Thanks! You're all signed up.

X

An Affordable Alternative to Shore Excursions

SmarterTravel

Between the pina coladas, duty-free shopping, and snorkeling excursions you’ll find in port on stereotypical Caribbean cruises, your credit card can easily get more of a workout than you anticipated. But, besides baking to a crisp on a free beach all day, what else is available to cruise passengers who want something that’s both affordable and entertaining? Resort passes.

Such passes offer all-day access to resort amenities like pools, lounge chairs, watersports equipment and activities, food, and beverages. Some even may include meals at upscale restaurants and daytime use of resort rooms, depending on the number of open accommodations.

What’s great about these passes is that they are affordable on just about any budget, are often less expensive than shore excursions, and provide just enough extras to keep cruise-visitor beach bums occupied and comfortable. {{{SmarterBuddy|align=left}}}Many members of SmarterTravel’s sister site, Cruise Critic, find such passes to be great alternatives to traditional shore excursions.

“It’s fun!” member LovetheSea posts on the message boards. “You just take a cab to the resort, buy the pass, and spend the day there. Leave whenever you want to. It is usually a lot cheaper than a ‘Beach Break’ excursion.”

But, while some resorts (like Timothy Beach Resort in St. Kitts, which offers use of its facilities for free) are great for a bargain, some of the others we found (like Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, which charges half of its room rates for day passes) aren’t very economical, unless you’re traveling with a large group.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of a few popular resorts that offer day passes in some of the Caribbean’s most well-known ports.

Antigua

Sandals Grande Antigua

  • What You Get for Your Money: Passes come in three varieties: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $110.50; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., $88.50; and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., $188. Prices include access to all on-property entertainment, meals and drinks, but do not include accommodations. Sandals is a couples’ resort for those 18 and older, so no children’s pricing is available.
  • How to Get There: The resort is located 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit Sandals’ website, or call 888-SANDALS.

Jolly Beach Resort & Spa

  • What You Get for Your Money: This resort in Antigua offers two options for day passes. The first is $75 for adults and $45 for children and includes access to the resort from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as a full breakfast, lunch, beverages, and non-motorized watersports. The second option, $60 for adults and $36 for children, includes continental breakfast, lunch, beverages, and non-motorized watersports from 10:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Day-use room access is available for an additional $50.
  • How to Get There: Jolly Beach is located half an hour from port; take a taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit Jolly Beach’s website, or call 866-905-6559.

Aruba

Occidental Grand Aruba

  • What You Get for Your Money: Passes, which are $85 for adults and about $43 for children, offer access to all amenities, including a buffet lunch, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The price does not, however, include use of a room.
  • How to Get There: Occidental Grand Aruba is a 15-minute taxi ride from port.
  • For More Info: Visit Occidental’s website, or call 800-858-2258.

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

  • What You Get for Your Money: The day passes offered at this Aruba resort include transportation to the resort’s private island, as well as lunch, a drink, and dessert. The cost is $75 per adult and $45 per child and does not include use of a room.
  • How to Get There: This resort is set just two miles from port. A taxi is your best bet.
  • For More Info: Visit Renaissance Aruba’s website, or call 800-421-8188

Barbados

Turtle Beach Resort

  • What You Get for Your Money: For about $100 per adult ($50 per child), a day pass includes access to the resort’s beach, pool, and non-motorized watersports equipment until 6 p.m. Also included are breakfast, lunch, and drinks.
  • How to Get There: The resort is located 20 minutes from port; take a taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit Turtle Beach Resort’s website, or call 246-428-7131.

The Crane

  • What You Get for Your Money: There are two options here. The first offers only beach access for $25 per adult and $12.50 per child (younger than 12). The second, which is $45 per adult and $22.50 per child, will get you access to the beach, pool, gym, and other resort facilities. At the conclusion of your stay, the second option also includes temporary use of a room for showering and changing. All food and drinks cost extra for both options.
  • How to Get There: Because this resort is 45 minutes from the port in Barbados, you’ll need to take a taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit The Crane’s website, or call 246-423-6220.

Casa de Campo

Casa de Campo Resort

  • What You Get for Your Money: A day pass at this resort in Casa de Campo offers lunch at the Beach Club Restaurant, as well as beach access, chair use, drinks, and activities. The cost is $75 per adult and $69 per child.
  • How to Get There: The resort is located 10 minutes from port; take a taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit Casa de Campo Resort’s website, or call 809-523-3333.

Dreams La Romana Resort

  • What You Get for Your Money: Passes here are valid for beach access, food, and drinks between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The cost is $60 for adults and $30 for children.
  • How to Get There: Because this resort is 10 minutes from port, you’ll need to take a taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit Dreams La Romana Resort’s website, or call 809-221-8880.

