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Cruises to Belize City

Belize City (Photo:Tami Freed/Shutterstock)

About Belize City

Bordering on Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean, Belize is the second smallest country in Central America (after El Salvador), with an area of approximately 9,000 square miles that includes numerous small islands -- known as cayes -- off the coast. More than half of the mainland is covered with dense forests, and at its longest point Belize is 176 miles long while its greatest width is 88 miles. Long a strong advocate of environmental protection, the government has set aside approximately 20 percent of its land as nature reserves.

Belize has been attracting steadily increasing numbers of U.S. visitors as it has become better known as a reasonably priced destination offering some of the best diving in the Caribbean. It also continues to increase in popularity as a cruise destination and is often included as one of the ports of call on Western Caribbean itineraries.

Diving is Belize's main claim to fame due to an almost unbroken line of reefs and cayes extending for 150 miles along its coast that make up the longest reef system in the Western Hemisphere (and the second longest in the world). While many cayes are tiny and uninhabited, some like Ambergris Caye are sufficiently large to have built resorts that attract divers from around the world.

Several important Mayan sites on the mainland, such as Altun Ha and Xunantunich, make for excellent day trips and are included on shore excursions by most cruise ships. As a matter of fact, Belize has the highest concentration of Mayan sites of all the countries in Central America.

Belize City, with its wooden and brick buildings, exudes some colonial charm but the downtown area also has many seedy neighborhoods, and tourists should beware of walking around the city after dark. For cruise passengers, Belize City is primarily a jumping-off point for tours and excursions to its many natural and historical attractions.

  • Why go to Belize City?

  • Belize City Cruise Port Facilities?

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Celebrity Infinity
Celebrity Infinity (Photo: Celebrity)

7 Night
Western Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,577 Reviews
Leaving:Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Ruby Princess
Ship Exterior on Ruby Princess

11 Night
Caribbean - Western CruiseDetails

1,900 Reviews
Leaving:Galveston
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Dec 18, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

7 Night
7 Nt Western Caribbean HolidayDetails

1,202 Reviews
Leaving:New Orleans
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Dec 24, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Ruby Princess
Ship Exterior on Ruby Princess

7 Night
Caribbean - Western CruiseDetails

1,900 Reviews
Leaving:Galveston
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Panama Canal & Central AmericaDetails

1,903 Reviews
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Western Caribbean Holiday CruiseDetails

1,630 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Dec 24, 2022
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5 Night
Western Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,753 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Nov 6, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Panama Canal & Central AmericaDetails

1,903 Reviews
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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9 Night
New Orleans & The CaribbeanDetails

1,753 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jan 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
7 Nt Key West, Belize And Grand CaymanDetails

73 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Jungles & Jewels Of The Central American Coast 10d...Details

121 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Mar 29, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Western Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,735 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Caribbean - Western CruiseDetails

1,808 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Key West, Belize & Grand CaymanDetails

73 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Western Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,630 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Belize City?

Pros:

Beyond the city itself, beautiful natural wonders -- caves, waterfalls, lush rain forests -- abound

Cons:

Poverty and crime can be problems in Belize City, so visitors should be cautious

Bottom Line:

Venture out of the city, and you'll be pleasantly surprised

Belize City Cruise Port Facilities?

After tendering, all passengers disembark at docks in Belize's Tourism Village. Here you'll find dozens of shops, bars and restaurants from standard cruise venues like Diamonds International and Del Sol to stores with handmade Belizean crafts and foodstuffs. Other than shop for souvenirs or hang out in one of the bars or restaurants, there's not much else to see and do in the Tourism Village. If you're up for a short walk, you can exit Tourism Village and head to the Holy Redeemer Cathedral or Baron Bliss Lighthouse & Gravesite, which are both within walking distance.

Good to Know?

When using cash -- particularly with merchants that accept U.S. dollars -- be sure you get change in U.S. currency. And, if you're at all concerned with wildlife conservation, don't buy items that are made from sea turtle shells, black coral or Triton's trumpet shells.

Also, almost all the major attractions are at some distance from the city; so if you're exploring independently and hiring your own transportation, make sure you are back in time at Tourism Village for the last tender departure for your ship.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The only way to get around the Tourism Village is on foot, but its small, taking no more than 10 minutes to get from end to end (without lots of browsing, that is). You can also get around Belize City on foot fairly easy, though streets are not well marked and you might need to ask a local for directions.

By Taxi: Taxis are readily available at Tourism Village as well as in the city and at hotels. Taxis do not have meters and although most drivers charge a standard fare, make sure you determine the fare before getting in so as to avoid being burned upon arriving at your destination. Look for the green license plate of licensed taxis. There are also water taxis and ferries that depart from the Marine Terminal to the outlying cayes, including the larger resort cayes such as Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. A trip from Belize City to San Pedro, the largest town on Ambergris Caye, takes around 80 minutes.

By Rental Car: It's also possible to rent a car although drivers should be wary. The poor condition of many roads leads to many traffic accidents. Hertz-Safari (#1, Goldson Lane; 501-223-5395) is your best choice in town.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Belize's currency is the Belizean dollar; visit www.xe.com for currency conversion figures. However, all shops and merchants readily accept U.S. dollars (most also accept credit cards) so it is unnecessary to change money. ATMs are plentiful in both the Tourism Village and the rest of the city.

Language?

English is Belize's official language and is spoken by virtually everyone.

Where You're Docked?

All ships anchor in Belize City harbor and passengers are whizzed from ship to shore via speedy Belizean tenders; it takes approximately 20 minutes to tender to shore.


Belize City Cruise Reviews
We took the Celebrity Trolley Excursion. It was a way to get off the ship and learn a bit about Belize. Belize City is not my favorite port. Read More
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Nashna
Belize city was amazing, if you are looking for a guide I would highly recommend king David’s tours. We did the Altu Hun Mayan ruins and howler monkey sanctuary. The food was delicious and the tour guides were so friRead More
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Lindsekins
The ruins in Belize were awesome! We visited on a Sunday so we couldn’t really shop or do much else. Our tour guide was phenomenal Read More
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Lovecruising231
First time to Belize - it was fine and we went out to the Mayan ruins. Save some money and take an independent excursion. They are plentiful and good. Read More
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sanwt77

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