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Cruises to St. Lucia

St. Lucia (Photo:PlusONE/Shutterstock)
St. Lucia (Photo:PlusONE/Shutterstock)

About St. Lucia

Your first look at St. Lucia's lush coast from the deck of a cruise ship is likely to include the island's most dramatic geologic feature: the Pitons, two striking volcanic peaks that rise a half-mile off St. Lucia's southwestern coast. The island's beauty has earned it the nickname "Helen of the West Indies."

Though St. Lucia has plenty of visitors (including those from cruise ships and a steady influx of honeymooners), parts of the island have largely remained unspoiled due to the locals' commitment to protecting the rainforests and other natural resources. A decent percentage of the island -- some 19,000 acres -- is protected as part of the St. Lucia National Rain Forest.

What development there is on St. Lucia is mostly in the area around Castries, the island's colorful, energetic capital city. It's not picturesque but it's still worth a look, especially if you're in search of duty-free goods or local handicrafts. But to appreciate St. Lucia's natural beauty, rent a car or take a cab out of town. The prettiest part of the island is in the south, and most visitors head there to see the former French colonial capital Soufriere, the lush Diamond Botanical Gardens and the world's only "drive-in" volcano. More options include hiking through the rainforest, snorkeling the sunken wreck off of Anse Cochon and horseback riding along the coast.

Settled first by the Arawaks and then the Caribs, St. Lucia became a hotly contested territory with the arrival of Europeans in the 17th century. The island passed back and forth 14 times between the British and the French until 1814, when the Brits finally took possession for good. Traces of both cultures still remain in the language; many St. Lucians speak both English and a French Creole patois, and it's visible in distinctive place names such as Soufriere, Gros Islet, Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island.

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DAY 1: Tampa

13 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Tampa

14 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Tampa
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Grand Cayman, Aruba ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Tampa

12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: San Juan

7 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
San Juan
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Aruba, Curacao ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Croix, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
St. Croix, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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117 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Rio de Janeiro
Visiting:
Maceio, Recife ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Maarten, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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8 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
St. Croix, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Key West, Puerto Plata ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Grand Cayman, Aruba ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Thomas, St. Croix ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Croix, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
Tortola, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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9 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
St. Thomas, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Maarten ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to St. Lucia

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Croix, St. Kitts ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Why go to St. Lucia?

Pros:

St. Lucia's natural beauty has been well-preserved and provides lots of fun for active cruisers

Cons:

You'll have to leave the city of Castries where ships dock to access most of the island's attractions

Bottom Line:

There's plenty to see and do in St. Lucia, however organized excursions and tours or a car rental might be your best bet

St. Lucia Cruise Port Facilities?

Both Place Carenage and Pointe Seraphine have duty-free shopping, cafes and souvenir shops. From La Place Carenage, you're close to the downtown markets. At Castries Market, locals sell fresh produce, spices and hot pepper sauces. At the adjacent Craft Market, vendors hawk T-shirts, wooden bowls, woven baskets and other items.

Good to Know?

Public transportation in St. Lucia often does not run on a set schedule. Buses wait until they're full before departing. If short on time, you might want to find another option.

Be aware that drive times on St. Lucia's many winding roads can be longer than you might think. Allow extra time to get to and from port.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Although you can walk from Pointe Seraphine into downtown Castries, it's a long walk -- about 20 to 30 minutes. La Place Carenage is downtown, so you can easily walk to the markets.

By Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the dock or from downtown. Regulated taxi operations are available at most places throughout the island. A cab ride from Pointe Seraphine to downtown Castries takes about five minutes and costs about $4 per person. A ride from Castries to Rodney Bay will cost about $25 for two people. Be sure to agree on a price before you get in, and specify which currency you'll be using. Water taxis are also available to ferry passengers from Pointe Seraphine to La Place Carenage; cost is about $5 roundtrip.

By Car: There are several car rental companies with kiosks at the port; rates start at about $60 per day. Unless you have an international driving permit, you'll need to purchase a one-day permit ($12). Note that St. Lucians drive on the left.

By Bus: St. Lucia's public transportation system consists of colorful, privately owned minivans, often painted with whimsical names. A ride from Castries to Rodney Bay costs about $1 per person. The bus station is in downtown Castries, near the markets.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar. (Check xe.com for current exchange rates.) You can generally use American dollars anywhere on the island, although you may receive change in local currency.

ATMs are plentiful in Castries and other major tourist areas.

Language?

English is the official language, but locals often speak Kweyol, a French-influenced patois based.

Where You're Docked?

Ships anchor in Castries, either at Pointe Seraphine, a duty-free shopping complex on the harbor's north side, or at La Place Carenage, a smaller duty-free shopping complex near the markets on the harbor's south side.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations

St. Lucia Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Epic
TW1975
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Didn’t arrive till 2pm due to bad weather so took a taxi to Rodney bay was $50 return. It was ok nothing speacial would have preferred more time in Bonaire and skip St Lucia... Read More
Norwegian Gem
Theo072793
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We took an Island tour with a Van - St. Lucia was probably for me the prettiest of all. The beaches are really gorgeous and the Island is just beautiful.... Read More
Carnival Fascination
tammyjw305
Sail Date: Mar 2020
Dominica was substituted for St. Lucia. I noticed that this was done the week before too on the webcam, so I had some heads up. We had a very cool sounding tour planned for St. Lucia; though it was nice of Carnival... Read More
haitisarah
Sail Date: Oct 2019
St. Lucia was a pleasant place to stroll around town and look at the shops.... Read More
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