Cozumel, Mexico

El Cid La Ceiba Beach

  • What You Get for Your Money: Although the price here is the same for both children and adults, the $13 fee will hardly break the bank. Passes allow visitors access to the Cozumel resort’s beach, umbrellas, hammocks, and other on-site amenities. Although meals are not included, a $10 discount is offered, per person. Passes do not include room usage.
  • How to Get There: El Cid La Ceiba Beach is a mere five minutes from port by taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit El Cid’s website, or call 866-796-5571.

Hotel Cozumel & Resort

  • What You Get for Your Money: Passes here include all beverages, food from the resort’s snack bar (which offers indulgent fare, such as hamburgers and chicken wings), and access to the resort’s beach and its amenities (lounge chairs, shades, etc.). The cost is $30 per adult and $15 per child from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost does not include a room.
  • How to Get There: Take a taxi, or walk the one-mile distance from port.
  • For More Info: Visit Hotel Cozumel’s website, or call +52-987-872-9020.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort

  • What You Get for Your Money: Pick up passes here for $12 per person, regardless of age. Included in the price are access to the resort’s beach and pool, as well as chairs, towels, and umbrellas. The price does not include a room, meals, or drinks.
  • How to Get There: Hop on a bus or grab a taxi for the 10-minute trip from Grand Cayman‘s cruise port.
  • For More Info: Visit Grand Cayman Marriott’s website, or call 345-949-0088.

Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa

  • What You Get for Your Money: Passes, which are only offered in the low season (when the resort is not full), cost 50 percent of the current price of a room and include access to the on-site pool, lounge chairs, and other amenities. Meals and day-use room accommodations are not included.
  • How to Get There: This resort is 15 minutes from port by taxi.
  • For More Info: Visit Westin Casuarina’s website, or call 345-945-3800.
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica

    Sandals Montego Bay

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes come in three varieties: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $85; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., $85; and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., $130. Prices include access to all on-property entertainment, meals, and drinks, but do not include accommodations. Because Sandals is a couples’ resort for those 18 and older, no children’s pricing is available.
    • How to Get There: Sandals Montego Bay is a 30-minute drive from port; take a taxi.
    • For More Info: Visit Sandals’ website, or call 888-SANDALS.

    Sunset Beach Resort, Spa & Waterpark

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes include access to resort pools, waterslides, white-sand beaches, activities and games, and non-motorized watersports. All meals and drinks are also included in the price, which is $60 per adult and $40 per child. An additional 5 percent discount is available to groups of 16 or more people.
    • How to Get There: Transfers are available for an additional fee. Sunset Beach Resort is just a five-minute drive from port by taxi.
    • For More Info: Visit Sunset Beach Resort’s website, or call 877-734-3486.

    Nassau, Bahamas

    Atlantis Paradise Island

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes include most of the resort’s must-see sights like the Dig and several marine habitats. You’ll also have access to the beach, but you likely won’t be allowed around the pools or waterslides. Passes are $25 for adults and $19 for children and do not include the use of a room.
    • How to Get There: This resort is a 10- to 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
    • For More Info: Visit Atlantis’ website, or call 888-877-7525.

    Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort

    • What You Get for Your Money: For $25 (half price for children, ages 4 to 12), visitors gain access to the resort’s beach and pools, as well as beach chairs and towels. Not included are meals, drinks, and room usage.
    • How to Get There: From the Nassau cruise port, the Sheraton is a 15-minute ride by local bus or taxi.
    • For More Info: Visit Sheraton Nassau’s website, or call 242-327-6000.

    Ocho Rios, Jamaica

    Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Spa & Conference Center

  • What You Get for Your Money: Passes include access to resort pools, waterslides, white-sand beaches, activities and games, and non-motorized watersports. All meals and drinks are also included in the price, which is $60 per adult and $40 per child. An additional 5 percent discount is available to groups of 16 or more people.
  • How to Get There: The ride from the Ocho Rios cruise port to this resort takes about 10 minutes; shuttles are available for a fee, as is taxi service.
  • For More Info: Visit Sunset Jamaica Grande’s website, or call 877-734-3486.
  • Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Golf Resort

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes come in two varieties: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $85 and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. for $130. Prices include access to all on-property entertainment, meals, and drinks, but do not include accommodations. Because Sandals is a couples’ resort for those 18 and older, no children’s pricing is available.
    • How to Get There: It is a 15-minute taxi ride away from the cruise port.
    • For More Info: Visit Sandals’ website, or call 888-SANDALS.

    Roatan, Honduras

    Fantasy Island Beach Resort

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes here come in four types: $15 per adult for a welcome drink, live music, towels, and chairs; $25 for a welcome drink, live music, towels, chairs, and a lunch buffet; $30 for a welcome drink, live music, towels, chairs, and transfers to and from the cruise port; and $40 for a welcome drink, live music, towels, chairs, a lunch buffet, and transfers to and from the cruise port in Roatan. Children (11 years old and younger) are half price for each option. Rooms are not included. Fantasy Island is a 20-minute ride from port.
    • How to Get There: For those purchasing packages that do not include resort-sponsored transportation, take a taxi.
    • For More Info: Visit Fantasy Island’s website, or call 800-676-2826.

