About 700,000 cruise passengers visit Belize annually, all arriving on big ships that call on Belize City. Because of shallow water near shore, passengers are brought ashore in small boats called tenders. Although Carnival Cruise Lines agreed to build a new US$50 million cruise terminal in Belize City, construction has been indefinitely delayed. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced in August 2013 that, with Belize government permission, it has purchased what is called Harvest Caye about 3 miles off Placencia. NCL plans to invest a total of around US$50 million in a "floating" terminal there for its cruise ships, both using Harvest Caye as a private island destination and also as a site to tender in passengers to Placencia for tours of southern Belize. NCL says the terminal will open by 2015 and that it plans to eventually quadruple the number of passengers to visit Belize on the line. Speculation is that NCL will reduce or eliminate passengers to Belize City, where the shallow harbor requires all cruise ships to dock offshore and tender in passengers. Surveys and straw polls suggest that a large majority of Placencia and southern Belize citizens, along with most southern Belize hotel operators, don't approve of a cruise port in southern Belize.
On arrival in Belize City, most passengers take snorkel, cave tubing, or Mayan ruin tours, or just wander around the historic Fort George area, visiting the Tourist Village.
Carnival Cruise Line (800/764–7419. www.carnival.com.)
Costa Cruises (800/462–6782. www.costacruise.com.)
Holland America Line (877/932–4259. www.hollandamerica.com.)
Norwegian Cruise Line (866/234–7350. www.ncl.com.)
Princess Cruises (800/774–6237. www.princess.com.)
Regent Seven Seas Cruises (877/505–5370. www.rssc.com.)
Royal Caribbean International (866/562–7625. www.royalcaribbean.com.)
Seabourn Cruise Line (866/755–5619. www.seabourn.com.)