The British Virgin Islands is a paradise you’ll never want to leave. There are 60 islands in this Caribbean archipelago. Each is unique, from the undulating, lushly-forested hills of Virgin Gorda to the flat coral expanse of Anegada. One thing they have in common, though, are the picture-perfect beaches normally only seen in travel brochures.
A British Virgin Islands cruise will allow you to experience a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle. Enjoy exploring colourful towns, or just kicking back with a rum cocktail as you watch the sun set on the beach. There’s plenty of activities for the more active members of your group too, from scuba diving to hiking.
Popular Ports in British Virgin Islands
The capital of the British Virgin Islands, Road Town is a bustling working town that will charm you with its colourful corners and hidden-gem attractions. Take a walk down Main Street, past brightly painted bungalows. Browse the shops or enjoy savouring Caribbean cuisine at the main restaurants. You’ll find Road Town’s oldest building here – the atmospheric prison, now a fascinating museum.
Road Town is located on Tortola Island, renowned for its natural scenery. From its stunning ancient forests to its white sand beaches, you’ll love getting out and about to explore. Take a trip to nearby Cane Garden Bay Beach, one of the most picturesque on the island. Dig your toes into the icing sugar-soft sand, or swim in the sparkling turquoise waters. You’ll have to be dragged away at the end of the day.
Tranquil Spanish Town, on the island of Virgin Gorda really is a place where you’ll shift down a gear. Stroll around the harbour, watch the yachts bob in the water, or buy a souvenir from one of the local shops. Enjoy a cold beer or a glass of rum in one of the chilled beach bars overlooking the ocean. Those looking for a little more excitement can take a scuba diving trip or a sailing excursion around the stunning coastline.
Spanish Town is just a 10-minute drive from one of Virgin Gorda’s scenic hotspots: The Baths. Giant granite boulders are scattered around the shoreline, forming natural grottos and calm pools. Climb across the rocks to access hidden coves, or enjoy snorkelling through the crystalline waters. This is one of the highlights of a British Virgin Islands cruise.
Jost Van Dyke Island
Several cruise ships dock at Jost Van Dyke Island. This tiny island is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, with an intoxicating atmosphere that’s hard to beat. The main road, Great Harbour, is a long sandy track with a few restaurants and bars. One of the most renowned is Foxy’s, renowned for its upbeat live music and all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet.
Jost Van Dyke is known as the Barefoot Island because it’s a place for you to relax and unwind, enjoying long lazy hours on the beach. White Bay is the jewel in the crown – a long stretch of soft sand caressed by impossibly turquoise waters. You’ll find hammocks strung up in the palm trees lining the beach, and some laid-back bars where you can grab a cocktail.
What are the best cruise ships for a British Virgin Islands cruise?
Travelling so far from home, you need to make sure you choose a comfortable cruise ship with plenty of activities and amenities on offer. These two come highly recommended.
Embark on the journey of a lifetime on the Marella Explorer, a large and luxurious liner. Relax on The Veranda, an adults-only deck with cocoon chairs and Balinese day beds. There’s a kids club and family-friendly activities, too, such as pool parties. With 10 bars and 10 restaurants, you can sample everything from steak to sushi.
One of the smaller ships in the Marella fleet, the chic Marella Celebration perfectly balances comfort, intimacy and luxury. Soak up the Caribbean sun at one of the two swimming pools, or pamper yourself in the two-storey wellness centre. Enjoy a fine dining meal at Mistrals, followed by cocktails and live music at Hemingway’s Bar.
Shore Excursion Ideas
As Tortola is the main destination on a British Virgin Islands cruise, these shore excursions all depart from Road Town.
Sage Mountain National Park
If you can tear yourself away from the beach, we recommend a hike through the stunning setting of Sage Mountain National Park. You’ll love the intrepid trek through pristine rainforest, passing huge ancient trees with dramatic twisting roots.
Hike up to the highest point in the British Virgin islands for some spectacular views of the island. Afterwards you’ll be taken to Cane Garden Bay Beach to cool off in the water and to refuel at one of the restaurants.
Why experience the island from a deckchair when you can sip sparkling wine on the deck of a stylish sailing boat? This is the perfect shore excursion for those looking for luxury or romance. Kick back and relax, enjoying fizzy wine and hors d’oeuvres as you sail down the Tortola coastline.
Your captain will take you to one of the island’s best snorkelling spots, where you can see a profusion of colourful coral and fish under water, and on to a stunning secluded beach.
Tortola by Land and Sea
Experience the best of both worlds as you explore Tortola’s coastline by boat, and its forested interior by bus. Drift through clear water, passing secluded sandy bays and smaller islands steeped in history and legend. Craggy Norman Island was the inspiration for the famous novel Treasure Island.
Make a stop in Soper’s Hole, a stunning harbour town, to shop for souvenirs in brightly-painted shops. Wind past fishing villages and through forests as you make your way back to port.
Top ports of call in this destination
- Road Town
- Spanish Town
- Jost Van Dyke Island