When you're cruising the Caribbean, sometimes a hassle-free day at the beach is more appealing than booking a cruise line-sponsored shore excursion or wandering around souvenir shops, sorting through shell art and T-shirts. If you're in the mood for some sun and fun, purchasing a day pass at one of the many resorts lining those gorgeous island shores might just be your best bet.
Resort passes offer all-day access to amenities like pools, lounge chairs, water sports equipment and activities, as well as food and beverages. Some include meals at onsite restaurants, transfers to and from the cruise port or daytime use of resort rooms when available. You might even find that certain resort day passes end up being quite affordable compared to booking a private tour or a beach day through the cruise line, depending on inclusions. Just don't forget to factor in transportation costs, if any, when pricing out options.
Many Cruise Critic members find such passes to be great alternatives to traditional shore excursions.
"It's fun!" member LovetheSea posts on the message boards. "You just take a cab to the resort, buy the pass and spend the day there. Leave whenever you want to. It is usually a lot cheaper than a 'Beach Break' excursion."
Below, we've compiled a list of a few popular resorts that offer day passes in some of the Caribbean's most well-known ports. Passes do not include use of a room unless otherwise stated.
Editor's note: Prices and amenities listed are subject to change at any time; additional taxes and service charges may apply.
Sandals Grande Antigua
What's Included: Passes come in three varieties: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $100; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., $100; and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (full day pass), $200. Prices include access to all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks. Sandals is a couples' resort for those 18 and older, so no children's pricing is available.
How to Get There: The resort is located 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
Jolly Beach Resort & Spa
What's Included: This resort in Antigua offers three day pass options. The standard day pass includes access to the resort from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as a continental breakfast, lunch, beverages and nonmotorized water sports, and costs $75 per adult and $45 per child ages 3 to 11. The all-day pass allows access from 10:15 a.m. until midnight and includes all of the above as well as dinner and nightly entertainment, for $97 per adult and $59 per child. Lastly, there is an evening pass for use from 6 p.m. to midnight, which includes dinner, beverages and entertainment for a cost of $70 per adult and $42 per child.
How to Get There: Jolly Beach is located about 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
What's Included: Passes, which are $94 for adults, $70 for kids ages 11 to 15 and $23 for children ages 5 to 10, offer access to amenities including nonmotorized water sports, meals, snack and drinks, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
How to Get There: Barcelo Aruba is a 15-minute taxi ride from port.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
What's Included: The day passes offered at this Aruba resort include transportation to the resort's private island, as well as lunch, a drink and dessert. This activity is available beginning at 7 a.m., and the last boat leaves the private island at 6:45 p.m.; beach towels are provided. The cost is $99 per adult; children under 6 can visit the island for free and kids ages 6 to 12 are half price. Note food and other amenities are extra. Passes are capacity controlled, based on hotel occupancy, and are not available to groups.
How to Get There: This resort is just a quarter-mile from the cruise port, and it's walkable.
Atlantis Paradise Island
What's Included: The Discover Aquaventure pass is priced seasonally from about $120 for adults and $80 for children, off-peak, and it provides access to beach towels, the Dig marine life exhibits and all marine habitats and beaches. It also includes admission to the resort's "waterscape," including all slides, pools and the river rapids. A number of additional day experiences, including dolphin encounters and snorkeling excursions, are available at various price points. Depending on the number of people in your group and the time of year, it may be more cost-efficient to book a room for one day while you're in port; that will allow you access to all resort amenities for one price. Plus, you'll have a place to shower and change.
How to Get There: This resort is a 10- to 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
Melia Nassau Beach All Inclusive
What's Included: For $45 ($25 for children, ages 5 to 12), visitors gain access to the resort's beach and three pools from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with use of beach chairs and towels. Use of snorkeling equipment is included, as is participation in scheduled resort outdoor activities; other water sports, beverages and lunch are available at an additional charge (though adults do get a voucher for a complimentary Starbucks beverage).
How to Get There: From the Nassau cruise port, the Melia is a 15-minute ride by local bus or taxi.
What's Included: For $110 per adult ($55 for children ages 5 to 12; children 4 and under are free), a day pass includes access to the resort's beach, pool, beach chairs, facilities and nonmotorized water sports equipment from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Also included are lunch and teatime.
How to Get There: The resort is located 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
The Crane Resort
What's Included: This pass is offered at $25 per person (no kids rates apply). Pass holders are granted beach access and can redeem the value of the pass for food and drink from the beach bar or any of the resort's other restaurants and bars. Access to the pool, gym and other resort facilities are limited to guests with a room.
