Cruising to Antigua

Sit back and relax on the many of the cruise options that Antigua has to offer

Photo credit: © Veikko Rihu |

Cruises to Antigua and Barbuda

Many people visit Antigua while cruising the Caribbean Islands. Antigua is usually one stop of many during the ship's tour of the islands.

The cruise terminal is the Port of St. John's.  Currently, there are shops and restaurants right on site, but in 2014 the goverment announced plans to upgrade shipping equipment, make the port an Economic Free Zone, and redo the entire facility in order to make it more desirable among tourists.  Currently, it is common for several major cruise lines dock here on a cruise through the Caribbean, but with these changes the country hopes to see the cruise industry expand significantly.  

LinesPhone Number
Carnival Cruise Line 888-CARNIVAL (888-227-6482)
Costa Cruises 877-88 COSTA
Disney Cruises Line 800-951-3532
888-DCL-2500 (888-325-2500)
MSC Italian Cruises 800-666-9333
Princess Cruises 800-PRINCESS (800-774-6237)
Radisson Seven Seas Cruises 888-505-5370

These cruise lines set sail at different times of the year, and travel to different islands in the Caribbean including Antigua.

Cruise Classes and Ships

Cruise lines will often offer a variety of cruise classes so that the traveler can plan a vacation to fit their specific needs. There are usually four cruise classes: contemporary/value cruises, which is the largest cruise class; premium, luxury, and specialty cruises.


Contemporary/value cruises give travelers the cost efficient package deals, and are often appealing to those taking their first cruise. The most popular cruise lines in this classification are Carnival and Royal Caribbean, who make up 90 percent of the cruise line industry. Most contemporary cruise classes are set aboard larger ships which accommodate approximately 3000 people. These larger ships usually experience less roll than their smaller counterparts. When taking comfort into consideration, a larger ship might be a good option.

Premium cruises are more expensive than contemporary/value cruise, but you also get high-grade service and luxury accommodations for your money. The premium cruise ships are also not as large as contemporary cruise ships, so you might feel more like you are riding the waves. Premium cruises offer plenty of extras, including large wait staff, so that you may feel that it was worth the expense.

The top notch cruises are the luxury cruise class ships, which may be smaller, holding around 300 people. These extravagant cabins are extremely pricey, but you will receive the most luxurious accommodations and pampering.

The last class of cruise that you can choose from is the specialty cruises. These cruises are unique in that they travel to special places, not the usual ports of Jamaica or The Bahamas. Also the specialty cruises might have exclusive passengers aboard like nudists, gays and lesbians, couples, or elderly citizens.

Just as the classes of cruises vary, so do the sizes of the ships. When choosing a class of cruise to embark on, also be aware that the ship size will also be important to your level of comfort on your trip.

There are several criteria by which ships are classified:

CriteriaCriteria ExplainedMeaning
Gross registered tonnage Measurement if the ship's volume/vessel's size 1 gross registered ton = 100 cubic feet
Passenger-to-crew ratio Number of passengers served by each crew member Smaller ratio = better service
Passenger capacity Based on double occupancy (2 passengers in each cabin) More rooms = more passengers
Space Ratio Comparison of ship space/tonnage to passenger capacity Higher ratio = extra spacious

Cabins and Packing

There are two choices when deciding on a cabin: "run of the ship" cabins, and "perfect" cabins. If you get a "run of the ship" cabin, your only choice in which cabin you get will be either an outside or inside room. Your actual cabin will not be chosen until the week of departure, only then will you find out which room is yours.

If you would like to know more than a week in advance where your room will be and what kind of cabin you will be getting, then you can request a "perfect" room at a higher cost. By going this route, you will be sure that you get exactly what you paid for.

There are some other things to take into consideration when choosing a room aboard your cruise ship. For example:

  • There are some other things to take into consideration when choosing a room aboard your cruise ship. For example:

  • Rooms near anchors, bars, casinos, elevators, the engine room, gyms nightclubs, public rooms, stairways, pools, hot tubs, theaters, or thrusters are particularly noisy. If you are a light sleeper, or prefer a quieter atmosphere, then you should avoid these rooms.

  • If you tend to experience motion or sea sickness, then requesting a room in the middle of the ship might make it easier on you, as these rooms feel less motion.

  • Young children she avoid the outer rooms with balcony access for safety purposes.

  • If you want a room with an ocean view, be sure that you make a specific request because not all outside cabins have an ocean view.

  • When packing away your valuables, be sure to put them in a safe place and lock your cabin door when you leave.

When packing, choose clothes that you can wear on the island as well as on the ship. Cabins are not very spacious so try not to go overboard when choosing what to bring. Bring your typical beach wear like sunglasses, swimsuits, and flip-flops, but remember that some ships have casual or formal etiquette while in dining areas and jeans may not be allowed.


The cost of your cruise will depend on several things including the class of cruise that you choose, length of the cruise, and the time of year that you are traveling. Usually, cruise vacations will include the cost of meals, some activities, and entertainment, but may not include drinks, tips, or side trips that you may want to take. Leave a little extra room in your vacation budget for things that may have been overlooked. Televisions and bathtubs are not usually standard on cruise ships, but may be available at an extra price.

When and Where

The most popular time to cruise the Caribbean is usually during the winter months. Timing is important when choosing when to go on your cruise for several reasons. The winter months are the more popular months to set sail, and can be more expensive, sometimes double the regular price. During the summertime, there is considerably more rainfall than in the winter. Sometimes hurricane season effects when travelers plan their vacations, but hurricanes rarely effect the cruises.

If you are cruising on one of the major cruise lines, which tour several of the Caribbean Islands, keep in mind that you may not be spending more than a few hours to a day on the Antigua. While visiting Antigua, there are numerous sites and attractions that you can see. There are also a multitude of gorgeous beaches, shopping areas, and restaurants to entertain you during your stay on the island.

Day Cruises

Day cruises are extremely popular with visitors to the island of Antigua. Making reservations for your day cruise is a breeze.

All major tour operators make arrangements for you and your family and friends to spend a day of sightseeing aboard the "pirate ship," the Jolly Roger. If you would like to make your own arrangements in advance you can call Tropical Adventures.

The cruise departs every Friday morning and will last for four hours aboard the Jolly Roger, the largest sailing ship in Antigua's waters, and includes drinks, a delicious lunch, and snorkeling. The price for adults is $60(USD) and for children under the age of 12 it's $30(USD). There is also a dinner cruise on leaving Saturday nights from Heritage Quay at 6:00 p.m.


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