The 10 Worst Ports For Cruise Ship Tourists

Photo of author


worst ports for cruise

Hello Cruise Fans!

Unfortunately, sometimes our vacation may not go as we imagine.

The places we visit on a cruise don’t always stay in our hearts. Sometimes we may call at ports that we don’t like and that disappoint us.
It has happened to me several times and continues to happen as I explore new itineraries.

But what are the worst ports for cruise ship passengers? I have created a ranking with the 10 worst in the world according to cruise passenger reviews.

1. Samaná (Dominican Republic)

Samana cruise port
Samana (Dominican Republic)

Samaná is a small part town in the Dominican Republic. It offers stunning natural beauty with opportunities for whale watching and visits to the beautiful Cayo Levantado.

However, the port has different big problems that need to be addressed. First, it’s a bit too underdeveloped for cruise passengers. Disembarkation often requires tenders, which can be really time-consuming, especially when there are multiple ships.

Moreover, the road infrastructure is not good so travel to popular attractions is very uncomfortable.

Samaná also has fewer amenities and services that are typically expected by cruise passengers who are accustomed to more developed ports. The area may be appealing for adventure seekers but might disappoint those looking for a typical tourist-oriented atmosphere.

2. Prince Rupert (Canada)

Prince Rupert canada cruise port
Prince Rupert (Canada)

Prince Rupert (in British Columbia) is quite a famous port for cruises in Alaska.

It’s mainly known for its rich First Nations culture and wildlife but it faces significant challenges related to its climate and location.

One of the most frequent complaints in reviews is the frequent rainfall that can impede outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife watching, which are usually major attractions.

Moreover, while it offers unique experiences like the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary and the Museum of Northern British Columbia, there’s a lack of typical tourist infrastructure, facilities, and amenities.

As far as I know, the local economy isn’t as reliant on tourism that’s why there are fewer experiences for cruise passengers.

3. Sihanoukville (Cambodia)

Sihanoukville cruise port
Sihanoukville (Cambodia)

Sihanoukville in Cambodia was a laid-back beach destination but it has undergone rapid industrialization and development, which led to significant environmental and social changes.

Nowadays, the influx of casinos and large-scale construction projects has transformed the landscape, and actually detriment its beachfront appeal.

Cruise passengers don’t like the pollution and overcrowding on beaches, the aggressive commercial tactics from local vendors, and the general chaos that comes from ongoing construction.

In short, it was a very disappointing port of call for those who wanted to relax and enjoy nature.

4. Ocho Rios (Jamaica)

Ocho Rios cruise port
4. Ocho Rios (Jamaica)

Ocho Rios in Jamaica is known for its beautiful waterfalls and resorts. However, the area has different problems.

First, the high number of aggressive vendors and the proliferation of tourist traps. They definitely ruin the idea of an authentic Jamaican experience.

Moreover, in many reviews cruise passengers expressed safety concerns, in particular theft and even more serious crimes in less tourist-friendly areas.

According to some reviews, it is one of the worst cruise ports if you’re looking for a genuine experience and a connection with the true local life.

5. Santa Marta (Colombia)

Santa Marta cruise port
Santa Marta (Colombia)

Santa Marta in Colombia has a very rich history and culture and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes like the Sierra Nevada mountains and panoramic beaches.

However, it has a problem with safety, especially petty crime. Different tourists reported thefts or muggings once they got off the ship.

In addition, there’s also a problem with cleanliness and public infrastructure maintenance that can negatively impact the city’s historical and cultural appeal.

Many people noted the disparity between tourist areas and the city’s poorer neighborhoods.

To sum up, despite its potential as a cultural and natural destination, these challenges can significantly impact the overall experience. If you’re going there manage your expectations and prepare accordingly.

6. Santos (Brazil)

Santos cruise port
Santos (Brazil)

Santos is definitely not a small port town. It has grown over the years and is also very close to São Paulo, which is the most populous city in Brazil.

As you might expect, the port itself is heavily industrialized, not designed for leisurely strolls or to provide easy access to attractions.

Many passengers found it too confusing and the shuttle system was a bit too difficult to understand.

Moreover, the immediate area around the port lacks tourist-friendly amenities. Different cruise experts recommend going to São Paulo, which however is about 52 miles (80km) away.

7. Santorini (Greece)

Santorini cruise
Santorini (Greece)

I know you would not have expected Santorini on this list of the worst cruise ports.

I want to clarify right away, this Greek island is beautiful and I have personally been there several times.

But why then is it on this list? Because it is among the ports of call that get very often canceled.
Unfortunately, very strong winds often blow in Santorini, and the island is among the tender ports.

Because of this, tender operations are often complicated and it is difficult to land and depart the island smoothly.

8. Le Havre (France)

Le Havre city cruise
Le Havre (France)

Another port in Europe that is not considered among the best is definitely Le Havre in France.

It is described by visitors as a city with an uninspiring city center, with just a few things to do and see. Plus, on Sundays most local shops and attractions are completely closed.

Some cruise passengers decide to go directly to Paris, the problem is that it is about 2.40 hours by car or about 3 hours by bus.
A significantly large distance, especially for cruise ships that stop in the port just for a few hours.

9. Belize City (Belize)

Belize City cruise
Belize City (Belize)

Belize City is a destination that you can sometimes find in Caribbean itineraries.

This city does not always provide the most welcoming experience for cruise passengers. The tender ride from ship to shore is long, and upon arrival, visitors often face a swarm of aggressive vendors.

There are some historical sites and activities that are worth a visit, however, the city itself can sometimes feel unsafe due to high crime rates, which are often related to petty crimes like pickpocketing.

As we saw with many cities in this list, the “tourist areas” sharply contrast with the less developed parts of the city, which might not meet visitors’ expectations of a tropical paradise.

10. Salvador De Bahia (Brazil)

Salvador De Bahia cruise port
Salvador De Bahia (Brazil)

Salvador De Bahia in Brazil is quite famous for its history and culture, and it’s a pity that it’s considered one of the worst cities for cruise passengers.

The negative evaluations are, almost always, about urban deterioration and some safety issues. According to some reviews, the city’s historic charm is often overshadowed by the visible neglect and graffiti that stain many of its once beautiful facades.

Tourists, from cruise ships, must be cautious, especially against petty theft, which is prevalent in crowded tourist locations. Despite these challenges, Salvador remains a city of vibrant cultural heritage, renowned for its music, cuisine, and annual Carnival.

I think it just needs some adjustments to be reconsidered and get out of this negative ranking.

Please share this article! It can be useful to another cruise enthusiast!

Leave a Comment