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We are travelling on 9/05/04 to the S. Carribean. The ports are SJ, Aruba, Curacauo,St. Marteen, St. Thomas.
We are also bringing our 6 month old on the trip. I am curious about any stories or thoughts you mighthave about excursions, what was good, which were bad, etc...
We are smart enough to know that we are limited as far as any physiacl activities and we are happy just enjying the ship and walking in the towns I am just curious to hear some advice on share excursions.
Also what about riding in a cab at the ports ? Do they require baby seats in the Carribean ? OD the taxi's have one in the trrunk to accomodate us ?
If you want to use a baby seat in the cabs, you will have to bring one yourself because the taxis most definitely won't carry them in a trunk. Most of the taxis in the Caribbean don't seem to be your usual taxis, but more of a van type vehicle.
Also keep in mind that some of the taxis will not even have seat belts.
When our son was a baby, we took him ashore in his umbrella stroller and walked around. San Juan is great for this... there's a lot to see within a reasonable walking distance of the pier (although parts can be hilly). I believe we walked to a beach at one of the hotels in Aruba, but that was so long ago I forget the details.
We also took public buses, if they were available.
Curacao would be harder as the pier was not close to town (at least when we were there) and you would therefore require a taxi ride to town.
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We cruised almost the same itinerary the week Benjamin turned two. The only port we didn't hit was St. Maarten. You can see photos of our excursions at the link below, "Benjamin's Birthday Cruise."
We were surprised to find that San Juan, St. Thomas, Curacao and Aruba ALL had seatbelts in their taxis/vans, even the ratty ones! (In Curacao, we did have the ask the driver, and he dug the belts out from between the van seats.) We took a Sit N Stroll carseat/stroller combo, which was worth its weight in gold. It easily converts from one to the other as needed and was very secure. It is also a FAA approved flight seat, so it was invaluable on the plane. With a six month old, I would really urge you to take a car seat, even if it's your own infant seat from home. The taxis will be able to accommodate it, and accidents can happen anywhere.
In San Juan, you will likely dock in the center of Old San Juan, so there are a lot of historical sites within easy walking distance. However, if you arrive after 6:00 PM, most historical sites will be closed. If you happen to be there during daylight hours, I would recommend just walking around the town. If you take a left from the ship and follow the seaside walkway around (La Paseo de la Princesa), you will eventually find yourself at Fort El Morro, which is so beautiful. The walkway itself has some beautiful sites, statues, and photo ops. The entire trip is about a mile or so. If you'd rather stay closer to the ship, walk up the hill away from the ship directly beside the Wyndham hotel. A quarter mile or so that way will take you San Cristobal, another smaller but nice fort. You can tour both forts for a minimal fee, and you can actually see each from the other.
In St. Thomas, you can shop near the port. You can also walk to the Paradise Point tramway for a must-see view of the harbor (about $7 per adult, I think). If you want to go to a beach, you must take a taxi. We really enjoyed Sapphire Beach. The setting was gorgeous, and it wasn't crowded at all. The roads in St. Thomas were very winding, so be prepared (take meds) if anyone is susceptible to car sickness!
In Curacao, we visited the Seaquarium. It's definitely not Sea World, but it was interesting nonetheless. Grandma and Grandpa then watched the baby while we did the Beginner's Scuba. When we docked in Curacao, we were within easy walking distance of it's trademark floating bridge and shopping district. They were also in the final stages of converting a nearby fort into a shopping center, so it should certainly be open by now.
Our day in Aruba was absolutely one of the best days of my life! From info gained here at Cruise Critic, we decided to rent a car from Avis.com (actually, a minivan to hold all 7 of us) and went out on our own. The island is only 6 by 20 miles (or something like that), so we easily saw everything in one day. The roads are not named, but there are so few of them, it was easy to just pick a direction and go. It was wonderful! We saw all of the touristy places at our own pace, had a late lunch at Wendy's, and then spent an hour or two at Baby Beach. Awesome! No tour buses full of strangers or rushing to get to the next site. We arrived back at the ship about 5:00 PM, returned the van, and boarded in time for dinner. I HIGHLY recommend it, especially if traveling with a small child!
If you're on RCCI Adventure of the Seas, you don't dock anywhere near Old San Juan. You're at a very industrial dock with nothing nearby. The only ships that use the OSJ docks are Carnival, and even they are beginning to use the other dock that's closer to the airport.