I have enjoyed most of the cruise ports which I have visited but there are a couple which I would not return to. I would go as far as to say that if I was to cruise to these places again I would prefer to stay on the ship than get off! Please bare in mind that I usually just try and get off the ship and wander around by myself. I like to explore alone and do not have the money to pay for excursions. I’m sure you can do great excursions in the following places but personally I would stay on the ship if I was to return.

Nassau, Bahamas.

Nassau is on most Caribbean itineraries but, in my opinion, it should be bypassed completely. It is dirty, dangerous and unfriendly. The whole place seemed run down and there were a lot of people around who made me feel unsafe. I did not do an excursion while in port which may have been where I went wrong. I thought I could get off the ship and walk around, this turned out to be a mistake.

You could not walk anywhere without people trying to sell you things, they would quite aggressively get in front of you and not take no for an answer. At one point a couple of men shouting something at me from a passing car which I didn’t appreciate! I can’t really remember what it was but it certainly wasn’t a compliment. It was generally difficult to get around because of people constantly trying to get you to get in their taxi or get you to buy something from them.

Tangier, Morocco.

I have heard of a lot of cruisers who have had bad experiences with excursions in Tangier. I didn’t take an excursion and again just tried to go for a walk. Tangier is on this list simply because I have no idea why it is a cruise port, there is nothing there. We walked along the main road and got back on the ship after becoming fed up of people trying to sell us things.

The whole place looked very neglected. I don’t think Tangier is developed enough to deal with the number of tourists getting off the larger cruise ships, it needs substantial investment. I feel that this post about the port sums it up well: Is Tangier a terrible introduction to cruising?

Roatan, Honduras.Least favourite cruise ports - Roatan Honduras

Before you even set sail to Honduras you’re told how dangerous it is. I was recently watching ‘the worlds most dangerous prison’ which was in Honduras. Honduras actually has the highest murder rate in the world and an NCL crew member was shot and killed when visiting, reading these things before my cruise did not fill me with confidence.

Despite this I did not feel unsafe during my trip to Honduras (much safer than Nassau!) but it did feel very manufactured. The port was nice enough. There are lots of shops but I was left wondering about what lies outside the port. It was almost impossible to get out of the port as a solo traveler, if you were not on an excursion you were more or less confined to the port. I got off the ship, bought a new hat, took a couple of photos and spent the rest of my day onboard taking advantage of the quiet ship. At least I can say I have visited Honduras, technically.

Since my trip I have been made aware of a number of really cool things that I could have done in Honduras, all of which require a ton of cash though!

It is very pretty though…

Worst Cruise Ports - Roatan Honduras

La Rochelle, France.

I don’t have a lot to say about this one but I do believe that it needs a mention as I definitely wouldn’t get off again if I was on another cruise to La Rochelle. It was full of beggars and very little else. At least Honduras/Nassau were pretty places. La Rochelle really had no redeeming features for me.

I know a number of people who have been to La Rochelle before the influx of cruise ships. They all report having a lovely holiday so I’m unsure if the cruise ship industry has been good for La Rochelle.

Cozumel, Mexico.

Again, I really don’t know why this port is on so many itineraries. Maybe it is because cruise lines are able to make a lot of money from this port due to the complete lack or anything to do if you don’t book an excursion. The only thing there is a shopping centre where people will try and shout at you to get you to go into their shops. They kept saying ‘which one do you like? which one do you like?’ walking around was a struggle.

It was nice to get off and stretch my legs but think the day was better spent on the ship. I would not get off if I was to visit again. Below is a photo of me in Cozumel in front of the Norwegian Getaway.Cozumel Mexico NCL Norwegian Getaway
Have you been to any cruise ports which you didn’t like? Please let me know in the comments. Also let me know if you agree/disagree with any of the ports mentioned. I may have had better experiences if I had been on excursions, but I like my usual approach of just wandering. Feel free to prove me wrong about these places! I would love to hear how you disagree and had a fabulous time in one of the above ports. Let me know what you did so that if I do ever return, I won’t make the same mistakes again.

