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The Travel Detective

Excess Baggage: Overcrowded Cruise Ports

Do you like to go on cruises? I do. Do you like crowds? I don’t.

So how do you get a great cruise without the crowds? Think about it this way. Every cruise line will show a beautiful photograph of one of its best ships resting in an isolated harbor for its brochure. Well, that’s not really the case.

For example, when I was in Saint Thomas during high season, there were five mega cruise ships that were at the port–all on the same day. In an 8 hour period, it felt like more than half of the population of Saint Thomas came ashore.

You know what that means too. Beaches are body to body, traffic comes to a standstill, the restaurants are overcrowded, and I don’t even have to tell you about the lines to the bathroom.

Is that what you want? So how do you avoid that? Don’t go by the schedule of the cruise line brochure.

Instead, call the ports themselves and ask them how many ships will be ashore on the day your cruise ship is supposed to be there. If it’s any more than two ships, why would you go?

Because if you do go, I can guarantee you that the most beautiful guided tour will be of a long bathroom line!

By Peter Greenberg for