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cdt Mar 29th, 2004 11:41 AM

Impact of cruise ships
Our last two vacations were to an island with vast numbers of cruise ship visitors (St. Thomas) and an island with NO cruise ships (Provo). The contrast was so dramatic that we've decided to give this factor a lot of weight in choosing our next destination.

Right now we're looking at three islands which, as far as I can tell, accommodate "medium" numbers of cruise ships: Grenada, St. Lucia, and Antigua.

I would be interested in hearing from people who have visited one or more of these islands, regarding the impact of cruise ship crowds. Did they detract from your experience? Were there specific beaches or other sites which seemed to get inundated by cruisers? Any other thoughts?

TedTurner Mar 29th, 2004 01:22 PM

I agree with your obesrvation and always factor this issue into my beach vacation planning. I will not base myself in areas where there are cruise ports. They have a very negative impact on most things I enjoy about tropical vacations.

Boonie Mar 29th, 2004 01:54 PM

I was in Grenada in early February, and
there were several cruise ships in port
at the same time on several days of the week. While the crowds were not horrendous, the presence of so many
visitors at one time definitely impacted the
"quaintness" of St. Georges (the capital).
That was also the only day my daughter and
I were constantly approached and asked
if we wanted to take a tour, a taxi, etc. On
cruise days many of the passengers take
water taxis to Grand Anse Beach, and the
additional numbers definitely impact the
quality of the beach experience there. We couldn't wait to get out of town and back to
our peaceful haven (we stayed at Bel Air
Plantation). One sad note for Provo (Turks
and Caicos) fans - the government has approved plans for a new cruise ship terminal to be built there, which will definitely spoil (IMO) the charm and peace of that place.

marigold Mar 29th, 2004 03:24 PM

You'll find few cruise ship passengers on Tobago, just south of Grenada. Only the occasional small cruise ship docks there. Tobago is a small, friendly island for those who seek peace and quiet.

Brian Mar 29th, 2004 04:23 PM

I agree with the response regarding Grenada. Fortunately most of the people from the ship stay in and around St. George's and Grand Anse. A few busloads of them go up to the visitor center near Grand Etang Lake, but for the most part, the rest of the island is "cruiser free". Trying to drive through St. George's right after a ship arrives is a horrible experience. The only time I've been bugged by vendors on Grand Anse Beach is when cruise ships are in port.

Another place where cruise ships are, in my opinion, making a negative impact is Belize. The inland sites, like Mayan ruins and one of the cave tubing sites, are overrun with cruise ship buses kicking up dust and spewing exhaust fumes.

RAB Mar 30th, 2004 08:46 AM

I have to agree that once an island sells itself to the cruise industry it becomes less desirable as a stay-over destination. I have been to Grenada several times, but only in May or June when there have not been a large number of cruise ship visits. The island is large enough that you can then easily arrange to be away from St. George's and Grande Anse, where the cruisers are thickest. Actually, it can be amusing watching them being "attacked" by the vendors, who, once they identify you as a stay-over visitor, are pretty low key.

My experiences when cruise ships are in port is that St. George's is overrun. Grand Anse beach gets very busy, although it is long enough that the ends are still pretty peaceful; cruisers tend to flock together. Not a major annoyance when I have been, but it may be more of a problem on season.

joan Mar 30th, 2004 08:50 AM

Suggestion: arrange your own excursions ahead of time. (book ahead of time - go to, ports of call, you will get lots of suggestions) That way, you will not be with your fellow passengers for the most part, and you will meet ACTUAL LOCALS! This is what we do when cruising, it makes a big difference in my port enjoyment. For example, on STT, we rented a car across the street from the cruisedock, took the car barge over to St. John, and snorkeled at Waterlemon Cay, had lunch at a local restaurant before returning on the barge. Truly never saw another cruiseship passenger during the entire excursion. Fun! For Grenada, there are about seven different waterfalls you can visit on island. Rent a car, go to the farthest one first (thereby avoiding the bus tours), and check out as many as you can during your day. There are informal local guides at each one, you tip them, and they bring you and your party to the site (which you could easily find by yourself but it's more fun going with a local). Enjoy!

cdt Mar 31st, 2004 06:12 AM

To TedTurner: Looking at your past posts I see that you like Barbados. I know it gets some cruise ships. Perhaps the size of the island, and its infrastructure, help mitigate the effects?

To Boonie: I believe the T&C cruise port will be at Grand Turk, so there may be no real impact on Provo.

Any comments on cruisers in St. Lucia or Antigua?

ejcrowe Mar 31st, 2004 06:35 AM

I've only visited St. Lucia once and I stayed at the southern end of the island. I never caught sight of a single cruiser, but then again I doubt if any wanted to take the 2 hour taxi ride each way to get to the beach where my hotel was. It's also possible that no cruise ships were in port during my stay.

I've been in Antigua twice when there have been cruise ships in port and was never affected by them. Once I was staying on the west coast at Hawksbill and the other time I was on the far northeast tip of the island at Long Bay Hotel. Neither time did I see any cruisers. However, I did plan to stay away from St. John's, Dickenson Bay, and the whole English Harbour area because I figured that's where most cruise passengers would go.

Hope you find a place that will suit your needs!

TedTurner Mar 31st, 2004 06:42 AM

No question, cdt, that large islands can absorb cruisers with less impact. It's easy to head off to the southern parts of Antigua or parts of the western shore of Barbados and have little or no sense at all of the impact of cruise ships. But on an island like St. John or Anguilla I would think there'd be at least some effect at all the popular spots (good beaches, resorts and restaurants in particular).

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