The island of Dominica – not to be confused with The Dominican Republic – is very different to a lot of the islands in the Caribbean. This is not an island of loud parties, rum punch or crowded beach resorts. But nestled into the rugged coastline you’ll find deserted black-sand beaches and secluded coves of white-sand, fringed with dense greenery.

Dominica is known for its natural beauty. It’s renowned as a trekking destination with trails through the rainforest to gushing waterfalls and serene rivers. The island also has a striking volcanic landscape of craggy mountains, geothermal springs and the steam-shrouded Boiling Lake. In contrast, Dominica’s towns are colourful, thriving places where reggae music floats through the streets.

dominicaPopular Ports in Dominica

Roseau

If you take a Dominica cruise, you’re likely to dock at Roseau, the island’s capital city. The streets of this small city are lined with historic colonial buildings and brightly coloured houses. The French Quarter is particularly picturesque. For the best shopping experience visit Old Roseau Market, where bustling stalls sell local handicrafts and aromatic spices.

A visit to Wacky Rollers comes highly recommended. It’s an outdoor centre located in the rainforest on the city’s outskirts. Kids and grown ups alike will love the Adventure Park, a high-ropes course through the tree canopy. River tubing, kayaking and jeep safaris are also on offer here.

Portsmouth

Several cruise ships dock in Portsmouth, an un-touristy town snuggled into the beautiful sweeping curve of St Rupert’s Bay. Lots of local restaurants and bars line the waterfront. The town is within two miles of Cabrit’s National Park, a small peninsula of pristine rainforest and protected coral reefs.

North of downtown is an area called Lagoon, where the road runs alongside a golden-sand beach popular with locals. Several funky restaurants and bars line the shore – it’s a great place to party during the weekend. For something a little quieter visit nearby Hampstead Beach, Dominica’s best black-sand beach, which was a filming location for Pirates of the Caribbean.

What are the best cruise ships for a Dominica cruise?

For your Dominica cruise we recommend two ships from the Marella fleet, which are renowned for their budget-friendly luxury.

Marella Celebration

The Marella Celebration is proof that good things really do come in small packages. She balances a cosy, intimate atmosphere with state-of-the-art amenities. Pamper yourself in the spa or relax on a chic daybed at the on-deck Sun Lounge. Savour a cocktail at Hemingway’s bar, or enjoy watching a show at the Broadway Lounge in the evening. There are five restaurants to choose from for dinner, including fine dining restaurant Mistrals, or Kore La, where you can savour exotic pan-Asian fare.

marella celebrationMarella Explorer 2

If you’re on a romantic break or travelling with friends, the Marella Explorer 2 is the ship for you. This deluxe ship, sailing from Summer 2019, is for adults only. Enjoy relaxing in the Champneys Spa or by the pool without any children disturbing you. There are 10 bars to choose from, including the Squid & Anchor, a British pub with live bands, games machines and quizzes. For something a little more exotic head to Indigo Bar, where you’ll experience 360 degree ocean views and cool cocktail demonstrations. The food choices are out of this world, too. Tuck into tapas, pizza and succulent souvlaki meat skewers at The Mediterranean, or enjoy a romantic dinner at fine-dining haven, The Dinner Club.

Shore Excursion Ideas

A Dominica cruise is all about getting out into nature, so here are three awesome shore excursions that will help you explore this green paradise.

Trafalgar Falls and Emerald Pool

Take this trip to experience some of Dominica’s top natural beauty spots. You’ll begin by journeying to the Trafalgar Falls, twin falls which cascade down a 67m rock cliff into a serene pool. Climb up to the top for some awe-inspiring views of the gushing torrent.

Next you’ll journey into the rainforest, ending up at the Emerald Pool, where a small waterfall trickles softly into an aquamarine-tinted lagoon. Have a refreshing dip in the serene waters before heading home. 

Island Traditions and Herbal Remedies

Learn more about the islanders’ traditional way of life on this nature tour. You’ll drive to Bellevue Chopin, a village perched on the foothills of a volcano, where you’ll visit an organic herb farm. The farmer will show you his herb garden, and give you an insight into the herbal remedies they can be used for.

Next up is a visit to the Geneva Heritage Park where you’ll encounter a community arts and crafts workshop, where you can purchase art and handicrafts. The last stop is a local vegetable garden where you’ll try the freshly-grown produce before visiting the adjacent farm for a snack.

Indian River rowboat trip and beach

Travel north to embark on a boat ride down the Indian River, eyes peeled for the birds and giant crabs hiding in the mangroves that line the banks. Look out for the House of Calypso, a filming location in the Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest. The journey ends at the atmospheric Bush Bar, where you can try their signature cocktail; passion fruit and cinnamon mixed with rum.

The next stop is Salisbury Beach, a pretty stretch of sand bordered by volcanic mountains. There are three colourful coral reefs along the shore too. Rent a snorkel or a kayak to go exploring or just relax on one of the sun loungers.

Top ports of call in this destination