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Cruises to Barbados

Barbados (Photo:Filip Fuxa/Shutterstock)
Barbados (Photo:Filip Fuxa/Shutterstock)

About Barbados

Barbados -- or B'dos, as the locals abbreviate the name -- was a British territory until 1966 and remains greatly influenced by the United Kingdom. Brits on holiday make up the largest number of visitors to the island. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road, and afternoon tea is a respected ritual. Anglican churches are the anchor of all 11 parishes, although, in recent years, more evangelical churches have become the choice of many Bajuns.

But those of all nationalities will feel at ease there. The Bajuns are open, friendly people, proud to share their home with visitors. There's little crime and a general sense of safety and well-being.

The easternmost of the Caribbean islands, Barbados is technically in the Atlantic Ocean. An excursion to Bathsheba on the rugged eastern shore leaves no doubt about the vast forces of the Atlantic, unchecked for nearly 3,000 miles between there and the coast of Cape Verde, Africa. Some say the freshest air on the planet blows there. The surf looks gentle, but don't be fooled -- the undertow is something to be wary of, even for the best swimmers.

Despite heavy development along the western and southern coasts, the rest of the island is full of sweeping natural vistas, from rippling fields of sugar cane in the interior to the Atlantic surf pounding against the cliffs at the island's northernmost tip. The island rewards independent exploration; rent a car or hire a driver to see its unspoiled side.

Though today the sugarcane fields speak more to the island's past than its present (tourism, not agriculture, now drives the Barbadian economy), visitors can still experience the island's heritage at a number of plantation houses and rum distilleries. If you'd rather skip the history lesson, there are plenty of places to just get away from it all, from Bridgetown's duty-free department stores to the soft, white beaches of the south coast.

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DAY 1: Tampa

13 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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

12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, St. Thomas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Croix, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Baltimore

12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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

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

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

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
Barbados, Grenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
St. Croix, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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

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

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

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Barbados ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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 Barbados

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

12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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

Leaving:
Baltimore
Visiting:
St. Thomas, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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14 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Aruba, Curacao ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Croix, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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56 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
St. Maarten
Visiting:
Antigua, Sopers Hole ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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66 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Barbados

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
St. Thomas, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Barbados

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

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
St. Thomas, St. Maarten ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Why go to Barbados?

Pros:

Between its friendly locals and general affordability, it's easy to explore Barbados independently

Cons:

Beware of the toxic Manchineel trees found on most Barbados beaches

Bottom Line:

This cruise port showcases its culture well, amid all the trappings of a modern Caribbean destination

Barbados Cruise Port Facilities?

The cruise terminal has the usual duty-free shopping options, complete with jewelry, clothing, souvenirs and crafts. There's also a tourist information desk and a telecommunications center with phone, Internet and postal services.

About two blocks down the road are the bright pink shops of Pelican Village (Princess Alice Highway), housing artisan boutiques, a working cigar factory and a few restaurants. It's closed on Sundays.

The Bridgetown Public Fish Market is just across the street. No, you'll not be buying fish to bring back to the ship, but it's an energetic place to watch while local chefs and heads of household haggle and bargain over the freshest catch.

The route from the cruise terminal into downtown traverses through a lovely park with a stone seawall, a great place to just relax and get some fresh air off the boat without getting into the commotion of downtown.

Good to Know?

Manchineel trees, found on many Barbados beaches, are beautiful and leafy green, appearing to be a great place to escape from the sun or the occasional rain shower. Don't do it. The leaves and fruit are both toxic and can create a serious rash on your skin. Most of the trees in public areas are marked with warning signs or red X's painted on the trunks.

Also, note that, in Barbados, honking car horns do not convey a negative message as they do in many parts of the world. The Bajuns tap their horns dozens of times a day in greeting to other drivers, whether or not they are acquainted. It's just the friendly way of life there.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The capital city of Bridgetown is a one-mile stroll from the cruise port, and its downtown area is pedestrian-friendly.

By Taxi: Cabs line up outside the port terminal. You can arrange informal driving tours of the island with a cab driver, giving you a local's insight without having to do your own driving. Negotiate the rate before you start, and be sure you know which currency is being quoted.

By Rental Car: Stoutes Car Rental (246-416-4456) offers free drop-off and pick-up from the cruise terminal. Remember that Bajans, like the Brits, drive on the left. If you choose to rent a vehicle, consider the fun Kia Mini Moke found all over the island. Note that these have no doors and a small trunk, but they're a lot of fun for a day.

By Bus: The bus terminal is about two blocks from the cruise terminal, just behind the Pelican Village. From there you can hop a bus to Holetown, Bathsheba, St. Lawrence Gap and elsewhere on the island all for the same price. Note that you must have exact change or purchase tokens in advance at the terminal. Barbados has two bus systems -- the blue government-owned and -operated buses and the bright yellow "reggae" buses, which are known for playing loud music and not always paying attention to maximum capacity signs. The good news is that both systems are known to run on time.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the Barbadian dollar. Check the most current exchange rates at www.xe.com or www.oanda.com. American bills (but not coins) are commonly accepted, though you may get change in local currency. ATM's are plentiful in Bridgetown, the capital city, and in other smaller towns throughout the island.

Language?

English is the official language of Barbados, and everyone speaks it. The locals have their own dialect, but you'll have no trouble understanding conversations.

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, about a mile west of downtown Bridgetown.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations
  • 2017 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations

Barbados Cruise Reviews

OG57
Sail Date: Feb 2020
We were in Bridgetown on a Saturday and unfortunately several attractions were closed. In particular we wanted to visit the Garrison and Kingston cricket oval. Since these tours were not available on a Saturday we... Read More
Norwegian Epic
seasandsuntravel
Sail Date: Jan 2020
It rained cats and dogs the day we were in port and we chose not to do an excursion. We did go to the terminal which had tons of shopping. The port is around a mile from town . We have been in Barbados before and... Read More
Freedom of the Seas
CeeLover
Sail Date: Jul 2019
After our previous port (St. Lucia), Barbados was disappointing. We had booked a private tour on our own through Glory Tours. They took us across a large part of the island to Cherry Tree HIll, Morgan Lewis... Read More
Norwegian Dawn
phunchurchgirl
Sail Date: Mar 2019
The sands of Barbados are almost as fine as flour.... Read More
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