Thank you to all on this board who suggested Creole Antigua Tours for our port stop in St. John's last month. We had an amazing time!!! This was one of my all time favorite cruise excursions. The small group, beautiful scenery, fantastic snorkeling, delicious lunch and most of all, the gracious hospitality of Capt. Glen, Travis and Danny made this a topnotch experience. I would highly recommend them: https://www.creoleantiguatours.com
At first, I did have trouble contacting them via the form on their website. I submitted a request, and never heard back. So I finally sent a direct email, and got an immediate confirmation from Katja. So, if you don't get a response - don't give up!! We paid a deposit online before the trip, then the rest of the payment when we got there. They offer a discount for cash, but can also process a credit card payment.
Their boat picked us up right at the cruise dock - it was so convenient. We were the only ones from our ship (Grandeur of the Seas); there were 2 other cruise passengers from NCL, and then some resort guests. The cruise dock was the last pick up and the first drop off for this trip.
Again, I commend Capt. Glen and Travis and Danny - they were welcoming and friendly from the first moment. We got settled on the boat, and then had a nice boat ride around the island. A little bit of bumps and sea spray (it was a windy day). We dropped off Capt. Glen to start lunch preparations and headed for our first snorkel stop. The conditions were not ideal at the usual spot, so they took us to an alternative. If this was second choice, I can't imagine how wonderful the first location would be!! They provided equipment for anyone who needed it - everything was in good shape, and they were very considerate to find the right sizes. I usually need a child-size snorkel, and they found one that worked perfectly. It was easy snorkeling, lots and lots to see. We saw rays, some bigger grouper, lots of colorful varieties - like being in an aquarium! Danny was in the water with us, pointing out interesting things to see and answering any questions. There was plenty of time to snorkel - not so long that we were cold and exhausted, but not so short that we felt rushed. Oh, we also saw turtles!
Back to "Bird Island" where we would have lunch. It is absolutely spectacular scenery. An unihabited island, with a beautiful little beach with nothing but picnic tables and a grill - like paradise. Travis led us on a hike up to the top. It is an easy, pleasant hike, well worth the short walk for the stunning views on top. Then back to the beach for the big yumminess - the BEST rum punch, grilled lobster and homemade salads. Fun time chatting with the other participants, floating in the water, and enjoying the sun. I have never tasted lobster that good in all my life!! For those that don't eat lobster, there was also a chicken option, and the salads were plentiful (green salad, potato salad, pasta salad) We ate under the shady trees, and all the crew were so hospitable in ensuring we had all that we needed.
The snorkel stop #2 - shallow snorkeling (no fins) to see the starfish!! This was so fun!! Again, Danny was in the water with us to point out all the cool creatures. Then -- sadly -- back to the dock to rebound our cruise ship. They were very respectful of our time to ensure that we made it back in plenty of time. (Oh, and don't forget the tasty homemade banana bread snack on the way back - plus more rum punch, beer and/or soda. All of the food is made by Capt. Glen's wife and it is yummy!)
Would definitely do this again! We are boaters and beach people, so I will say that those who prefer more luxury may find it a bit bare bones. It's an open boat, there's no fancy restroom, and you need to be able to climb in and out of the boat on a ladder. But if you have a good attitude, and like island scenery, good food, great company and a little bit of adventurous spirit, this is a perfect choice.