Grenada like all of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean chain, was created by volcanic forces produced by the collision of the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate.  St. George’s is the capital of Grenada and French settlers founded St. George’s as a settlement in 1650.  St. George’s surrounds a horseshoe-shaped harbor called the Carenage, which sits in the caldera of an ancient volcano that is currently dormant. 

The word “Carenage” originated from the French, who also took hold of Grenada for a short time in a high-stakes game of tug-of-war with the British. The Carenage or harbor was where ships were brought to be cleaned and repaired (as in careened).

The Carenage is the beautiful waterfront of St. George’s lined with elegant colonial buildings and colorful Caribbean style dwellings with restaurants, bars and shops. Both the Carenage and Queen’s Park are believed to be explosive craters, giving the Island its picturesque harbor and coveted source of scoria gravel. In recent times, volcanic activity has been virtually dormant with the minor exception of a few hot springs.

The island’s original colony, Port Louis, was created by French settlers in an area on the eastern side of what is now St. George’s Harbor. There were deep-water anchorages for oceangoing ships. Although Port Louis was abandoned in 1700 and Port Royal was established, vessels continued to anchor in the eastern part of the harbor near what is now the Lagoon. Everything changed in 1867 as a result of volcanic activity. Eruptions in the eastern harbor transformed the deep water into a shallow area just a few feet deep. From then on, the development of port facilities was focused on the western harbor.

The British took over the island in 1778 and the settlers quickly saw the harbor’s potential as a naval base. From then until 1889, they made petitions to the British Government to develop the inner harbor, but these requests were ignored. Eventually, the idea was shelved and Grenada turned its attention to winning commercial traffic. Although a detailed survey was carried out in 1895, no further action was taken until St. George’s first jetty was constructed forty years later.

Until then, most cargo handling was carried out using lighters. These were loaded and discharged along the Carenage by three cranes in a laborious process. However, port operations were revolutionized in 1938 by the construction of an 850 ft wooden pier with 30 ft of depth alongside. For the first time, vessels could berth alongside the quay and it was possible to discharge cargo directly into storage sheds because the pier was connected to the land by a rubber bank.

This arrangement lasted sixteen years. In 1955, the pier was destroyed by Hurricane Janet and the cumbersome lighters returned to the port. The port now had the capacity to handle cargo and cruise ships in two distinct areas and with ample cargo handling and container storage areas. As a result, the port was able to embark on its most ambitious plan.

In 2003, construction began on the Melville Street cruise ship complex that allowed cruise ships docking to be recorded separately from cargo operations. This was a significant development in the port’s history, paving the way for Grenada to compete as a leading cruise ship port in the Caribbean. The new terminal comprises a 375 meter long jetty capable of handling either four small cruise ships or two mega ships and one medium sized ship. In addition, there is an extensive Welcome Center and Duty-Free Hall welcoming passengers into Grenada.

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  1. Hubert Philbert on 05/25/2021 at 5:14 pm

    I must really appreciate the extent of the information provided on this area of our island. It demonstrates a great deal of research was done. A clear indication showed historical and even recent data were provided.

  2. Christine on 05/25/2021 at 5:46 pm

    Good article thanks for the increase knowledge about the carenage . beautiful view

  3. Alice Regis on 05/25/2021 at 10:43 pm

    Very informative and refreshing especially the history that ties in most eloquently bringing to light a superb history and boating marriage, an insight into how the Carenage came into being, what it was and what took place there and how it transcends from one historical era to present day. The history of the volcano will definitely be an eye opener for the younger generation.

  4. Tracey Adams on 05/26/2021 at 12:15 am

    Great information on the Carenage, such a beautiful place/Island.

  5. Cherylyn Thomas on 05/26/2021 at 7:45 am

    Our beautiful island Grenada, land of spice and lovely people. Come see for urself

  6. Derek jones on 05/27/2021 at 9:27 am

    I don’t think just saying what an awesome job you’re doing is giving you all the credit you deserve. However I think you’ve done a fantastic job with the information and the insight of our beautiful island. Keep up the good work you’re doing. The information on Carenage was was awesome. Thanks.

  7. Maureen frederick on 05/27/2021 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks for posting. I learned something new about the Carenage.

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