St Kitts and Nevis is a small country formed by two islands in the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies. The capital city of St Kitts, Basseterre, is one of the oldest seaports in the Eastern Caribbean. Travelling to St. Kitts is a must-do in a lifetime! The small island embodies excellent diversity of attractions for cruise travellers. From the breathtaking beaches to the spectacular view from Timothy Hill and the adventurous sightseeing on a scenic railway (the only and last operational railway in the Caribbean), St. Kitts & Nevis as a tourist destination has it all!
St Kitts and Nevis islands have one of the major Caribbean ports often included in the Caribbean itineraries due to its rich cultural and historical heritage, its gorgeous beaches and stunning sights and its November 2021 Cruise Schedule is ongoing!
St. Kitts anticipates an increase in cruise ship arrivals which includes four inaugural calls from top cruise lines. This month St. Kitts will receive 28 cruise calls with an estimated total of 72,163 passengers.
Four cruise ships arrived in the first week of November, marking the island’s first four-ship-week since the pandemic. St. Kitts being the only marquee port in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to receive four ships.
The cruise ships arrive early in the morning and depart before the sunsets. During your cruise, you will have ample time to explore the island’s top attractions and highlights.
Regular Cruise ships at St. Kitts
In the period immediately preceding the pandemic (2018-2019), about 600 cruise ships with around 1,5 million passengers berthed at Port Zante, St. Kitts. Luxury cruises such as Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn and Regent, visit St Kitts regularly, as do vessels of upper premium cruise lines like Viking, Azamara, Cunard and Oceania. Celebrity Princess and Holland America also offer cruises visiting Port Zante but only in the high season. Major European cruise lines like AIDAsol, Marella Cruises, MSC and P&O also visit St Kitts. Practically all major cruise lines visit Port Zante, from mega-ships like Norwegian’s Epic, Gem, and Dawn, RCI-Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, Carnivals’ Sunshine, Fascination, Breeze and Magic, Allure of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.
St Kitts cruise port
On the island’s south shore, in its capital, Basseterre, domiciles the cruise port in St Kitts. Most cruise ships dock in St Kitts at Port Zante in Basseterre, with its famous Terminal, located in the Historical Old Town of Basseterre, which is just a walking distance from the Port. Cruise ships will have to anchor or dock at the Cargo Port located just 2 km east of Basseterre, and then tender boats are utilized to transfer the cruise passengers ashore. Port Basseterre has two berths that can accommodate both cargo ships and large cruise vessels. Staying onboard is not an option for the cruise port.
Things to do at St Kitts cruise port
Once you exit the terminal area onto Bay Road street, you will see numerous shops and restaurants and a few historical landmarks. Basseterre’s historic old town is located close by, where you will find an old, arched 19th-century building housing the National Museum. Here you can learn about St Kitts’ rich cultural heritage and also enjoy exhibits on local history. Not too far off, you will also come across Berkeley Memorial, a green iron clock tower positioned in the middle of the Circus Square and a small yet busy roundabout that used to be the site of slave auctions back in the past.
Another historic and spectacular site is the UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Brimstone Fortress, a construct of the British military between the 17th and 18th centuries. It was erected using African slaves to protect the island from a French sea attack during the European colonization in the Caribbean. This fortress sits on a steep volcanic hill providing stunning views of the island’s coastline, countryside and nearby islands. Besides the Brimstone Fortress, there are many cultural attractions and landmarks to visit. Cruise travelers can enjoy exciting watersports at the famous beaches and clubs or a relax while sunbathing under the Caribbean Sun. The exuberant rainforest can equally be explored on foot or enjoyed on an exciting Zip Line.
There is also the fun part, which is shopping. Port Zante proudly boast more than 60 duty-free stores, clothing, cosmetics, watches, handmade souvenirs and jewelry. There is also a small craft market called Amina craft market, where you can buy artwork and handicrafts also designed and made by locals.
You must visit Fort George Citadel! Right here, you can explore the Fort George Museum with exciting displays of exhibits and historical artefacts. In an airconditioned room, stories of the locals, slaves and soldiers are told while watching short videos about Fort’s history.
At Independence Square, you will find the Immaculate Conception Catholic Co-Cathedral, built out of a grey stone in the early 20th century. Close by are a beautiful park, fountains and benches to sit and relax. The square has a lot of trees and shades to relax under. Along Fort street, you will see another architectural wonder, Saint George, with Saint Barnabas Anglican Church and a fantastic bell tower. It was built on the site of a former Notre Dame Catholic church dating from the 17th century. These two historical churches are surrounded by finely well-maintained surroundings that are away from the Circus’ hustle and bustle.
Do not miss the railway ride! This railway was initially constructed for the sole purpose of transporting sugar cane from St Kitts’ sugar plantations to the sugar factory in Basseterre in the early 20th century. The tour takes 2 hours 45 minutes, taking you around the eastern part of the island as you enjoy breathtaking views from the top. The remaining 12 miles can be covered using the small, air-conditioned sightseeing buses. This railway is the last in the West Indies and the only operational railway in the Caribbean. It is a 30-mile circle route by train and a small sightseeing bus! The route takes you through the Caribbean countryside as you learn all about the history of St. Kitts.
Local Tour Guides
Although there are numerous informed local guides and independent tour operators in St Kitts, it is essential to do basic research before embarking on the cruise line. Most local guides offer specifically tailored tours and, above all, with much smaller groups. __M.E.