Eastern or Western Caribbean

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#1
5 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
I am taking my family (husband and 2 sons 11 and 7) on a cruise on wither the Allure or Oasis in March. I am looking for advice on which itinerary is better. My husband wants to scuba dive....I like pretty beaches and animal interactions.

Also, does anyone have any favorite excursions on either itinerary?
#2
Central Illinois
110,040 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by lbwallace83
I am taking my family (husband and 2 sons 11 and 7) on a cruise on wither the Allure or Oasis in March. I am looking for advice on which itinerary is better. My husband wants to scuba dive....I like pretty beaches and animal interactions.

Also, does anyone have any favorite excursions on either itinerary?
It's not the prettiest beach, but we've enjoyed spending an hour at Maho Beach in St. Maarten and watching the airplanes land.
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Bob

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#3
West Sussex
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Joined May 2012
Originally posted by clarea
It's not the prettiest beach, but we've enjoyed spending an hour at Maho Beach in St. Maarten and watching the airplanes land.
Marginally off topic, I am looking to do this in November. Is it easy to get a taxi back?

Originally posted by lbwallace83
I am taking my family (husband and 2 sons 11 and 7) on a cruise on wither the Allure or Oasis in March. I am looking for advice on which itinerary is better. My husband wants to scuba dive....I like pretty beaches and animal interactions.

Also, does anyone have any favorite excursions on either itinerary?
I have done Eastern and Western on Allure.

Eastern has the Bahamas (Blue Lagoon Island is gorgeous and has a dolphin encounter), St Thomas (which is nice but beaches tend to be more crowded so perhaps take a trip over to St John which by all account has stunning beaches which are generally speaking a little quieter) and St Maarten (gorgeous island and gorgeous beaches around the whole island).

Western has Labadee (private island so not a huge variety of those sorts of activities), Jamaica (some nice beaches, Dunns River Falls) and Cozumel (I did a semi-sub trip here and saw lots of snorkelling groups so guess they do suba diving and it was stunning).

Jo
#4
13,776 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
The Western Caribbean offers Cozumel, which is a favorite for divers, and there are a few decent beaches. Labadee has nice beaches, but no diving, that I'm aware of. And Falmouth......well, it has shops!

The Eastern Caribbean, as Bob mentioned has Maho beach on St. Maartin, but not diving that is good, and then St. Thomas, a great beach on the other side of the island, Megans Bay, but not good diving, and the last stop is Nassau.

With the Oasis and Allure, it's the ships that are the destination, not the itinerary, IMHO!

Rick
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#5
Central Illinois
110,040 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by jo24
Marginally off topic, I am looking to do this in November. Is it easy to get a taxi back?
Yes, it was for us. We had taken the bus to the beach for $2pp. For the way back, we went to the bus stop and at least 3 different taxis came by asking if we wanted a ride back. We got tired of waiting for the bus and got a taxi for $20 for the four of us. I think the taxi is normally $8pp.
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#6
West Sussex
1,133 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by clarea
Yes, it was for us. We had taken the bus to the beach for $2pp. For the way back, we went to the bus stop and at least 3 different taxis came by asking if we wanted a ride back. We got tired of waiting for the bus and got a taxi for $20 for the four of us. I think the taxi is normally $8pp.
That is really helpful information, thank you. I have a trip in the morning (couple of hours) and then wanted to head there from lunch onwards for a couple of hours.

Definitely something I have always wanted to do in St Maarten so would recommend it to anyone else before I have even been!

Jo
#7
Southwest Florida
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Joined Sep 2007
Just check to make sure you get there before one of the big planes land. It's worth rushing over for that alone! We now go to Maho every time we're in St. Maarten.
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#8
13,776 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by jo24
That is really helpful information, thank you. I have a trip in the morning (couple of hours) and then wanted to head there from lunch onwards for a couple of hours.

Definitely something I have always wanted to do in St Maarten so would recommend it to anyone else before I have even been!

Jo
Jo, the place to go at Maho beach is the Sunset Bar and Grill. Good food, and drink, and excellent for watching planes land!

Rick
#9
Central Illinois
110,040 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by jo24
That is really helpful information, thank you. I have a trip in the morning (couple of hours) and then wanted to head there from lunch onwards for a couple of hours.

Definitely something I have always wanted to do in St Maarten so would recommend it to anyone else before I have even been!

Jo
Only thing I will suggest is to start back at least 2 hours before all aboard time. There can be traffic on the road back to the ship.
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Bob

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#10
13,776 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by clarea
Only thing I will suggest is to start back at least 2 hours before all aboard time. There can be traffic on the road back to the ship.
Bob, when was the last time you were there? I understand that they are working on a new road, that will be much shorter than the time it takes today, but not sure when it will be completed.

Rick
#11
Central Illinois
110,040 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by rubrrick
Bob, when was the last time you were there? I understand that they are working on a new road, that will be much shorter than the time it takes today, but not sure when it will be completed.

