Port of Call Roatan Honduras

The Caribbean Island of Roatan, Honduras

The main cruise dock and visitors village

Roatan is the largest of the Honduran Bay Islands in the Caribbean and is becoming a popular cruise itinerary destination. Like many Caribbean destinations it is recognized for its beautiful beaches, water sports, including premier scuba and skin diving, and modern resorts. To accommodate the cruise ships the Honduras government helped develop Mahogany Bay with docks, duty free village and a beautiful beach area.

Where You Dock

Most Cruise ships now dock at the Mahogany Bay facility on the southwest coast. The beautifully laid out area includes piers, a duty free shopping area and a beach area. In addition there is also the Port of Roatan located a bit farther west past Barrio Loma Linda and some cruise ships may still dock there. It is about five miles between the two port facilities.

Transportation

The best way to get around Roatan is by hired taxi or a rental car. Taxi’s are inexpensive and you can usually negotiate an island tour at a fair price.

Money

The local currency is the Honduras Lempira with one being worth about US 5¢. US Dollars are usually welcome and most major credit cards accepted.

Attractions

Outdoor recreation is the focus on this Caribbean island with sandy beaches and clear, warm water being the central attraction. There are several zip line facilities on the island and a dolphin encounter at Anthony’s Key Resort very popular.

If your ship docks at Mahogany Bay you can spend the day right at the ports beautiful beach equipped with water sports equipment, beach loungers and umbrellas with some excursions leaving right from the cruise port.

A little over a mile from the Mahogany Bay is the town of Barrio Loma Linda. It is not a resort area but a typical Honduran town with stores and restaurants along with a couple of crafts facilities working in leather and wood.

 

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The Port of Lerwick, Shetlands

Located in the North Sea one hundred fifty miles north of Scotland, Lerwick, the major town in the archipelago is the major Shetland port.

Getting Ashore -Cruise ships will normally anchor out and use tenders to reach shore. The tenders will dock right in the center of this picturesque town with its narrow streets and historic buildings.

Transportation – While there is a good public bus network (www.zettrans.org.uk) with its hub at Lerwick that reaches most points on the main island, and using ferries to other islands. The Lerwick bus depot is conveniently located near the center of town. Unfortunately schedules aren’t good for day tours from Lerwick.

Shetland has really good roads and renting a car is pretty easy. Rates average about £40 a day. Companies include Bolts Car Hire and Star Rent-a-Car located near the bus station.

Money – Scotland has now reverted to the English Pound. US Dollars and Euros are not generally accepted.

Local Attractions:

The Broch of Clickimin is a large, well-preserved but restored broch (a broch is an Iron Age stone hollow-walled structure unique to Scotland) dating to the late Bronze Age and is located just a mile north of town.

 

Fort Charlotte in the centre of Lerwick, Shetland, is a five-sided artillery fort, with bastions on each corner. The grounds and exterior battlements are open to the public and it offers good views of the towns harbor area. Today Fort Charlotte is managed by Historic Scotland, and is the base for Shetland’s Territorial Army. Visitors must call to get the keys to visit.

The Shetland Islands Puffins. These islands are home to a large population of puffins, making them a good place for puffin-watching as well as other bird watching. Within the Shetland Islands there are a number of places to see puffins, with some requiring only a short hike.

 

Cruising into Grand Cayman

General – George Town, Grand Cayman is a major cruise destination for Western Caribbean cruises. It is a modern town with good duty free shopping along with a number of good tour itineraries. The port requires tendering but the tender pier is right in town.

Transportation – There are basically three ways to get around this island:

Bus System – Cayman actually has a pretty efficient bus system with fares starting at CI$2.50. The central bus terminal is located in central George Town.

Taxis – Taxis a are readily available but like most thing is Cayman can be pricey.

Rental Cars – Cars are pretty easy to arrange but can be a bit expensive. Remember the drive on the left.

Sting Ray City

Money – The local currency is CI$ and is fixed at an exchange of US$1.25 to CI$1.00, so remember that everything is 20% more expensive than it seems. The US$ is readily accepted.

Local Attractions – Beaches, beaches, beaches with the centerpiece being Seven Mile Beach with its resort hotels and restaurants. The island is also a scuba and snorkeling paradise. Grand Cayman was the originator of the stingray tour called Sting Ray City.

Other attractions include swim with the dolphins at  Dolphin Discovery, The Cayman Turtle Center, Crystal Caves and visiting Hell (a gift shop with famous post office).

 

St. Thomas USVI Cruise Ports

St. Thomas is the most populated of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is a major port of call for Caribbean cruise itineraries. There are two widely separated cruise ship docks so you should try and check out where your ship will dock. It will either be Crown Bay west of Charlotte Amalie or The West Indian Company Dock next to Havensight just to the east of town.

