Birthplace of the legendary musician Bob Marley, Jamaica moves to the beat of its own drum, offering all the trappings you’d expect from a Caribbean getaway with an extra pinch of spice. Spend your time relaxing on the velvety-soft sands, enjoy a rum cocktail in one of the many chilled-out beach bars and listen to the sound of reggae rhythms and the gentle breeze rustling through the palm trees. Jamaica offers all this, as well as a host of exciting excursions and day-trip options, making it a favourite stop on Caribbean cruises.
Popular Ports in Jamaica
Whether you want to laze on tropical white sands, try your hand at snorkelling or enjoy some vibrant nightlife, Montego Bay has it all. Gloucester Avenue, or Hip Strip as it’s locally known, is the place to go to eat – you’ll find everything from local eateries serving jerk chicken to more international cuisine. Step back in time to a visit to Rose Hall, an historic plantation home, and learn about its colourful history. Don’t miss the chance to experience the exquisite sands of Doctor’s Cave Beach with its clear shallow waters and snorkelling opportunities.
Jamaica’s bustling town of Falmouth on the north coast blends old and new, offering an intriguing port of call. Packed with historic buildings and restaurants serving Jamaican specialities, it’s an exciting place to explore – the Glistening Waters lagoon is not to be missed. This unusual natural attraction contains bioluminescent micro-organisms which glow in the dark, and visitors are taken in small boats to enjoy the natural light show.
Another local attraction is the Hampden Estate where visitors can take a tour of the rum distillery to see how the Caribbean’s favourite tipple is produced. If you want to see some of the local wildlife, head to the Jamaica Swamp Safari Village which plays host to monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles.
Home of the famous natural attraction, Dunn’s River Falls, Ocho Rios is a Jamaica cruise stopover that packs a punch. The beaches are spectacular, and Turtle Beach offers a swathe of soft sands backed by the obligatory swaying palms. Mahogany Beach is another option, or head for Reggae Beach for peace and seclusion. The town itself is vibrant and cosmopolitan with craft markets, food stalls, cafes and bars vying for your attention. At night, Ocho Rios comes to life with Main Street offering venues for dancing, live music and rum cocktails.
Offering a taste of authentic Jamaica, Port Antonio is a charming muddle of streets packed with street vendors, colourful markets and fine examples of Georgian architecture. As well as great beaches, Port Antonio is close to Frenchman’s Cove, a pretty lagoon that meets the sea – it’s a magical place to swim and relax. Other local trips include rafting on the Rio Grande or spending time at Reach Falls. If you’re looking for souvenirs, head to The Village Port Antonio, a shopping area where you’ll find craft stores and trinket shops aplenty. It’s also a great place to grab a snack such as a delicious Jamaican beef patty.
What are the best cruise ships for a Jamaica cruise?
You can experience Jamaica on the Marella Discovery 2 on the Pride of Panama cruise that stops in Montego Bay. Launched in 2017, this is one of Marella’s biggest ships and provides numerous dining experiences, whether you’re after Italian food or Asian specialities. Families can take advantage of the kids’ clubs, baby centre and teen hangout. There is also a choice of bars, and even a casino if you fancy a flutter.
Shore Excursion Ideas
If you want more from your Jamaica trip than gorgeous beaches and rum cocktails, there are numerous opportunities for sightseeing that will make your time a memorable one.
Dunn’s River Falls
If your cruise stops at Ocho Rios, then you won’t want to miss the chance to visit Dunn’s River Falls. These incredible waterfalls are one of the island’s most famous attractions and visitors can climb up it, although going with a guide is recommended. If you’re a fan of James Bond, you’ll recognise them as the waterfalls featured in the film Dr No.
Rafting on the Martha Brae
Enjoy the delights of the Martha Brae river on a traditional bamboo raft. Take in the scenery, listen to birdsong and indulge in this relaxing journey. The guide will tell you tales of local folklore and give you information about the history of the area. At the end of the trip you’ll arrive at Rafter’s Rest where you’ll find a café to enjoy refreshments, as well as souvenir and craft stalls.
Bob Marley Museum
Fans of the legendary Bob Marley will want to make a pilgrimage to the former home of the iconic singer, now a museum in his honour. The 19th-century house was converted into a museum by his wife Rita Marley, six years after his passing and its fall of personal treasures. The side also has an 80-seat theatre, record shop and photographic gallery. The One Love Café is a good place to enjoy a spot of lunch after your tour.
Biking in the Blue Mountains
The best way to experience Jamaica’s incredible scenery is on foot, so make sure you take advantage of the numerous hiking and walking opportunities across the island. Biking in the Blue Mountains is another great active option that will give you the chance to take in the sights, get some exercise and soak up the visual majesty of this spectacular mountain range.
Top ports of call in this destination
- Montego Bay
- Ocho Rios