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Horizon Southern Itinerary Info needed please


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We will be sailing April 6th.   Ports are Curacao, Aruba, Grand Turk & La Romana.  We’ve never been to any of these.  I’ve looked at Carnivals excursions and some of them seemed interesting but what I would like to know from those who’ve been to these ports is if these islands are walkable from the port and if there are things we can do on our own?  For instance, in Jamaica and one of the ports in the Bahamas, if you don’t do a ship excursion, ones options are limited to taking a cab to look around or tip back a few at the bars at the port (which I’m not opposed to 😁).  We don’t mind doing 1 or 2 of the recommended excursions but would prefer if we can venture into town or elsewhere on our own to explore and sightsee. 

 

Thanks for the help.  

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There are shops and small vendors in Curacao and Aruba  and also GT the beach is close to where you docked. All three of those ports I feel  are safe to venture around and explore . Aruba beaches are simply beautiful . I've explored several ways at these ports . Sometimes we just walked around and shopped other times we grabbed a taxi and explored the island .La Romana I would do an excursion.

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We recommend going to Monkey Land in the Dominican Republic. It was one of the best excursions we have ever done and we've been on 15 cruises so far. You get to spend a lot of time with the monkeys. The guides give each person a small dish and keep filling them with food. The monkeys just climb all over you. We have several pics of each of us with monkeys sitting and climbing on our arms, shoulders, and heads that we took with our phones. You can take your own pics and the guides take some as well that you can purchase at the end if you want, but they don't pressure you to buy anything. 

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Aruba is worth taking some form of excursion. It is "tropical" on one side and a "desert" on the other side of the island. 

Curaco is very walkable.

Grand turk has a small area near port and nice beach.

Not a huge fan of La Romana, it would need to be an excursion.

 

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20 hours ago, Mrs CruisinCritter said:

We recommend going to Monkey Land in the Dominican Republic. It was one of the best excursions we have ever done and we've been on 15 cruises so far. You get to spend a lot of time with the monkeys. The guides give each person a small dish and keep filling them with food. The monkeys just climb all over you. We have several pics of each of us with monkeys sitting and climbing on our arms, shoulders, and heads that we took with our phones. You can take your own pics and the guides take some as well that you can purchase at the end if you want, but they don't pressure you to buy anything. 

I second this, wonderful experience for everyone young and old. 

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22 hours ago, RTR 21-0 said:

We will be sailing April 6th.   Ports are Curacao, Aruba, Grand Turk & La Romana.  We’ve never been to any of these.  I’ve looked at Carnivals excursions and some of them seemed interesting but what I would like to know from those who’ve been to these ports is if these islands are walkable from the port and if there are things we can do on our own?  For instance, in Jamaica and one of the ports in the Bahamas, if you don’t do a ship excursion, ones options are limited to taking a cab to look around or tip back a few at the bars at the port (which I’m not opposed to 😁).  We don’t mind doing 1 or 2 of the recommended excursions but would prefer if we can venture into town or elsewhere on our own to explore and sightsee. 

 

Thanks for the help.  

Done this same itinerary before.

Grand Turk - Some vendors and shops at the port, along with a nice beach that you can walk along.  Plus, there is a Margaritaville.  It's a Carnival port, meaning it is designed to keep you there so you don't venture too far out on your own.  You'd need an excursion if you don't want spend all day at the beach, because there is not much else.  

La Romana - There are a few vendors and a craft shop at the port, along with a small bar & grill but that is it.  I would not want to walk around outside the port area.  Definitely, an excursion port.

Aruba - plenty to walk to in the Oranjestad area in terms of shops and places to eat, things to see.  If you want a nice beach you will need to take the bus or a taxi.  If all you want to do is walk around and see stuff (and you don't need beach) then this is the place for you.

Curacao - Very similar to Aruba in that you can walk to plenty of shops and restaurants, cross the Queen Emma bridge, etc...     

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We're on the same cruise! GT is the only port that is a repeat for us. We have excursions (not through Carnival) planned for La Romana & daytime in Curacao.

 

GT we're just going to head down the beach to Jack's Shack for a drink or two & then maybe stop at Margaritaville so the kids can hop into the pool. This is a super easy port to wing it on your own. The beach is right there. Food & shopping is right there. 

 

Aruba we're taking a cab to the beach. I haven't done much research into the port area. 

