Cruising to Barbados

Cruises to Barbados provide travelers with more than water-bound transport

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Cruising to Barbados

Nearly half a million people visit Barbados by cruise ship each year to enjoy everything the island has to offer, from surfing and snorkeling to duty-free shopping. The activities and amenities found on these ships make them extremely popular, and the ability to choose an itinerary that stops at multiple islands also holds a unique appeal.

Barbados' Cruise Terminal

Almost all of Barbados' cruises enter through the Bridgetown Port. At this terminal travelers will find everything they need after a long cruise, including scores of duty-free shops and concessions as well as the Barbados Tourism Authority's headquarters and even a post office.

However, to find out more about the Barbados' cruises, travelers can contact the Barbados Port Authority by calling 246-430-4700 or writing to them at the following address:

University Row
Princess Alice Highway
Bridgetown, Barbados

Planning Your Cruise

If you would like to take a cruise into Barbados, make sure you plan ahead: Depending on the season in which you're sailing, cabins may be booked several months before the cruise is scheduled to leave. You can arrange the details of the cruise yourself by calling the cruise line or by making an online reservation; online or in-person travel agents can also help you to book your getaway.


You can telephone the cruise line, take advantage of the cruise line's Web site, or even book your cruise through a general travel Web site should you opt to work out the details of your cruise on your own. When choosing a cruise, be sure to think about what type of trip fits you best. Family vacations, for example, will be most successful on a family-oriented line that features activities meant for children. Couples traveling alone might prefer to find a quiet ship with somehwhat more private atmosphere, such as a Princess Cruise. If luxury is a top priority, check out liners known for their top-notch services, such as Crystal or Silversea.

There are plenty of options available for each of the many ocean liners servicing the Caribbean, and travelers should have no problem finding a cruise to fit their own specific price, schedule, and island priorities. However, you may want to consider that most cruises rarely stop for more than two days in Barbados. If staying for several days is important to you, you may want to explore other options. Travelers looking to explore all that the sea offers, however, will find cruise ships are the perfect way to make the most of their vacation.

To reach Barbados, choose from the following cruise lines:

Cruise Line
Telephone Number
Carnival 888-CARNIVAL
Celebrity 800-221-4789
Costa 800-33-COSTA
Crystal 800-820-6663
Fred Olsen & Co. 01473-742-424 (Europe)
Hapag Lloyd 04030-014-600 (Europe)
Holiday Kreuzfahrten 00243-194-500 (Europe)
Holland America 800-626-9900
Norwegian 800-323-1308
Orient 800-333-7300
Princess 800-PRINCESS
Radisson Seven Seas. 877-505-5370
Residensea 305-264-9090
Royal Caribbean 800-659-7225
Saga Shipping 04598-443-311 (Europe)
Seabourn/Cunard 08450-710-300 (Europe)
Sea Cloud Cruises 888-732-2568 (U.S.)
49-0403-095-920 (Europe)
Seadream Yacht Co. 800-707-4911 (U.S.)
04723-289-660 (Europe)
Seetours International 49-1805-733-868 (Europe)
Silversea 800-722-9955
Star Clippers 305-442-0550
Swan Hellenic 877-800-SWAN (U.S.)
44-2380-531-990 (Europe)
Windjammer Barefoot 800-327-2601
Windstar 800-258-SAIL

Note that Royal Caribbean has canceled all cruises to Barbados for the summer 2012 season, but this does not mean a permanent embargo on trips to the island.

Cruise Classes

Four classes of cruises provide vacationers with a wide range of options. There are distinct advantages to each of the four classes: contemporary/value, premium, luxury, and specialty. Because each provides a different atmosphere or price range, these segmented classes make it easier to get started on the ship selection process.

Contemporary or value cruises make the great majority of cruises available today and are typically identified by reasonable prices and package deals. Well-known examples of this type include both Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

Premium cruises are known for their superior service. Often they are somewhat more expensive than a contemporary or value cruise, and the ships are generally smaller. Holland America is one such a cruise line, offering a larger wait staff to fewer passengers.

A luxury-class cruise, such as Seaborn, Windstar, and Cunard, represent yet another option for travelers searching for a bit of elegance. Passengers aboard one of these ocean liners can expect impeccable service and the very latest amenities which will account for the higher prices.

Finally, specialty cruises offer another alternative. This type of cruise will usually sail into unusual destinations that are not the typical Caribbean stops and cater to a particular interest or passenger group. Popular specialty cruises vary greatly and may be targeted specifically for groups such as senior citizens, gays and lesbians, or singles.


Cruise ships vary not only in theme, décor, and luxury level, but also in size. The size difference between ships is an important consideration when booking your trip because some vessels can be too large to dock in particular islands.

The largest cruise ship available is called a Panama-class, so named because the enormous ship is barely able to get through the borders of the Panama Canal. If you plan to travel on this type of ocean liner, therefore, you will only be able to visit some of the major ports, such as Barbados.

