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Barbados Cruise Port Guide

By JoFriday 11th January 2019

Bottom bay, Barbados

Why you should sail from the Barbados cruise port

Barbados, a small island in the Caribbean, is generally regarded as one of the friendliest and most beautiful countries in the world. With its picturesque beaches, turquoise bays, stunning architecture and heavenly cuisine, Barbados is the perfect place to kick off your cruise adventure.

Whether you’re planning a quick stop in Barbados on the day your cruise departs or you’re planning to stay overnight, this guide has all the information you need to make the most of your time on the idyllic island.

Where is the Barbados cruise port?

The cruise port is located on the southwest coast in Bridgetown, the capital city of Barbados. Situated in a small natural harbour called Carlisle Bay, the cruise terminal is one of three designated ports in Barbados, along with the privately owned Port Saint Marina and Grantley Adams International Airport. It takes around 20 minutes to walk from the cruise port to the centre of Bridgetown, which is 1.5 km away.

The closest airport to the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal is Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI), which is around 13 miles away from the port. Options for travelling from the airport to the port include hiring a shuttle, renting a car, getting a taxi or taking the bus. Getting a taxi should take about 35 minutes and cost 44 Barbadian dollars (BDS), while a shared private shuttle is the best option for a large group.

If you’d prefer to travel by bus, it takes around an hour and requires you to switch services. You’ll need to take the 19 Yorkshire to Fairchild Street Terminal bus and get off at Constitution Road, which should take about 30 minutes. Then, take the 1CB Princess Alice Terminal to Josey Hill bus and get off at the Reef Road stop, which is only three minutes away. From there, it’s an 11-minute walk to the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal.

If you decide to drive to the port, it should take around 40 minutes depending on morning traffic and roadworks. The directions from Grantley Adams International Airport to the port are:

  • Exit the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) and head west on Airport Access Rd. Turn left onto Tom Adams Hwy and at the roundabout, take the first exit to stay on Tom Adams Hwy.
  • At the next roundabout, take the second exit and stay on Errol Barrow Hwy. Continue on Wildey Main Rd/Hwy and at the roundabout, continue straight onto River Rd.
  • River Rd turns slightly left and becomes Fairchild St. Turn right onto Bridge St/Hwy 7. Bridge St turns left and becomes The Wharf Rd.
  • Continue onto Hincks St then onto Princess Alice Hwy. The Bridgetown Cruise Terminal where Royal Caribbean cruise ships dock will be on your right.
The full address for the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal in Barbados is: Bridgetown Harbour Cruise Pier, 492C+9F Cheapside, Bridgetown, Barbados

Getting around Barbados
Colourful houses In Barbados

Travelling around Barbados is easy and inexpensive, as the small island is home to reliable bus, van and taxi services. You can hire a car for $400 BDS per week, but you must be at least 21 years old and have held your licence for at least two years. Bajans drive on the left side of the road, speed limits are posted in kilometers rather than miles and local rush hours are between 7-8am and 4.30-5.30pm.

If you’d prefer someone else to take the wheel, taxis in Barbados are not metered so it’s advised that you agree a price with the driver before setting off. However, the rates are government regulated and are generally charged at around $40 BDS per hour. There are additional charges for excess luggage. It’s also common practice to tip your driver at least 15% of the fare.

The Barbados Transport Board’s blue buses are the cheapest mode of transportation, costing a flat fare of $1.50 BDS per journey. These buses connect most of the island and have three terminals: two in Bridgetown and one in Speightstown. Most services operate from 5am-11pm every day and only accept Barbadian dollars as payment. Bus stops are clearly identified with a circular red and white sign displaying ‘to city’, meaning towards Bridgetown, and ‘out of city’ in black lettering.

Another option is the privately-owned ZR vans, which are much smaller than the buses and typically run shorter routes in densely populated areas. The fare is usually $2 BDS one way and it’s preferred that you have the correct change when travelling. ZRs normally start running at 6am until 11.30pm at night, but grow few and far between as the evening progresses.

Food and Drink
Fried flying fish

Barbadian cuisine is a mixture of African, Indian, Irish, Creole and British influences, with local dishes usually featuring fresh seafood, grilled meats, green bananas, rice, fresh salads or plantains. Each meal is usually served with one or more sauces, including bajan pepper sauce, ketchup and tartar sauce with fish. The national dish of Barbados is cou cou, made with cornmeal and okra and served with fried flying fish in spicy gravy. The flying fish is skillfully boned then stewed down in a gravy of herbs, tomatoes, garlic, onions and butter.

Fish cakes are one of the most popular dishes on the island and are found on almost all menus, from upscale restaurants to streetside vendors. They are usually made with freshly caught salted cod, flour, herbs and pepper. Pork also features heavily in Bajan cuisine, served roasted with crackling, as baked ham or stewed down pork chops. A local delicacy is pudding and souse, which is traditionally eaten as Sunday lunch. The ‘souse’ is made from pickled lean pork meat, cucumbers, limes, peppers and parsley, while the ‘pudding’ is made from steamed sweet potato with chillies and herbs.

