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Cruises to Bonaire

4 Awards
Bonaire (Photo:byvalet/Shutterstock)

About Bonaire

Shy pink flamingos, gentle sad-eyed donkeys and elusive sea turtles all share something quite rare in today's world. They flourish on or around Bonaire, one of the ABC isles (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) deep in the Southern Caribbean. Each lives in sanctuaries set up by island residents who boast an awareness and level of conservation that few countries can match.

Though ecotourism is one of the latest buzzwords in the travel world, Bonaire, just 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, was a world leader in the field of ecology long before the term was even coined. The island's greatest claim to fame is proudly touted on its license plates -- "Divers Paradise." This is no tourist-bureau puffery, although many believe that the license plates should read "Nature Lovers Paradise." Beyond the diving and snorkeling, there's windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Many Caribbean islands brag about their underwater worlds, but Bonaire has set the standard by which everywhere else in the world is measured -- it led the way by protecting sea turtles back in 1961, banning spear-fishing in 1971, making it illegal to remove live coral in 1975 and establishing the first marine park in 1979. It also helps that the island is outside the traditional hurricane zone and is a desert island with no river runoff into the sea.

It has been called "Arizona by the Sea" for its climate and abundance of cacti. There is no rainy season and temperatures are consistently pleasant with lows in the 70s and highs in the 80s. Unlike its better-known neighbors, Aruba and Curacao, this isle of about 20,000 residents is quiet and laid-back. There are no flashy Las Vegas-type casinos as in Aruba or a showy pastel-colored capital city as in Curacao.

The first recorded Bonaire scuba diving began back in 1962 when Don Stewart, a would-be California actor, dropped anchor on this small, arid boomerang of an island. Considered the father of Bonaire diving, he was the first to use fixed moorings to prevent coral damage and helped set up the Caribbean's first island-wide underwater park. He has received numerous international awards for his conservation efforts. The park is a United Nations Environmental Program Model Marine Protected Area.

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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)
Enchanted Princess

20 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)
Enchanted Princess

20 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Riviera
Riviera
Riviera

73 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

691 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Sirena
Sirena
Sirena

27 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

230 Reviews
Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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P&O Cruises

Rotterdam (2021)

10 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Rotterdam (2021)

21 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Rotterdam (2021)

21 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Star Breeze

7 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Aruba
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Silver Moon

11 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Sirena

12 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seabourn Odyssey

33 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Aruba
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Riviera

12 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Rotterdam (2021)

17 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seven Seas Splendor

11 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Rotterdam (2021)

21 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Rotterdam (2021)

10 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seabourn Ovation

21 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seven Seas Navigator

11 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seabourn Ovation

10 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seabourn Ovation

17 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seven Seas Navigator

12 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Clipper

14 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Star Clippers
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Clipper

7 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:Aruba
Cruise Line:Star Clippers
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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MSC Meraviglia

15 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

469 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Carnival Glory

14 Night
Cruise to BonaireDetails

Leaving:New Orleans
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Bonaire?

Pros:

Nature lovers will rejoice in the peace and serenity found on Bonaire, which has some of the world's best diving

Cons:

You won't find the typical Caribbean touristy outposts here, which might be a drawback for some

Bottom Line:

Bonaire offers an authentically Caribbean experience for active and laid-back travelers

Bonaire Cruise Port Facilities?

You'll be docked in downtown Kralendijk, the capital of Bonaire, off Kaya C.E.B. Hellmund. Shopping, dining, bar hopping and even snorkeling and diving are within walking distance of the dock. You will pass through Harborside Mall, a small open-air shopping center, to get from the pier to the street. There are public restrooms here, but they cost $1 to use. Just outside of the center, you can find taxi and tour operator stands for independent exploration.

Good to Know?

Bonaire, like Curacao, is known for being a bit windy. Don't expect gale-force winds, but there are ample breezes for excellent windsurfing.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Across from the pier is Wilhelmina Plaza. On cruise days it becomes the Bonaire Arts and Crafts Cruise Market with local artisans offering native foods, handmade wares, original art and clothing for sale. Cultural dance shows, concerts and other entertainment are held here during the day.

It is an easy walk of just a few minutes to shops and restaurants along the Waterfront Promenade and Kaya Grandi, the main shopping street, one block inland.

By Taxi: Taxis are readily available. Rates are set to various destinations, and you can tour the entire island for $40 per person. Local beaches, the Plaza Resort and Harbourside Village are $20 round trip for up to four people. Popular Sorobon Beach (by Lac Bay) is $40 round trip for up to four people.

By Rental Car: There are a number of car rental companies in Bonaire, but roads are narrow and what used to be one-ways are now two. If you plan on leisurely driving, let other vehicles go around you and stay alert for passing cars and motorbikes. Roads are generally well paved and well-marked, but if you will be driving into Washington Slagbaai National Park, you will need a truck or a Jeep since conditions are rough on unpaved roads. Daily rentals are harder to come by, and more expensive, so arrange yours in advance. Motor scooters and motorcycles are also available for rent as well as bicycles.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The U.S. dollar is the island's official currency. ATMs are available at local banks downtown, the supermarket, Harborside Mall and several resorts.

Language?

The official language of Bonaire is Dutch, but Papiamento, the local dialect of the ABC islands, is widely spoken. "Masha danki" means thank you very much in the language. English is spoken by most locals.


Bonaire Cruise Reviews
We visited with friends who live in Bonaire.... Read More
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Casey2828
After Aruba and Curaçao, Bonaire is kind of redundant... Read More
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beachcomberbill
We had loved Bonaire last year but we decided to stay on the ship this year.... Read More
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Still Dreaming
I love Bonaire - we took a cab to a beach and there was a lot of construction going on there....still the water was beautiful and we enjoyed the day.... Read More
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BWCW3885

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