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#1
Lake Suzy, Florida
73 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Ship docked in Castries, St. Lucia at 10:00 am. Cleared customs at 10:30. Went ashore at 10:50. Assaulted and absolutely beaten down by the tour and taxi people at the pier, we turned around and were back on ship by 11:20. Will never go ashore in Castries again!


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#2
129 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
Yes it can be crazy with aggressive vendors trying to sell you stuff and take you places. It was the same way in St. John, Antigua too. We were on the Oct. 7 AOS sailing.
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#3
South Carolina
30,270 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Maybe consider booking an excursion thru your cruise line to avoid all of that.
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#4
Lake Suzy, Florida
73 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Originally posted by OCruisers
Maybe consider booking an excursion thru your cruise line to avoid all of that.


No excursions that were of interest to us. We usually do schedule excursions and only do so through the cruise line, for our protection. But to not be able to get out of the port area, and to actually feel unsafe, is a ridiculous situation from the aspect of an island that depends on return visitors for their livelihood.


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#5
CANADA
1,489 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Quiltincruiser
No excursions that were of interest to us. We usually do schedule excursions and only do so through the cruise line, for our protection. But to not be able to get out of the port area, and to actually feel unsafe, is a ridiculous situation from the aspect of an island that depends on return visitors for their livelihood.


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We researched and went on a private tour with Cosol Tours, it was the best tour we ever did!
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#6
787 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Were you physically assaulted or were they just aggressive? This is fairly typical of many ports. I have found that a firm "No, Thank You" generally works well.

We had a great time in St Lucia 2 years ago. Maybe things have changed, but St Lucia vendors / taxis were mild compared to those in Jamaica.

I guess it depends on your past experiences, but I always find it interesting that people feel intimidated by vendors in these countries. I am from a city of 650,000 and have to tell people begging for money daily I am not interested.


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#7
Lake Suzy, Florida
73 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Not physically assaulted but grabbed, and grabbed at. A firm No, works until you take another step and then there were 10 more grabbing and yelling. I was told that the other port (across the harbor) is better as the taxi’s are not allowed as close to the ship. Regardless, there are too many other Caribbean islands for me to enjoy. There were multiple warnings in the compass about being aware of your surroundings in St. Lucia and when I spoke to the crew they also said that it was an unsafe port. I am glad that others have enjoyed their time in St. Lucia, I will live vicariously through their stories!


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#8
CANADA
1,489 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Quiltincruiser
Not physically assaulted but grabbed, and grabbed at. A firm No, works until you take another step and then there were 10 more grabbing and yelling. I was told that the other port (across the harbor) is better as the taxi’s are not allowed as close to the ship. Regardless, there are too many other Caribbean islands for me to enjoy. There were multiple warnings in the compass about being aware of your surroundings in St. Lucia and when I spoke to the crew they also said that it was an unsafe port. I am glad that others have enjoyed their time in St. Lucia, I will live vicariously through their stories!


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That's not good to be grabbed! I guess it is best to do a tour then. We really enjoyed all the sites we saw. This time we are doing a snorkel trip, I was thinking of also shopping after, but ....
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#9
Lake Suzy, Florida
73 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Spoke with the Excursions manager on board and she was upset that I left St. Lucia with that attitude about the island. I promised her that if a cruise I’m includes St. Lucia (I believe our 1/15/18 cruise does) I will book an excursion to give them a fair break.


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#10
Toronto, Canada
4,346 Posts
Joined May 2006
Have to sympathise with vendors trying to feed their families.

For those of us not comfortable with being closely surrounded by strangers it can be intimidating. I've found that remembering they are people just trying to earn a living eases most of the stress.
#11
New York
1,589 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
Originally posted by broberts
Have to sympathise with vendors trying to feed their families.

For those of us not comfortable with being closely surrounded by strangers it can be intimidating. I've found that remembering they are people just trying to earn a living eases most of the stress.
Have to sympathise with vendors trying to feed their families. +1

Been there many times and once you get past the initial hoard of tour guides and monkeys in diapers people the town is very nice. They do make their livings with tourists and most people either take a ride, get a monkey picture or walk right on past them with a pleasant No Thank You..,

bosco
#12
South Carolina
30,270 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Best by far to have a planned excursion with the ship or a well known independent,
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#13
Ottawa, Canada
114 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
That is so unfortunate, as this is one of our very favourite islands in the Caribbean. For those who are planning to travel to St Lucia we only tour with Frank's St Lucia Taxi and Tours. He was recommended by our travel agent a few years ago, and we have toured the island with him twice - no issues, no problems. In fact, he took us everywhere on the island and showed us how wonderful this place in paradise is. He is well known and well respected here.


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#14
St. Lucia, West Indies
3,831 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by boscobeans
Have to sympathise with vendors trying to feed their families. +1

Been there many times and once you get past the initial hoard of tour guides and monkeys in diapers people the town is very nice. They do make their livings with tourists and most people either take a ride, get a monkey picture or walk right on past them with a pleasant No Thank You..,

bosco
No monkeys in St Lucia mate. You're thinking of St Kitts.. Whole different spot..
#15
79 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
It is an awful experience to be bombarded like that, but unfortunately it can happen in multiple ports. One tip I have is to WAIT for a while before departing the ship. Most of the tour operators are there right after arrival. But if you give it an hour or two before you set ashore its gets much quieter.
#16
CANADA
1,489 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Quiltincruiser
Spoke with the Excursions manager on board and she was upset that I left St. Lucia with that attitude about the island. I promised her that if a cruise I’m includes St. Lucia (I believe our 1/15/18 cruise does) I will book an excursion to give them a fair break.


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Good for you to give them another try! I really recommend Cosol Tours, google them. Also go to the St. Lucia part of CC, you will see him and others are recommended, or go with the cruise line.
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#17
101,098 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Quiltincruiser
Ship docked in Castries, St. Lucia at 10:00 am. Cleared customs at 10:30. Went ashore at 10:50. Assaulted and absolutely beaten down by the tour and taxi people at the pier, we turned around and were back on ship by 11:20. Will never go ashore in Castries again!


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This is a port of call where my recommendation is to either do a tour or stay on the ship. There is very little to see on your own and my own view is once you get a few blocks from the port it is scary.

Keith
#18
155 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
St. Lucia was our favorite port the last time we did a southern caribbean itinerary. We signed up for the segway tour thru the cruiseline which was our absolute favorite and best value. We got a tour around the island to Rodney Bay, segway portion was only about an hour, but then went to pigeon island where we hung out at the beach and hiked up a nicely maintained trail to a vantage point/fort. Gorgeous view.

This time around we are doing the sail to the Pitons with zipline. Hoping for decent weather.

Hope you give st. Lucia another try. Think a reputable tour will make the difference!
#19
Oregon
122 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
I agree that St. Lucia was the most aggressive port we've visited in the Caribbean. We didn't have a "plan" other than to find a way to a beach where we could snorkel for the day. We wasted almost 2 hours waiting for the guy hustling to sell out our boat before we were allowed to leave. Everyone on the boat paid a different rate depending on what they'd "negotiated". Just not comfortable or welcoming compared to a lot of other ports. Being shuttled into a building where you're surrounded by hustlers doesn't help- there's no escaping them. We will definitely be booking an excursion on our next visit to St. Lucia.
#20
New Jersey
346 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I'm sorry your experience was so bad. We just returned from a cruise and our visit to St. Lucia was wonderful. We booked a tour with James Tours and he was right there to meet us. We were quickly ushered away from the port area so I guess I didn't experience what you are talking about. The island is beautiful and the mud baths were so fun. I bet if you give it another try with a specific booked tour you will change your mind.
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