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Cruises to Tortola

1,469 Reviews
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.

  • More about Tortola

  • Why go to Tortola?

  • Tortola Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Gem

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Eastern Caribbean - New YorkDetails

2,526 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 27, 2023
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Norwegian Escape
Norwegian Escape (Photo: Norwegian)

7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - Port CanaveralDetails

2,894 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

2,894 Reviews
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Gem

10 Night
Eastern Caribbean - New YorkDetails

2,526 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 17, 2023
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Azamara Club Cruises

7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

303 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,080 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
May 17, 2023
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7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

303 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Caribbean - Other ProductDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,894 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

2,080 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
May 8, 2023
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Southern Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,690 Reviews
Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Caribbean - Southern CruiseDetails

248 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Feb 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Caribbean - Other ProductDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Eastern Caribbean - MiamiDetails

303 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

73 Night
Grand South America & Antarctica VoyageDetails

535 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Tortola

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
The stop in Tortola was only for 7 hrs so did not allow much time to see the island. The only NCL excursions were beach breaks so we instead walked a mile into town to some shopping areas to buy t-shirts and stuff. Read More
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HACKT
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
They built a shopping center at the pier which has many shops. You can walk into town, but there is only local stores and no shopping spots for cruisers. Most popular tour was a bus to one of the beaches (Cane GardRead More
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BobMc1
We did a cruise around the other islands that make up part of the British Virgin Islands. We also did a tour on land and enjoyed the scenery and viewpoints. Very pleasant island and scenic. We enjoyed the visit. Read More
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