If you have a sweet tooth you may enjoy conkies, which are a sweet cornmeal-based delicacy traditionally served on Independence Day. They are served hot and contain raisins, coconut, sweet potato, pumpkin and spices, all wrapped and steamed in banana leaves. Another popular local dessert is sweet bread, which is cookie-like bread sweetened with coconut, sugar, raisins and dried cherries.

Barbados is considered to be the birthplace of rum, which is distilled from the fermented juice of the sugar canes that thrive on the island. Locals drink rum punch, which is made with dark aged rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, water, nutmeg and Angostura Bitters. You can visit Mount Gay Distilleries, which was founded in 1703 and is the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery.

For those who prefer beer, the locals drink Banks pilsner lager and amber ale, which are brewed on the island. Bajans also enjoy ginger beer, which they mix with ale to make shandy. Carib, Heineken, Corona, Piton, Stella Artois, Guinness and Carlsberg are also widely available in local pubs and restaurants.

Things to do and see in Barbados
Botanical garden in Caribbean

Barbados is a beautiful island with vibrant street life, peaceful white sand beaches and eminent historical buildings. Most points of interest in Barbados are located in Bridgetown, which is easily accessible by public transport.

Hunte’s Gardens

Nestled in the lush countryside in the parish of St. Joseph, this botanical garden sits in a large sinkhole that was formed by a massive landslip. Among the beautifully landscaped tropical plants are coral stone walls and intricate pathways, which lead to fountain shrines, hidden benches or ornate statues. 

Shark Hole

Hidden on the southeast coast of the island, this intimate spoon-shaped bay is separated from the ocean by a ridge of coral rock. A short flight of stairs will take you to a small 40ft stretch of delicate white sand, which is enclosed by rocks to form a perfectly secluded cove. Although it’s not the easiest spot to find without GPS, the bay offers calming views of the clear, aqua sea and is the ideal spot for sunbathing and paddling.

Broad Street

Located in the parish of St. Michael, Broad Street runs directly through the centre of Bridgetown and is populated with major banks, malls, restaurants, duty-free outlets, street vendors, fast food joints, wine bars and independent shops. Towards the lower end of Broad Street stands the imposing Mutual Building, a 19th-century structure featuring silver domes and a second floor veranda that wraps around the building.

St. Nicholas Abbey

St. Nicholas Abbey is a plantation house, historic museum and rum distillery located in Saint Peter. Built by Colonel Benjamin Berringer in 1658, the abbey is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere and stopped processing sugar on the property in 1947. The museum pays homage to 18th-century plantation life, showcasing Chippendale furniture, cedar panelling, Wedgwood pottery and a walled Medieval herb garden.

Animal Flower Cave

Perched at the northernmost point in the parish of St. Lucy, the Animal Flower Cave is the only accessible sea cove in Barbados. The coral floor of the cave is estimated to be around 500,000 years old and the walls are covered in interesting rock formations, which have been coloured green and brown due to copper and iron oxidation. Sea anemones, or ‘animal flowers’, thrive within the cave, which overlooks and leads to the Atlantic Ocean.

Everything you need to know about money in Barbados

Barbados is home to plenty of inexpensive eateries and affordable transport services to help you stick to a budget. The currency is the Barbados Dollar (BBD), although US Dollars are also widely accepted across the island.

ATMs are the best place to withdraw money in Barbados, as they offer the best exchange rates and don’t charge commission like banks and bureaux de exchange. However, local ATMs will only dispense Barbados Dollars, not US. Most banks offer 24/7 access to ATMs and are open between 8am-3pm Monday to Thursday and 8am-5pm on Fridays.

The closest cashpoint to the cruise terminal is the Western Union ATM, which is a 20-minute walk away.

Key information to know before travelling
Pisces restaurant, St. Lawrence Gap - Barbados

Language

The main language spoken in Barbados is English. The closest Tourist Information Office to the cruise port is Barbados Tourism, which is a 40-minute walk away.

Opening Times

Shops open Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm, closing at 1pm Saturdays. Some shops may open on Sunday mornings in high season. Larger shopping centres are open from 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

Weather

Barbados has a warm tropical climate, with hot summers and humid winters. June is the hottest month, with temperatures reaching 31°C, while January is the coldest at 21°C. The best time to visit Barbados is from December to mid-April when the weather is drier and less humid.

Safety

Barbados is considered one of the safest places to travel, with a low crime rate. However, it’s important to protect your personal belongings at all times, particularly in densely populated tourist areas. The national central number for emergencies is 211.

If you’re interested in experiencing the sensational architecture, dreamy delicacies and heavenly atmosphere for yourself, book your Barbados cruise with Royal Caribbean today.

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