Curacao cruises are very popular with visitors who enjoy day excursions around the island; with those on yacht and sailing charters stopping at the other islands of the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire and Aruba) and the nearby coast of Venezuela; and for large ocean-going liners that cruise throughout the Caribbean (embarking in United States ports like Miami, New Orleans, and Houston). Virtually all of the people on any of these sea journeys will participate in Curacao cruise excursions that visit at least one of the island’s main attractions, if not more.
One of the most popular Curacao cruises for those who are staying at hotels and resorts on the island is a day trip to Klein Curacao, a tiny uninhabited island located off the southeastern tip of the main island. This is wonderful place to simply enjoy the largest and most pristine of Curacao’s beaches and some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the region. In fact, visitors to the island who enjoy these kinds of Curacao cruise excursions do so to get in some snorkeling and diving. Day trips like these do not have to depart from the Curacao Mega Pier in the capital city of Willemstad, but can set off from numerous beaches and resorts up and down the coast.
In fact, it is possible to simply wander down to the harbor in Willemstad and negotiate Curacao cruises with almost any local boat operator for an afternoon out on the water. Small fishing boats often will pull up onto beaches to work on their boats or fishing gear and to unload their day’s catch. Westpunt Beach, on the northeast coast between Playa Kenepa Grandi and Playa Kalki Beach, is routinely used by fishermen for this purpose. If you are staying at resorts or hotels in this area, Westpunt Beach is a great place to book one of these.
The historic capital of Willemstad (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is where all those in small yachts from other islands must first check in with customs and immigration authorities, and the port city has several piers and marinas where they can tie up. This city is also the only port on the island that can accommodate large passenger ships. Inside the protected harbor is the Curacao Cruise Terminal where mid-size ships (100 to 200 passengers) dock. In order to reach it, the pontoon bridge spanning St. Anna Bay that divides the city in two must be retracted—quite a sight for the passengers as they make their way into the picturesque harbor. The mega ships (holding several hundred or even a few thousand passengers) are too large to get into the harbor. These ships must dock one at a time at the aptly named Curacao Mega Pier that is built out into the sea off the Otrobanda District of the city.
Another Curacao Mega Pier is planned so that two ships can be accommodated. Otrobanda is just across St. Anna Bay from the Punda District, which boasts the best preserved and most historic part of the city, and includes the best of its legendary shopping outlets and numerous dining spots. It is also the location of Fort Amsterdam. Virtually all tourists will enjoy tours of this area during their visit, and Curacao cruise excursions to this district are offered by all passenger ships for at least a few hours.