 

Curacao we have a privately booked tour during the day, but plan to explore the sights in the port area in the evening. I've seen pictures & it looks lovely at night with plenty to see in walking distance. From my research & the pics it looks like this is a port you can do on your own also.

 

La Romana I understand there's not much right there. We're taking a private tour for most of the day & the heading back on board.

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We're going on this itinerary next March. Will be booking tomorrow. We would've booked today, but our PVP wasn't available. Stupid mistake on our part. He told us to call him back by a certain time today and we forgot about the hour time difference, so I called an hour too late. By the time we realized, I had already left him a message. But he was nice enough to return the call, even though he was busy and wasn't able to book us today.

 

I haven't started researching the ports yet. Even though it's a year away, I like to research periodically throughout the entire time we're waiting for sail date. This thread is a decent start to get an idea of what to look out for. We've been to Grand Turk twice already. This itinerary will be the third. All the rest are new to us.

 

Just a bit of clarification about Grand Turk. Someone said it's a Carnival port. That's not true, it's not a private Carnival port, if that's what they meant. Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Margaritaville is one of a chain of Caribbean bar/restaurants owned by singer Jimmy Buffet. There are several shops just off the pier, but you'll find that at just about every port of call. It's only about 5-6 miles from the pier to the northern end of the island where the lighthouse is. You can take a taxi or rent a golf cart. Last year we were talking to a woman once we got back on the ship and she said she took a taxi tour of the island and had a great time. She said her driver was very fun.

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I don't know if this excursion is available on your cruise or not but the Segway tour in Aruba was a blast.  They split you into two groups.  One group  takes the Segways and goes up to the light house, stops for photo ops along the way, then stops at the beach on the way back.  The other group starts at the beach then takes the Segways and does the tour while the first group stays at the beach.  

 

They start out by giving you plenty of time to learn how to drive them before you take off.  It was a lot of fun.  Make sure you put on sun screen because you are right out in the hot sun the whole time.

 

We did have to laugh at one of the guides.  He came over to us and said that he was glad to see "OLD" people doing it.  I wanted to run over him with my walker!  We were in our mid sixties.  Never felt old until he said that.

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8 hours ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

 

Just a bit of clarification about Grand Turk. Someone said it's a Carnival port. That's not true, it's not a private Carnival port, if that's what they meant. Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Margaritaville is one of a chain of Caribbean bar/restaurants owned by singer Jimmy Buffet. There are several shops just off the pier, but you'll find that at just about every port of call. It's only about 5-6 miles from the pier to the northern end of the island where the lighthouse is. You can take a taxi or rent a golf cart. Last year we were talking to a woman once we got back on the ship and she said she took a taxi tour of the island and had a great time. She said her driver was very fun.

 

Although Carnival doesn’t own Grand Turk, the port there was built by Carnival. 

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4 hours ago, PhillyFan33579 said:

 

Although Carnival doesn’t own Grand Turk, the port there was built by Carnival. 

 

Even so, I don't think it's "designed to keep you there so you don't venture too far out on your own," as was said. Aside from being a great port for beach/swimming/snorkeling, there isn't a whole lot of things to do, relatively speaking. It's a small island. So the cruise center simply provides a place to enjoy a port that doesn't have a heck of a lot to offer.

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7 hours ago, RWolver672 said:

I don't know if this excursion is available on your cruise or not but the Segway tour in Aruba was a blast.  They split you into two groups.  One group  takes the Segways and goes up to the light house, stops for photo ops along the way, then stops at the beach on the way back.  The other group starts at the beach then takes the Segways and does the tour while the first group stays at the beach.  

 

They start out by giving you plenty of time to learn how to drive them before you take off.  It was a lot of fun.  Make sure you put on sun screen because you are right out in the hot sun the whole time.

 

We did have to laugh at one of the guides.  He came over to us and said that he was glad to see "OLD" people doing it.  I wanted to run over him with my walker!  We were in our mid sixties.  Never felt old until he said that.

 

We are doing this excursion for our Horizon cruise in May!  Nice to hear it was fun and a good experience!  We've done segway tours in St. Maarten and Costa Maya and they were great as well!! 🙂 

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We are going this May same Itinerary same ship.  For La Romana, I have been there before and we did a private tour through Seavis Tours, it was called the Saona Special.  It was so much fun.  You take a boat that takes you to a couple famous stops one is the national park and the other I believe was the mangroves, and they give you some history on those, then they take you to the beach, where there is snorkling included if you want and a really good lunch, there were loungers there and drinks included. Then back on the boat to the "natural pool" which is a sandbank so beautiful you jump in the water and there are starfish everywhere you get to take pics, and they serve drinks from the little boat while you are in the water, if I remember correctly they also served rum cake.  It really was alot of fun.

