Cruising to Curacao

A cruise can be a relaxing way to reach Curaçao

Photo credit: © Rick Zelle |

Cruises to Curaçao

It is only a short walk from Curaçao's main cruise ship port to the abundant duty-free shopping centers and tourist attractions located in Willemstad, the country's capital. The island has several ports of entry designed to accept different sized cruise ships, but the two main cruise ship harbors can be found in West Willemstad.

Many cruise lines have made Curaçao a traditional destination while sailing the Caribbean, due to the island's spectacular harbor entrance. Cruise ship passengers are attracted to the island's historic landmarks and the Dutch architecture, which give Curaçao's towns an ambiance of picture perfect beauty. The two main docking spots in Willemstad are the Curaçao Mega Pier, which can accommodate gigantic cruise ships, and the Curaçao Cruise Terminal, where most smaller cruise ships dock. Whichever harbor your ship docks in, you won't be far from the attractions of downtown Willemstad.

When arriving at the Curaçao Mega Pier, cruise ship passengers will be only a few minutes away from the city's downtown area. If you arrive at the Curaçao Cruise Terminal, you're within walking distance of the Queen Emma Bridge, which connects to Willemstad's main shopping and business areas. Once on land, visitors to both ports will be greeted by information officers and tour guides, who can prove helpful in deciding which parts of the island to see. Getting around on foot after coming ashore is a good way to see the city and its historical sites. Almost all of the port city's attractions are just a short stroll away. Other ways to get about the city include taxis, buses, and trolleys. Here is a list of cruise lines that visit Curaçao, along with their telephone numbers:

Cruise Line Phone Number
Crystal Cruises 415-446- 5252
Cunard Line 800-728-6273
Disney Cruises 800-951-3532
Princess Cruises 800-PRINCESS
Royal Caribbean 800-659-7225
Seabourn Cruises 800-929-9391
Silverseas Cruises 800-722-9955

Cruise Classes

You have several options when choosing the kind of cruise vacation you want to take. Cruises are classified into four different categories: contemporary/value, premium, luxury, and specialty cruises. Choosing the right category for you will depend on your budget and the kind of cruise vacation you're looking for.

Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines, who together make up about 90 percent of the entire cruise industry, provide contemporary/value cruises. This is the most popular kind of cruise vacation because it offers travelers a quality vacation at reasonable prices and great package deals.


Premium cruises are more expensive than contemporary cruises. Premium cruise lines usually have smaller ships and give passengers great service. Princess and Celebrity are two popular premium cruise lines.

Travelers who want even more pampering while on their cruise vacation should look to luxury cruises, which are designed for passengers who want a little something extra. Luxury cruises give their passengers top-notch service and luxurious amenities, along with a large waitstaff to cater to individual needs. Upscale cruise lines like Seabourn and Cunard are popular for their expensive, but luxurious, cruises. Some passengers feel that the extra amenities are worth the extra cost.

Specialty cruises give passengers a unique cruise vacation experience. Travelers can take regional cruises or visit places that other kinds of cruises may not go. Additionally, guests aboard specialty cruises may be exclusive groups such as gays and lesbians, singles, or elderly travelers.


Cruises vary not only in class, but also by size. The size of the ship is an important factor when it comes to your desired destination. Some ships may be too large to dock at the ports of certain islands. Panama-sized ships, which get their name from the Panama Canal, are the largest ships available and can barely squeeze through the canal's borders. These massive ships can carry as many as 3,000 passengers at a time.

Smaller ships are better for visiting smaller islands and those with small ports. These ships generally stay away from the larger harbors and carry about 300 passengers. Windstar cruise line generally has these smaller ships available. Megaships are more stable than smaller ships during rough weather and feel less of the ocean's movement. Smaller ships generally experience more motion, which may not be fun for passengers who are prone to motion sickness. Ships are classified by the following size criteria:

Criteria Explanation Meaning
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
(two passengers in each cabin)
More rooms = more passengers
Space ratio comparison of ship space/tonnage to passenger capacity Higher ratio = extra spacious


When it comes to cabins, most passengers consider size and location to be the most important factors. The first choice you'll need to make is between a "run of the ship" cabin or a "perfect" cabin. The less expensive choice is the run of the ship cabin. The drawback with this kind of cabin is that passengers won't know the exact location of their cabin until the week of departure. The only choice you get with a run of the ship cabin is whether you want an inside or outside room. "Perfect" cabins are more expensive, but guests can choose a specific cabin and are guaranteed to get what they choose.

Here are some other considerations that travelers may want to keep in mind when choosing a cabin: Cabins that are near anchors, bars, casinos, elevators, engine rooms, gyms, nightclubs, public rooms, stairways, pools and hot tubs, theaters, or thrusters tend to be the noisiest.

Outside cabins, especially those with balcony access, are not recommended for travelers with small children. Cabins on the lower decks of the ship feel less of the ship's motion, which is ideal for passengers who are subject to motion sickness.

If you want an ocean view, make sure you confirm your request with the cruise line. An outside cabin doesn't necessarily mean an ocean view.

When to Go

Cruise prices are usually higher during the high tourist season, which lasts from December to April, when people are trying to escape the chilly northern weather. During the summertime low season, there are fewer travelers, and cruise fares drop considerably. Hurricane season also falls during the summer months, and travelers should remember that the seas can get rough during this time of year.


The price of your cruise vacation will depend on several things, including the number of people you're traveling with and the length and luxury level of the cruise. Almost everything aboard the ship is usually covered under the cost of the cruise ticket, including meals, room and board, entertainment, and activities. Things that may not be covered include tips, alcoholic beverages, and shore excursions. When making your cruise ship reservations, inquire about what amenities are included and which ones are considered extra.


When packing for your cruise, bring items that you would normally take on a warm weather vacation, such as swimsuits, cover ups, and light comfortable clothing. Try to bring only necessary items, since storage space is limited on most cruise ships. Be sure to bring causal but neat clothing to wear in towns, shops, and restaurants.

Travelers should also remember to bring proper dining attire. Dinner on most ships is considered evening casual, formal, or informal. Evening formal dress is a collared shirt and slacks for men, and a sundress or nice pants and a blouse for women. Jeans are usually considered inappropriate attire for the dining room.


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