The Best Way To Experience Antigua And Its Cruise Port

The Best Way To Experience Antigua And Its Cruise Port

The Caribbean island of Antigua is idyllic, with its breathtaking pink and white-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters and welcoming culture. Over 50,000 cruise passengers visited in January last year, making the port of Antigua an important gateway for tourists seeking to experience the island’s beauty. 

If you’ve booked an Eastern Caribbean cruise, your cruise ship will likely stop in Antigua. Read on below to discover all you need to know about Antigua’s cruise port, including the distance from the port to the city centre and what the best activities by Antigua cruise port are.

Where do cruise ships dock in Antigua?

Antigua cruise port is found in the bay at St. John’s Harbour, on the stunning northwest coast of the island. Cruise ships dock at one of three piers in the port, where there is sufficient space for up to five vessels.

Heritage Quay is used by most leading cruise ships. There is also Redcliffe Quay and, Antigua’s most recently developed, Nevis Street Pier. Being such a popular resort, sometimes Antigua cruise port can get very busy. On these occasions, cruise and cargo ships also have the option to dock at Deep Water Harbour port, which is 1.5km from St. John’s.

If your cruise ship docks at one of the three main piers, you can disembark and easily walk to Antigua’s cruise terminal at Heritage Quay. Here, you will find plenty of duty-free shops and food outlets. There’s even a casino!

Nearby, at Redcliffe Quay, you will discover craft shops, bars and restaurants, making the area around Antigua’s cruise terminal a pleasant place for cruise guests to spend a couple of hours. 

How to get to Antigua from the cruise port

If you are wondering how far Antigua is from the cruise port, then you’ll be pleased to know that getting from Antigua cruise port to the city centre is easy. St. John’s, the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda, is right next to the cruise port and is quick and convenient to reach on foot.

For this reason, and the fact that all of the city’s prominent landmarks are within walking distance, there aren’t any shuttle buses to take you downtown. 

If you want to explore more of the island and head to some of the gorgeous beaches further afield, the best option is to take a taxi. Although taxis should adhere to officially fixed fares, it’s always best to agree on the cost in advance. For example, a tour taking you to Nelson’s Dockyard, Clarence House, and Shirley’s Heights will cost $96.00, while getting from Antigua cruise port in St. John’s Harbour to Fort James beach is $12.00 (prices correct at time of writing). 

You’ll also find a great variety of shore excursions arranged by cruise lines and independent tour providers that will take you to the island’s highlights from Antigua’s cruise terminal.

Is there anything near Antigua cruise port?

When looking at what to do in Antigua’s cruise port, St John’s is a great place to start, with the area being safe and enjoyable to walk around on your own. As well as the area around Heritage and Redcliffe Quay, there are plenty of other things to explore in Antigua’s capital.

You will have already seen St. John’s Cathedral, with its twin towers and baroque style, as your cruise ship sailed into the bay. However, a closer look is certainly worthwhile. The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda provides a fascinating insight into the island’s history. Meanwhile, you can absorb Antigua’s vibrant culture with a visit to the colourful spice and craft markets on Saturday mornings.

What to do in Antigua on port days

There are several enchanting attractions across the island that are a bit further afield from St. John’s, although still no more than an hour’s drive away. These offer excellent options when looking for what to do in Antigua on port days.

Nelson’s Dockyard is a popular attraction on the south of the island in Saint Paul Parish, about a 50-minute drive from Antigua cruise port. This UNESCO World Heritage Site provides a fascinating insight into the island’s culture. 

Also on the south of the island, and near Nelson’s Dockyard, is Shirley Heights. Hike to the lookout point for incredible views of the English Harbour and mountain, which are particularly spectacular at sunset.

The beaches of Antigua

Of course, visiting the extraordinary beaches is one of the best activities by Antigua cruise port and around the island, and there are plenty to choose from! Here are some of our favourites that are within easy reach of Antigua’s cruise terminal:

Dickenson Bay

Find soft powder sands sloping into tranquil waters, sheltered by the reef. Dickenson Bay is often regarded as the best beach in Antigua and is just over three miles from Antigua cruise port.

Galley Bay

Galley Bay is a beach characterised by wide, expansive sands and a natural feel. It is also the nesting site for sea turtles and is just over four and a half miles from Antigua cruise port.

Fort James

The closest beach to Antigua cruise port, but still breathtakingly beautiful. Here you’ll find beach facilities such as loungers and parasol rentals, changing facilities and restaurants. Fort James is around two and a half miles from the port.

Jolly Beach

One of the longest beaches on the island, Jolly Beach perfectly encapsulates Antigua’s paradisal feel. As a west-facing beach, 6 miles from Antigua cruise port, it also offers the most spectacular sunsets. 

If you have any questions about Antigua and its cruise port or would like to book an Eastern Caribbean cruise that visits here, please get in touch with our cruise specialists.

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