The Best & Worst Cruise Ports In Jamaica (Ranked By Reviews!)

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Jamaica is a popular destination in the Caribbean where many of the top cruise lines call during the winter months, and some throughout the year. It’s one of the larger Caribbean islands, so it has multiple ports for cruise passengers.

As Jamaica is 146 miles long and 21 to 52 miles wide, many excursions are available regardless of where you dock. But it’s still interesting to see the differences between the ports and which cruise line you need to book with if you have a particular port in mind.

Crown Princess in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

In this guide I’ll take you through the different ports in Jamaica, including which ones are the busiest and which lines cruise to Jamaica by port. 

I also have a handy map of the cruise ports in Jamaica that you can use to help with your planning.

Jamaica has 5 cruise ports

Three are larger and are visited by cruise ships year round – Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay.

The other two ports, Port Antonio and Kingston (Port Royal), are only visited during the winter months by luxury cruise lines.

Jamaica is very much a destination that is best visited between November and March – most cruises to Jamaica happen during these months. This is when the ports are at their busiest, with ships in port on most days during those months.

During the summer things do quieten down – even the busiest Jamaica ports will only have 6-8 ship visits a month.

In order of number of ships visiting, from busiest to quietest, the ports in Jamaica are:

  1. Ocho Rios
  2. Falmouth
  3. Montego Bay
  4. Port Antonio
  5. Kingston (Port Royal)

Suggested read: How Long Do Cruise Ships Stay In Each Port?

Map of Jamaica Cruise Ports

Here’s a map showing you where each of the ports of Jamaica can be found:

Jamaica Port Map

The Best Cruise Ports in Jamaica

Next, let’s learn a little more about each of the ports and what you can expect if you visit on a cruise…

The Best = Falmouth

Falmouth Cruise port
  • Number of ship visits in 2024 – 120 (6 more than in 2023)
  • Year-round or seasonal – Year-round
  • Pier or tender – Pier
  • Most popular month – March

Falmouth is a major port town on the northern coast of Jamaica, situated around 60 miles to the west of Ocho Rios.

According to online reviews from, Falmouth is the best Jamaican port to visit.

Many reviewers commented how everything is within walking distance of the port, with lots of shopping and the Margaritaville bar that has good food and a pool with a swim-up bar.

It’s a large town with a big port, capable of hosting the largest ships in the world – Wonder of the Seas, the largest ship sailing in 2023, being one of them.

These cruise lines visit the Falmouth Jamaica cruise port:

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean

The popularity of the port isn’t a recent development due to cruise ships – it’s been one of the busiest ports in the country since the 18th century, and that’s reflected in the many different historical sites that can be visited during your day in port.

There’s a large commercial centre at the port following a major redevelopment, including various stores selling local wares. There are also plenty of good quality restaurants and bars just a short walk from the pier.

Most of the cruise lines only visit Falmouth during the winter months. In the summer, you’ll only find Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean calling at the port.

Typical shore excursions you can book at Falmouth include:

  • River tubing down Dunns River 
  • Tours of the nearby waterfalls and lagoons
  • Catamaran and snorkelling excursions
  • Exploration tours of the jungle or of nearby caves
  • Rum tours
  • Day passes at local resort hotels and waterparks

2. Ocho Rios

Crown Princess in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • Number of ship visits in 2024 – 145 (7 more than in 2023)
  • Year-round or seasonal – Year-round
  • Pier or tender – Pier
  • Most popular month – January

Ocho Rios is the busiest popular port in Jamaica for cruise ships, and the second most popular according to reviews.

Unlike Falmouth, cruise ships visiting throughout the year.

This port town is situated on the northern coast of the island, with a large modern pier that can accommodate some of the biggest cruise ships in the world.

These cruise lines visit Ocho Rios:

  • AIDA
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa
  • Holland America Line
  • Marella Cruises
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • TUI Cruises

It’s a vibrant town that has some great restaurants, bars and cafes within walking distance of the port, so there are plenty of spots where you can grab a drink and a bite to eat while you explore.

The town’s market has undergone renovation in recent years, while a new artisan village was also built that includes various small stores selling crafts and other locally-manufactured products.

Nearby, Dolphin Bay is a popular excursion spot – as the name suggests, there are plenty of dolphins swimming in the area, and guests are welcome to join them. And there’s also Columbus Park, the site where Columbus apparently landed. Now it is home to various Spanish colonial buildings.

Dolphin's Cove in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

While the winter season sees a variety of cruise lines visiting the port, during the summer months your options are more limited to Carnival and MSC Cruises only.

Some of the typical shore excursions you can enjoy at Ocho Rios include:

  • Horseback riding
  • Zipline tours
  • Exploring the jungle, on foot or by jeep
  • Watersports including snorkelling and ocean kayaking
  • Tours of the Coyaba Botanical Gardens
  • Jamaican Bobsledding – ideal for any fans of the movie Cool Runnings

3. Montego Bay

Montego Bay - Jamaica
  • Number of ship visits in 2024 – 66 (34 fewer than in 2023)
  • Year-round or seasonal – Year-round
  • Pier or tender – Pier
  • Most popular month – January

Montego Bay is the third busiest cruise port in Jamaica, and also the third most popular according to online reviews.

