Cruise to Dominica, the Paradise of the Caribbean

Port of Roseau at sunset on a cruise to Dominica.
Leaving the port of Roseau, Dominica at sunset. The fog rolls in over the mountains again.

The Nature Island, a cruise to Dominica is a voyage to an ecological paradise.

Early morning, your first glimpse of Dominica are the verdant mountains covered by a thin veil of mist that rises high above the turquoise-grey sea. Cruise to Dominica and venture inland to find active volcanoes, steaming hot springs and bubbling sulphur ponds. Waterfalls cascade down dozens of mountainsides while crystal clear rivers and streams flow through National Parks. UNESCO designated one of Dominica’s National Parks as a World Heritage Site. Pack your hiking shoes for an all-day guided tour to the world’s second largest volcanically heated lake. Dominica is a hidden paradise waiting to be explored, tasted and viewed.

Where is Dominica?

Looking to the distance, the fog is almost gone by late morning.
Looking to the distance, the fog is almost gone by late morning.

The island of Dominica (pronounced dahm-in-EEK-ka) has a perfect location in the middle of the chain of the Caribbean islands. Because of the distance from the southern ports in the U.S. (not including departures from San Juan), Dominica is reached only on 10-night or longer Caribbean cruises.

Clothes to Pack for Your Visit

The first waterfall to view at Trafalgar Falls on your cruise to Dominica.
The first waterfall to view at Trafalgar Falls. Don’t wear sandals to trek through Morne Trois Pitons National Park. 

If you plan to trek inland on a shore excursion, expect it to be quite hot and humid due to the lush mountains and dense vegetation, especially in the summer. Sunshine and rainbows quickly follow sudden rainstorms that appear from behind the mountains. However, it rains year-round in the rainforest so pack a rain poncho in addition to your hiking shoes, if heading inland. Temperatures usually hover around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit year-round with a cool sea breeze and less humidity from December through May.

Best Time to Visit is Anytime

Stop for a cold drink at the Fort Young Hotel before crossing the street to the pier on your cruise to Dominica.
Stop for a cold drink at the Fort Young Hotel before crossing the street to the pier. It can get pretty hot here.

January through May means that the hurricane season has passed and days are generally sunny and getting warmer. Sperm whales are spotted off the coast year-round while February-April is ideal for sighting Humpback whales. Much of the month of November is spent in celebration of Dominica’s Independence Day from the British. Expect anything from live music to local street fairs with plenty of spicy Creole food to tempt your senses

Shopping in Town

At Roseau, the shops and restaurants are right at the port.
At Roseau, the shops and restaurants are right at the port.

The majority of ships dock in downtown Roseau, the capital of Dominica. Shore excursions depart from the gangway area. It’s a short walk to the Old Market Plaza. Once a slave trading post, it’s the place to buy local hand-made and hand-carved arts and crafts. Shop at dozens of well-known Caribbean boutiques and along the main street, from typical souvenir stores to luxury boutiques. all duty-free. Bring home locally made hot sauce or a few bottles of indigenous spices to bring home.

A Taste of Dominica

Given the incredibly fertile soil and no shortage of rain, Dominica produces almost all of their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices that you’ll find in homes and on restaurant menus. As you travel into the countryside, the scents from spice trees fill the air. Exotic fruits and oversized vegetables grow in nearly everyone’s backyard. Cold drinks made from watermelon, mango or even pumpkin are homegrown staples and refreshingly delicious.

Spend a Day at the Beach

Soufriere Beach is located near Champagne Beach. An unusual black sand beach with a rocky stretch, Soufriere Beach is even less crowded than Champagne Beach. There are no restrooms at the beach but there is a snack bar. You’ll have to venture into Soufriere Bay (the town) to find a restaurant and facilities. But don’t let that deter you. It’s a gorgeous, secluded beach with great snorkeling.

Dominica is quickly becoming a popular cruise destination with something for everyone to do, especially if a visit to a lush, mountainous ecology-friendly island is an allure. Don’t expect a horizon dotted with gleaming high rise hotels or fast food outlets. Come prepared to be amazed at the flora, fauna, food and waterfalls on this unique southern Caribbean island.

Cruise Lines that visit Dominica include: Carnival, Princess and Star Clippers.

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