Author

I'm Emma, a 23 year old travel blogger based in the UK who strongly believes that cruising isn't just for old people!

27 Comments

  1. Misti Anderson Reply

    Totally agree with Nassau! Ugh
    Love Cozumel, but we love beach breaks and Mr. Sanchos. Roatan is hit or miss depending on what you do. Preplan and it’s great. Just walking off the ship not so much!

    • emmaleteace Reply

      Yeah I do agree, I normally just try to walk off.. excursions are so expensive I tend not to bother. But now I know if I ever go back to these places I should 🙂 (still prefer to go somewhere else….)

  2. I had a wonderful time on roatan. I booked my own tour with Steve Hamiliton Tours. I highly recommend Steve’s services. We, 2 of us, had a beach break at banarama. Steve set us all up there and waited for us we spent a couple of hours there. Then, he took us for a tour all around the island and we wanted to zipline and steve took us to this place that has you zipline through the jungle. 20 lines for like $45…. and at the zipline place not far from the ship, there is a bar & restaurant. We drank Honduran beer and had the best honduran food there.

    • emmaleteace Reply

      That sounds brilliant! If ever I go back I would definitely like to do something like this, love ziplines.

    • Thank you Lynn for the kind words, Steven and I work hard to make sure every island guests has an enjoyable day on our Beautful island.

      Funny how people react to propanda from the US. The post creator didn’t even venture beyond the port but came to the conclusion Roatan is dangerous. A biased and unfair write up that doesn’t represent the island and other areas of Honduras. Guess some people will never know.

      • emmaleteace Reply

        Don’t think American propaganda affected my opinion! Im from the UK and honestly had never thought about Honduras before.

        I completely agree that my experience doesn’t reflect what Honduras has to offer, and that’s what I didn’t like. I am used to getting off (mostly in European ports) and being able o wander freely for the day. I was not able to do this in Honduras and as a result wouldn’t chose to return on a cruise.

        I’m sure Honduras has a lot to offer but I am not in a position to pay hundreds for excursions so I didn’t get to see any of it!

        Thanks for the comment though, I appreciate your opinion. You clearly know more about Honduras than me 🙂

        • Here’s your chance Emma! If you ever take a western Caribbean cruise again, I will personally escort you for the entire day on the island, at no cost to you. Have a great weekend.

          • emmaleteace

            What a lovely offer! Shame it isn’t closer as I could do with some sunshine right about now 🙂

            Thank you, you too!

          • Hi Michael, Lynn and Emma,

            This has been a really interesting read for us as we are we are cruising to Roatan in November. Unsure of what to expect or to do, I will take a look at your the company you recommended Steve Hamilton Tours to see what would suit. We are a group of 11 with two who have mobility problems so will be interesting to see what is on offer. Thanks for having this healthy debate!

          • Emma Le Teace

            Yay! Glad something good came out of this article, I hope you have a fabulous time.

  3. We did Roatan 15 years ago shortly after it became a stop. We booked a day at Fosters resort. They picked us up and drove us to the resort on the beach. It included lunch and an adult drink. We had a great day.

    I agree that anything outside of the port area didn’t look safe.

    • emmaleteace Reply

      That sounds nice! Still think I’d stay on the ship if I went again though, enjoy a quiet pool and a good drink 🙂

  4. Nancy Chase Reply

    I agree with most of the ports you have mentioned (have not been to Tangier although going to Casablanca in February). I found in my 5 or 6 times in Cozumel, however, that there are tons of things to do. Don’t waste your time in or near the cruise ship – explore!! We always arrange private tours with Trip Advisor-recommended companies and see wonderful archeological sites, beaches, restaurants and meet the nicest residents. Sometimes we take what we call the “puke ferry” (not entirely a pleasant experience but a must do) over to the mainland and go to one of the ecological parks or to Tulum to see the pyramid or swim below it. It’s a great place. Go see it.

