How are the ports where the ships stop? Are they tourist safe?
You dock in a secure area. Be aware of your surroundings once outside the gates. Also research the ports you dock at and pay attention to some of the opinions posted here on the subject.
Like any port area there is always a potential for problems. However, as nlcdn said the dock areas are secure and as long as you use common sense you will be fine. Don't just wander off (esp. in Jamaica) and expect to be as safe as you would be in a large group or sponsored shore tour. Cozumel will have easy shopping near the dock if that is where your interests lie. Like any place you visit, be aware of your surroundings and don't take unnecessary risks.
Cruise lines have been known to suspend service to ports that have problems...they don't mess around with that...around the port area are usually more than enough junque shops and assorted merchants to keep you happy, until you get sick of em, which happens at some point. stick with the group tours sponsored by the cruise line...takes the stress out of it for newbies...after that you can become more adventurous...
Each port is different and some islands have more than one port. Some will have an overflow location for busy days. In general the port itself is secure because it has international traffic coming and going but once off the pier and through the gates things could be different. Example would be Ocho Rios. It has two piers. Once in a nice touristy area and the other once outside the gate is a 20 minute walk to the touristy area and not quite so nice. Other islands port the cruise ships right beside the cargo carriers so definitely not a tourist area. Yet some ports have built beautiful shopping and tourist trap areas at the port gate so each location is unique and should be looked at on an individual basis.
Not for nothing, and only a slight left turn, the most entertaining morning I ever spent was right on our balcony watching the goings on at Santo Tomas....a working port...watching the containers and the giant cranes doing their thing...the tourist area was a warehouse...ooogly….the rest of the place didn't mean squat to me......however, it gave me my choice of hot tubs...
We’ve always felt very safe in the port areas, and like others have said, be aware of your surroundings and don’t wander into areasthat may be deemed unsafe. The daily FunTimes on Carnival ships will inform guests which ports you need to be more cautious in.
Hope you enjoy your cruise.