The reviews on are very mixed, with most people loving it, but some that aren’t happy at all…

Reviews of Montego bay on Cruiseline

The setting is breathtakingly beautiful, but some of the local salespeople can be pushy, selling no only trinkets but also some banned substances.

Situated on the north-west coast of Jamaica, Montego Bat isn’t frequented by quite as many ships as Ocho Rios or Falmouth, but it does attract the most cruise lines – 15, including some of the larger lines as well as much smaller ones that you may not even have heard of.

These cruise lines visit Montego Bay:

  • AIDA
  • Ambassador Cruise Line
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa
  • Marella Cruises
  • MSC Cruises
  • P&O Cruises
  • Phoenix Reisen
  • Plantours
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Scenic Yacht Cruises
  • TUI Cruises
  • Viking Ocean Cruises

It’s a popular port for those ships that do visit – the town has a lot of friendly shops selling snacks and souvenirs, while there are some lively bars and good-quality restaurants serving fresh seafood and BBQ cuisine.

The town also hosts some fantastic beaches, including some quieter stretches of sand more suited to adults who want to take it easy, and beaches where the families tend to congregate for a fun-packed day of activities.

Further afield, the port is a gateway to some of Jamaica’s beautiful scenery including the Dunn’s River Falls and the Martha Brae river, which is ideal for rafting. Sugar plantation houses can also be toured if you want to see some of the history of the town and the country.

Dunn's River Falls
Dunn’s River Falls

Barring a couple of exceptions, the ships visiting Montego Bay during the summer are almost exclusively Carnival ships – the other cruise lines tend to visit only from October to March.

Popular options for excursions include:

  • Day passes to luxury resort hotels
  • Spelunking tours of Green Grotto Caves
  • Catamaran sailing and snorkelling excursions
  • White-water rafting and river tubing
  • Horseback riding along the beach
  • Tours of nearby sugar plantations

4. Port Antonio

Port Antonio, Jamaica
  • Number of ship visits in 2024 – 6 (1 more than in 2023)
  • Year-round or seasonal – Seasonal
  • Pier or tender – Pier
  • Most popular month – December

Port Antonio is one of the smaller ports in Jamaica, with just a few select luxury cruise lines visiting the area. The port is around a 15-minute walk from the main town, with ships docking at the Ken Wright Pier in West Harbor.

It doesn’t do great according to the reviews, with people describing the areas as ‘run down’. However, Jamaica is a relatively poor country, so perhaps these luxury cruisers just weren’t prepared for that?

These cruise lines visit Port Antonio:

  • Oceania Cruises
  • Scenic Yacht Cruises
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea

Unlike some of the larger ports, you won’t be hit by a plethora of shops and stalls when you step off the ship – it’s off-limits to vendors. There are also no bus services running directly from the port either.

Instead, you’ll either be able to take a leisurely stroll to town yourself and enjoy the scenery, or take advantage of the private tours already arranged for you by your cruise line.

Typical excursions include:

  • Rafting on the Rio Grand River
  • Transfers to the best beaches nearby
  • Swimming in lagoons underneath waterfalls
  • Guided tours of the town including historical commentary
  • Nature walks through local trails

5. Kingston (Port Royal)

Kingston, Jamaica
  • Number of ship visits in 2024 – 9 (8 more than in 2023)
  • Year-round or seasonal – Seasonal
  • Pier or tender – Tender
  • Most popular month – January

Kingston is the capital city of Jamaica, and the largest city on the island. It’s also a major seaport, but in recent years cruise lines have instead chosen to dock elsewhere on the island.

It remains a major cargo port, but the Port Royal harbour does also allow some smaller ships to anchor and tender guests to shore.

These cruise lines visit Port Royal:

  • Marella
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea

There is much to see in Kingston, including some stunning resorts where guests can enjoy day passes, breathtaking natural scenery, and a wealth of bars, cafes and restaurants around the port area. The city is also home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, one of the best garden attractions in the Caribbean.

The city also hosts some fascinating museums and galleries if you want a more cultural day out. The Jamaica National Gallery is the largest art gallery in the Caribbean, while the Bob Marley museum understandably attracts a lot of tourists to Jamaica.

Crime rates in Kingston are high with violence and shootings common in inner city areas. If you do visit, it’s recommended that you stay with an organised tour, keep your belongings out of sight and be careful when withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Some of the excursions you can try at Kingston include:

  • Visits to the stunning Blue Mountains
  • Tours of Devon House and the Bob Marley Museum
  • Rum tours of Worthy Park Estate
  • Catamaran sailings with snorkelling
  • Visits to Dunn’s River Falls

To Conclude

White sandy beaches, stunning rivers and lagoons, and incredible restaurants and bars serving jerk chicken and rum – Jamaica is a great destination. And whichever of these five ports your cruise ship is calling at, you can experience it all.

Things will be a bit busier at the big three ports – Ocho Rio, Falmouth and Montego Bay – and you might spot another ship in port on the same day that you visit. But if you choose a ship sailing to Kingston or Port Antonio, you’re guaranteed to have a much quieter day.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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