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Posts posted by MKellyUtah

  1. I'm a Marriott Reward member & like their properties, and have stayed at Embassy Suites, Renaissance & others in FLL, as well as the previously mentioned Hyatt.    My latest go-to in FLL is Best Western Oceanside-Plus ... because of comfort, location & price.  It's on the main street where 17th turns to go along the ocean ... it's back about 50-100 yards from the beach (you have to walk past a couple of building to get there, but the access is easy) ... the rooms are clean & comfortable ... staff are excellent ... a small bar on site.  You can walk down to places to eat & drink, or hop the Trolley that will take you back up to the familiar Harbor restaurants & shops.  Water Taxi dock is also right across the street.  Price is reasonable (I've paid between $135-$150 a night the last 4 times I've stayed there).  I'm booked there again pre and post cruise in December.  A good option to consider.

  2. I have also stayed at BW Oceanside  and agree with phabric above on some of the pluses.  Rooms are clean & comfortable, desk staff very friendly & informative.  In addition to Trolley & Water Taxi, a variety of eating spots within walking distance.  Room rates very reasonable for FLL beach-area during cruise season. (I've paid between $145 - $170)

  3. This review and your excellent photos have both been outstanding.  I have a cruise in a few months on the new Enchanted Princess , so I've been following your report with the idea that some of the venues on Enchanted will be similar to those on the Sky.  Thanks again for putting in all the time & effort.

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  4. Brnsofia and Mkelly just wondering how this tour went? We have this booked 3/5. How many people in your tour group? Did Stan do the tour himself? Did you like the island?





    The short version: this was a good tour ... well worth the $$$ ... and I would recommend it.

    The longer version: As background ... we (Wife & I) are a couple in our late 60's, have been on about 15 cruises ... this was our first time to Grenada.  We were there Sun., Dec 8, 2019, off the Celebrity Silhouette.  Getting off the ship, we walked to our designated meeting area inside the building at the end of the pier where we met Stan.  We were on time, he was on time --- some other people weren't on time, but it all worked out.  There were two tour vans/mini-buses --- one group that had requested only Stan be their guide, the other group (including us) that were happy with whoever our guide/driver turned out to be.  Our group ended up being 6 people (3 couples, none of whom knew one another before the tour) and Desmond was the guide / driver.  Our transportation was a very clean, roomy van (plenty of head room & leg room).  Desmond was excellent:  easy to understand, very good at answering questions (but seemed to often anticipate our questions before we asked), and exuded a love for his island as many of the locals we came into contact did.  On the tour, we went to a waterfall ... a national park ... a fort ... and to a little roadside place where we got a very educational & interesting look at the local spices, how they were used in cooking & food, and how they were grown.  We also were able to smell and taste the spices if we wished.  The small building where this was done was very clean, the ladies doing the demonstration & explanations were very friendly & patient with our questions.  They had different selections & combinations of spices there for sale, all wrapped and available to take back with us to the ship, but there was no pressure to buy.  (They even suggested to us where to buy the spices back at the pier building if we decided not to purchase from them).  At no time on the tour did we feel that we were being taken to a stop where we were just there to buy something.  At each point of interest, we were given adequate time to see what we wanted at our own pace, and when all of us on the tour gathered again --- off we went. Everyone was very considerate of one another.  At the end of the tour, we were given the option to go back to the ship, or to go to Grand Anse beach for a couple of hours.  One couple in our group wanted to immediately return to the ship, so we and the other couple were dropped off at the beach for 2 hours ... and set up a time for Desmond to come back and get us.  He was there waiting at the designated time, but the other couple wanted to stay another hour ... so Desmond called Stan Grainger and made arrangements for them to be picked up later while Desmond took us back to the ship (maybe a 10 minute ride).  We wewre back at the ship by 2:45pm.  Our price for the tour was $50 per person + tip (they prefer/require cash).  As stated before, we thought it was a well-run, worthwhile tour & was worth the money.


    We are on a cruise this November that stops in Grenada.  We probably will do something different now that we've seen some of the island (maybe a calmer, less hectic beach --- Grand Anse is beautiful, especially when you're in the water, but a bit chaotic when you're lounging on the beach ... lots of bar/restaurant servers trying to drum up business and vendors milling around the day we were there).  But JNJ Tours lived up to their billing & delivered what they said they would.  I think you (Trish) will have a great time & enjoy the truly friendly people of Grenada.   I hope that helps! 

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  5. Dec. 5, 2019, our ship (Celebrity Silhouette) stopped in Antigua.  This was our 4th time in Antigua, earlier stops we had gone to Valley Church Beach once, and Turner's Beach twice.  Both were good beaches, with good facilities --- but a little crowded (especially when excursion catamarans would drop off their passengers), and both of those beaches has a major drop-off "shelf" that made getting out of the water a challenge.  The day prior to this latest Antigua visit, a cruise ship passenger suggested Fort James Beach.


    We didn't get off our ship until about 10:00am, went directly to the chaotic taxi dispatch center halfway down the main area at the end of the pier.  As they often do, they tried to convince us to go somewhere other than the beach we wanted to go to, but we were firm about wanting to go to Fort James Beach and they found us a taxi to take us there.


