Why Jamaica is a jewel in the Caribbean cruise crown

The executive director of Jamaica Vacations discusses Jamaica’s rich variety of attractions

Why Jamaica is a jewel in the Caribbean cruise crown

Jamaica Vacations

Cruise visitors can immerse themselves in Jamaica’s culture, says Joy Roberts

By Joy Roberts |

Jamaica’s captivating beauty, vibrant culture and welcoming people have made it one of the jewels of the Caribbean. The island stands out with its sun-kissed beaches, lush natural landscapes, rich history and warm hospitality. 

Once they arrive, cruise visitors can immerse themselves in Jamaica’s culture by listening to reggae music in the home of musician Bob Marley. They can also try authentic local cuisine by sampling the flavours of jerk chicken and fresh tropical fruits across the island.  

When heading out of the ports, guests can pick from a variety of beaches with pristine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters that are the perfect temperature for a swim. Options include Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, or the secluded Port Antonio. 

More adventurous visitors can make their way inland, where they can find some of Jamaica’s natural wonders. The lush rainforests of Ocho Rios provide a range of experiences for nature lovers and thrill-seekers, from hikes through the cascading waterfalls to swims in hidden lagoons and zip lines above the treetops. 

Cruise ships can call at any of Jamaica’s five ports, all of which have attractions within close proximity. Ocho Rios, the country’s largest cruise port, offers easy access to the famous Dunn’s River Falls, while visitors to Montego Bay Cruise Port can stroll down the Hip Strip for entertainment, dining, shopping and gaming. Falmouth’s 200-year history is evident in the island’s largest collection of Georgian buildings, while Port Antonio has been featured in several Hollywood films and is suitable for small to mid-sized vessels. Finally, Kingston, the nation’s capital, is a Unesco Creative City filled with culture, history and entertainment. 

Jamaica’s many attractions make it easy to see why cruises to the island have surged in 2023, with over 300,000 cruise passengers arriving in the first two months of the year. Visiting ships have included vessels from Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Viking Cruises, and many other brands.  

Joy Roberts is executive director of Jamaica Vacations. 

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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