    Mayan Princess Beach Resort

    • What You Get for Your Money: Included with these $10-per-person day passes is access to the resort’s beach, pools, chairs, and towels. Restaurant access is also allowed, but meals are not included. Also not included are drinks and room usage. Children three years old and younger are admitted at no cost.
    • How to Get There: This resort is a 25-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
    • For More Info: Visit Mayan Princess’ website, or call 786-299-5929.

    San Juan, Puerto Rico

    San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes include access to the fitness center, pool area, lounge chairs, and showers. Meals, drinks, and rooms are not included in the $30 cost. Children’s passes can be purchased for $15 for those 12 years old and younger.
    • How to Get There: A taxi ride from San Juan‘s cruise port takes just five minutes.
    • For More Info: Visit San Juan Marriott’s website, or call 888-817-2033.

    InterContinental San Juan

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes here are a bit pricier, clocking in at about $199 per adult. However, pass-holders are entitled to use all resort facilities, as well as a room for the day. Meals, drinks, and transportation to and from the port are not included.
    • How to Get There: Take a taxi for the 15-minute ride.
    • For More Info: Visit InterContinental’s website, or call 787-791-6100.

    St. Kitts

    St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino

    • What You Get for Your Money: Conveniently, this resort offers with-room and without-room options. If you’d like daytime use of accommodations, the cost is $65 per person. Without a room, the cost is $35. Either way, pass-holders are entitled to use of the resort’s pool, spa, and restaurant. Meals, drinks, and spa treatments cost extra.
    • How to Get There: From port, this resort is just 15 minutes by taxi.
    • For More Info: Visit St. Kitts Marriott’s website, or call 869-466-1200.

    Timothy Beach Resort

    • What You Get for Your Money: This resort offers no day passes—but that’s because cruise passengers are allowed to use the pool, beach chairs, and towels free of charge.
    • How to Get There: Timothy Beach is located just three miles from the cruise port; a taxi will get you there.
    • For More Info: Visit Timothy Beach’s website, or call 869-465-8597.

    St. Maarten

    Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa

    • What You Get for Your Money: If you’re traveling with your family or as part of a group, this resort in St. Maarten offers day passes for up to five people for 50 percent of current, regular room rates. At the time this article was written, current day-pass rates were about $271 (including taxes and resort fees). The price includes the use of a room for up to five people between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., as well as use of the resort’s pool, lounge chairs, and towels. Meals and drinks are not included.
    • How to Get There: Expect a half-hour taxi ride from port.
    • For More Info: Visit Westin Dawn Beach Resort’s website, or call +599-543-6700.

    Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino

    • What You Get for Your Money: Passes here include use of all resort facilities, including the pool, as well as all food and beverages during the day. Prices are $30 for children (ages 5 to 11) and $65 for adults.
    • How to Get There: Your taxi ride from port will take between 15 and 20 minutes.
    • For More Info: Visit Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort’s website, or call +599-542-2446.

    St. Thomas

    Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa

    • What You Get for Your Money: There are several choices available here, depending on how active visitors want to be. For $65 per adult, pass-holders receive lunch, two drinks, beach chairs, and access to the pool, beach, and spa. For $75 per adult, pass-holders get everything above, plus access to the resort’s fitness center, sauna, and hot tub facilities. For $83 per adult, snorkeling gear ($25 deposit required) and one activity (choose from a bumper-boat ride, a game of tennis, or one round of miniature golf) are added to everything named above. And, from $90 per adult, pass-holders can choose two of the three activities named in the $83 pass package in addition to all other amenities previously mentioned. Children 12 and younger are admitted free, and those 13 to 17 are half price for each package.
    • How to Get There: A taxi from the cruise port will get you there in 20 minutes.
    • For More Info: Visit Wyndham Sugar Bay’s website, or call 340-777-7100.

    Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort

    • What You Get for Your Money: Pass prices here are a bit on the steep side, costing 50 percent of current, regular room rates. A quote for a pass at the time of publication put the cost at about $220. But, don’t shrug off this option just yet. It’s a per-party charge—not per-person. So, the more people in your group, the lower the overall cost per individual. With the pass, visitors have access to the beach and pool facilities. However, room access, meals, and drinks are not included.
    • How to Get There: Frenchman’s Reef can be reached by taxi within 15 minutes.
    • For More Info: Visit Frenchman’s Reef’s website, or call 340-776-8500.

    Your Turn

    Know of another resort that offers day passes? Share it with fellow cruisers by adding a comment below!

    Top Fares From

    Comments