Deciding on the best cruise to Jamaica is no easy task. The idyllic island has one of the grandest cruise ports—Falmouth, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay—which draws one of the best cruise lines to itself.
Do you know why we need to learn more about these cruise ports? I can bet with my last coin—the best cruise has something to do with the destination!
Moreover, the renowned Caribbean island lies in the path of a major shipping route that connects to major American ports further north.
Before we can settle for the best, we need to look at the major cruise destinations in Jamaica.
Major cruise destinations in Jamaica
Many vacationers ask, “What are the best things to do in Falmouth Jamaica on a cruise?” Let’s find out.
Falmouth is an ancient port with a modern touch located on the northern coastal line of the Jamaican island. It’s famous for a sparkling white sandy beach, clear ocean water, and a soothing blue sky.
For avid food lovers, there’s a whole range of seasoned meat and seafood. Additionally, the locals spice their dishes with a jerk—a zesty blend of spices native to the Jamaican island.
Besides, gourmets shouldn’t say they were in Jamaica if they never feasted on the island’s patty—a dough-swathed meat pie seasoned with local spices.
Moreover, this is what to do in Falmouth, Jamaica, on a cruise, touring the waterfall on River Dunn. It’s not bland as it sounds; the river is gifted by nature, a limestone staircase ideal for couples in love or family fun.
a) Language and Currency
The official language in Falmouth is English. However, some knowledge of French and Spanish would come in handy.
The locals use the Patois language, a blend of African, English, French, and Spanish dialects.
The currency in use is the Jamaican Dollar (JMD).
b) Ancient Architecture
The small port has something for the lovers of history. Tropical-Georgian houses from the mid-19th century still stand.
2. Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios is a port town on the northern coastal strip of Jamaica. Its 90 miles away from Montego Bay.
Vacationers too ask what to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica on a cruise.
Let’s find out.
a) Activities in Ocho Rios
The Dolphin Cove is an ideal spot for children and lovers of swimming. They can while away their time having fun with the magnificent dolphins.
There are more activities around the port—horse-rides at Chukka, sightseeing excursions at Coyaba Gardens. Besides, a forest of fern trees—Fern Gully—is such a blissful sight for nature lovers.
b) Beautiful Natural Scenery
Ocho Rios, a distortion of the Spanish word “chorreras,” meaning waterfalls, is naturally endowed with a cascade of several streams falling over a limestone barrier.
Furthermore, Dunn’s river finds its course through Ocho Rios, and it provides an opportunity for water lovers to climb against its smooth current.
Moreover, the river falls over a 180m cliff to a breathtaking lagoon pool enveloped by trees. It provides a therapeutic experience for those who find solace in nature.
c) Local Cuisines
Ocho Rios is famous for the jerk-flavored chicken, patties, and salt fish, all prepared with the local cooking style.
Oxtails and rundown lobsters are also typical food in the port town.
3. Montego Bay
The Bay—the island’s second-largest city—is situated in the north of the small country. It’s a mere 20 minutes cruise from Falmouth.
What stands out is its vibrancy and its support of the capital in promoting the culture and history of the tiny Caribbean island.
There’s the Sam Sharpe square right in the CBD, which is the home to beautiful historical monuments, eateries with local cuisines, and local shops for history lovers.
a) Activities in Montego Bay
This is what to do in Montego Bay Jamaica on a cruise—rafting down the slopes of Martha Brae River and kayaking with a double blade paddle.
Additionally, enjoying a walk across the vast beaches or jungles is also a great activity.
One of the most sought-after adventures is a walk through the “smooth sandy carpet” of Doctor’s cave beach.
It sits alongside a beautiful stretch of still greenish-blue water. Impressively, there’s a timeless narrative that claimed that the waters had curative properties.
A golf course near the beach complements its beauty and earns its name, “the perfect resort.”
History lovers have something to enjoy. Rose Hall still stands since the 18th century, and it’s the ideal place for the recounting of the story of one Annie Palmer’s ghost by a well-trained host.
Additionally, souvenirs are available at the same place where Fort Montego stood in the 17th century.
b) Currency and Language
The currency used is the Jamaican Dollar, and the local language is English.
c) Local Cuisines
Lovers of fresh seafood have something to enjoy. The port also has cuisines of jerk-flavored chicken slowly cooked on an open grill.
4. Port Royal-Kingston
Inward, Cruises to Kingston Jamaica dock at the Port Royal. The port was once the most famous for shipping in the Caribbean region. That was in the 17th century. Unfortunately, an earthquake and a Tsunami later brown it down towards the end of the century.
Nonetheless, Jamaica is trying hard to restore its former glory by making it a major cruise port and a competitive tourist destination. The restoration plan started taking shape just before the Covid-19 pandemic.
In January 2020, the first cruise ship—Marella Discovery 2—from the Royal Caribbean cruise line docked at the port. It was on a 7-day cruise through the Panama Canal from Montego Bay.
Though the pandemic slowed down the plans, Jamaica is still keen to push the project to completion.
What’s So Special about Kingston?
It’s the capital city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coastline. Further, it’s the epitome of the rich culture of the small island country and a very charming cruise stopover.
Apart from the magnificent Bob Marley Museum, live music halls, concert parks, dance halls, and music theatres dot the city.
Additionally, Kingston has the choicest of restaurants doing Caribbean culinary. The dining experience is incomplete if you don’t visit Devon House—the home of tropical flavored ice cream!
Best Cruise to Jamaica
We’ve looked into the best cruise destinations on the magnificent Caribbean island. In our bid to get our picture home, we now need to explore the best cruise lines to Jamaica.
1. The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
The NCL is a big cruise company based in Miami, Florida, USA. The cruise line is a voyage powerhouse in the Caribbean region, having won many cruise awards.
From 2013 to 2020, the company bagged back-to-back, “Caribbean’s leading Cruise Line” top-prizes in the World Travel Awards.
The magnificent cruise liner—Norwegian Encore—won them the 2020 “Best Ocean Ship” award from the Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Choice awards.
A Norwegian cruise to Jamaica is an experience that every vacationer should try.
That comes in handy in prior planning. It provides timely information on upcoming trips.
Why Cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line?
NCL is renowned for meeting the needs of vacationers on many fronts.
a) Cruise Ship Dining
NCL Cruise ships have more than two main dining rooms where fresh and mouth-watering delicacies are served.
There’s a variety of choices and lovely cuisines that change daily with a menu for all ages. If the NCL website is anything to go by, their chefs make their dishes with the finest ingredients.
NCL buffet is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Moreover, there’s a 24-hour eatery with popular dishes like fish and French fries and the Reuben Sandwich.
Four-course menus go with a bottle of tasty wine, and lovers of hot grilled foods can pick a burger sizzling from the grill.
To cap it off, NCL offers unique cuisines in their “specialty dining” program. For those seeking an exclusive culinary experience, then the program sorts them out.
NCL liners have “The Haven”—a luxurious room at the vessel’s roof for those boarders looking for privacy and elegance.
Then there are the suites. Their sizes differ in terms of the size of the balcony, relaxing room, or bathrooms. The best choice depends on the number of guests.
What about the single-boarders yearning for some “me” time? Such belong to the studios—small but stylish cubes that fit their need for solitude.
NCL liner studios got the best award in the “Cruise Critic Editor’s Pick-2020.”
The destination of the cruise liner is one of the most crucial aspects of cruising.
One of the most important destinations for the NCL cruise is Falmouth Port. For instance, an oncoming 16-day cruise scheduled for February 2022 has a price of $1812 per person.
This cruise starts from Miami, Florida to Mexico, then Jamaica (Falmouth), and back to Miami.
The trip offers a free bar, free specialty foods, and free internet on the liner.
Another trip destined for Jamaica (Ocho Rios) and the Grand Cayman is scheduled for January 28-February 2, 2022. It’s a 5-day voyage, with the lowest price being $475 per person.
Nevertheless, the ocean view charge is $524, balcony-$552, spa-$1028, club balcony suite-$678, and the haven-$2050.
Upon scrutiny of their pricing, the cheapest range for a single day of voyage per person is about $100.
NCL liners cruise to Montana bay. However, there are currently no scheduled trips to Montego Bay.
d) The Ship types
The Norwegian Cruise Line has a world-class website that impressively shows planned cruises, pricing of voyages, destinations, accommodation facilities, and dining offers.
A holidaymaker seeking information should not worry about “getting lost in the details”—everything is so plain!
2. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
The Royal Caribbean is a passenger ship company with headquarters in Miami, Florida, USA. It has over twenty excellent cruise ships.
According to them, no matter which liner you choose, it comes with great feats.
