Cruise Guide to Bonaire (Where to Dock and What to Do)

Just like its sister, Aruba, Bonaire is a premier destination for cruising, thanks to its natural beauty and a plethora of interesting quirks. What used to be a colonial backwater island, is now a thriving micronation that has a rich mixture of the tourist draw that has made it one of the Caribbean cruises’ premier destinations.
Cruise Guide to Bonaire
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From its Dutch influences present in its culture and people to the natural beauty that is both strange and fascinating, Bonaire is a worthy stop. But, a day’s worth of shore excursion just might be able to help you grasp everything about Bonaire.

What Cruise Lines Go to Bonaire?

Nothing gets left behind in the Caribbean when it comes to the ABC Islands, tiny Bonaire makes bigger splashes just like her Dutch Caribbean sisters, with a plethora of cruise lines that visit it yearly. From the Carnival Cruise, the world’s biggest cruise line, to the Caribbean’s very own, Royal Caribbean International.

Flocking and docking to the island’s capital of Kralendijk, cruises to Bonaire also include Oceania Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Windstar Cruises, and European brands like the Norwegian Cruise Line, and Holland America Line.

Bonaire is one of the premier cruise line destinations in the Caribbean along with the rest of the ABC Islands, Curacao, and Aruba. The Caribbean’s reputation still stands as one of the most revered with Bonaire usually part of many of these cruise lines itinerary packages.

Where Do the Cruise Ships Dock in Bonaire?

Cruise ships to Kralendijk dock in one of two main piers on the southern part of the west coast of the island by the capital of Kralendijk. These two ports are designated as the northern and southern cruise piers.

The northern pier is around 200 feet long and is situated right in front of the center of the city. The exit gates of the pier open to a pedestrian street that leads right into Wilhelmina Park, close to the Sea Promenade and the Kaya Grandi, Kralendijk’s main shopping street.

The southern pier, or the new pier, is a bit further away from the city center, south of the main street. You can just walk to the nearby open-air Harborside Mall, where you can take transport or walk from there to the city center.

Is Bonaire a Tender Port?

Bonaire isn’t a tender port, however, cruise ships are not allowed to drop anchor in the bay, but rather they are moored onto buoys. Cruise ships can dock in either one of the two main piers in the southern bay. Each pier can only moor 3 cruise ships at the same time, but this only seldom happens.

What Is There to Do on Bonaire Cruises?

With both piers’ proximity to the city center, you can get around the city of Kralendijk on foot, as everything is easily accessible and near. Getting around won’t be a hassle as the capital is small and quaint and the locals are warm, friendly, and speak good English.

The island of Bonaire is small, with only a measurement of 38 km long, and 5 to 8 km wide, it can easily be explored on a full day. The capital itself has all the fun and cultural quirks of cosmopolitan Bonaire, where you can easily explore Cadushy Distillery, Bonaire Heritage Foundation, Queen Wilhelmina Plaza, and Fort Orange.

You can also check out Kaya Grandi and the Sea Promenade just outside the Northern Cruise Pier. And, if you’re looking for more outdoor and oceanic fun, head on to Eden Beach, by taxi, bus, or rental scooters, and take dive or snorkel tours to Klein Bonaire.

How Far Is Coco Beach Bonaire From Cruise Port?

By road, the shortest distance is approximately 2.9 km or 1.8 miles and could only take you 5 to 10 minutes via taxi. Coco Beach is a famous, DIY excursion option for cruisers in Bonaire, as opposed to going on tours and excursions on different parts of the island.

Coco Beach has a bar and many restaurants with live music, and sometimes full-on parties that spell fun and excitement for cruisers for a short shore excursion. Plus, the beach is just near the capital of Kralendijk.