Cruises To British Virgin Islands: Explained 101

To anyone in search of aquamarine lakes, white-sand beaches, and lush flora and fauna, British Virgin Islands cruises are a top choice! A place where paradise awaits and not at some secluded resort or a private beach, but on more than 60 remote tropical islands and cays that form the British Virgin Island. The British Virgins Islands have a low-key vibe anywhere you go, with a mixture of relaxation and ease and an array of luxurious resorts.

Table of Contents

Overview

British Virgin Islands - Photo by Holland America Cruise Line
British Virgin Islands | Photo credit: Holland America Cruise Line

The British Virgin Islands are in the eastern Caribbean Sea and are British oversea territory. This is part of an island chain known collectively as the Virgin Islands, which form the Greater Antilles’ northeastern extremity. In the west lies Puerto Rico. The British territory consists of four larger islands (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke) and 32 smaller islands and islets, of which more than 20 are uninhabited.
Each of the Islands is unique, pleasant, and can suit any of your vacation wishes. Tortola can be vibrant with fun-loving crowds, while laid-back Jost Van Dyke has less than 300 friendly inhabitants. Anegada is the only coral island, and Virgin Gorda homes yacht clubs and exclusive resorts.

Quick Facts
Climate

The B.V.I. has a subtropical climate, moderated by trade winds. Temperatures in summer average from 79-88°F and between 72-82°F in winter. The average annual rainfall in 45’’

Timezone

Atlantic Standard Time UTC -4

Language

The official language is English, although Caribbean Patois is common

Currency

The official currency of the British Virgin Islands is the United States dollar. ATMs are commonplace and easily found in the port area

Getting Around

You can move by taxi. Taxis can be chartered based on the taxi tariff available at the ports of entry and provided by each driver. You can also rent a car, but you’ll need B.V.I. license (cost about $10)

Fun Fact

British Virgin Islands were a hangout for pirates. Nearly every Caribbean pirate spent time in the archipelago which is now a British Overseas Territory

British Virgin Islands Cruise Port Information

Tortola British Virgin Islands Cruise Port

Cruise Port of Tortola, BVI
Cruise Port of Tortola, BVI

When you disembark at Road City, you will find yourself at Tortola Pier Park, a fairly recent and new outdoor cruise complex with an information kiosk staffed with people handing out maps, ferry timetables, and brochures. You can find stores, café kiosks and a few restaurants. 

Nearly every location offers free Wi-Fi, so you’ll see passengers and staff hanging out everywhere to log in on the Internet. Taxis are readily accessible, and you can hop on and go wherever you like. Tortola isn’t regarded as a shopping mecca, but if you want to, you can definitely shop until you drop off at the Tortola Pier Park. You will find the usual cruise suspects, such as Diamonds International, Del Sol, and Effy Jewelry, but you will also stumble upon a number of local shops too.

 
Tortola and most British Virgin Islands are mountainous, and although they feature verdant-green hills, the climate and vegetation are much drier than other Caribbean islands. The dry climate has a beneficial side effect; due to the lack of precipitation, water quality is significantly higher, and any other location in the Caribbean. For that reason, cruises to Tortola are a popular choice for divers and snorkelers. One of the many great attributes of Tortola is its friendly resident. The island is also very safe and crime-free.

British Virgin Islands Cruises: Best Cruise Lines

Celebrity Cruise Line
Carnival Horizon at Sea - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Celebrity Departure ports to British Virgin Islands

  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida

British Virgin Islands Cruise Ports

  • Tortola

Recommended Sailings

  • 8 Night Eastern Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Oasis of the Seas in Ft. Lauderdale - Photo by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean Departure Ports to British Virgin Islands

  • Miami, Florida
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Baltimore, Maryland

British Virgin Islands Cruise Ports

  • Tortola

Recommended Sailings

  • 8 Night Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Getaway, Miami - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Departure Ports to British Virgin Islands

  • Miami, Florida
  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • New York, New York
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

British Virgin Islands Cruise Ports

  • Tortola

Recommended Sailings

  • 7 & 10 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Princess Cruise Line
Princess Cruises - Photo by Princess Cruise Line

Princess Departure Ports to British Virgin Islands

  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

British Virgin Islands Cruise Ports

  • Tortola

Recommended Sailings

  • 8 Night Eastern Caribbean Explorer
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruises

Disney Departure Ports to British Virgin Islands

  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • New York, New York

British Virgin Islands Cruise Ports

  • Tortola

Recommended Sailings

  • 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Cunard Cruise Line
Cunard Cruises

Cunard Departure ports to British Virgin Islands

  • New York, New York

British Virgin Islands Cruise Ports

  • Tortola

Recommended Sailings

  • 12 Night Caribbean Celebration

Things To Do: Sights and Attractions

The Virgin Islands are very beautiful, and people love to travel here for vacations. Here is a list of things that you can do here whenever you visit virgin islands. Let’s have a look!

Beaches

Tortola Beach Day - Photo by Shore Excursions
Tortola Beach Day | Photo credit: Shore Excursions
  • Trunk Bay Beach

The Trunk Bay’s long arched curve of creamy sand and turquoise water, nestled in the Virgin Islands National Park, is St. John’s most picturesque beach. This is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, bordered by sea grapes and cocoa palms. The Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkeling Trail is located off the coast of the bay. Up to 30 different species of fish can be found in crystal clear waters. Subsequent signs mark the coral reef’s key features.