How to Get There: Because this resort is 45 minutes from the port in Barbados, you'll need to take a taxi.
Dominican Republic (La Romana)
Casa de Campo Resort and Villas
What's Included: A day pass at this resort in Casa de Campo offers lunch at the resort's Beach Club by Le Cirque Restaurant (with one drink), as well as beach access, towels, chair use and nonmotorized water sports. The cost is $75 per adult and $45 per child, for visits between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
How to Get There: The resort is located five minutes from port; take a taxi.
Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa
What's Included: Passes here are valid for pool and beach access, food and drinks and nonmotorized water sports between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The cost is $75 for adults, children 2 to 11 are half off, and children under 2 are free.
How to Get There: Because this resort is 10 minutes from port, you'll need to take a taxi.
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa
What's Included: This freshly renovated Westin offers day use of a room for up to four adults, including access to the beach, the expanded freshwater pool (with a swim-up bar) and resort facilities, starting from $149 per room (additional taxes and service charges apply). Beach chairs, towels and umbrellas are included, as is participation in the resort's morning stand-up paddleboard clinics. No food or beverage is included. Reservations are contingent upon room availability.
How to Get There: This resort is 15 minutes from port by taxi.
Editor's Note: Day passes are uncommon in Grand Cayman. While many resort restaurants and spas are open to the public, their beach access is typically reserved for overnight guests. There are a few public beaches and private beach clubs (like Royal Palms Beach Club), however, as an alternative route.
Club Natale Bay Villas
What's Included: Passes at this Roatan resort come in three main types: standard passes, priced at $35 per adult and $25 per child (ages 5 to 15; free for ages 4 and under) for entry and access to resort facilities, beach, pool and Wi-Fi; $60 ($50 for kids ages 5 to 15; $10 for 3- and 4-year-olds) for that basic plan plus beach chairs and towels, an island-style lunch with one drink and use of kayaks and snorkel gear; and $105 ($80 for kids, $10 for toddlers) for everything mentioned above plus unlimited cocktails, beer and wine (specific brands) and a snorkel boat tour.
How to Get There: Club Natale is a 10-minute ride from port. All packages include shuttle service to and from the resort.
Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort
What's Included: Mayan Princess offers two primary day pass options: the Beach Day Pass, which includes beach access via the resort's Beach Club San Simon, use of a lounge chair and transportation, for $35 per person (ages 13 and up; $15 for kids ages 5 to 12 or $10 for those under 5); and the All-Inclusive Day Pass for the resort beach club, which includes the same, along with regular open bar and lunch for $75 per person (ages 13 and up; $35 for kids ages 5 to 12 or $15 for ages 4 and younger). Passes can be upgraded to include activities like snorkeling, diving and ziplining, too.
How to Get There: This resort is a 25-minute ride from the cruise port; round trip transportation is included.
Jamaica (Montego Bay)
Sandals Montego Bay
What's Included: Passes come in three varieties: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $85; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., $100; and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (full day pass), $185. Prices include access to all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks. Because Sandals is a couples' resort for those 18 and older, no children's pricing is available.
How to Get There: Sandals Montego Bay is a 30-minute drive from port; take a taxi.
Sunscape Splash Montego Bay
What's Included: Passes include access to resort pools, water slides, white-sand beaches, activities and games, and nonmotorized water sports. All meals and drinks are also included in the price, which is $80 per adult and $60 per child ages 3 to 12.
How to Get There: Transfers are available for an additional fee. Sunscape Splash Montego Bay is just a five-minute drive from port by taxi.
Jamaica (Ocho Rios)
Beaches Ocho Rios
What's Included: Passes include access to resort pools and beach, entertainment, water and land sports. All meals, snacks and drinks are also included in the price, which is $100 per adult and $50 per child from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or at the same rates for access between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.
How to Get There: The ride from the Ocho Rios cruise port to this resort takes about 20 minutes by taxi.
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
What's Included: Three categories of passes are available: access from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $85, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m for $100, or a full day pass (10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) for $185. No kids' rates are available since Sandals is an adults-only couples resort. Rates include access to all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks.
How to Get There: The resort is a 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
El Cid La Ceiba Beach
What's Included: For $48 a person, you get everything an overnight resort guest would, aside from the room. This includes access to the Cozumel resort's beach and pool facilities, plus umbrellas, hammocks, nonmotorized water sports equipment and unlimited food and beverage throughout the day. Children 6 and under are free and ages 7 to 11 are $27. Passes are for use between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
How to Get There: El Cid La Ceiba Beach is a mere five minutes from port by taxi.