Rick
Last time was Dec 2012, so over a year. I was not aware of a new road, and I don't think we used a new road back then.
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Bob

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#12
West Sussex
1,133 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by rubrrick
Jo, the place to go at Maho beach is the Sunset Bar and Grill. Good food, and drink, and excellent for watching planes land!

Rick
Oh lovely, thank you. We will be heading around lunch but straight after our tour so I was curious about finding something to eat and drink.





Originally posted by clarea
Only thing I will suggest is to start back at least 2 hours before all aboard time. There can be traffic on the road back to the ship.
I had heard this but I so appreciate the clarification on it. We have a late departure, 7pm, so had intended on starting back around 4pm to give plenty of time.

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#13
Nashville, TN
1,305 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
We have done both the Eastern and Western iternaries and I have to say that the Eastern Caribbean is our absolute favorite. Although it includes the Bahamas, we stay on the ship while it's in port there and take advantage of a spa day or doing activities that are less crowded since many are in port. You have the most beautiful jewelry shopping I think in St. Thomas (we have been using the same jeweler for over 10 years) and over all we just enjoy the ports of St. Thomas and St. Maarten more than the Western.

The Western almost always stop in Cozumel or Grand Cayman and we try to do our best to avoid Mexico these days for obvious reasons.

Either way...you will be cruising and there isn't much better vacation than that, in m book anyway!
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#14
Wayne, NJ
3,208 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
About Maho Beach, we walked into town after we got off the ship (or you can take the water taxi) and we walked to Back Street which is two blocks over where all the jewelry shops are and there's a van that makes stops along the way (it has a sign that says Maho Beach) on its dashboard. They consider it a bus but its really a van. It cost us $2.00 per person. It makes a few stops along the way picking up townspeople going to work. We told the driver we wanted to get dropped off at Maho beach and it was the next to last stop. The drive took about 20 minutes. On the way back we walked to the stop where he let us off and we hopped into another van that said Phillipsburg and let us back off in town. It was all very simple and cheap. $4.00 round trip per person!
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#15
Texas
377 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
We have been on both Eastern and Western and our favorite hands down is Eastern. Can't really nail it down to one reason, I just think that it's prettier. It also seems like the islands are closer so you can visit more without so many sea days. We also LOVE watching flying fish from our balcony.

That being said, I don't think that I would turn down a cruise to either of them.
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#17
Atlanta
913 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Done all ports in both itineraries. Eastern by far. When I first started cruising, I thought I would like the western better but boy was I wrong.

I try to avoid itineraries with Cozumel in them. The beaches aren't very good and it's not a pretty island. I don't think there's much to do either.

I wasn't impressed with Labadee either. Beaches were just ok and the chairs felt very packed in. Long lines for the buffet. The labadoozies they come around with are all watery from the heat by the time they arrive. The zip line excursion that we looked forward to seemed to take half the day.

All three eastern ports have good beaches and shopping. Endless excursion options from St Thomas and St Maarten. You can also get to St. John via St Maarten.
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#18
VA, MD & FL
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Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by Want2Cruise 701
...You can also get to St. John via St Maarten.
Better take your passport St. John is in the USVI right next to St. Thomas; quite a long swim from Sint Maarten.
#19
Florida
312 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by Jtd724
Western Caribbean sucks in my opinion. Eastern and Southern are the best.
Wow so many bad comments about the Western Caribbean! We are headed out for a cruise in two weeks to the western and this has taken some of the excitement away from our looking forward to the cruise. I'd like to hear from some that have positive things to say! We have not cruised that much yet and are hoping we did not make a mistake!
#20
Niagara, Ontario, Canada
3,947 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We've only cruised 5 times (6th coming up in March), and other than our Hawaiian and Bahamas cruises - the others have been Western. We love it.

We actually love Cozumel! Only been there twice, but we loved it. It's an island, so the fears of "Mexico" are almost non-existant. It's a beautiful island. Lots of good shopping for Mexican stuff too. You can even take a ferry to the mainland for some other excursions, but that's a little bit of a stretch for time, imo.

Grand Caymen is stunning. Most beautiful waters. Swim wiht Stingrays seems to be the popular excursions, or just have a beach day. Last time we went, we rented a jeep and drove around the island for the day.

Labadee is my favourite port - nice relaxing beach day with some very unique shopping, especially the Haitian art.

Falmouth - Been to Jamaica a few times, and it's a nice island too - tons of history. A lot of people are put off by anything that makes them uncomfortable - like "pushy" vendors, and Jamaica has some (as does Haiti). Lots to do in Jamaica

We LOVE the Western routes! Now, we've not sailed the Eastern or Southern yet, but we did a 2 week land vacation in St. Kitts/Nevis which was beautiful too.

IMO, if there is nice blue Caribbean water, some palm trees, and nice sand, and freindly people with nice caribbean foods, I'm in heaven! You can find those in both the Western and Eastern/Southern.

so, do not be worried about western, you will enjoy it, I'm sure.
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