    • emmaleteace Reply

      I definitely would consider something like that if I went back, the ‘puke ferry’ doesn’t sound fabulous though haha!

      I rarely do excursions, I’m so many miles from Cozumel I’ve already spent thousands to get there, normally don’t have excursion money so just try to go for an explore. That plan works well in most ports but not these ones…

      Thanks for your comment, if I went back I think I would have to do something like that 🙂

    • Funny you call it the puke ferry. It was the one boat ride where I saw a person. Physically turn green. Till then I thought it was just a saying. We have done it a few times and it was only rough that one time.

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  6. Alda Moreira Reply

    Don’t like Nassau and in Roatan we only go for the fantastic beaches and snorkling (always with independent tours, we dont pay fortunes for the cruisehip tours….)
    But love Cozumel…there are beaches 20/30 minutes from the port that are perfect for relax. for us (portuguese) it’s easy to speak spanish so everything is fine in mexico 😉
    In Moroco only know Marraquexe, where I spent one week last year…contrarely to casablanca (or tangier from my understood) Marraquexe is magic, diferent, crazy…loved it so,so much…the sounds, the smells, the markets…

    We always explore, never stay in port….some years ago met a couple at dinner time who only went to ports and stay next to the ship…they were always amazed with the photos we had to show them during our dinner time and were always asking us where were the beautifull places…then they told us after a couple of days that they only explore the ports near the ship… 🙂

    • emmaleteace Reply

      Thats a good idea, I think if I went again I would definitely book an independent tour. A lot of my problems came from thinking I could get off the ship and just wander around…

      Thank you for commenting 🙂

  7. Totally agree with you on Roatan. We cruised with NCL and it was a “private Island” type experience. Tons of people packed into a small beach. Beautiful fish but will avoid going back.

    We just got back from Nassau and it didn’t really bother us that much. (3rd time there). We just walked down to Junkaboo beach which is a public beach. It’s a little rough around the edges, but quite an authentic experience and the people at the Tiki Bar were very friendly.

    I would include Puerto Quetzal Guatemala as one of the worst. There is absolutely nothing to do short of excursions. We went to Antigua which is one of my favorite towns in Latin America, but it’s so far from the port that you have to take a cruise ship tour and you are not there long enough to really appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the town–and the bus forces you to get out at some jewelry store. Having said that, Guatemala is one of the most amazing countries in the world–just fly there and stay a couple of weeks.

    • emmaleteace Reply

      Glade you agree about Roatan, people seem to like to argue with me about this one!

      I have never been to Guatemala, would love too. Will definitely take your advice onboard if I do make it there. Sadly its often the way that the port is too far away from anything. I hate feeling forced into excursions, my favourite ports are the ones where I can spontaneously wander around.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  8. I agree regarding Honduras. We did not leave the bounds of the port area, always felt uncomfortable. However, at least we can say that we have been there.

    Cozumel was great. We were there shortly after the new pier opened and it was relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable.

    Belize was not so much fun either. You get tendered in, but there was no cruise berth as such so we were hounded by youngsters trying to sell their fake goods.

    • emmaleteace Reply

      Glad you agree with me about Honduras. I enjoyed the day on the ship that day. Same with Belize really!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  9. Marseilles, France 😳 everyone on board began referring to it as the Ghetto! Enough said really…Also Palermo, Italy is one of those places where its like why are you even a cruise port please? 🙄

    • emmaleteace Reply

      Ha ha! Some places are ports just because they’re by the sea…

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  11. The absolute whose port we’ve ever been was Barbados, again, my wife and I like to make our own way, the tour operators and taxi drivers were the rudest and most beligerant group I have ever been in contact with, they were almost to the point of violence to each other, and prices just kept on getting higher and higher, I finally told them what poor ambassadors they were and that I was going to report them to the tourism commission, which we did when we reentered the port.

    • Emma Le Teace Reply

      Ha ha sounds horrible! I’ve never been so can’t really comment.

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