    The ride was about 10 mins, cost was $6pp+tip ($12 each way for the two of us.)  Driver dropped us off just outside Miller's by the Sea, a mostly open air restaurant/bar, and we paid & arranged for a time for the taxi to come back and get us.


    We were directed to the beach and paid $ 20 for two lounge chairs & umbrella (we were actually underneath a wide, solid wooden cabana) about 30 feet from the water.  People were pretty well spread out on the beach, some back under natural shade on a grassy area.  It was a nice, soft sand beach ... I wore water shoes like I normally do, but unlike Turner Beach there were no rocks that I could see or feel as far as I could walk out.  The walk in and out of the water was very gradual and easy.  The day we were there the water was also pretty calm, just some small waves.  The view was terrific, just a cargo ship in view anchored far out.


    A very polite waitress came out to see what we wanted to dink, and gave us a food menu from Miller's to look at (we both had a couple of drinks, decided not to eat despite a nice looking selection.)  Drink service was very quick & efficient


    It was a very peaceful, relaxing beach, didn't have any vendors.  Also no visiting catamarans or motorized wave runners while we were there.

    A very nice day at the beach.


    We stayed a couple of hours, were able to shower off and use restroom / change rooms located just behind the beach (they were clean, nothing fancy, served the purpose.)  Our taxi driver was waiting for us at the designated time, and we were headed back to the ship.


    I would definitely go to Fort James Beach again (and probably will on a cruise this November.)  Next time we would get there maybe a little earlier --- and stay a little longer, maybe have lunch at Miller's --- now that we know how close to the port it is and how pleasant the beach is.  


    Lots of beaches on Antigua to choose from ... hope this helps & gives you another option.



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  6. Kstetser:

    The day we were there, we dealt only with the guy who directed us to a chair/umbrella & took our money, and a friendly waitress who came and took & delivered our drink order.  No other vendors or sales people on our visit.  We had the taxi driver come back to pick us up after only 2 hours because we didn't realize how close to port or how nice it was.  We're headed back to Antigua in November, will stay longer next time.  A very relaxing & pleasant day.

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  7. Consider Fort James beach.  We went there for the first time in December.  Short cab ride ... beach bar / restaurant (they'll serve you food and/or drink where you're sitting) ... natural shade areas & loungers/umbrellas ... nice beach & easy access in and out of the water (no large drop-off like on some of the beaches.)  Cab driver came back & picked us up at designated time as requested.  We've done Turner's and Valley Church beaches in the past, they're fine --- but this one was less crowded and the easy in-and-out of the water seals the deal for us.  I plan on writing up a little report on it & posting it here soon.

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  8. To Jbiker:

    I'll make this my post-visit report ... answer a couple of your questions ... and go into a little more detail about Calabash Cove.  This was our 3rd visit to St. Lucia, had done a beach day to Pigeon Island and a lengthy catamaran trip/land tour (both very good) on previous trips.  I would never have known about this Resort if it hadn't been for the mention here in this forum, and the strong recommendation of Reed Princess.  We visited on Fri., Dec. 6 off a Celebrity cruise ship.  I had gone to the resort website and inquired about the public availability of the resort to visitors. (They don't call them "day passes" per se.)  I received an e-mail reply from Konrad Wagner saying that access is based on a "space available basis" but that our date of choice should be "wide open".


    We got a taxi outside the port ... negotiated a fare to the resort ($25), and were off.  It was about a 35-minute ride to get there, due to road construction in that direction (traffic in the opposite direction, toward the torn & port, was sailing along smoothly.)  The road to the resort off the main highway was twisty & uphill, but the taxi driver was accustomed to that & drove very safely (in part, I'm sure, to preserve his vehicle).  On arrival, we went into the partially open air lobby and were greeted warmly by the receptionist, who welcomed us & took our credit card for payment.  It was $25pp and included only access to the (infinity) pool on the way down to the beach and to the beach loungers (we brought our own towels from the ship.)  As advertised, it's a walk down a series of steps to the beach (but we're in our late 60's and had no trouble going down ... and later, back up.  Just took our time).

    And it was soooo worth the trip.  The view from the lobby ... pool area ... and beach is picture perfect.  When we got to the beach, there were two couples staying at the resort there ... and there were plenty of loungers (both covered and uncovered) available as well as some chairs on the resort grounds behind the beach.  There was a server on the beach to take drink & food orders (who then went up to the bar to get them).  The beach was nice soft sand, with no drop-off into or out of the water.  A very idyllic, peaceful place.  When we were done with the beach, (and there are outdoor showers & foot showers right behind the beach) we walked up to the bar (which is adjacent to the pool with swim-up bar access from there), and had some libations there in the shade.  At the beach or pool bar, they run a tab & you pay for drink/food when you're done. We didn't eat, but their menu looked good (and reasonably priced.)  Also some loungers next to the pool & bar, most of them spread out for a feeling of privacy.