If you would prefer to experience a more secluded island, a smaller ship may be ideal. These smaller crafts often carry no more than 300 people and tend to avoid the large ports frequented by megaships in favor of small, local harbors.

Keep in mind, when selecting your ship, that the bigger ships are better able to handle turbulent weather. For example, Panama-class ships may not notice the swells that would be felt in a smaller vessel.

Ships are classified based on the following criteria:

Criteria Criteria Explained
Gross registered tonnage measurement of 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 8Higher ratio = extra spacious


The initial step when selecting a cabin is deciding on a "run of the ship" cabin or a "perfect" cabin. Run of the ship cabins are less expensive because they are not assigned until the week of departure. With the run of ship option, you'll have the choice between an inside and an outside cabin. If you select a perfect cabin, you are guaranteed exactly what you request and pay for.

Some additional guidelines for selecting a room:

  • Avoid booking cabins in close proximity to anchors, bars, casino, elevators, engine rooms, gyms, nightclubs, public rooms, stairways, pools and hot tubs, theaters, or thrusters. These areas can be particularly noisy.

  • If you are traveling with young children, do not select an outside cabin, especially a cabin with balcony access.

  • If you are prone to motion sickness, consider a cabin on the lower decks. The further into the middle of the ship you get, the less you'll feel ship movements.

  • Keep money and valuables safely hidden in your room, and always lock your cabin door. Avoid carrying unnecessary cash around the ship.

  • Confirm the view you'll have in an outside cabin, make sure you're getting what you expect. You may want to request a view of the ocean.

When To Go

Cruise prices for Barbados (and indeed, all of the Caribbean) are significantly higher between late December and early April as people flee to the tropical islands to escape the cold, snowy north. Cruises during spring and fall tend to be less expensive than those during the Caribbean high season. Hurricane season should not be ruled out. Although the ride may be slightly bumpy from the tossing of the seas, great deals abound for travelers willing to take a cruise during this season. The most popular, and therefore most expensive, times to cruise are major holidays: New Year's Eve, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Where To Go

Selecting an island destination is an important step in your vacation planning. Many cruises stop at more than one island allowing for a greater chance to experience island culture. Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa are primary departure ports from which you may choose to visit the western or eastern portions of the Caribbean. Sailing aboard an Eastern Caribbean cruise may include a stop in Barbados.


Cruises can last from two days to two weeks. As a first-time cruiser, you may want to start out with a shorter trip. During a two-day cruise, the ship may dock at one, two, or no ports. Popular stops for short cruises are Cozumel and The Bahamas. If you're a seasoned cruiser, you may advance to a seven-to-10-day cruise, which offers the opportunity for twice as many island stops. Two-week cruises can either be booked as two seven-day, simultaneous trips or one 14-day voyage. Because of Barbados' distance from the major cruise ports of the United States, many cruises that stop in Barbados may last longer.

Typical on-shore and ocean excursions arranged by the cruise lines include snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, golfing, and scenic tours. Each excursion is arranged by the cruise director and will likely cost an additional $25(USD) to $100(USD). You can either reserve an excursion when you book the cruise or wait until you board, but remember that spots for these activities are limited. Be sure to consult the cruise director about the length of time or the expected docking time for each port stop to plan ample time for sightseeing while in Barbados.


The cost of your cruise will be based on luxury level, length of cruise, and number of persons traveling (single occupancy rates are higher than double occupancy rates). Nearly everything is included in the cruise ticket fare: food, cabin, and on board activities/entertainment. What may not be included are beverages, shore excursions and activities, final tip, and airfare, if not part of an air-cruise package. Depending on the cruise line, the tip may be automatically included in the bill. Also inquire about the amenities in your personal cabin when booking. Things like bathtubs and televisions are not common in most cabins; let the cruise line know ahead of time if you require these items and ask about extra fees for them.

What To Bring

When preparing for your cruise to Barbados, pack your suitcase for a normal, sun-filled vacation, but avoid bringing extraneous items you may not have room to store in a small space. Recommended daywear includes a few bathing suits, breathable shirts, shorts or other cover-up item, flip-flops, sunglasses, and a hat for added sun protection.

For the evenings, you'll want to wear clothing appropriate for the scheduled dinner class. Evening meals are classified as: evening casual, informal or formal. Appropriate evening casual attire consists of nice slacks and a collared shirt for men and a sundress or pants with a blouse for women. Also, denim is usually not permitted in the dining room.

On a cruise, a suit and tie or cocktail dress qualify as informal. For formal dinners, male passengers are required to dress in "black tie." If you have questions about what to wear, do not hesitate to consult the cruise director.

Also remember to keep in mind suggested clothing items for Barbados itself. It's always best to avoid any attire-related faux pas by wearing something too revealing or inappropriate on the island. A cruise to Barbados should be relaxing and enjoyable.


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