Why go to Dominica?
With its many national parks and excellent diving, Dominica is ideal for experiencing the unspoiled tropics
Walkways in the capital city are narrow, so when a ship is in town they can be quite crowded
Though equipped with modern facilities, Dominica is resplendent with nearly untouched nature
Dominica Cruise Port Facilities?
Colorful downtown Roseau spreads out from the dock. The frenetic little city is small geographically but possesses a high concentration of inhabitants. Cocorico Cafe (Bay Front), right across from the pier, is the closest place for snacks, local arts and crafts, and Wi-Fi. A couple of blocks away, the Old Market ranks as one of the best in the Caribbean. The fruit and vegetable stalls provide a nice photo opp, and the local arts and crafts stalls are good places to pick up souvenirs, including Carib baskets.
If you dock in Portsmouth -- the site of a famous battle between the French and English while vying for occupation of the island -- you'll find that the port, located about a half-mile outside of Portsmouth, features a small visitor welcome center and is near some of the only white-sand beaches on the island, as well as Cabrits National Park.
Good to Know?
Especially when exploring Roseau, watch out for crowded, narrow sidewalks. You might find yourself having to walk in the street at times. Also, remember when crossing the street that cars drive on the left.
On Foot: Most of Roseau's attractions are within a 10-minute walk of the pier.
By Taxi: Taxis line up at both cruise piers -- certified taxis have either an H, HA or HB on their license plates. The approximate rate is $30 per hour. While there are standard prices set for places like Trafalgar Falls ($25), Emerald Pool ($35) and Champagne Beach ($40), drivers try to increase their earnings by selling tours. Four-hour tours typically will be between $80 and $120 for up to four people; walk a block away from the pier for the cheaper prices.
By Rental Car: Operators include Island Car Rental (767-255-6844), which has SUV's available from about $48 per day; Courtesy Car Rental (767-235-7763), which offers free pickup and drop-off and rents Suzuki 4x4's from $54; and (767-275-5337) Road Runner Car Rental, which rents Toyota Rav4's for $59. Driving is on the left, and with the one-lane roads and mountains, distances take longer to travel than you might expect. Also, you are required to pay $12 for a special Dominica driver's license.
By Trolley: The open-air Hibiscus Trolley Train leaves from near the pier and does a tour of Roseau, driving past the cathedral and other examples of colonial Caribbean architecture. If it's not filled with passengers on a ship tour, the individual fare is $29.75 per person for a 90-minute tour.
By Bus: Mini-buses run by private operators serve as the island's public transportation, and they're fairly reliable. Bus stops are designated throughout the island. Fares range from $1 to $5, depending on the route.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, which is relatively stable and pegged to the U.S. dollar. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There are ATM's in Roseau and Portsmouth connected to Cirrus, Star and Plus networks, which dispense E.C. (XCD) dollars. Banks will also change money. U.S. dollars are widely accepted by most tour operators, restaurants and vendors; however, change may be given in local currency.
Where You're Docked?
Most ships dock at Roseau Cruise Ship terminal. It's located in town, just steps away from shops, restaurants and transportation. The Port of Woodbridge Bay, less frequently used, is about a mile north of the city.
Some smaller ships may dock at the Portsmouth Cruise Ship facility on the northwestern tip of the island, about 30 miles northwest of Roseau. Travel time is roughly one hour.