July 15, 2024
Start Your Cruise Vacation From Barbados, For a Fabulous 7 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise

Introducing Barbados

The Caribbean island of Barbados has more than its fair share of sandy beaches, palm trees swaying in the sea breeze and warm azure waters. Add in the welcome and friendliness of the locals, and it’s no surprise you have a favorite vacation destination. In the 18 and early 19th centuries Barbados was run as a sugar cane economy under British rule, and you can still see a few original sugar plantations reborn as museums describing the hardships of the slaves working in the sugar fields. Nowadays the inhabitants of Barbados are called Bajans, and the ancestors of the old plantation system exist in relative harmony under a democratic government.

Of particular interest to the cruise vacationer is that Barbados is the easternmost Caribbean island so normally avoids the terrible effects of the area’s tropical storms. This is due to the fact that the island is situated just outside the main hurricane zone (on average a hurricane only strikes the island around one time every 26 years). This makes Barbados a very attractive cruise ship port, and in recent years, thanks to the well served and nearby Grantley Adams international airport, the island has justifiably become a very busy departure point for cruises.

Bridgetown Port

The Port of Bridgetown, or more properly called the Deep Water Harbour, was built in the 1960s just a mile to the north of Bridgetown (the capital of Barbados). In 2002 the central channel was deepened to enable larger ships to use the facility. The harbor deepening has been a great success, leading to a large amount of growth both in goods and cruise ship volumes. The Port has 4 berths giving 1,531 metres of quayside, and can handle 5-6 large cruise ships. The 4 berths are the breakwater (522m long), the sugar berth (307m long), berths 2/3/4 (total length 550m) and the Esso Jetty (244 meters), situated outside the breakwater. (Editor’s note – if your ship’s tied up at the Esso Jetty, don’t feel inferior, because you’ve normally picked an excellent value cruise!)

Between the quays and the port entrance sits the cruise terminal, officially opened in January 1994. Here is where you will book in for your cruise. The terminal houses the normal departments to handle cruise passengers, such as Immigration, Customs, Health Center, Animal Quarantine, Post Office and the Barbados Tourism Office. Plus restaurants and bars, a business facility, and an net cafe. The terminal has a lot of space devoted to shopping, with over 20 duty free shops stocking beautiful jewellery, attractive china, the latest in electronics, and locally-sourced crafts.

5 Best Things to Do in Barbados (Editor’s choice!)

Hopefully you will have a day or two available on one side of your cruise to explore beautiful Barbados itself. Not to be missed are:

1 Beach

The island’s beaches are all open to the public. Nearest Bridgetown are the superb beaches of the Gold Coast. Payne’s bay is great for swimming. Next to Paynes bay lies Fresh Water Bay, with a beautiful threesome of beaches, Brandon’s Beach, Paradise Beach and Brighton Beach .

2 Mount Gay Rum Distillery and Banks Beer Tour

If you enjoy an alcoholic beverage (or two!) go on a guided tour and tasting at Barbados’s main rum distillery, then follow this with a trip to Banks Brewery to enjoy the local beer.

3 Welchman Hall Gully

A gorgeous sub-tropical garden owned by the National Trust of Barbados. You’re almost sure to spot a group of wild monkeys.

4 Sunbury Plantation House

A Plantation Great House whose inside is open for viewing. The 300 year house is rich in history, with old prints, carefully written accounts, hardwood antique furniture and a collection of horse coaches.

5 Broad Street in Bridgetown

The main thoroughfare of Bridgetown. Broad Street is lined with tax free outlets, banking offices, and large department stores. A good detour is Swan Street which features many cheaper clothing stores, and some welcoming pavement cafes.

Picking a Cruise From Barbados

Thanks to its ideal location in the middle of the Southern Caribbean, Barbados makes a brilliant choice as a departure point. Itineraries on offer include the Greater Antilles (Jamaica), the Windward Isles (Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent), the Leeward Isles(St Barts, St Martin, St Kitts, Nevis, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Tobago), the Netherland Antilles off the north coast of Venezuela (Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire) and even the Brazilian Amazon.

A favorite is a 7 day circuit around the southern Caribbean calling at St Lucia, St Kitts, St Maarten, San Juan, St Thomas, Dominica (Southern Caribbean, departing every Wednesday on Carnival Victory).

Other ideas are Grand Caribbean Adventurer (from Princess Cruises) calling at St Vincent, St Georges, Bonaire, WIllemstad, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St Thomas, St Kitts, St Johns, Dominica or, for the adventurous, Caribbean and Amazon (PO Cruises) calling at Grenada, Santarem, Parintins, Manaus, Tobago, St Lucia.

Travelling to the Cruise Terminal from Grantley Adams Airport

Grantley Adams is 13 miles from Bridgetown Port. The airport is served by aeroplanes from North America, Europe and other islands in the Caribbean. The journey from the airport to the cruise terminal is simplest by cab, and takes around 30 minutes. The charge is around fifty Bds. (Editor’s note. It’s a real pleasure to be able to speak to (or at the worst argue with) the taxi driver in English, rather than be at a complete disadvantage through not knowing the local language. In my experience the Bajan taxi drivers are friendly and do not overcharge).

Also Worth Knowing

The Barbadian dollar(Bds) is fixed to the US dollar and a Barbadian dollar is always worth half a US dollar, with the rate being US$1 = Bds $2.

A tax of US$6 is payable by each traveller arriving at Bridgetown.

Official language is English, but Bajan (a local English-derived dialect, and generally hard to understand) is widely spoken.