Crown Bay Dock – Getting into Charlotte Amalie from the Crown Bay dock, which used to be referred to as the Sub Base area, will require a taxi or a tourist bus. Walking is a bout 1.75 miles along busy roadways.

Havensight Docks – There is a great walking trail less than a mile and a half along the water from the docks near Havensight, which goes thru the shops

West Indian Company Dock

of Yacht Haven and into Charlotte Amalie. Yacht Haven is an upscale marina with a number of designer shops along with cafes, bars and a good grocery store. It’s also from Havensight where you catch the cable car up to Blackbeard’s Castle Resort for a drink and to take in the views.

Getting Around – The best way of getting from either dock into Charlotte Amalie is to take a tourist bus (of which there are plenty) currently $4 per person each way. Traveling around the island it would be best to hire a taxi or rent a car (remember the island drives on the left side)

You can also take a ferry  over to St. Johns for the day. St. Johns is the other US Virgin Island and is mostly preserved as a National Park. If you go, don’t forget your beach gear, mask and snorkel as St. John is famous for Trunk Bay with its beach and its laid-out snorkeling trails. The shortest ferry route is between Red Hook on St.Thomas and Cruz Bay on StJohn. That trip costs $6.00 each way, takes approximately 20 minutes and runs hourly between 6:00 am and Midnight. A longer ferry route runs from downtown Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay.

Places to Visit -Take some time to get over to the far side of the island to visit Megan’s Bay, which is consistently named one of the world’s ten best beaches.  Frenchman’s Reef beach is still a good choice and the reef is about 100 yards from shore.  We would also recommend a visit to the sea life park, Coral World, especially if you have younger children with you.

In Charlotte Amalie the main downtown stretches about ten blocks west from the fort along the waterfront. The waterfront road is Veterans Highway and one block up is Kronprindsens Gade with dozens of alleys and streets connecting the two. Stroll down the ten blocks of Kronprindsens Gade for some good duty free shopping or visit the shops, cafes and galleries in the many alleys with names like Drakes Passage and Creque’s Alley.

Again remember the island drives on the left side so fight your instincts and look right before crossing streets.

The Port of Sint Maarten

General – This island is divided into two parts, Sint Maarten is the Dutch side while Saint Martin is the French side. It is a favorite cruise destination because the cruise port can handle several large cruise ships at one time.

Where You’re Docked – The cruise ships dock on the Dutch side close to the town of Philipsburg. The cruise ship docking area includes a large shopping village with several food and drink outlets. The Dutch town of Philipsburg is less than half a mile away walking. The town on the French side is Marigot and is decidedly French in character with a number of good bistros and restaraunts.

Transportation – From the cruise dock there is a boat shuttle service that goes directly to Philipsburg for about US$5 one way or US$8 for a day pass. It will require a taxi or a minibus to reach Marigot and you should be cautioned that with several large ships in port traffic can back up badly late in the day returning to the cruise ships, so allow plenty of time for the trip back. Taxi service is reasonably priced with a trip to the other side of Philipsburg costing less than US$5. A minibus to Marigot should be about US$5.

Money – While the two half’s of the island have their own currency the U.S. dollar is welcome on the Dutch side but Euros are usually required on the French side. Giving a 15% gratuity is common practice also.

Port St Maarten has a web site with a schedule of ship arrivals here.

Nearby Trips:

  • Philipsburg – The main town on the Dutch side with a large beach.
  • Maho Bay Beach – Located at the end of the main airport runway. People seem to like to stand in the jet blast as planes land and takeoff. There is a bar on the beach.
  • Marigot – A sleepy town on the French side noted for good food.
  • Orient Beach – A beautiful beach near Marigot on the French side. Topless and nude bathing is common.

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The Port of Reykjavik, Iceland

 

Port Location & Facilities – Cruise ships will normally dock at port facilities outside of town. Reykjavik is usually the supplier of shuttle service into town with a round-trip fare that seems somewhat over priced (this is probably related to the high cost of living in Reykjavik). If you don’t mind walking (weather permitting) there is a nice paved walk along the shore into town of only about two miles. There is no cruise ship terminal so ships have to make use of boarding ramps. For people with walking issues and wheelchairs it can be difficult.

The Opera House on the waterfront

City Character – Reykjavik is a beautiful city centered on its waterfront. It features a beautiful Presbyterian Cathedral as its centerpiece with nice shops, restaurants (be sure and have a Icelandic hot dog).

The view from the Reykjavik waterfront

Nearby Trips – One of the nearest attractions is the Blue Lagoon. There are hourly bus transfers to and from Blue Lagoon from Reykjavík and a package that includes round-trip fare and admission should be under US$60. To get out and see the real wonders of Iceland you will need to rent a car (rental cars are not very expensive) or book a day tour. The most popular trip is the Golden Circle.