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Cruises to Trinidad

Port of Spain (Trinidad) (Photo:lidian Neeleman/Shutterstock)
Port of Spain (Trinidad) (Photo:lidian Neeleman/Shutterstock)

About Trinidad

Trinidad is not your typical Caribbean port. Cruise ships dock right next to Port of Spain's downtown, which has an urban feel, with skyscrapers, a financial center, arcade malls and debilitating rush-hour traffic. The city is a regional, financial and business center and has one of the fastest-growing economies in the Caribbean. Oil and natural gas production, not tourism, is the island's biggest industry. The nearest swimming beach is an hour away.

Port of Spain, with 50,000 residents, is the largest city in the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, made up of the two sister islands. Trinidad was "discovered" by Columbus in 1498 and controlled by the Spanish (hence, the name) until the British navy showed up in 1797 and took control. Although the island nation gained independence in 1962, remnants of British rule include the use of English as the national language and left-hand driving.

Other than that, Trinidad's culture is mostly influenced by the Indians, Africans and Chinese brought over in the 19th century to be indentured workers in the sugar industry. The island is now 40 percent people of Indian descent, 38 percent of African descent and the rest a mix of Europeans (with a small percentage of Chinese). The multicultural society is quite harmonious, and visitors can benefit from the wide variety of ethnic cuisines -- including Indian, Creole and Chinese -- found in Port of Spain's restaurants.

Port of Spain's biggest draw is the Queen's Park Savannah, once a sugar plantation and now a public green space. Surrounding the park are early 20th-century mansions, a botanical garden and a zoo. But, you'd be remiss if you didn't venture farther afield to visit the island's more natural areas. Trinidad is a birding haven, with more than 400 species of birds that can be seen at the Asa Wright Nature Centre and Caroni Swamp. Hikes through the mountains and rainforests lead to natural pools and waterfalls, as well as wildlife sightings. And, although Tobago (out of reach for short port calls) is better known for its beaches and water sports, Trinidad's Maracas Bay could be the ideal Caribbean beach, with its white sands, turquoise waters and notable lack of large hotel and resort complexes cluttering up the shoreline.

Only longer cruises to the Southern Caribbean and South America will call in Trinidad; its southerly location off the coast of Venezuela prevents it from being a mainstay of seven-night Southern Caribbean cruises. Lines that visit Port of Spain include Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Fred. Olsen and Compagnie du Ponant.

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DAY 1: Miami

24 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Miami
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Tortola, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Miami

25 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Miami
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St. Kitts, Guadeloupe ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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DAY 1: Barbados

11 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Barbados
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Port of Spain, Grenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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32 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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Tortola, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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St. Thomas, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Genoa
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Rome, Corsica ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Guadeloupe
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St. Lucia, Barbados ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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24 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Miami
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St. Barts, Martinique ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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St. Thomas, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Guadeloupe
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St. Lucia, Barbados ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Thomas, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Barbados
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St. Barts, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Guadeloupe
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Tortola, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Martinique
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Guadeloupe, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

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Martinique
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Guadeloupe, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

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Barbados
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St. Barts, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Guadeloupe
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Tortola, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Barbados
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Port of Spain, St. George ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Barbados
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Tobago, Port of Spain ...
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Cruise Line:
SeaDream Yacht Club
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

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Martinique
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Guadeloupe, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

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Martinique
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Guadeloupe, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

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Martinique
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Guadeloupe, Tortola ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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St. Thomas, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Guadeloupe
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Tortola, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Trinidad

Leaving:
Martinique
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Guadeloupe, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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Why go to Trinidad?

Pros:

A birder's paradise, Trinidad also offers a lovely beach, hiking and cultural attractions

Cons:

The beach is an hour from port (or on sister island Tobago), and rush hour is crazy

Bottom Line:

Enough to do for a day, especially for nature enthusiasts, on the rare cruise line port call

Trinidad Cruise Port Facilities?

Inside the port facility are several souvenir and clothing shops and stalls, as well as duty-free shops. It's a good place to pick up souvenirs, as the stores downtown mostly cater to locals. There's also a tourist office, but you'll find the red-shirted tourist board representatives throughout the port and downtown, handing out maps and directing cruise travelers to the city's main attractions. A taxi dispatcher can help you get a cab and tell you the fixed rates for popular destinations.

Good to Know?

On Sundays and public holidays, downtown Port of Spain is deserted, and it's not recommended for tourists to walk around by themselves, as they run the risk of getting mugged. Also, watch out for unauthorized taxis. The rates are cheaper, but they are not regulated by the government.

Rush hour is fierce in Trinidad between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m. and 2:30 and 6 p.m. With 50,000 people living in Port of Spain and 300,000 commuting into the city for work, the streets are jammed with cars, and the going is slow. If you're on an independent excursion, leave plenty of time to get back to the port. Driving is British-style, on the left.

Getting Around?

On Foot: It's a very easy walk -- just several blocks -- to Trinidad's downtown, centered on Independence and Frederick Streets. If you head up Independence Ave. from the waterfront, turn left on Frederick Street and take it until it ends, you'll reach the Queen's Park Savannah, Magnificent Seven, Botanical Gardens and Zoo -- but this is a much longer walk of about 20 to 30 minutes.

By Taxi: Taxis in Trinidad are not metered, so be sure to agree on a price before you get in. There are fixed rates from the port to the major tourist attractions; for example, a cab for up to four people to Maracas Bay costs $90 for dropoff, pickup and a few hours at the beach, while a ride to the Savannah will cost $15. Government-regulated cabs have license plates that start with the letter H and can be hailed at the port (taxi dispatchers can assist you) or at the taxi stands you'll see scattered around downtown and by the Queen's Park Savannah.

By Car: There are no national car rental agencies at the port, but a few local agencies have offices nearby. If you do choose to rent a car in Port of Spain, remember that driving is U.K.-style on the left, and traffic can be very heavy. If you have a short day in port, you're probably better off taking a taxi or tour to destinations outside the city.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Local currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar; check www.xe.com for current conversion rates. The Trinidad and Tobago dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of TT$6.30 to $1. U.S. dollars are accepted in many places, so be sure to ask which type of dollar is being quoted if you're unsure. You can find many banks and ATM's along Independence Ave., a short walk from the port. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and shops and even at some Bake & Shark stands on the beach.

Language?

English is the official language, but most people speak a Trinidadian Creole English dialect.

Where You're Docked?

The King's Wharf cruise terminal at Port of Spain is located in the city center on Wrightson Road, within easy walking distance of restaurants, shops and banks.


Trinidad Cruise Reviews

Caribbean Princess
Lvcrsn724
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Last year, I went to Maracas Beach, which was very nice but a long drive. None of the other tours interested me and I decided to stay on board after Cherry warned us to only walk around Port Spain in groups because... Read More
Royal Princess
letsparty2
Sail Date: Feb 2019
No excursion taken.... Read More
Royal Princess
OldLuckyPierre
Sail Date: Feb 2019
We really enjoyed some scenic vistas, a walk through the gardens, and a visit to Maracas beach.... Read More
MSC Preziosa
Wolffpak21
Sail Date: Jan 2019
Hired a private cabbie to take us on a 90 minute ride around the island.... Read More
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