The Bay Islands of Honduras receive visitors from around the world on a daily basis. Many arrive via the international airport on the island of Roatan, while others arrive via domestic flights or ferry trips from the Honduran mainland. But there are also many visitors who arrive via cruise ships in the Bay Islands.
The Bay Islands of Guanaja, Roatan, and Utila offer an incredible variety of activities and fun things to do while visiting. This is a natural playground where you can explore, learn, and marvel at the wonders around you.
Scuba diving has long been the main draw for tourists to the islands, but today, there are so many more options for things to do! You can fly through the jungle, explore the ocean depths, or tee off on greens overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
For the many cruise ship guests who arrive in the Bay Islands, you'll find that a single day is simply not enough to enjoy all the wonders of these stunning island gems. It is not uncommon for cruise ship guests to return home and immediately book a vacation directly back to the islands for a longer stay. In fact, it's not even uncommon for cruise ship guests to fall so in love with the Bay Islands that they come back looking for their own bit of real estate.
Where do ships dock in the Bay Islands?
For the Bay Islands, cruise ships arrive predominantly in Roatan. Guanaja has received a few smaller ships, but there are two large ports on the island of Roatan for receiving the vast majority of cruise ships in the Bay Islands.
The Port of Roatan was the original dock on the island, built in the Bay Islands' capital of Coxen Hole. The port receives the main lines of Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and some smaller lines as well.
The second port on Roatan is called Mahogany Bay. It was built by Carnival Corporation, so all Carnival, Princess, Oceania, Holland America, and Regent Seven Seas ships will dock there. Mahogany Bay also regularly receives Costa, Thomson Cruises, and P&O ships. Mahogany Bay is located between Coxen Hole and French Harbour, near Brick Bay where the Galaxy Wave ferry docks after arriving from La Ceiba.
For both cruise ship ports, guests can book shore excursions in advance, or they can opt to explore the island on their own. Taxi association members are available inside the gates of both ports and are able to offer island tours or roundtrip transportation to the destination of your choosing. You can book any other activities directly with the company before boarding your cruise.
Advice for Visitors on Cruise Ship Days
For visitors who are staying on-island when cruise ships arrive, keep in mind that certain areas of Roatan will suddenly be much busier than normal. West Bay Beach will entertain many more guests, while other activities might have stricter time schedules because of the cruise ship schedule. If you are visiting Roatan for a week, try to plan your activities around the days that cruise ships are in port.
The busiest time of year for cruise ships is the winter, typically between the end of December and the beginning of April, with far fewer ships arriving throughout the summer and autumn.