Beyond the Beach: Your "Pass" to Kick Back on Caribbean Cruises

April 5, 2010
Resort Pool (5:15 p.m. EDT) -- Between the pina coladas, duty-free shopping and snorkeling excursions you'll find in port on stereotypical Caribbean sailings, your credit card can easily get more of a workout than you anticipated. But, besides baking to a crisp on a free beach all day, what else is available to cruise passengers who want something that's both affordable and entertaining? Resort passes.

Such passes offer all-day access to resort amenities like pools, lounge chairs, water sports equipment and activities, food and beverages. Some even may include meals at upscale restaurants and daytime use of resort rooms, depending on the number of open accommodations.

What's great about such passes is that they are affordable on just about any budget, are often less expensive than shore excursions and provide just enough extras to keep cruise-visitor beach bums occupied and comfortable.

Many Cruise Critic members find such passes to be great alternatives to traditional shore excursions.

"It's fun!" member LovetheSea posts on the message boards. "You just take a cab to the resort, buy the pass and spend the day there. Leave whenever you want to. It is usually a lot cheaper than a 'Beach Break' excursion."

But, while some resorts (like Timothy Beach Resort in St. Kitts, which offers use of its facilities for free) are great for a bargain, some of the others we found (like Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, which charges half of its room rates for day passes) aren't very economical, unless you're traveling with a large group.

We've compiled a list of a few popular resorts that offer day passes in some of the Caribbean's most well-known ports. From Antigua to St. Thomas, you can find out prices, pass inclusions and transportation information in our feature, At Your Service: Day Passes at Caribbean Resorts.

Know of a resort you think we should include? E-mail us!

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor