How do you escape Caribbean crowds?

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#1
645 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas takes off this week on its first seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailings to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau. The biggest ship ever built can deposit up to 6,296 passengers in a port -- and it's typically in town with two to four other ships.

So we're curious -- how do you avoid the crowds in these Eastern Caribbean destinations? Please share your favorite secluded beaches, off-the-beaten-track attractions, local restaurants, hidden boutiques or other destination secrets.
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Erica Silverstein
Senior Editor, Features
Cruise Critic
#2
Fredericksburg, va. USA
83,778 Posts
Joined May 2001
You don't! Enjoy the "hustle and bustle!" Hopefully, many of the Oasis passengers will have been to these ports many times, and will stay on the ship to get the "full experience"!
#3
Greenville, SC, USA
52,226 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Its easy, we cruse to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. We will keep looking for the Oasis, but hope not to come across her.
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Paul
#5
82,453 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Stay aboard our ship for the day and enjoy the quiet when the crowds are ashore!



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#6
11,497 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas takes off this week on its first seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailings to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau. The biggest ship ever built can deposit up to 6,296 passengers in a port -- and it's typically in town with two to four other ships.

So we're curious -- how do you avoid the crowds in these Eastern Caribbean destinations? Please share your favorite secluded beaches, off-the-beaten-track attractions, local restaurants, hidden boutiques or other destination secrets.
Sorry, some things are just not for sharing.
#7
Connecticut
12,137 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
One thing to look into before booking a cruise is the port schedule - paying attention to what ships are in each port with the ship/itinerary you are thinking about.

One other thing is to be quiet about any really terrific beach or area on an island - your being quiet about it might not keep it from getting too crowded - but your talking it up will contribute to its over-crowding. There is one beach on St. Martin which I go to every time - and which I never talk about for just that reason. Hint: it sure as H**l isn't Orient Beach.
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Six US Navy ships,
25+ cruises: Orient (1), Holland America (12), Norwegian (6), Carnival (1), Princess (1), Celebrity (3), Cunard (2), Royal Caribbean (1) - (1996-2017).
Coming up: Royal Caribbean, January 2018
#8
4,752 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
The best time to sail in the Caribbean is during the shoulder season when most Caribbean bound ships have not arrived from Europe and Alaska.
Extended itineraries - 8, 10, or 12 day cruises may help avoid the worst days too. If you are sailing from Florida or San Juan on a week's itinerary you are more than likely going to encounter the crowds from December through April.
The fewest Caribbean sailings are during the summer months but you always face the risk of hurricanes. The weather is warmer too but the local excursion companies are very grateful to be of service.
I hope this has helped.
#9
The Land of Ahhs!
44,132 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
We have actually been in some of these ports before with 6 - 8 ships all at the same time. It shouldn't make a huge difference unless you are docked at the same pier as the Oasis of the Seas. Some of those passengers probably won't be able to find the gangway to get off anyway. By the time they reach it, it will be time to board and sail again. (joking)
As for crowds in the Caribbean? I can honestly say that 99% of the time, the Caribbean has been crowded when we have been there, that is why we rarely sail to the Caribbean any longer.
#10
88,473 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
The reality is that the ports will be crowded. There is no getting around it. Yes, you can rent a taxi and go further out on the island if you so choose.

Keith
#11
Boston
4,410 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
The only way you're going to avoid the crowd in port is to cruise another itinerary. St Thomas was crowded 20 years ago when the largest ship on the water was the Sovereign. The ships have gotten larger, but the ports are the same size so if you don't like crowds, you're out of luck..............
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Completed Cruises: Sovereign of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean - December 1990: Sovereign of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean - March 1993: Sovereign of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean - August 1994: Sovereign of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean - November 1996: Legend of the Seas – Panama Canal – April 1999: NCL Majesty - Bermuda - July 2000: Explorer of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean - March 2001: Navigator of the Seas – Western Caribbean - March 2007: Navigator of the Seas – Transatlantic – November 2008: Explorer of the Seas – Bermuda/Bahamas – April 2010: Navigator of the Seas B2B2B – Western Caribbean – November 2010: Explorer of the Seas – Bermuda/Caribbean - May 2011: Explorer of the Seas – Southern Caribbean - March 2012: NCL Dawn – Bermuda – May 2012: NCL Dawn – Bermuda – May 2013: NCL Dawn – Repo – April 2014: Legend of the Seas – Panama Canal – April 2015: NCL Dawn – Bermuda – July 2015: NCL Dawn – Bermuda – June 2016: NCL Dawn – Bermuda – May 2017::
#12
Louisville, KY
875 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by phoenix1181
The only way you're going to avoid the crowd in port is to cruise another itinerary. St Thomas was crowded 20 years ago when the largest ship on the water was the Sovereign. The ships have gotten larger, but the ports are the same size so if you don't like crowds, you're out of luck..............
We have been to st. thomas three times now, and yes it is crowded but we have learned to find a taxi driver and have him take you to his favorite scenic spot, etc. We ended up at former pirates castle (a hotel now) and it overlooked the bay, it had the original cannons still in the wall, and swords, gold coins etc. to see. Our kids had a great time.
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Linda
#13
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Pretty simple. We avoid the Caribbean altogether.
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I've cruised on Princess, Carnival, HAL,
NCL, Hurtigruten and a couple of even smaller lines in the past. HAL is (for now) my favorite!

#14
82,453 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We love the Caribbean for the weather. We've traveled there for years and hope to continue to do so. If we arrive and it's crowded, we enjoy the beautiful weather at the pool on the ship. We no longer rush off (never did) to do all sorts of excursions in a frenzy to see everything in a day. I'd hate to stop enjoying beautiful beaches and weather in the Caribbean just because lots of other people want to be there as well. Just be flexible. If Plan A prooves to be a bad choice due to crowds, go to Plan B.

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#15
Summerville, SC
6,881 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
In researching what we want to do in port, one of the things I look for is what can we do that is not close to the port area, as obviously that is where the congestion is the worst. Plus, I've seen enough t-shirt shops to last me a lifetime!
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#16
B.C. Canada
1,483 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
We don't take ship excurisions,, we find our own way to a beach . We do not shop for stuff in overcrowded little towns where every store sells either tourist junk or jewerly..

A Tip.. on Orient Beach, walk to the nude part,, its never crowded with cruise ship passengers,, and you do NOT have to be nude to use it,, just not a gawker.
#18
Boston
8,596 Posts
Joined May 2006
If you consider the Oasis as two ships full of passenger, having a couple of other ships in port is not that big of a deal and shouldn't keep you away from Orient Beach in St Martin. Just grab a cab. They're cheap. I would also strongly consider getting to the ferry in St Thomas and heading over to St John and the beach at Trunk Bay. It's perhaps the nicest beach in the Caribbean and not too many from cruise ships head over there. Have a great cruise and enjoy the Oasis.
#19
5,517 Posts
Joined May 2004
Originally posted by screwsmcernst
We have been to st. thomas three times now, and yes it is crowded but we have learned to find a taxi driver and have him take you to his favorite scenic spot, etc. We ended up at former pirates castle (a hotel now) and it overlooked the bay, it had the original cannons still in the wall, and swords, gold coins etc. to see. Our kids had a great time.
Would that be the Hotel 1857?
#20
Parker, Co
2,157 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
We stopped going to the caribbean years ago. But that is not to say we won't do it again.
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