Why choose a cruise to St John’s (Antigua)?

The bustling and eclectic city of St John’s is home to farmers’ markets, ruins of bygone sugar plantations and pretty pastel and bold-block coloured colonial architecture. The city can be instantly recognised from your cruise liner by the sighting of towering St John’s Cathedral, which stands tall and proudly over the city’s skyline. It’s also a perfect starting point for Caribbean sailing adventures.

st johnsA visit to St John’s wouldn’t be complete without a browse around its array of shops, restaurants, the bustling public market for its abundance of fresh and colourful tropical Caribbean fare. Take a relaxing stroll around the charming colonial buildings scattered around this colourful and compact city. And if you’re short on time during your cruise to St John’s and seek a quick and easy spot to sunbathe close by, you’ll find Dickenson Bay just a short taxi journey from the port. Here you’ll be greeted by a dreamy stretch of white sand to relax and soak up the rays.

A guide to St John’s hotspots

There’s plenty to see and do when you visit St John’s in Antigua, so be sure to plan your time well. A Friday and Saturday morning must see is the buzzing public market, a top spot to stock up on fresh local produce including sweet and tasty Caribbean delicacies – popular finds include fish, sugar apple and black pineapple among more well-known fruits such as mangoes, bananas and limes.

st johnsFor a touch of Caribbean culture, pay a visit to statuesque 19th-century Anglican Church, St John’s Cathedral. This twinned spired neo-Baroque building is easily walkable from the cruise port. Inside you’ll find beautiful woodwork and externally, you can admire the quaint stonework of this impressive building. For atmosphere, Fort James packs a punch; this small stranglehold is situated to the north of St John’s harbour and dates back to 1706; it still has a couple of its original 36 cannons, a powder magazine and some wall remnants.

Models of sugar plantations, Arawak pottery and four narrow gauge locomotives dating from the early 20th century await you at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, which is housed in the oldest building still in use in St John’s, the colonial Court House, constructed in 1747.

Going off the beaten track is easy on Antigua, which proudly home to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Nelson’s Dockyard National Park; the country’s 18th-century British naval dockyard. Shirley Heights is a former military lookout situated at this wonderful cultural heritage site and promises stellar sweeping views.

Not for the faint-hearted, Stingray City is based among a tropical coral reef – here you can swim, meet, greet and even get the once-a-lifetime chance to feed friendly stingrays. If you have time to venture further afield, a trip to Half-Moon Bay at the south-eastern end of Antigua, an area protected by a reef and off the beaten track (a good sat nav is a must), provides a perfect location for a spot of snorkelling in calm waters.

Cruise lines that sail to the port St John’s

· Marella Cruises

· P&O Cruises

· MSC Cruises

The best time to visit St John’s

With a tropical climate that provides hot and humid conditions all year round, average temperatures vary little year through the year, with a low chance of precipitation. The hottest months to visit are July, August and September with temperatures peaking around mid-August with highs of around 31˚C and the coolest and driest months are January (around 25˚C) through to mid-April. June in Antigua gifts visitors with the most days of sunshine, with 10 hours per day.

Did you know?

-Antigua has a nickname of the ‘Land of 365 Beaches’

-The national dish is pepperpot, a rich beef stew served with fungie (pronounced ‘foon-jee’), a filling cornmeal dish similar to polenta.

– A few famous people who have lived or owned properties in Antigua include Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Giorgio Armani.