Encounter Georgian architecture, reggae culture, cool waterfalls, and blissful beaches on cruises to Jamaica, an island forged by flames, rebellions, and pirates. Learn all about Bob Marley, the island’s most iconic and beloved musician. Climb up natural rock formations at Dunns River Falls, and take a dip in one of the natural pools you’ll encounter along the way. Savor jerk chicken and sip on some famous Blue Mountain coffee. Or simply lay back and relax at one of the beautiful beaches of Montego Bay, where turquoise waters and swaying palm trees await on your luxury Caribbean cruise.
Located in Montego Bay, Doctor’s Cave Beach earned its name after a British osteopath stopped by the beach in the 1920s and boasted about its curative powers and many health benefits. Take a dip or go on a snorkeling excursion in the warm, crystal-clear waters, or enjoy a relaxing day on the white, pristine sand under the shadow of a palm tree.
Step inside the former home of Bob Marley, the musical legend who turned reggae into a global phenomenon. Located in Kingston, this wooden house has been turned into a museum that provides a beautiful look into Marley’s early life and musical legacy. Peek inside Marley’s bedroom, which has been kept exactly as when the music star lived in it. Watch a life-sized 3D hologram of Bob Marley performing at his One Love Peace Concert in 1978. See one of the largest collections of Bob Marley memorabilia, which include his favorite clothes, his collection of gold and platinum records, and his original star guitar.
Visit the majestic 6,600-acre Rose Hall Great House, one of the most famous homes in Jamaica and the setting for a number of Gothic novels and tales. Built in the 18th century, this plantation is said to be haunted by the spirit Annie Palmer, a murderous widow and plantation owner also known as the White Witch. Whether you believe in the macabre legend or not, a trip to this colonial manse turned museum is well worth the visit for architecture lovers or those who just like a good spooky story.
On a Jamaica cruise, descend into the fascinating Green Grotto Caves, a network of underground passageways that are reportedly over five million years old. Located near the area where Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on the Caribbean island, the Green Grotto Caves are a stunning natural attraction full of breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites, light holes, and a crystal-clear grotto lake. Learn about the caves’ rich history and how the Arawaks used it as a refuge from the Spanish colonizers. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the mythical wishing well, where you’re encouraged to toss in a coin for good luck.
Hike up Dunns River Falls, one of Jamaica’s most popular natural attractions and one of the only travertine waterfalls in the world to fall directly into the sea. As you make your way up this 180-foot-high trail of spectacular waterfalls and springs, you’ll pass by captivating natural pools that make for the perfect spot for a refreshing dip in the water. At the end of the falls, you’ll arrive at Little Dunn’s River Beach, another Jamaican oasis where you can rest and relax under the sun.
Embark on an experience of a lifetime by swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove. You can also snorkel with stingrays, learn more about the exotic birds, snakes, and iguanas that live in the neighboring jungle, or simply enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Dolphin Cove’s white sandy beach.
Jamaican cuisine ranges from mild to wild, a result of its British, Spanish, and African influences. One of the staples for breakfast or lunch is saltfish with ackee, a fruit with the taste and texture of scrambled eggs. During your cruise to Jamaica, you must try the legendary flavor of jerk, a signature seasoning invented by runaway slaves which adds a distinctly Jamaican kick to chicken, lamb, pork, fish, and even veggies.
The original name of the island was Xaymaca, which means “land of wood and water.” After Christopher Columbus discovered Jamaica in 1494, the native Arawak people were displaced and the island was colonized and used by the Spanish mainly as a supply base for food and weapons. In 1655, the British attacked Jamaica, and Spain eventually surrendered the island to England.
Under English settlement, pirating was rampant. Buccaneers eventually took control of Port Royal, a town that was known at the time as the “wealthiest and wickedest city in the world.” Sugar exports grew exponentially, and in order to keep up with the demand, enslaved Africans were taken to the island against their will to work in the plantations. There were many slave rebellions and confrontations until 1808, when the Abolition Bill was passed and slavery was finally outlawed.
On August 6, 1962, Jamaica gained independence from England. Even though it is a small island in the Caribbean, Jamaican culture has a strong global influence, specifically in music. Local genres such as reggae, ska, dub, and dancehall are famous around the world.
Cruises to Jamaica dock in the Falmouth cruise port, nestled in between the towns of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. You’ll hear reggae music as soon as you step foot in port, a traditional welcome gesture by local musicians. Nearby, there are several historic attractions in the town of Falmouth, including the Armory at Fort Balcarres, the Glistening Waters Lagoon, and the Albert George Market.
At the Falmouth cruise port, there are buses, minibuses, and route taxis ready to take visitors to the many natural attractions and beaches nearby. Keep an eye out for taxis with a JTB decal, which have been authorized by the Jamaica Tourist Board. When you book a shore excursion, transportation is included.
As soon as you disembark from a cruise to Jamaica, you’ll be able to shop at the Falmouth cruise port and its selection of duty-free shops. There’s also a craft market in the center of the port where you’ll find handmade souvenirs, artifacts, and jewelry.
The official currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar, but United States Dollars are accepted in many tourist destinations. Credit cards and debit cards are also accepted in most tourist areas, but it’s always a good idea to have some local currency on hand. As for tipping, consider tipping anywhere from 15% to 20% for good service. Some places accept tips in both Jamaican and US dollars.