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Bookster99

Which ports need an excursion, which don't?

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Hello! We are going on a 4th of July cruise on the Fascination to the following ports:

St. Thomas

St. Maarten

St. Kitts

St. Lucia

Barbados

 

We are perfectly happy walking around a nice shopping village, but some ports the shopping village isn't that unique and there is a must-do excursion. If you have been to these ports, how is the experience right off the ship? And what ports have an excursion that we don't want to miss?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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St kitts - just west (like 100 yards) of Reggae Beach is a lady named Deb.  She is amazing with cheap food, beers, and chair rentals.  We go there every time.  The water isn’t great in st kitts.  But you also get a great taxi ride and some amazing veiws on the way there. 

 

St Maarten -  do maho bay and don’t think twice.  Watching 747s land 100 ft above you is something you will never be able to experience again.  

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You do not need a Carnival excursion for anywhere. Maho is a $2 bus ride. Let Google and TripAdvisor be your friend and do some research. 

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Posted (edited)

You need to live a little, simply going all around the world to shop for souvenirs is not my idea of living it up. Surely there is something more that you are wanting or willing to do besides this. Take an excursion to Coral Ocean World in ST. Thomas, Go to Nevis on a catamaran, swim with the dolphins ...... You'll never regret not shopping but may regret doing the fun things that are available to you to do while you travel and before you're cruising in a wheel chair.  

Edited by tallnthensome

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8 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

You need to live a little, simply going all around the world to shop for souvenirs is not my idea of living it up. Surely there is something more that you are wanting or willing to do besides this. Take an excursion to Coral Ocean World in ST. Thomas, Go to Nevis on a catamaran, swim with the dolphins ...... You'll never regret not shopping but may regret doing the fun things that are available to you to do while you travel and before you're cruising in a wheel chair.  

OH, I'm not in any way against excursions! But with this many ports that could be an expensive venture. Just checking to see what people think. I'll check out Coral World and the ctamaran. Good tips!

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41 minutes ago, coevan said:

You do not need a Carnival excursion for anywhere. Maho is a $2 bus ride. Let Google and TripAdvisor be your friend and do some research. 

Agreed, but checking on Cruise Critic is always part of my research!

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I would say St. Lucia is one port you want to make sure you have an excursion planned. Our first time there we did a catamaran trip out to the Pitons, and the second time we did ziplining. It's a beautiful island, but just not much to do right at the port. 

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Just now, centralcalicruzer said:

I would say St. Lucia is one port you want to make sure you have an excursion planned. Our first time there we did a catamaran trip out to the Pitons, and the second time we did ziplining. It's a beautiful island, but just not much to do right at the port. 

Thank you.

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Following this as we have the same itinerary on Fascination in just a few weeks.  I've read so much about what to do and what not to do I'm back at square one so hopefully this thread will narrow things down.  The couple we are travelling with have had some scary experiences with taxis on the islands so they  are worried that if we don't have specific excursions set up that we will run into problems with public transportation.

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2 minutes ago, Crazy4Camping said:

Following this as we have the same itinerary on Fascination in just a few weeks.  I've read so much about what to do and what not to do I'm back at square one so hopefully this thread will narrow things down.  The couple we are travelling with have had some scary experiences with taxis on the islands so they  are worried that if we don't have specific excursions set up that we will run into problems with public transportation.

Do post a cruise review! We are very excited about the summer cruise. Love to hear your experiences.

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Going on this itinerary in a few weeks. Have several carnival tours, but have cosol tours in St Lucia. If you do a search in ports of call in cruise critic you will learn a lot about each port. These are from cruisers from all lines, so they really have many insights.

 

I actually think this cruise will be a little tiring trying to see 5 ports in 7 days, so we may skip any big plans for St Thomas as we have been several times before. 

 

The others are more of the "best of" type tours to see as much as possible then plan for another trip to refine exactly what we liked the most of each port, then plan to revisit.

 

Cruises from San Juan are some of the least expensive in the Caribbean… 

 

 

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2 hours ago, tallnthensome said:

Take an excursion to Coral Ocean World in ST. Thomas

 

 

And then you will be next to the best beach in St. Thomas, Coki. Coki has incredible snorkeling and the best smoothies and fried chicken wings. Again, you do not need a shore excursion, it's a $15 taxi and the beach is free. You might have to rent a chair and umbrella for a nominal fee. I'll bet the Carnival excursion is $60-70 pp. 

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27 minutes ago, May1cruiser said:

Going on this itinerary in a few weeks. Have several carnival tours, but have cosol tours in St Lucia. If you do a search in ports of call in cruise critic you will learn a lot about each port. These are from cruisers from all lines, so they really have many insights.

 

I actually think this cruise will be a little tiring trying to see 5 ports in 7 days, so we may skip any big plans for St Thomas as we have been several times before. 

 

The others are more of the "best of" type tours to see as much as possible then plan for another trip to refine exactly what we liked the most of each port, then plan to revisit.

 

Cruises from San Juan are some of the least expensive in the Caribbean… 

 

 

Thanks for the tips! The cruise itself is inexpensive, but the airfare! Maybe the next one I'll hop a tramp steamer to the island....

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Hi Bookster!  We’ve done this itinerary twice and have done two of our favorite excursions to date.  The first in Barbados is the Harrison cave eco adventure tour.  We booked through carnival but only had 12 in our group with 3 guides.  It’s fairly physical and very dirty but we thought it was a lot of fun.  Our second favorite was in st kitts also through carnival doing the mini speedboat excursion with snorkeling at Shitten Bay - best snorkeling I’ve done and the speedboats were great!

