Honduras Feature

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Cruising to Honduras

Although Honduras counts two coastlines, only its Caribbean side hosts cruise ships, all on select Panama Canal, Western Caribbean, and Central America itineraries of various companies. Nearly all of them call at Roatán in the Bay Islands.

Carnival opened its own cruise terminal in 2010 at Mahogany Bay near Dixon Cove on Roatán's southwest coast. Holland America, Princess, and Seabourn have also moved there or plan to shift operations. Mahogany Bay gets mixed reviews: most passengers love its sleek, self-contained newness; others have panned the facility as offering no contact with the real Honduras, even to the point of providing a $5 chairlift tram that carries passengers directly to a private beach. Royal Caribbean has stayed put at Roatán's Town Center Port, the original cruise terminal at Coxen Hole, and is investing in the facility's modernization. Celebrity, Norwegian, and Oceania call there. Shore excursions around the island can be arranged from either terminal. Snorkeling, catamaran sailing, dolphin swimming, and zip lining are always crowd pleasers.

A few—very few—Holland America itineraries call at Puerto Cortés on the mainland, with shore excursions along the coast, and even the possibility of a very long day trip to the Mayan ruins at Copán.

Carnival. Carnival is known for its large-volume cruises and template approach to its ships—Legend, Valor, Dream, Triumph, Glory, and Conquest call here—two factors that probably help keep fares accessible. Las Vegas–style shows and passenger participation are the norm. 888/227–6482 www.carnival.com.

Celebrity. Spacious accommodation and its guest-lectured Enrichment Series are hallmarks of Celebrity cruises. Solstice, Century, Equinox, Eclipse, and Millennium call here. 800/647-2251 www.celebritycruises.com.

Holland America Line. Holland America cruises focus on passenger comfort and are classic in design and style. They manage to be refined without being stuffy. The MS Maasdam calls at Roatán; MS Ryndam, at Puerto Cortés. 877/932–4259 www.hollandamerica.com.

Norwegian Cruise Lines. Its tagline is "Whatever floats your boat"—Pearl, Dawn, Star, Epic, and Spirit are Norwegian's boats that come here—and Norwegian is known for its relatively freewheeling style and variety of activities and excursions. 866/234–7350 www.ncl.com.

Oceania. Before arrival at any port—Oceania's Regatta is Roatán's newest arrival—you can attend a lecture to acquaint you with its history, culture, and tradition. 800/531–5619 www.oceaniacruises.com.

Princess Cruises. Not so great for small children but good at keeping tweens, teens, and adults occupied, Princess strives to offer luxury at an affordable price. The line's Crown Princess docks in Roatán. 800/774–6237 www.princess.com.

Royal Caribbean. Striving to appeal to a broad clientele, the line offers lots of activities and service on its Roatán-bound Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, and Grandeur of the Seas, as well as many shore excursions. 866/562–7625 www.royalcaribbean.com.

Seabourn. Officially, it's The Yachts of Seabourn, known for sophisticated, personalized service on its megasize yachts, of which Legend docks here. 800/929-9391 www.seabourn.com.

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