Cruises To Jamaica: Plan Your Dream Vacation

With its relaxed pace, lush green mountains, white sand beaches, the azure sea, surging in-land rivers, and a great music scene, it is easy to see why cruises to Jamaica are so popular. This stunning paradise island has plenty to offer visitors and travelers seeking a peaceful holiday in the heart of the Caribbean.

Being exceptionally loving and warm, Jamaica’s people open their arms to visitors and welcome them into their homes. Whether you are a get-back-to-nature person or prefer sitting back and dipping your toes in the ocean’s crystalline waters, Jamaica has all this and more.

Yeah, welcome to Jamaica folks – a tiny island with a big heart! 

Table of Contents

Overview: Cruise to Jamaica

Jamaica Overview

Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean, spanning a total of 4,240 square miles in area and lying approximately 90 miles south of Cuba and 119 miles west of Hispaniola. 

With more than 4.5 million yearly visitors, Jamaica boasts a treasure of natural jewels and rich African culture known for its historic plantations. 

You can sample tropical fruits, tour the grand great houses and shop for hand-woven straw hats delicate wood carvings. This colorful nation is a music powerhouse famous worldwide for its musical export reggae. 

Equally enchanting are Jamaica’s gushing rivers, verdant rainforests, steep cliffs, and hidden waterfalls. The Jamaican cuisine scores 5 stars for its rich blend of the Old and New Worlds on the culinary front.

Quick Facts
Climate

Jamaica has a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 77°F in winter, and 82°F in summer. Average annual rainfall is 50.7’’

Timezone

The time zone in Jamaica is EST ( Eastern Standard Time) GMT-5

Language

Jamaican English is the official language in Jamaica. It is used in government, media and education. However most of the widely spoken language in the country is Jamaican Patois, or known as Patwa and Creole

Currency

The currency used in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar, equal to 0.0072 United States Dollar (current rate). The US Dollar is also used by all resorts and primary tourist areas

Getting Around

The best way to roam Jamaica is by taxi. Renting a car is also an option, but driving on the left side of the road can be frustrating. You would want to avoid public busses in Jamaica as they can be unreliable when it comes to arrival times and are also subject to poor road conditions.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Jamaica has a bobsled team? Jamaica was the first tropical country to take part in the Winter Olympics

Jamaica Cruise Port Information

The island of Jamaica is connected at sea to the rest of the world via 4 ports in the cities of Falmouth, Kingston, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios. All these Jamaican ports of call are fully-equipped and capable of handling large cruise ships, passenger ships, mega yachts, and smaller boutique boats. Dubbed as the fairest island in the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus, Jamaica is a country teeming with pearly shores, cascading waterfalls, and lush rainforests. This is what makes Jamaica such an ideal cruise destination.

Montego Bay

Panoramic View of Montego Bay, Jamaica
Panoramic View of Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, better known as ‘MoBay,’ is a real tropical adventure dream surging with Jamaica’s incredible energy that you are bound to feel the moment you disembark. 

Having all the ingredients of an exciting tropical vacation, Montego Bay features sun-soaked beaches, lush countryside, tropical gardens, busy markets, and plunging waterfalls. MoBay is where all the action is, and activities in the town tick all the right boxes with diving, snorkeling, golfing, fishing, ziplining through the forestry and river rides on bamboo rafts. 

Montego Bay cruise port is a thriving port of call offering great opportunities for duty-free shopping, personalized tours, a vibrant nightlife, and a busy lineup of festivals, concerts, and sporting events.

Falmouth

Cruise Port in Falmouth, Jamaica
Cruise Port in Falmouth, Jamaica

Nestled between Montego Bay and Ocho-Rios, the town of Falmouth is an architectural goldmine reminiscent of the days of pirates, buccaneers, and sugar trade when it boomed in the mid-17th century. 

Falmouth cruise port has been a significant port in Jamaica since 1769, and it has emerged as a standout holiday destination in the Caribbean. The town exudes a rich sense of island life full of wooden houses, sugar plantations, walking tours, and bamboo rafts that offer romantic and relaxing rides on the Martha Brae River. 

This slice of paradise is a multifaceted town offering adventure travel in Chukka Adventure Park and Falls at Good Hope, drives on rugged terrains, ziplining through lush jungles, and excellent views of the Cockpit Country Mountain Range. Falmouth’s strategic location and capacity to accommodate the world’s largest cruise vessels make it a regular year-round port of call on the Caribbean itineraries.

Kingston

Kingston, Jamaica
Aerial View of Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston is the capital city of Jamaica and an important port lying on the southeastern coast of this beautiful island in the Caribbean. With a unique landscape, long white sand beaches, and a natural harbor, Kingston takes the top spot in anyone’s bucket list. 

There are countless places to explore and some amazing things to do on a Kingston Jamaica cruise, including mountain hiking, listening to live reggae, enjoying ferry cruise rides to observe marine life and visiting parks, art galleries, coffee shops, and museums. 

Traveling in and around Kingston is easier than you can imagine. With 2 airports, the city has become a hub for all major international airline carriers. The diversity of this lively cosmopolitan city is beautifully reflected in its disparate neighborhoods, breathtaking landscapes, world-class resorts, and warm, welcoming people.

Ocho Rios

Cruise Port in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Cruise Port in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Set on the northern coast of Jamaica, Ocho Rios is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Starting its life as a sleepy village in the parish of Saint Ann, Ocho Rios has witnessed enourmous growth in the last few years to become a major holiday destination featuring duty-free shopping, adventure tours, craft markets and world-renowned tourist attractions. 

Ocho Rios cruise port modern ship terminal serves as a port of call for massive cruise ships carrying tourists from every part of the world. There is so much to see, experience and do in Ocho Rios, and everything is right at your doorstep! 

From the Blue hole found deep in the mountains outside the town, to the spectacular cascade falls of Dunn’s River Falls, to the natural Fern Gully created by an earthquake when it destroyed a river bed, Ocho Rios is one scenic stretch of paradise just waiting to reveal its extraordinary secrets.

Cruises to Jamaica: Best Cruise Lines

While the entire Caribbean region invokes images of endless beaches, swaying trees, and abundant wildlife, Jamaica is a destination apart. A cruise trip to Jamaica opens a world of possibilities at a leisurely pace and plenty of natural beauty. Here are some of the best Jamaica cruise lines:

Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Horizon View - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Departure ports to Jamaica

  • Miami, Florida
  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Galveston, Texas

Jamaican Cruise Ports

  • Ocho Rios
  • Montego Bay
  • Falmouth

Recommended Jamaica Cruise Sailings

  • 6-8 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Oasis of the Seas in Ft. Lauderdale - Photo by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean Departure Ports to Jamaica

  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Galveston, Texas

Jamaican Cruise Ports

  • Falmouth
  • Montego Bay
  • Ocho Rios

Recommended Jamaica Cruise Sailings

  • 5-8 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Princess Cruise Line
Princess Cruises - Photo by Princess Cruise Line

Princess Departure Ports to Jamaica

  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Jamaican Cruise Ports

  • Ocho Rios
  • Falmouth

Recommended Jamaica Cruise Sailings

  • 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Celebrity Cruise Line
Celebrity Edge - Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Departure ports to Jamaica

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

Jamaican Cruise Ports

  • Falmouth
  • Ocho Rios

Recommended Jamaica Cruise Sailings

  • 7-8 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Holland America Cruise Line
Rotterdam Cruise Ship - Photo by Holland America Cruise Line

Holland America Departure Ports to Jamaica

  • Ft. Lauderdale

Jamaican Cruise Ports

  • Ocho Rios
  • Montego Bay
  • Falmouth

Recommended Jamaica Cruise Sailings

  • 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
  • 14Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruises

Disney Departure Ports to Jamaica

  • Miami, Florida
  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Galveston, Texas

Jamaican Cruise Ports

  • Falmouth

Recommended Jamaica Cruise Sailings

  • 7 Night Very Merrytime Western Caribbean

Things To Do: Sights and Attractions

Beaches

Dunn's River Falls Beach, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Dunn's River Falls Beach, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

With more than 600 miles of coastline, Jamaican beaches range from long sandy stretches to secluded and tucked-away coves surrounded by cliffs, and often, cliff divers. Most popular beaches in Jamaica include:

  • Negril Beach: Also known as “seven-mile beach.” Your trip may be incomplete without an oceanfront lunch of jerk chicken from a local vendor.
  • Frenchmen’s Cove: The quiet stream that converges into the turquoise ocean has featured in movies like “Club Paradise.”
  • Ocho Rios Ray Beach: Being a cruise port, you can often find tourists flocking to this beach to dip their feet into the calm Jamaican waters. 
  • Dun’s River Falls Beach: As the name suggests, the beach features a 180-meter-high cascade of waterfalls. 

Food & Drinks

Caribbean Food in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Caribbean Food in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Jamaica may be an island, but it is a country for which the phrase “melting pot” could have been invented. Being a nation of colonizers and immigrants, each culture brings its food and customs to Jamaica. A few local favorite dishes are:

  • Ackee and Codfish: Jamaica’s national dish. The fleshy, yellow part of the Ackee fruit seed pod is cooked with salted codfish.
  • Jerk Chicken: Ubiquitous throughout Jamaica from roadside shacks to fancy restaurant twists, jerk chicken, is – without a doubt – a Jamaican institution on its own. 
  • Festival: A fried dumpling made with cornmeal, flour, salt – and the reason for its unique taste – sugar!
  • Bammy: A flat round bread made of grated cassava (yucca) can either be fried, steamed, or baked.

Shopping

Being tight on time and not having the luxury to look through all shopping places? We present here our best shopping list for Jamaica. The finest businesses include:

  • Tuff Gong: Founded by Bob Marley in 1965, Tuff Gong is one of the largest Caribbean studios for shopping. 
  • Half Moon Shopping Village: The Village has more than 25 shops offering everything from local crafts and jewelry to designer clothes.
  • Things Jamaican: As the name suggests, this chain of stores represents all things inspired by the unique Jamaican culture and traditions.
  • Taj Mahal’s: This exotic duty-free chain of stores offers watches, fragrances, and leather goods.

What are the best excursions in Jamaica?

Snorkeling in Jamaica
Snorkeling in Jamaica

If you are arriving at any one of Jamaica’s 4 main ports, you’re in for a lifetime experience because almost every must-do excursion can be part of your cruise stop. 

Located on the island’s northern flank, the famous Jamaican beach destinations of Ocho Rios, Falmouth, and Montego Bay offer boundless access to stunning Caribbean shorelines. 

Popular shore excursions in Jamaica feature exciting island tours, rainforest excursions, and a plethora of thrilling adventure activities, including horse riding, river- rafting, scenic drives along the shores, and boat rides and tubing in one of the nation’s 100 rivers.

Need To Know

Travel Guidelines

All air and seaports have opened to foreign travelers as of 15 June 2020 since Jamaica is one of the countries that were least affected by COVID-19. Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, in a recent interview, said: 

  • Testing will be done on cruises and airports to ensure there is no infection.
  • A similar arrangement is seen again at the carport with additional checks to provide adequate health conditions.
  • A whole series of protocols follow straight to the hotels, and then in the hotels, another set of protocols are observed for proper social distancing.
  • Hugging, kissing, and close greetings will have to be redefined with etiquettes that focus on everyone’s health and security.
  • Arrival times for passengers at the airport will be at least three hours before the departure.

Best Time To Go

The best period to visit Jamaica is from November to mid-April as the weather becomes pleasant and travel-friendly. 

Another reason is the various festivals and events like Christmas and Easter falling in these months in the country. Many music events are organized between November and April, which attracts thousands of tourists.

Moving Around Jamaica

You can move around in Jamaica by:

  • Air: Jamaica’s small size makes domestic flights largely redundant, but private charter flights are available with TimAir.
  • Water: Ferry services run between a few important destination points on the island.
  • Road: Buses, minibusses, route taxis, and bicycles (at few points) are the most common road means of transportation.

Safety

Jamaica is a destination where extra safety measures should be practiced – be alert, not alarmed.  Using your common sense, you should have no trouble traveling in Jamaica. And another important thing to remember is to buy travel insurance, especially now after the COVID-19 situation.

What To Pack

Your personal items do not care where you are headed – they are always coming along for the ride. Passport, ID, cash, and cards in your wallet, the inhaler or meds that allow peace of mind, and your insurance documents – all these make that first cut. The rest is negotiable, including:

  • After bite
  • Beach bag
  • Neck wallet
  • Quick-dry towel
  • 1 gorgeous dress
  • HERO packing cubes
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Mesh slip-on water shoes
  • Windproof travel umbrella
  • Lipstick-size portable charger
  • Travel insurance for Jamaica
  • Sand-resistant beach blanket
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Long-sleeved swim rash guard
  • Floating wrist straps for devices
  • An affordable underwater camera
  • Mosquito repelling wristbands
Conclusion

Let the sound of Jamaica’s world-renowned reggae music push you to relax on an entirely new level. From the moment you land enjoy another form of entertainment, culture and nature. Now let’s start planning and start cruising, without any time to waste.

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