    All of the employees were extremely nice & friendly, and we felt like we we were being treated the same as the resort guests.  When we got ready to leave, the woman at the reception desk called us a taxi ... and we waited comfortably in the lobby until our ride arrived.


    We waited about 30 mins for the taxi back to the port .... fare back was $20 (the taxi driver said that he was stationed at a nearby resort) and took about 15 minutes driving time.


    This was a wonderfully relaxing beach day and a way to step away from the crowds during a great, but port intensive, cruise.  If (when!) we get back to St. Lucia, I would certainly do this again & the only change I would make would be to spend more time there (we were there about 3 hrs) & maybe take advantage of the infinity pool and food offerings (and a couple of more Caribbean drinks).  My only selfish hope is that it doesn't get TOO popular ... and change the experience.


    I hope this helps you & others considering Calabash Cove and gives you an idea of what to expect.

    • Thanks 1
  9. We went to Calabash Cove on a cruise last week (on the recommendation of this forum) and everything Reed Princess said above was spot on.  Great experience. We were treated like regular guests.  We were the only "cruise people" there, had our pick of shaded loungers.  As stated above, there are many steps down to the beach and we're not young & real spry ... but so worth getting there (and drink service from the bar on the beach.) I plan to write a more complete review in the coming days ... but it was well worth the price and getting to, and we'd go again.

  10. Just back from a cruise that included Aruba, and we went to Reflexions for the first time. (Previously had been to Palm Beach) Reflexions a quick taxi ride from port ... lounger with umbrella was $20 I think ... nice sand beach with easy in-and-out of the water (no drop-off) and no rocks in the water.  Not very crowded by Aruba beach standards.  Reflexions Bar/Grill was good, good drink service at lounger.  I plan to write a more detailed report soon.  I've never been to Barcelo's, so can't make a comparison.

  11. Med02

    When we did this last year, I think we paid $10-$15 total for the taxi to take us to the other terminal ... hand our luggage off to the porters (that only took about 2 mins) ... then back in the taxi to the Harbor Shops.  I tipped the driver $10.  Then the cab back from Harbor Shops to the port ... probably the same fare, which I think it pretty much a minimum.  Getting a cab at Harbor Shops was quick & easy (we called Yellow Cab ourselves.)  The process was well worth it to us and, in the big picture of what the cruises cost, the cost wasn't that much for the convenience.  Have a great trip in January!

  12. I need some advice on post-cruise transportation, POM to a Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel, in December.  It will be 2 people, about 5 pieces of luggage (we'll be coming off 21 days of cruising).  I know Uber will be a suggestion, but I've never done them before and I'm thinking the post-cruise terminal chaos might not be the right time to start.  I know some shuttles contractually can't go POM to Ft. Lauderdale hotels.  I've looked at doing MetroShuttle ... but have seen mixed reviews on their service.  Is there another service someone might recommend?  I don't mind sharing a shuttle, but I'm also willing to pay a little more for a dependable, stress free ride.  Thanks for any help you can offer!

  13. I am doing a similar thing as the OP in December, I'm staying at BW Ocenside+ after a cruise that ends in Miami ... never stayed there before, but (like the opinion of a poster previously), have heard good things about it's location & convenience.  I haven't finalized transportation yet from POM to Fort Lauderdale hotel, but I'm looking at MetroShuttle ($30pp in a shared van).  I know from past experience a cab will cost about $75 ... I've never used Uber, don't know if I want to make POM post-cruise chaos my first venture into that.  Hope this helps!

  14. We did this last year, got off a RCCL ship (Adventure) to get on HAL ship (Koningsdam).  We got a taxi ... had them take us to the Koningsdam pier ... had the taxi wait while checking our luggage in with the porters ... then had the taxi take us to Harbor Shops (lunch at Duffy's, pick up some snacks at the grocery store there.)  It was a short trip for the taxi driver, but I told him up front what I wanted to do and that I would tip him well --- which I did.  Then, after a short walk, caught a cab back to the port and checked in on the Koningsdam.  Gave us a nice little break between the cruises.


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  15. We have done the Marriott off a cruise on St. Kitt's 3 times, and plan to do it again next month.  I echo Paul58 above on taxi price ... short length of ride (and gives you a nice scenic look at the island) ... and ease of getting a taxi back to the ship.  The Marriott people treat you great ... the beach is peaceful & the loungers spread out, with plenty of shaded ones available ... pool also available along with a nice little hotel beach bar & restaurant.  There's a reason we keep going back.

  16. We've done the Calabaza trip twice --- and have it booked again during a cruise this December.  My Wife loves to snorkel ... I've snorkeled but enjoy just staying on the catamaran.  Great service, drinks, food, clean & uncrowded.  Maybe our all-time favorite excursion.

  17. Following up to the above ... I just booked this tour for Dec. 8th.  Researched it, found the reviews to be good ... the photos look good ... the price is right ... but the real reason I'm writing this is to say how good the response from the tour operator (Stan Grainger) has been.  Answered all my questions, quick to reply to my e-mails ... very impressive. This will be our first time to Grenada & I'm looking forward to this tour

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