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Cruises to Dominica

Dominica (Photo:Tadas_Jucys/Shutterstock)

About Dominica

A visit to Dominica (pronounced Do-min-EE-kah) promises to be unlike any other stop on your itinerary. Prepare to slow down, take in the scenery, breathe fresh air, sample fruit right off the trees and experience nature in a way unique to few places on earth.

This "Nature Island" measures 29 miles long by 16 miles wide and encompasses about 290 square miles of untamed rain forest; dense, lush vegetation; waterfalls; freshwater pools and bubbling hot springs, heated by the active underwater volcanoes surrounding the island. Much of the interior can only be reached on foot.

It's easy to see why producers selected Dominica as a backdrop for two sequels in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. As you drive the coastline on roads hacked out of the mountainside, jagged edges plunge into the ocean, as mango trees and ginger root cascade down into the sea.

Once off the ship, head inland to visit the island's impressive national parks or into the water to spot plentiful sea life. Dominica ranks as one of the top sites for scuba-diving in the Caribbean. Its beaches are mostly rocky.

The island features no chain hotels or big-box mega-stores, though there are a Pizza Hut and KFC in Roseau, the capital city.

Originally populated by the Carib tribe of Indians, the island gets its name from Christopher Columbus, who first spotted the land in 1493 on a Sunday. (Domenica means "Sunday" in Italian.) In the 1800's, the French and British fought for control of the island. If you glance at a map of Dominica, it's clear by the town names that the French populated the South (Roseau, Soufriere), while the British occupied the North (Portsmouth).

Eventually, the British conquered the French portion of the island and maintained control until 1978, when Dominica gained independence. The island still has a Carib population of about 3,000; they occupy a northeastern corner of the island. A drive through this "Carib Territory" will give you a rare glimpse at traditional native life in the Caribbean.

Dominica has survived with a predominantly agricultural-based economy that includes bananas. Tourism also remains strong, with Dominica attracting a stream of naturalists who flock to the island to see 172 types of birds, 12 major waterfalls and peaks that rise to 5,000 feet.

Whale-watchers also come in hordes to explore the waters that plunge to nearly 6,000 feet right off the coastline, providing an ideal base for seven types of whales that can be seen nearly year-round, including a resident population of sperm whales.

Weather on the island averages 77 degrees in winter, 82 in summer, although it's cooler in the mountains, humid in the rain forest and warmer on the coast. The driest months are January through April, but don't be surprised if you experience a brief downpour every day.

  • Why go to Dominica?

  • Dominica Cruise Port Facilities?

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Grandeur of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas

7 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

1,716 Reviews
Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Dec 12, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

20 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 9, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

27 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Nov 13, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Enchanted Princess
Enchanted Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

20 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 10, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Viking Cruises Australia (CC)

10 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 19, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:St. Thomas
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
Apr 10, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Antigua
Cruise Line:Star Clippers
Dec 4, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Feb 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Nov 20, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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25 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Nov 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jan 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

190 Reviews
Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Aruba
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Mar 17, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

134 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Nov 14, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Martinique
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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24 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Nov 15, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Feb 21, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Mar 17, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Nov 18, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to DominicaDetails

Leaving:Guadeloupe
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Dominica?

Pros:

With its many national parks and excellent diving, Dominica is ideal for experiencing the unspoiled tropics

Cons:

Walkways in the capital city are narrow, so when a ship is in town they can be quite crowded

Bottom Line:

Though equipped with modern facilities, Dominica is resplendent with nearly untouched nature

Dominica Cruise Port Facilities?

Colorful downtown Roseau spreads out from the dock. The frenetic little city is small geographically but possesses a high concentration of inhabitants. Cocorico Cafe (Bay Front), right across from the pier, is the closest place for snacks, local arts and crafts, and Wi-Fi. A couple of blocks away, the Old Market ranks as one of the best in the Caribbean. The fruit and vegetable stalls provide a nice photo opp, and the local arts and crafts stalls are good places to pick up souvenirs, including Carib baskets.

If you dock in Portsmouth -- the site of a famous battle between the French and English while vying for occupation of the island -- you'll find that the port, located about a half-mile outside of Portsmouth, features a small visitor welcome center and is near some of the only white-sand beaches on the island, as well as Cabrits National Park.

Good to Know?

Especially when exploring Roseau, watch out for crowded, narrow sidewalks. You might find yourself having to walk in the street at times. Also, remember when crossing the street that cars drive on the left.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Most of Roseau's attractions are within a 10-minute walk of the pier.

By Taxi: Taxis line up at both cruise piers -- certified taxis have either an H, HA or HB on their license plates. The approximate rate is $30 per hour. While there are standard prices set for places like Trafalgar Falls ($25), Emerald Pool ($35) and Champagne Beach ($40), drivers try to increase their earnings by selling tours. Four-hour tours typically will be between $80 and $120 for up to four people; walk a block away from the pier for the cheaper prices.

By Rental Car: Operators include Island Car Rental (767-255-6844), which has SUV's available from about $48 per day; Courtesy Car Rental (767-235-7763), which offers free pickup and drop-off and rents Suzuki 4x4's from $54; and (767-275-5337) Road Runner Car Rental, which rents Toyota Rav4's for $59. Driving is on the left, and with the one-lane roads and mountains, distances take longer to travel than you might expect. Also, you are required to pay $12 for a special Dominica driver's license.

By Trolley: The open-air Hibiscus Trolley Train leaves from near the pier and does a tour of Roseau, driving past the cathedral and other examples of colonial Caribbean architecture. If it's not filled with passengers on a ship tour, the individual fare is $29.75 per person for a 90-minute tour.

By Bus: Mini-buses run by private operators serve as the island's public transportation, and they're fairly reliable. Bus stops are designated throughout the island. Fares range from $1 to $5, depending on the route.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, which is relatively stable and pegged to the U.S. dollar. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There are ATM's in Roseau and Portsmouth connected to Cirrus, Star and Plus networks, which dispense E.C. (XCD) dollars. Banks will also change money. U.S. dollars are widely accepted by most tour operators, restaurants and vendors; however, change may be given in local currency.

Language?

The language of Dominica is English. However, many of the locals also speak Creole.

Where You're Docked?

Most ships dock at Roseau Cruise Ship terminal. It's located in town, just steps away from shops, restaurants and transportation. The Port of Woodbridge Bay, less frequently used, is about a mile north of the city.

Some smaller ships may dock at the Portsmouth Cruise Ship facility on the northwestern tip of the island, about 30 miles northwest of Roseau. Travel time is roughly one hour.


Dominica Cruise Reviews
We simply walked around town. This was the island we decided to spend our money on for souvenirs due to the damage they had received from the hurricane.... Read More
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JUST TRIPPIN'
Toured with Levi of Bumpiing Tours. He's awesome. Visited Emerald Falls and the Caribe Territory, among other sites.... Read More
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printingchick
We walked to the Botanical Gardens. Not too impressive.... Read More
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jerseyv
Nice place lovely beaches... Read More
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Richard Longden

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