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Cruises to Tortola

Tortola (Photo:BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock)
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.

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DAY 1: Tampa

13 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

11 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Key West, Puerto Plata ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
San Juan, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

8 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Grand Turk, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Great Stirrup Cay, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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24 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Tortola, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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13 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Malaga, Seville ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
San Juan, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
Tortola, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
St. Barts, Martinique ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Tortola, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Tortola

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

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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71 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
New York, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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73 Night
Cruise to Tortola

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
New York, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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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

Norwegian Encore
dshefter
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Had our excursion to Jost Van Dyke canceled due to space availability and our shortened port time. Wish we had a full day in Tortola. Wanted to go to JVD. Had been to The Baths. Tortola is nothing special. Went into... Read More
Norwegian Encore
IntrepidCVS11
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Not too much time spent in Tortola. We should have stayed longer and not stopped at Stirrup Cay.... Read More
RHunt8218
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Stayed on board. Have done Tortola before.... Read More
Norwegian Breakaway
KAGeorge
Sail Date: Oct 2019
A little shopping at Tortola Pier park.... Read More
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