The Top 12 Most “Dangerous” Cruise Ports in the World : Some On This List Might Surprise You

Last Update:
Filed Under: Safety Tips

When choosing your next cruise destination, safety might not be the first thing you think about. After all, cruises are meant to be about relaxation and adventure, aren’t they? However, just like any form of travel, it’s crucial to be aware of the safety reputation of the destinations on your cruise itinerary.

While most cruise stops offer a delightful experience, some ports have a reputation for being less than idyllic. It’s important to know which ports have a higher risk of crime or other dangers to make sure you stay safe while enjoying your time ashore.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or about to embark on your first cruise, being informed can make a world of difference. So we thought we would do some research into what ports are considered the 12 most dangerous cruise ports around the globe.

Dark seas ahead - cruise ship coming into port in heavy seas

This list is drawn from travel analysts, reported incidents, and cruise community reviews, bringing together key insights into spots where travelers have faced issues.

We have also consider Government travel advisories from both the United States and UK Governments.

As a savvy traveler, you should never have to compromise your safety for excitement. Knowing which ports to approach with caution, or perhaps even avoid, can empower you to make smarter travel decisions.

Remember, sometimes a beautiful destination can have a hidden side. Keeping your wits about you is part of the journey.

The 12 Most Dangerous Cruise Ports in the World (Allegedly)

1. Acajutla, El Salvador

In first place is Acajutla, where violent crime and gang activity are reported to be prevalent.

The port had a very bad reputation for a long time and the local government took action to make the port area safer and encourage major cruise lines like NCL to visit.

However, it is interesting to note that no major cruise lines currently include the port in their itineraries.

2. St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Even paradise has its problems. St Croix is a popular cruise port but it ranks second on the list due to reports of armed robberies even in popular tourist areas that would normally be deemed as “safe”.

Tourists and cruise ship visitors are advised to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times.

Party boat laving St Croix beach with a lifeboat that is in an unsafe condition
This Lifeboat Might Not Save Many Lives!

We visited St Croix on Vision of the Seas in 2023. It was a very run-down island, but at no time was I worried.

The only time I felt a little unsafe was when I noticed the “lifeboats” on the party boat we were on for a beach excursion – as you can see from the picture above, they wouldn’t have helped much in an emergency! What was more shocking, was that this was an “official” Royal Caribbean excursion. I showed the image to the shore excursion manager later and he said it would “be dealt with”.

3. Santa Marta, Colombia

Colombia of course, has its own reputation to deal with due to drug gangs, however the country does have a large number of tourist areas visited safely by thousands of people every year.

One of those places is Santa Marta, which is a beautiful cruise port and is featured occasionally in itineraries from MSC, NCL, Marella, and AIDA.

However, its beauty can be overshadowed by its issues with robbery and violent crime. It’s wise to be aware of your surroundings and move in groups.

4. Belize

Despite its natural wonders, Belize sees a fair amount of petty crime. Ensure your valuables are secure and be cautious when out and about.

One common “scam” is that locals encourage you to buy drugs from them and then their “associate” is the local police who then “arrest” you and threaten to jail you unless you pay the large fine.

The Port of Belize City
Morag Refused To Leave The Port Area in Belize

When my wife Morag and I visited the Island back in 2019 on the Empress of the Seas, I remember reading some info to her on the long tender ride into port. “Oh Belize has one of the highest murder rates in the World” – she then refused to leave the gates of the port LOL. My Bad!

5. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

MSC, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines all feature Guatemala in their cruise itineraries.

However, in the past civil unrest and violent confrontations with gangs have occured in Puerto Quetzal.

6. Izmir, Turkey

I was puzzled to see Turkey featured on lists as I have many friends who have visited Turkey and say it is one of the safest and friendliest places they have ever visited.

However, it appears that the safety angle for the port of Izmir in Turkey is slightly different from the usual issues of petty crime common in many ports. The issue here is that there are some earthquake risks and industrial pollution concerns.

However, if you were concerned about earthquake risks would you ever visit San Francisco?

7. Isla Margarita, Venezuela

With a high violent crime rate, including kidnapping, Venezuela’s idyllic island comes with significant risk. As a result no major cruise lines visit the port currently.

8. Saint Lucia

Though stunning, Saint Lucia isn’t free from crimes like robbery and assault. Walking alone, especially in areas further from the port, isn’t advised.

Alan Hutchison and some friends posing in front of the famous Pitons in Saint Lucia
Yours Truly And Our Travel Group At The Pitons

We visited Saint Lucia last year and we took a shore excursion to see the famous Pitons. We didn’t feel threatened at any time. However, we did spot something that made us a bit more aware of our surroundings.