Why Cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line?
a) The Liners
The Royal Caribbean Company has a vast fleet of ships. They add the prestigious tag “of the seas” after the official name of the vessel.
One of their most prestigious ships is the Adventure of the seas. Other liners include; Allure, Anthem, Brilliance, Explorer, Freedom, Grandeur, and Enchantment, just to name but a few.
One thing that is fascinating about the Royal Caribbean line is their cruise to Jamaica from Texas. Not many liners around the Caribbean include Texas in their plan.
However, the Royal Caribbean cruises to Jamaica are usually on a weeklong itinerary. For instance, there’s a 7-night voyage passing through Falmouth from Galveston, Texas, planned for 16th January 2022.
The cheapest charge is $417 per person. The price tag is exclusive of taxes and port expenses, estimated at $127.29
The Royal Caribbean charges an impressive rate of around $77 per day per person for the lowest class on a rough estimate.
The company also does the Ocho Rios route. For instance, a planned voyage in late March 2022 starts from Galveston, Texas, with Ocho Rios as the third docking port.
It’s a 7-night western Caribbean cruise with the cheapest rate (for interior rooms) at $412 per person, exclusive of tax.
During the cruise, the outside view goes for $582m, the balcony for $710, and suites for $2033.
The cruise line also does the Falmouth, Jamaica Route. For instance, the Allure and the Odyssey of the seas have scheduled voyages passing through the port on 29th September and 06th October this year, respectively.
Another major win for the Royal Caribbean cruise is the Port Royal (Kingston, Jamaica) Route. The cruise line was the first to dock the first-ever cruise ship—Marella Discovery 2—on the port in January 2020.
Since their ships are many, we will sample some of the amenities in the award-winning liners—Symphony, Mariner, Navigator, and Harmony.
The Ultimate Family Suite comes with a bathtub hangout facility, digital gaming lounge, balcony with table tennis, and an air hockey table!
There’s the luxurious Royal Suite Class, four feet above sea level. In every aspect, the luxury is on the VIP level if the company website is anything to go by—an elegant accommodation that gives you stories to bring home.
The Sea, Star, and Sky rooms come with unique amenities complemented by personalized attention—an experience that never leaves the mind!
The star class is the best with luxury bathroom amenities, Espresso coffee maker, Concierge Club access, exclusive signature activities, specialty dining, and Royal Genie. Additionally, priority departure and deluxe beverage packages are available.
However, the other two lower classes have some facilities, but none has the whole package.
d) Cruise ship Dining
The Royal Caribbean website shares little information about their culinary delights. However, it promises one thing—taking your sense of taste on a world tour!
The company has a good website but is not as informative as NCL’S.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cruises to Jamaica
Holidaymakers seeking to dig into the enjoyable activities on the Jamaican ports usually ask the following questions.
What are the Best things to do in Falmouth, Jamaica, on a cruise?
There is a lot to do in Falmouth, but it all depends on your interests.
Lovers of history can walk around Falmouth, especially with a tour guide, to learn of the ancient town’s heritage, whose history dates back to the 17th century. Old buildings that date back to the 18th century dot the landscape.
Lovers of water sport can paddle rafts along Martha Brae River.
Moreover, for those who find peace in nature, the miracle of the lagoon water that sparkles as night beckons. Further, they can swim in the lagoons at night, where blue lights dance to your body’s movement.
What to Do In Jamaica on a Cruise?
It all depends on your schedule and the port of your tour. Some of the activities available are; river tubing in the White River, rafting across river Martha Brae and visiting the Bob Marley museum.
Additionally, enjoying the local cuisines, nature walks, playing golf, horse-riding, and visiting historical sites are some more activities available on the island.
Which is better, Ocho Rios or Falmouth?
It all depends on what you’re looking for. Ocho Rios is the best for a sightseeing trip connected to nature.
On the other hand, Falmouth is the best when it comes to learning the culture of the Jamaicans.
Final Nuggets on Popular Destinations in Jamaica
It would be ideal to choose the best cruise to Jamaica on merit. The cruise offers the best in terms of idyllic waterways, cruise line involved, and the port you are travelling to!
The Norwegian liner Cruise is the premium choice for the Ocho Rios, Falmouth, and Montego Bay ports. Nonetheless, if you want to consider a great experience with a small budget, you can opt for a Royal Caribbean cruise.
However, if you need a cruise from Texas to Jamaica or one that goes through Port Royal, it’s so clear that the Cruise line to go for is Royal Caribbean!