Port Royal, Jamaica
Historic Port Royal sits on the tip of an 18-mile-long sandbar extending from the mouth of Kingston Harbour in southern Jamaica. As quiet as life is there today, it is hard to believe that this sleepy fishing village was once the pirate capital of the Caribbean. Spain had ruled the island for more than a century before a British expedition captured it in 1655; lacking the forces to protect it, England employed a motley crew of buccaneers — including the notorious Captain Henry Morgan — who turned the port into a hedonistic haven known as "the wickedest city on Earth.” That all changed when a massive earthquake struck on June 7, 1692, sending two-thirds of the town into the harbor; the submerged ruins are recognized as one of the best-preserved underwater heritage sites in the Western Hemisphere. After a 40-year-lapse, Port Royal began welcoming cruise ships again in 2020 thanks to an innovative floating pier system that allows vessels to berth without impacting the highly sensitive environment.