There is one big reason a lot of people love cruises. Sure, they love the big ships and the many things to do while you are on the ship, but they also love the ports. It is like getting a taste-test of many different places.
A cruise ship will likely stop at a new place every day, or every other day. This gives passengers the chance to get off the ship for a while and explore their new paradise for a little while. This can also make choosing a cruise really difficult. There are so many options that it is hard to know which cruise is the one for you.
A lot of people choose a cruise based on where it stops. If you haven’t done your research, then this can make for one of the worst vacations of your life. We have come across 10 cruise ports that everyone needs to avoid. We also have 10 that should be on everyone’s must-see lists.
Let's start with the favourites...
20 Falmouth, Jamaica
Jamaica is a popular stop, both on cruises or resorts, and we can see why. This is the island’s newest port, so it is super fancy. It is also big enough to accommodate the biggest cruise ships on the market.
This port has very easy access to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. This port also has many restaurants and duty-free, local shopping.
19 Exuma, Bahamas
The Bahamas is one of the most beautiful islands out there, so this is a must-see. If you book a cruise that stops here, you will not be disappointed.
Besides the many colourful buildings, they have a beach where you can swim with adorable pigs. You can also spend your day at Atlantis resort, known for their waterpark and aquarium.
18 Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Jamaica is so good that it is on the list twice, and for good reason.This is not the fanciest port in the Caribbean, but it is still worth seeing.
This is where you can see some of the must-see attractions of Jamaica. Including Dunn’s River Falls and Mystic Mountain. It is not one to be missed.
17 San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean, and we can see why. An American only needs a driver’s license to travel and there is so much to offer.
San Juan is home to quality dining, great shopping and architecture that is unique and stunning. This can all be found in this capital city.
16 Philipsburg, St Maarten
St. Maarten is known for its interesting history and wonderful beaches. The cruise ships that stop here offer wonderful tours and beach day excursions that are must-do.
If you are a true beach bum, then this is the spot for you. Their water is so incredibly blue you can almost see right to the very bottom.
15 Gustavia, St. Barth
This may be one of the smallest cruise ports, but size never really matters. Smaller cruise ships dock here, and the passengers always leave feeling satisfied.
This is the French-Caribbean capital and there are many restaurants to choose from as well as boutique-style shopping and beaches.
14 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
St. Thomas is a popular stop on a lot of cruise ships. That is because this is also known as the shopping capital of the Caribbean and it is perfect for anyone who wants to spend all of their money.
The only thing to be careful of is dates. Make sure your cruise does not stop here on a Sunday, because it is also very religious and most of the stores will be closed.
13 Basseterre, St Kitts
This may not be one of the well-known ports, but it should be. The capital is almost a throwback to times gone by.
There is a lot to do here including visiting the Caribelle batik fabric factory or visit the island of Nevis. Nevis is a short ferry ride away and it is the sister island.
12 Fort-de-France, Martinique
If you couldn’t tell by the name this is another French-Caribbean island and the port is right in the centre of the city.
This means that there is a huge covered market to shop at as soon as you step off the cruise ship. Easy to make multiple trips back and forth to stash all the goods you can buy.
11 Cozumel, Mexico
Mexico sometimes gets a bad reputation, but if your ship stops in Cozumel then you are in for a good time.
You can snorkel the world’s second-largest barrier reef. You can also swim with dolphins, which everyone should do at least once in their life. More than a million passengers on cruise ships visit this port every year.
And here are the 10 that should be avoided...
10 Roatan, Honduras
It can be hard to determine what is a bad cruise port, because everyone has different standards of bad. However, most can agree that dangerous cruise ports are the worst.
The Honduras port may seem like a great place to go, but it has a high rate of violence on its record. Since 2010, there have been more than 40 tourist fatalities. Not something you would put on your brochure.
9 Mindanao, Philippines
The Philippines may not be on everyone’s bucket list, but if it is you should just cross it off right now. It is another place known for crime. There are specific organizations that target tourists to harm and kidnap.
The U.S has even warned its citizens not to travel there. It is also known for unpredictable weather, that could turn into disasters at any moment. It is best to skip this one.
8 Jakarta, Indonesia
It seems like it is something out of a fairy-tale, but pirates do still exist, and there are a lot of them surrounding Jakarta. It is not somewhere you want to be on a ship near the water.
The Strait of Malacca is considered one of the world’s worst places for crime on the water, so the best way to stay safe is to stay out of their waters.
7 Dhaka, Bangladesh
If your cruise stops at this port, then it is probably best that you stay on the cruise ship during the day. Unfortunately, Bangladesh is known for its temples, museums and parks, but you may have to skip it.
This is another place that is known for its high crime rate that is specifically targeted to tourists. In 2016, a café was the site of an attack that resulted in 23 fatalities, and most of them were tourists.
6 Tunis, Tunisha
Tunis is located on the northern tip of Africa, and it is right across from Italy, but that is about where the charm ends. It has not been the ideal spot for tourists for a long time.
In 2015, cruise-goers disembarked for a day of sight-seeing and fun when there was an attack that resulted in more than 40 injured.
5 Margarita Island, Venezuela
With a name like Margarita Island, everyone would want to get off the boat and explore, but you should probably have your margarita on the boat instead.
This port is known for its crime, and for its drug trafficking. This should trigger warning bells for anyone who is thinking of stopping there.
4 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This one may be a little sad to see on the ports to avoid list, but it is true. One of the biggest reasons for avoiding this port is due to your health.
It was the original breeding ground for the most recent outbreak of the Zika virus. The CDC had issued a special warning for anyone who wants to travel to this place. It is also known for horrible pollution that could be damaging to anyone who has breathing problems.
3 Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Not a lot of cruises stop in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, but if yours does then you are advised to stay on the boat.
This was considered one of the most dangerous maritime areas in the world. They are another location that has seen their share of pirate attacks as well as being the home of many extremist groups.
2 Izmit, Turkey
Cruises may not go to Syria or Iraq, but they do go to Izmit, Turkey. We are now reading and learning about the turmoil going on in this country.
While it is a shame, you should avoid any trips or stops to this port at all costs. It is also known for being an earthquake zone, which could also be dangerous and deadly.
1 Aden, Yemen
Our last one on the cruise ports to avoid is Aden, Yemen. Yemen is not a place you hear of often, but when you do it is probably because there is crime happening.
They are another place that is known for being one of the worst places for pirates. A lot of cruise ships will not stop here, and they will turn off their radios and lights to avoid being spotted. That should tell you something.