The Best Cruise Ports for Fishing

Cruising lets you catch the big one while in ports around the world.

By Lynn and Cele Seldon

We live on the North Carolina coast, where there’s world-class fishing in inland waterways, right from our beach, and out for miles in the Atlantic Ocean. With fishing as a favorite pastime, we’re always interested in options out of various ports of call when we’re on a cruise. We’re not alone.

As we’ve learned during dozens of cruises, fishing is often offered as a shore excursion in several ports of call in Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and even further afield. We’ve also found it’s typically easy to arrange your own fishing outing in advance, or with the help of shore excursion staff once on board. In fact, cruise ship staff have even helped us save money several times by finding other like-minded passengers to join us and split the charter fees.

From Cruise Ship to Fishing Boat

Whether it’s on a shore excursion or on our own, we’ve found the basics of fishing in port are similar. Upon disembarking the cruise ship, we’re typically met by a tour guide or the fishing boat’s captain or crewmember, and then are walked or transferred to the charter boat or — if fishing from land — to the river or other body of water we’ll be fishing.

All gear, such as rod, reel, bait, and more, is typically included, with beverages and snacks also normally on the menu. Fishing licenses can be required and may or may not be included in the fees. Experienced captains and crewmembers are also quite helpful when it comes to locating fish and then helping us get them into the boat through instruction and encouragement. (It’s not always easy when you hook a big and feisty fish that would prefer staying in the water.)

Caught fish can be handled in several ways. Catch-and-release may be required, or simply desired, for certain protected waters and fish. But we also love to “enjoy” our catch whenever possible, which may require paying an extra fee for cleaning either on the boat or once on shore. We’ll then give some or all of our catch to the crew or fellow fisherman. On certain cruises, we’ve even taken our catch back to the ship for the galley to prepare for us, other passengers, and grateful crewmembers.

Another option is to ship the catch home, which is especially popular in Alaska ports of call. There’s something about grilling Alaskan salmon….

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