Deciding what to do in Antigua on a cruise can be tricky if you’ve never been there before.

Antigua is a beautiful Caribbean island with plenty to offer.

From exploring historic sites to enjoying water sports and relaxing on pristine beaches, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Let’s discover the best activities to make the most of your time in Antigua on a cruise port day!

10 Things to Do in Antigua Near Cruise Port

There are plenty of activities to do in Antigua near the cruise port or a short enough drive away. Here are just a few suggestions: 

1. Visit St. John’s

St. John’s is perfect if you want to learn about the island’s culture and past.  

This capital city has many landmarks such as St. John’s Cathedral, a magnificent Anglican church.

The Antigua Museum on Long Street is also worth a visit for its exhibitions on the island’s culture, heritage, and natural environment. 

For a taste of local life, head over to the Public Market on Market Street for fresh produce, spices, crafts, and other goods. 

You can also shop at popular spots like Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay.

St. John’s is the perfect gateway if you love beaches and nature. 

From the cruise port, you can easily reach Dickenson Bay or take a short drive to scenic spots like Fort James Beach. 

2. Swim with Stingrays stingray city in antigua

A trip to Antigua is not complete without swimming with stingrays at Stingray City

It’s the only place you can swim with stingrays unless you’re lucky when you go snorkelling and diving. 

You can swim, snorkel, and even feed the stingrays.

These tours usually include transportation to and from the stingray habitat, snorkeling equipment, and briefings on safety and stingray behavior. 

3. Visit Nelson’s DockyardNelson's Dockyard

If you’re on one of the cruises to Antigua and Barbuda, don’t miss out on Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua.

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It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit for those interested in history and maritime culture. 

This naval complex has roots dating back to the 18th century when it served as an important outpost for the British Royal Navy in the Caribbean. 

Today, you can explore the restored buildings, including warehouses, officer quarters, and sail lofts.

The dockyard now includes museums, shops, restaurants, and galleries, creating a lively atmosphere.

Visitors can take walks along the waterfront and enjoy views of English Harbour. 

 

 

4. Relax at Dickenson Baydickenson bay beach sandals antigua

For cruise goers ready to relax, head to Dickenson Bay.

Located on the northwest coast of Antigua, it’s famous for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters. 

This spot is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and various water activities. 

If you’re looking for adventure activities, you can snorkel, jet ski, and parasail here.

The bay is also lined with different beach bars, restaurants, and resorts. 

5. Go Snorkelling at English Harbour

On your cruise day, don’t miss English Harbour in Antigua.

The water is super calm and clear, making it a perfect place to go snorkeling. 

You’ll see lots of fish and sea animals like turtles and rays because the water is so clear. 

You can go snorkeling by yourself or with a group where someone shows you around. 

There are beautiful coral reefs just under the water where you can see lots of different sea creatures. 

It’s a really fun place for people who love nature and want to see all kinds of colorful fish and corals.

If you want to snorkel in different places, you can opt to go on a snorkelling tour

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Explore Devil’s Bridge National ParkDevil's Bridge

Devil’s Bridge National Park is a must visit for cruise ship passengers stopping in Antigua.

It’s a natural landmark, formed from limestone over centuries of exposure to the sea. 

Situated on the rugged Atlantic shoreline, it offers breathtaking sights of crashing waves and the coastal landscape. 

The park has different trails and lookout points that you can discover on your own.

This park is also rich in history and folklore.

There are many captivating stories about how this bridge plays into Antigua’s past and its significance within local culture.

Just stay away from the edge of the rocks as you don’t want the waves to splash you or you fall over.

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7. Swim at Pig Beach

Antigua’s Pig Beach is a one-of-a-kind attraction where tourists can swim and interact with friendly pigs. 

It’s a short drive from St.John’s but I would not recommend you to drive yourself. 

The Google Maps location is not accurate and the dirt roads were affected by Hurricane Tammy so they’re hard to navigate. 

Instead, you can take a standard taxi or a boat taxi to reach the beach. 

Once you’re there, there’s so many things to do!

You can feed, pet, and snap photos with the pigs while enjoying the stunning beach and crystal-clear waters.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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8. Get a Day Pass to a ResortCarlisle Bay in Antigua

One of the best things to do in Antigua on a cruise is get day passes to some of the island’s most luxurious resorts. 

At Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, guests can purchase day passes for access to their beautiful beaches, inviting pools, and all-inclusive amenities. 

Curtain Bluff Resort also offers day passes for visitors to experience their exclusive facilities, including stunning beaches, water activities, and gourmet dining options. 

Carlisle Bay provides day passes for guests seeking upscale resort amenities such as pristine beaches, swimming pools, and fine dining experiences.

Visitors can also obtain day passes at Jolly Harbour Resort for access to their facilities, which include pools, restaurants, and recreational activities.

If you’re staying on the island for more than a day, Antigua has an amazing variety of affordable luxury accommodations.

9. Go on a Catamaran Tour

Wadadli Cats provide one of the best Antigua shore excursions!

They offer catamaran tours around the island the island. 

You can pick from three exciting cruises. 

A Circumnavigation of the entire island, a shorter tour of Cades Reef or a private charter to Great Island Bird. 

Whichever one you choose, you’ll explore the beautiful bays, barrier reefs and crystal clear waters.

pillars of hercules antigua

10. Try Local Cuisine

On your cruise day, don’t miss out on trying the food in Antigua!

It is some of the best I’ve ever had. 

From fresh seafood options like conch fritters and grilled lobster, to fiery jerk chicken, there is a wide range of different foods for you to try.

They have special dishes like pepperpot, fungi, and saltfish.

If you have a sweet-tooth, they also have great natural juices and coconut tarts.

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Trying Antiguan food is a must to understand its culture and hospitality.

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock in Antigua?

Cruise ships dock in St. John’s Harbour. 

The preferred docking point for top cruise lines is Heritage Quay, although Redcliffe Quay and Nevis Street Pier are also options. 

During peak times, the harbor can get busy. Sometimes they also use the Deep Water Harbour port, just 1.5km away from St. John’s.

A popular stop for many cruisers is the Heritage Quay Shopping Center, a duty-free shopping mall.

For history buffs, Redcliffe Quay is a must-visit spot with charming colonial-style buildings housing boutiques, galleries, and dining options. 

How Many Ships Can the Antigua Cruise Port Handle?

The Antigua Cruise Port can accommodate up to five cruise ships at a time. 

Popular cruise lines that visit Antigua include Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises. 

On average, most ships will spend approximately 6 to 8 hours in port.

Some may stay for just a few hours while others may opt for a full-day excursion.

Tips for Visiting Antigua on Cruise Day 

Be sure to pack essentials like sunscreen, hats, and water for outdoor activities. 

You should also have some local currency on hand for purchases at smaller shops and markets. 

Most importantly, don’t forget to check the return time for your ship so you won’t miss departure!

FAQs 

How Far is the Beach from Cruise Port in Antigua?

The distance from the cruise port to most beaches in Antigua is around 5-10 kilometers. 

Popular beaches like Dickenson Bay or Runaway Bay are a short taxi drive or walk away from St. John’s.

What is Antigua Best Known For?

When people think of Antigua, they often think of the beautiful beaches.  

With 365 different beaches to choose from – one for every day of the year – each offering its own unique charm and beauty.

But that’s not all Antigua has to offer. 

Antigua is also known for its sunny climate, maritime history, welcoming locals, and vibrant festivals.

Is St. John’s Antigua Walkable?

Yes, St. John’s is mostly walkable in the central area where shops, restaurants, markets, and historical sites are located. 

To explore outside of the central area, you should use taxis, a rental car or tours. 

Keep in mind that it can be hot in Antigua.

Walking long distances under the sun may not be comfortable for everyone.

What is the Best Beach in Antigua From Cruise Port? 

The best beaches in Antigua near the cruise port are Dickenson Bay or Runaway Bay.

Both offer soft white sands and calm waters, perfect for swimming and relaxation. 

Final Thoughts on Visiting Antigua by Cruise Ship

Taking a cruise to Antigua is an amazing opportunity to discover the natural beauty and vibrant culture of this Caribbean destination.

With its beautiful beaches, rich heritage, and varied activities, Antigua offers an unforgettable experience for passengers on cruise ships. 

Whether you are a first-time visitor or returning, the warmth and welcoming nature of Antigua will surely leave a lasting impression. 

So make the most out of your time on land and soak up the sun in Antigua!

 

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