 

We also went to Maho Bay in St Maarten this past year which had some pretty bad beach erosion with the recent hurricanes but still worth the visit.  Always amazed to see that people stand behind the engine exhaust.

 

it is a full itinerary!

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13 minutes ago, bumbles said:

Hi Bookster!  We’ve done this itinerary twice and have done two of our favorite excursions to date.  The first in Barbados is the Harrison cave eco adventure tour.  We booked through carnival but only had 12 in our group with 3 guides.  It’s fairly physical and very dirty but we thought it was a lot of fun.  Our second favorite was in st kitts also through carnival doing the mini speedboat excursion with snorkeling at Shitten Bay - best snorkeling I’ve done and the speedboats were great!

 

We also went to Maho Bay in St Maarten this past year which had some pretty bad beach erosion with the recent hurricanes but still worth the visit.  Always amazed to see that people stand behind the engine exhaust.

 

it is a full itinerary!

Thnk you!

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Posted (edited)

Definitely look for an island tour in St. Kitts. The island is beautiful and unique. Brimstone Fortress is incredible. We did a land and sea tour in St. Lucia which was a blast too. The Pitons are a site to see but an excursion is required to get to them as they are far away. St. Maarten and St. Thomas are pretty easy on your own. There are beaches, shopping, etc accessible by walking, bus, and taxi in St. Maarten and by taxi in St. Thomas. We enjoyed the Boatyard in Barbados. A beautiful beach with the opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles! It's a great itinerary. You will never forget it!

Edited by Doggielover68

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1 hour ago, Bookster99 said:

Thanks for the tips! The cruise itself is inexpensive, but the airfare! Maybe the next one I'll hop a tramp steamer to the island....

Yes the airfare killed us.  We really didn't think it would be as expensive as it was.  Almost as much as the cruise!

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34 minutes ago, Doggielover68 said:

Definitely look for an island tour in St. Kitts. The island is beautiful and unique. Brimstone Fortress is incredible. We did a land and sea tour in St. Lucia which was a blast too. The Pitons are a site to see but an excursion is required to get to them as they are far away. St. Maarten and St. Thomas are pretty easy on your own. There are beaches, shopping, etc accessible by walking, bus, and taxi in St. Maarten and by taxi in St. Thomas. We enjoyed the Boatyard in Barbados. A beautiful beach with the opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles! It's a great itinerary. You will never forget it!

Thank you!

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6 hours ago, Bookster99 said:

Hello! We are going on a 4th of July cruise on the Fascination to the following ports:

St. Thomas

St. Maarten

St. Kitts

St. Lucia

Barbados

 

We are perfectly happy walking around a nice shopping village, but some ports the shopping village isn't that unique and there is a must-do excursion. If you have been to these ports, how is the experience right off the ship? And what ports have an excursion that we don't want to miss?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

You'll be fine just doing what you have normally done in all most all of your ports of call.

In St. Lucia do consider an excursion of some sort.

A catamaran to the Pitons is my recommendation.  

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Love that itinerary. You're going to have a blast! I did it last year. Here's what we did:

 

St. Thomas - Went over to Trunk Bay on St John. Cost about $100 for 2 people and it's a decent haul there. Absolutely gorgeous beach. It wasn't crowded in the slightest. The snorkeling was fun. If the ride there doesn't bother you, I strongly recommend it!

 

St. Maarten - Went to Maho. At first, I was extremely disappointed. I quickly realized it was a fun experience. It was the last stop of our 6. It somehow added variety to a week of ports.

 

St. Kitts - Cockleshell beach. It wasn't terrible. Something about it just didn't do it for me. The view was beautiful. The ride there was beautiful. The beach was just ok. 

 

St. Lucia - Sandals day pass. Outstanding food. Great drinks too. We enjoy splurging for one day. A week of AI is too much for us

 

Barbados - Harbor Lights in Carlisle Bay. $20pp to get a chair, umbrella, and a catamaran. There's a bunch of places doing the same thing on that strip. Got to see a shipwreck, turtles, and sting rays for $40 total. The beach was also gorgeous. This one is highly recommended.

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We just did this in Sept. 

San Juan- walking tour to the forts and in Ol San Juan. 

St. Thomas- lots of beaches. We went Sapphire. It’s beatiful. Find one you like and take a taxi. 

Barbados- We loved the Boatyard and swimming with the sea turtles. 

St. Lucia- Is a port that you need a tour or excursion. We did Spencer Ambrose Land and Sea. It was wonderful taking the boat over to pitons and seeing the fishing villages, waterfalls, and The walk through volcano. 

St. Kitts- We free ranged and had a beach day at Shipwreck beach bar. 

St. Maarten- I highly recommend Bernard’s tours. We went to French Capitol, Marigot. toured the island, learned history, beach time at Mullet Bay and ended seeing the planes at Maho. 

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In Sint Maarten, somehow get to the French side for a while.  The two sides are different. Enjoy being in France for a little while.

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Just saying ... think the OP just wants and enjoys walking around in ports of call and needs to know the ports it would not be enjoyable for them to do this so would need to plan something else.

We've been to all of their ports many times and really think they would be fine doing what they really like to do in all except for St. Lucia.  

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