Hotel Cozumel & Resort
What's Included: Passes here include all food (including snacks) and beverages and access to the resort's beach and its amenities (including lounge chairs and Wi-Fi), along with use of snorkeling gear and nonmotorized water sports. The cost is $40 per adult and $20 per child ages 4 to 12.
How to Get There: Take a taxi, or walk the 1-mile distance from port.
Puerto Rico (San Juan)
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
What's Included: Passes cost $60 per person during the month of September and $80 per person during all other months; kids' rates (ages 4 to 12) are $30 year-round, or free for children ages 3 and under. Passes include access to the fitness center, pool area, lounge chairs and showers. Meals and drinks are not included in the standard rate.
How to Get There: A taxi ride from San Juan's cruise port takes just five minutes.
InterContinental San Juan
What's Included: Special spa-focused day passes here cost $80 per adult and include a 50-minute Swedish massage treatment, as well as access to the steam rooms, sauna, lockers, showers and relaxation area (serving fruits and teas). Pass holders can also access the pool and the beach, and utilize the chairs. Kids (ages 3 to 14) can also get passes, minus all of the spa inclusions, for $40 apiece. Meals, drinks and transportation to and from the port are not included.
How to Get There: Take a taxi for the 15-minute ride from the port.
St. Kitts Marriott Resort & the Royal Beach Casino
What's Included: Conveniently, this resort offers with-room and without-room options. The cost of daytime use of accommodations varies based on season and availability; rates start at $125 for up to four people (two adults and two kids). Without a room, the cost is $35 per person, and children under the age of 12 get free access with a paying adult. Either way, pass holders are entitled to use of the resort's beachfront, three pools, lounge chairs and cabanas. Meals, drinks and spa treatments cost extra, but pass holders get a 15 percent discount at the spa, 10 percent discount at the gift shop and a 10 percent discount at the various resort eateries and its beach bar.
How to Get There: From the St. Kitts port, this resort is just 15 minutes by taxi.
Timothy Beach Resort
What's Included: Timothy offers two packages, available from mid-July through November. The first, for $25, is the standard, which includes use of the pool, beach chairs and towels, one entree salad from the lunch menu along with a rum punch, fruit punch, soft drink or local beer. The deluxe pass, for $50, offers all of the above plus a welcome rum or fruit punch, an appetizer with lunch and two additional drinks from the beach or restaurant bar. Children ages 4 to 12 are admitted for half price with both packages.
How to Get There: Timothy Beach is located just 3 miles from the cruise port; a taxi will get you there.
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa
What's Included: Ideal for those traveling with family or as part of a group, this resort in St. Maarten offers day passes for up to four guests for $199 from April through December, and $299 from January through March (exact dates vary by year). The price includes the use of a room between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., as well as use of the resort's pool, lounge chairs, beach and towels. Meals and drinks are not included.
How to Get There: Expect a half-hour taxi ride from port.
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
What's Included: Passes here include use of all resort facilities, including the pool, beach chairs, towels and umbrellas when available, as well as unlimited food and beverages during the day. Passes cost $89 per adult. Children are not permitted at this resort. Day pass offerings are subject to change over peak season, so check the Sonesta website for updates. If you do have kids in tow, consider instead the resort's new May 2017-debuted, all-inclusive LaLa's Beach Club & Grill, situated on the Sonesta resort's beachfront premises. Adult rates are the same ($89/person), though kids' rates are available for $45 (for ages 6 to 12); passes feature the same above-mentioned inclusions (cabana upgrades are available, too), short of access to the Sonesta resort facilities.
How to Get There: Your taxi ride from port will take between 15 and 20 minutes.
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
What's Included: Day passes, priced at $60 for adults or $30 for kids ages 12 and under (family passes, good for four adults and two kids, are priced at $120), get you beach access with use of a lounge chair and nonmotorized water sports (excluding Hobie Cats). Food and drink are available at an additional fee from the resort's popular beach bar, Iggies.
How to Get There: A taxi from the St. Thomas cruise port will get you there in 15 to 20 minutes.
Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
What's Included: Passes start at $75 per adult and $55 per child ages 6 to 12 (children ages 5 and under admitted free). You have access to the beach area and chairs, as well as the pool and sports courts. You are also invited to utilize the resort's restaurants, though meals and drinks are not included.
How to Get There: Frenchman's Reef can be reached by taxi within 15 minutes.