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Cruises to Tortola

Tortola (Photo:BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock)

About Tortola

Tortola and most of the British Virgin Islands are mountainous, and while they boast verdant-green hills, the climate and vegetation are much drier than many Caribbean isles. In Tortola, cactus and succulents are more common than ferns, and rushing streams and waterfalls are virtually nonexistent. The dry climate of the islands has a beneficial side effect: because of the lack of runoff, the water clarity is dependably higher than many other places in the Caribbean.

For that reason, Tortola and the BVI are a popular destination for divers and snorkelers. The protective effect of the islands surrounding Tortola causes the seas to be calm most of the time, making the region an attractive destination for those prone to motion sickness during small-boat excursions. The steady winds and calm seas also make Tortola and the BVI one of the world's premier yachting regions. Sailing excursions should be at the top of every interested visitor's list.

A visit to Tortola also offers a chance to experience other islands in the BVI chain. These include Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, Peter Island, Marina Cay and Virgin Gorda. All are within reach for a day trip from Tortola, assuming you have a full day in port. This is not the case on all itineraries, so be sure to check ferry and ship schedules carefully before departing.

One of Tortola's greatest attributes is the genuinely friendly attitude of its residents. The island is safe and crime-free. It's not unusual to find yachts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars docked in marinas with keys visible in the ignitions.

  • Why go to Tortola?

  • Tortola Cruise Port Facilities?

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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

10 Night
Caribbean - Eastern CruiseDetails

31 Reviews
Leaving:Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Millennium
Celebrity Millennium

7 Night
Southern Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,679 Reviews
Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Escape
Norwegian Escape (Photo: Norwegian)

7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

2,854 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Escape
Norwegian Escape (Photo: Norwegian)

7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

2,854 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Dec 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

Cruise Critic Favorite

8 Night
Eastern Caribbean & BahamasDetails

2,195 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Aug 21, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Eastern Caribbean - New YorkDetails

2,508 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 10, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Grand Voyage CruiseDetails

59 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Nov 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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65 Night
World CruiseDetails

365 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Nov 3, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Caribbean - Southern CruiseDetails

1,699 Reviews
Leaving:Galveston
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 24, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,059 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Mediterranean CruiseDetails

334 Reviews
Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
May 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Southern Caribbean - New YorkDetails

4,218 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Dec 16, 2022
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10 Night
Eastern Caribbean - New YorkDetails

2,508 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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25 Night
South America CruiseDetails

204 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Nov 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

8 Night
Eastern Caribbean CruiseDetails

2,195 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Tortola?

Pros:

Ample ferry service allows cruisers to take day trips to the smaller islands in the BVI

Cons:

Not much to do right in Road Town -- other than shop -- you'll need a boat or taxi to get to the real attractions

Bottom Line:

Beaches and water sports galore await those willing to book a tour or venture out from the port

Tortola Cruise Port Facilities?

As you disembark in Road Town, you'll be at Tortola Pier Park, a fairly recent and modern outdoor cruise complex with an information kiosk staffed with people handing out maps, ferry schedules and brochures, plus about 50 shops, cafe kiosks, a couple of restaurant/bars, bathrooms and ATMs. Almost every venue offers free Wi-Fi, so you'll see passengers and staff hanging out everywhere in order to log on to the internet. Taxis are readily available to whisk you away to wherever you might want to go.

It's just a quick walk into town, where you'll find more cafes with Wi-Fi, restaurants and even a small market. Main Street features cute souvenir shops, where you can find local crafts and jewelry. While Road Town is worth a visit, if that's the extent of your Tortola experience, you will miss out on the best of the BVI.

Good to Know?

You won't encounter dangerous animals or snakes, but a few plants (oleander and elephant ears, for example) are poisonous if consumed. The manchioneel, or poison apple tree, is a shrub or tree that grows near the beach. It's fruit, sap and leaves are caustic -- a severe irritant to skin and eyes -- and toxic if ingested.

Also, smoking is prohibited in all public indoor and outdoor spaces and within 50 feet of these spaces. This applies to all beaches.

Getting Around?

On Foot:If you only want to shop or browse, you can easily explore the shops at Pier Park or walk into town.

By Taxi:Safari cabs and mini vans are typical modes of taxi transport. Find taxi stands at the cruise pier in Road Town, Soper's Hole or near Wickham's Cay. Taxis can be chartered based on the taxi tariff available at the ports of entry and provided by each driver. Roads on Tortola are very steep and winding. If this makes you uneasy, avoid the safari cabs.

By Car: You'll need a BVI license, which costs about $10 and is obtainable with a valid driver's license. Don't forget to drive on the left side of the road. Rental agencies include Avis (Wickham's Cay 1; 284-494-4169) located steps from the port, D&D Car Rental (West End, Road Town; 284-495-7676), and Itgo Car Rental (Road Town; 284-494-5150).

By Ferry: Ferries are the primary form of moving people between Tortola and the other islands. Think of them as oceangoing buses. Ferry service from the several companies serving the islands is frequent, dependable and affordable.

There are three regions in Tortola where you can catch a ferry: Road Town (central), Soper's Hole (West End) and Beef Island (East End). Soper's Hole and Beef Island can be reached by taxi for about $20 per person roundtrip.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The BVI use the U.S. dollar for its currency. ATMs are commonplace and easily found in the port area.

Language?

English, though Caribbean patois is common.


Tortola Cruise Reviews
Tortola is a beautiful island and the shopping is amazing. We arrived at 6 am and left at 1 pm. Not much time for anything. But did return back by 11 am. Was sitting on deck 15 in the lounge when my cell phone raRead More
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tscattergood
Went to Jost Van Dyke White Bay Beach by boat. Amazing beach. Highly recommend.Read More
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FoodieLuxury
Beautiful port, views are amazing.Read More
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our-opinion
We choose this itinerary because we wanted to go on a sailing tour in the Virgin Islands. We booked a tour through trip advisor and it was fantastic. We have found after multiple cruises that if you book through the Read More
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Dee1234

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