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As you step onto the sun-kissed shores of Guam, it’s hard to imagine that this tropical paradise was once the target of a brutal Japanese invasion during World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese military attacked the United States, and Guam was one of three military bases bombed that same day in an attempt to prevent American involvement in the war in the Pacific. Sadly, Guam suffered the most – the island was invaded and occupied for nearly three years, turning it into a slave camp for the indigenous Chamorro.
Despite its complicated past, modern-day Guam has emerged as a sampler plate of the Pacific, boasting a unique blend of American, Pacific, and Spanish cultures. The island’s history and status as a U.S. territory make it a fascinating destination for cruise lovers seeking something beyond the typical exotic getaway. And while fully a third of the island, including some of its best beaches, is off-limits to anyone but military personnel, the southern part of Guam is wild and untamed – so much so that a Japanese soldier continued to fight WWII here until the 1970s.
From exploring the island’s historic World War II sites to immersing yourself in its vibrant Chamorro culture, there’s something for everyone on a Guam cruise. And with its stunning natural beauty, diverse cuisine, and warm hospitality, Guam will leave a lasting impression on any traveler. So come along as we explore this beautiful island and show you why cruises to Guam should be at the top of your travel list.
Cruises to Guam
Amid the pandemic-induced hiatus, the first cruise ship to dock in Guam sailed into Apra Harbor on February 24, 2023. The MS Amadea, carrying 523 passengers and 302 crew members, arrived from Pohnpei and will remain at the port until 9 p.m. when it is scheduled to depart. Tourists will spend the day exploring the island’s malls and restaurants.
With five cruise liners expected to arrive throughout the year, the Port Authority of Guam is excited to welcome luxury international cruise ships back to the island as the tourism industry recovers from the pandemic. Once Hotel Wharf rehabilitates, the facility will be expanded to accommodate more docked and cruise liners.
Cruises to Guam Ports
Cruise ships dock at the port in Apra Harbour, one of the most stunning natural harbors in the world, located just 2 miles west of the capital city of Hagatna. This bustling port welcomes visitors from around the globe, providing easy access to all Guam offers.
Guam’s port in Piti sees an average of five cruise ships annually, requiring the Port Authority of Guam to reconfigure its shipyard to accommodate the influx. With bigger plans in mind, a working group has been established to strategize a small cruise ship industry for the island.
Guam’s Port Authority is upgrading Hotel Wharf to accommodate small cruise ships, costing $24M. With the help of a Tiger grant, $10M has already been provided. The project will enhance the visitor experience and make Guam a top destination for cruise travelers with its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and numerous attractions.
What Cruises to Guam Offers
Guam is more than just a tropical paradise; it offers a range of activities for everyone, from cultural immersion to adventure seekers. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Guam:
Two Lovers Point: A seaside cliff with stunning views of Tumon Bay and the Philippine Sea, famous for its romantic history and a venue for destination and local weddings.
Underwater World: A famous aquarium with over 2,000 marine animals, including a 97-meter tunnel offering a close-up encounter with sea turtles, sharks, groupers, rays, and barracudas, to name a few.
Cocos Island: A small piece of land with lush tropical forests, daytime resorts, and watersports activities such as kayaking, parasailing, and snorkeling at the Merizo Barrier Reef, a protected marine ecosystem site.
Talofofo Falls: A natural waterfall on the Ugum River, just an hour’s drive away from the main city center of Guam, with a cable car, historical museum, Love Land Garden, and observation deck.
Chamorro Village Market: Open only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, it’s an excellent place to experience the island’s ancient traditions and culture, with handmade things, traditional handicrafts, and authentic Chamorro cuisine to try.
Guam has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adventure. Take a break from the sand and sea, and explore the island’s rich cultural heritage and attractions.
What’s the Best Time to Cruise to Guam
Guam’s dry season from January to May is ideal for visiting the island. The sunniest months are May and June, with average temperatures ranging from 32 degrees Celsius during the day to 25 degrees Celsius at night. This time of year provides visitors the best opportunity to enjoy the island’s pristine beaches, clear waters, and outdoor activities.
What You Need to Know Before You Cruise to Guam
Language: The official languages of Guam are English and Chamorro. However, many locals also speak Filipino, Japanese, and other Pacific Island languages.
Currency: The official currency of Guam is the U.S. dollar, and most businesses accept major credit cards.
Customs: Guam is a U.S. territory, so U.S. customs and immigration laws apply. Visitors should bring a valid passport or other acceptable identification and be prepared for security screenings at the port.
Time zone: Guam is on Chamorro Standard Time, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Visitors should adjust their schedules accordingly.
Weather: Guam has a tropical climate, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 31°C (75°F to 88°F) year-round. It’s best to bring light and comfortable clothing, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
Transportation: While taxis and buses are available in Guam, renting a car or hiring a tour guide may be a more convenient way to explore the island. Visitors should know that driving is on the right side of the road, as Guam follows U.S. traffic laws.
Culture: Guam uniquely blends American, Pacific, and Spanish cultures. Visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions, such as removing shoes before entering a home or religious site and using the Chamorro greeting “Håfa adai” (hello) and “Si Yu’us ma’åse” (thank you).
Know-It-All Cruise Guides: Cruises From Miami, Cruises From Hawaii, Cruises to Cuba
Cruises to Guam offers a unique vacation experience that combines stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and exciting activities for all ages. From exploring the island’s history and natural wonders to indulging in local cuisine and shopping at local markets, there’s something for everyone on a Guam cruise.
With the Port Authority of Guam’s ongoing efforts to upgrade its facilities and accommodate more cruise ships, visitors can expect an even better experience in future years. So, if you’re looking for a tropical paradise that’s a little off the beaten path, consider a cruise to Guam and discover what this beautiful island offers.
Christian Petzold is a successful touristic entrepreneur, experiential traveller and round-the-world backpacker. He holds an academic degree in tourism management.
His touristic expertise has been covered in radio, newspaper and television.