As we were having a drink at a bar on the beach at Soufriere, a delivery truck arrived with the latest beer delivery. There were two people in the truck. The driver / delivery man AND an armed guard! For beer! That spoke volumes.

9. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

I was in Jamaica in 1998 and I stayed in Ochos Rios for a week and had no issues with any locals. At the time the Soccer World Cup was on and the Jamaican team had qualified for the one and only time in their history.

I think the locals were clearly more focused on watching “The Reggae Boys” that week than worry about trying to rob some Scotsman – especially as I was wearing a Reggie Boys soccer shirt in full support of them.

However, I did visit on a cruise a couple of years later and it was a very different and quite intimidating place.

Many cruise bloggers and vloggers now believe it is an unsafe port and the US Government has a general level 3 – Reconsider Travel notice for the Island.

10. Cozumel, Mexico

Morag Hutchison of Cruise Nonstop shopping for souvenirs in cozumel port
Morag Shopping For Souvenirs in Cozumel Port

Cozumel sees a lot of tourists, making it a target for petty thieves. Drug trafficking is also a concern.

I’ve visited many many times and never ever had any issues. Just be a bit streetwise – always agree any fares with taxi drivers upfront and don’t go outside the key tourist areas.

11. Nassau, Bahamas

Main street in Nassau looking down towards cruise port with cruise ship in the background.
Nassau Gets A Bad Wrap As Most Visitors Never Get Past The Main Street

In Nassau, theft and assault are not uncommon. However, once again it is a port I have visited many times and never had or witnessed any issues.

Choose your activities wisely and always be alert to your surroundings. People will try to sell you trinkets in the streets – please don’t feel threatened by them. A polite but firm “No thank you” and a smile is all it takes.

12. Roatan, Honduras

The Cruise Port of Coxen Hole in Roatan
Roatan Can Be Run Down In Places But We Never Felt Unsafe

Roatan is another cruise port that seems to have a troubled reputation. However when we visited the locals were very friendly, and we didn’t feel unsafe at all. I even wrote an article covering the question “Is Roatan safe?”.

Reports of violence and armed robbery in mainland Honduras are troubling, and I think Roatan suffers because of that, even though it is an island some distance from the mainland.

However, like anywhere the best advice is to stay in groups and research you destinations thoroughly before you get off the ship.

Personally, I would have no problems visiting Roatan – we loved it!

How to Stay Safe When In Port

Good Advice from Cruise Tips TV

When you’re stepping off your cruise ship to explore exciting new places, keeping safe should be top of your priority list. Here are some key pieces of advice to help you enjoy your time onshore without worry.

Be Informed About Local Crime

Before you disembark, do a quick check on the local crime hotspots and common risks. If there’s a particular scam or theft trend, knowing about it beforehand can help you avoid it.

Blend In With the Locals

The less you stand out as a tourist, the better. Dress down a bit and keep flashy jewelry tucked away. Acting like you know where you’re going—even if you’re following your phone’s GPS—can give off an air of confidence.

Mind Your Belongings

  • Bag: Keep it close, preferably a crossbody bag with a zipper.
  • Valuables: If you don’t need them, leave them on the ship.
  • Cash: Carry only what you need and split it up in different pockets.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

It’s easy to get distracted by new sights, but stay vigilant. Keep an eye on the people around you and avoid getting so engrossed in your phone or map that you don’t notice someone approaching.

Understand Local Culture

Respect local customs and manners. It will make interactions smoother and reduces the chances of accidentally offending someone or becoming a target.

Have an Emergency Plan

Know the emergency numbers for the area you’re visiting. In case of a problem, knowing whom to call could be a lifeline.

Remember Safety Is All Relative

Although these ports are often reported as “dangerous” by many, it is all relative. For example, how safe is the major cruise port of Miami, where many of you reading will use regularly?

On this list, of 12 “dangerous” cruise ports there are seven that I have visited – St Croix, St Lucia, Belize, Ocho Rios, Nassua, Cozumel and Roatan. I would not personally refer to any of them as “dangerous”.

In fact, the only port I would be wary of visiting again would be Ocho Rios – even then it still would not stop me from getting off the ship. I would just make sure I was on an organized excursion.

So please take this list NOT as a warning, but as a guide to just be a little vigilant, and don’t ever let anyone put you off visiting these beautiful countries.

Stay safe out there. Remember in a lot of cases you have nothing to fear but fear itself!

Please Make Our Day By Sharing This Article

Photo of author


Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

Leave a Comment