Food & Drinks

Just as food writers in the Virgin Islands wrote eulogies for famous cuisine, the last-minute revival took place. Some of the old island dishes have returned, and small taverns and shanties sell local specialties. Hamburger prison can now be avoided and some authentic Caribbean flavors. 

Try fresh fish, especially mahimahi, wahoo, jaw back, bandage, and red snapper in your dinner in the Virgins. The fish are one of the tastiest island specialties along with a hot lime sauce. Watch out for the sweet Caribbean lobster: you’ll probably be overpriced and overcooked, and many diners, especially Maine, feel it doesn’t really matter.


The most important hotels in the resort often feature complex buffets with more standard Continental fare. They’re nearly always priced, and you will most probably taste the sounds of a West Indian mushroom band while you eat (Hungarian music is a tangy, usually improvised combination of African and Spanish sounds). You don’t have to be a guest in the hotel, but sometimes you have to book.

Shopping

British Virgin Island, Tortola
British Virgin Island, Tortola
  • Cruz Bay

It is wonderful how much thrill and excitement can fit within a few blocks. There are (or not so busy) restaurants, bars, shops and people of all sorts of life. You can only notice St. John’s international flavor when you walk from shop to charming shop. This is a consequence of our history of settlement and our current status as the world’s top destination. The Caribbean’s most beautiful arts and crafts can be found intertwining with spices from the plains, the Asiatic market, and the entire United States.

  • Coral Bay

Coral Bay is a Shangri-La for people who love quirk and charm. You’ll find one of a kind artifacts that more than 50 local artists have created at Kareso Studio, Full Moon Gallery and Island Muse. Discover paintings, ceramics, prints, photographs, arts and crafts, jewelry, garments, candles, edibles, etc. Multi-generation Mumbo Jumbo is a perfect shopping destination for local people in affordable fashions; it’s also a favorite tourist, with the best choice of tee-shirts and souvenirs on the Island.

  • Havensight

A shopping and cruise boat port in Havensight, comprising nearly 100 jewelry, clothes, perfumes, liquor, electronic products, souvenirs, and music shops and restaurants, are united at the Buccaneer Mall, the Port of Sale and the Havensight Mall. You can find all you need, including banks, a post office, a bookstore, and a gourmet food shop if you’re staying near or come by cruise ship. Delly Deck or Senor Frog will fuel the hungry shoppers.

Shore Excursions

Dolphin Royal Swim - Photo by Shore Excursions
Dolphin Royal Swim in Tortola | Photo credit: Shore Excursions
  • St. John Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

The enjoyable day ends with a short picturesque tour to a picturesque marina to embark on the catamaran. Your friendly crew will welcome you and introduce you to the ship on the marina dock. Glide on the East end of the Island to the uncluttered portion of the United States before sailing. Iceland of the Virgin. The quick sail over Pillsbury Sound takes you towards a special mooring destination where you can swim, snorkel or chill on a stunning St. John beach. Go on-board with a variety of freshly baked bread, cheese, fruits, and drinks. After swimming and snorkeling, champagne and other drinks are complimentary. Once you have been relaxed on the beach, enjoy the mesmerizing beauty here!                                                              

  • Castaway shipwreck sail & snorkel

Discover the excitement of the 65 ‘Castaway Girl catamaran sailing on the Buck Island’s Shipwreck Cove. The Castaway Girls are quick and very stable, have spacious sunbathing areas, and a large cockpit for all of you who prefer shade while you sail through the warm, crystalline Caribbean Sea waters. Spend 1 1/2 hours snorkeling at Shipwreck Cove, discovering lovely coral reefs full of tropical fish, turtles, or other marine life.

Need To Know

Post COVID-19 Travel Guidelines

Before traveling, you should check the latest information and health advisories on the US State Department website for the British Virgin Islands.

Also, information about measures, symptoms, and self-quarantine is available on the BVI Ministry of Health and Social Development website.

All travelers should check the airline/ tour operator about physical distancing and other measures to minimize the risk of infection during travel. 

If when you are abroad, you show symptoms of COVID-19, you should:

-Follow local self-isolation and monitoring recommendations. 

-Contact the travel insurance company

-Contact the appropriate authorities and seek medical assistance to get evaluated and further instructed.

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit the British Virgin Islands is September through November, ahead of the crushing winter holiday crowds. While the fall months have the highest amount of precipitation, some of the lowest hotel prices you’ll find all year round are welcome. Keep in mind: Hurricane season runs from June to November, so if you are planning a summer or fall visit, keep an eye on the weather.

Safety

Even though most of the British Virgin Islands are trouble-free, incidents do happen, so we advise you to take sensible precautions. Do not walk alone in secluded areas, including beaches, especially after dark, do not hold huge amounts of cash or jewelry with you; don’t leave something valuable on the beach unattended and take extra care of your passport cannot be replaced in B.V.I.

A few plants (oleander and elephant ears, for example) are poisonous if consumed. Smoking is prohibited in all public indoor and outdoor spaces and within 50 feet of these spaces. This also applies to all beaches.

What To Pack

Packing for a cruising trip can be both frustrating and difficult. Below are only a few packing ideas you should learn before you embark, which will help you plan for your next island adventure.

  • Bathing suits
  • Sun protection for your legs while snorkeling
  • Snorkel/Scuba Equipment
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat with visor or wide rim
  • Mask fins
  • Small Dry Bag
  • Sea Sickness medication
Conclusion

The beauty of the British Virgin Island, with its nature little secret’s waiting to be discovered is the perfect getaway. Wherever you land, you’ll be welcomed by amazing people, beautiful beaches and outdoor adventures that go beyond all expectations. So wait no more, and book today!

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