine. 

Cruise lines visiting Playa del Carmen in 2024-25 include:

  • American Queen Voyages

Belize City, Belize

Belize City welcomes cruise ships to the port, which includes a cruise terminal officially known as Fort Street Tourism Village. It’s located in the heart of Belize City, the country’s capital. The terminal has good facilities, including restrooms, souvenir shops, and information desks.

 Snorkelers and divers will be keen to visit Belize as the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere lies just offshore. It provides amazing scuba diving, including the 300-meter-wide Blue Hole.

Belize Tender Port for Cruise Passengers
Belize Tender Port for Cruise Passengers (Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock)

Excursions venture into the tropical jungle for zip-lining over the rainforest or visit long-lost Mayan ruins. Wildlife preserves and botanical gardens showcase exotic flowers, plants, and mammals, while Belize City has a bustling market and impressive Colonial architecture. 

Cruise lines visiting Belize City in 2024-25 include:

  • Holland America Line
  • Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • Viking Cruises

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida, is the southernmost tip of the continental United States. Although the island community is just 120 miles or so southwest of Miami, it is a world away in lifestyle and culture. This colorful island is at the end of a chain of offshore islands linked by the breathtaking Overseas Highway.

Larger cruise ships dock at the deepwater Pier B at the Key West cruise port, while smaller vessels dock at the city-owned Mallory Square Dock. Both terminals are just a short stroll from the downturn area, making it easy to explore independently. There are plenty of small shops and stalls near the cruise terminal, along with waterfront bars and boat trips.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Key West
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

This laid-back community is known for its pastel-painted architecture, naval and shipwreck museums, art studios and bars in the Old Town. Go shopping on Duval Street, visit the home of Ernest Hemingway, or take in the main sights on a whistle-stop trolley tour that includes the lighthouse, aquarium, and Truman’s Little White House. After that, treat yourself to a rum cocktail or a slice of Key Lime Pie as you watch street performers at sunset on Mallory Square, a Key West tradition. 

Cruise lines visiting Key West in 2024-25 include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • ACL
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Margaritaville at Sea

Armed with all this information, it’s easy to book a Western Caribbean Cruise based on places to visit and things to do that appeal to your personal taste. Bon voyage!

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