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We are going on this cruise April 6th also.  Keep checking the excursions to see if there is another Monkey excursion added.  Sometimes they will add additional tours if something sells out.  Also, people can cancel with a refund at this point, so it pays to check back since people do change their mind about excursions this close to sailing.  La Romana does not do much for me as a port, so we booked a dune buggy excursion to occupy ourselves this time.  

 

Grand Turk there is no need for an excursion if you like to hang out at the beach.  Walk down the beach from the pier and rent a couple of beach chairs from a local- out of the crowds.  The chairs near the pier with the green umbrellas are free but crammed in all together.   You can rent a golf car or scooters off the pier and drive around the little island.   

 

Aruba is a great port.  You can walk around off the  ship and there are restaurants and shops and taxis if you want one.  There are some great swimming beaches but you need to cab it to those.  I like to go to the Donkey rescue farm by cab- and then to the beach.  I have done the Carnival excursion that takes you on a tour by bus and then drops you at the beach for an hour or two and that was okay to get a feel for what the island is like.  There is no need to spend all your time on a bus though since there is so much to do near the port.

 

Curacao is new for us so we booked a snorkeling excursion through the ship this time.  After that is over we are going to find a place to eat dinner- but we haven't made any decisions yet about where.

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On 3/17/2019 at 10:04 PM, RTR 21-0 said:

Thx everyone for the info.   So disappointed.  Monkeyland is sold out & that was basically all I wanted to do at that stop 😟 looks like that will be a sleep in day. 

They will have spots open when you get on board the ship. Go to the shore excursions desk when your board and book it. Just be sure to go on embarkation day as soon as you can if you still want to book it. 

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On 3/9/2019 at 8:25 PM, RTR 21-0 said:

We will be sailing April 6th.   Ports are Curacao, Aruba, Grand Turk & La Romana.  We’ve never been to any of these.  I’ve looked at Carnivals excursions and some of them seemed interesting but what I would like to know from those who’ve been to these ports is if these islands are walkable from the port and if there are things we can do on our own?  For instance, in Jamaica and one of the ports in the Bahamas, if you don’t do a ship excursion, ones options are limited to taking a cab to look around or tip back a few at the bars at the port (which I’m not opposed to 😁).  We don’t mind doing 1 or 2 of the recommended excursions but would prefer if we can venture into town or elsewhere on our own to explore and sightsee. 

Thanks for the help.  

 

Curacao -- Easy to walk into town.

Aruba -- Town is close but not very interesting.  More fun to take an excursion.

Grand Turk -- The beach is right there ... no need of an excursion.

La Romana -- Take an excursion.

 

Enjoy your cruise!  :classic_cool:

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Everyday I check my thread and new info is available!  Love it & much appreciated. 

 

Love the scooter idea for GT.  We did this on one of our Cozumel stops and my husband and I agree it was one of our best days.  

 

Has anyone used a private excursion company in Aruba?  

Edited by RTR 21-0
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We are on the April 6th Horizon . Can’t wait!

In LaRomana we are doing the Seavis Saona special, in Curacao going on the west side tour through Irie Tours, in Aruba we bought a day pass for the Barcelo Grand all inclusive. We’ll just hang out in the pool and beach at Grand Turk. We’ve been on a land vacation to Aruba and there on a cruise. Love it but wish it wasn’t so windy.

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On 3/9/2019 at 8:25 PM, RTR 21-0 said:

We will be sailing April 6th.   Ports are Curacao, Aruba, Grand Turk & La Romana.  We’ve never been to any of these.  I’ve looked at Carnivals excursions and some of them seemed interesting but what I would like to know from those who’ve been to these ports is if these islands are walkable from the port and if there are things we can do on our own?  For instance, in Jamaica and one of the ports in the Bahamas, if you don’t do a ship excursion, ones options are limited to taking a cab to look around or tip back a few at the bars at the port (which I’m not opposed to 😁).  We don’t mind doing 1 or 2 of the recommended excursions but would prefer if we can venture into town or elsewhere on our own to explore and sightsee. 

 

Thanks for the help.  

For La Romana we also did the Seavis tour-lots of fun. Curacao is fun to walk around, Aruba we took the city bus down to the beach (where the hotels are) one time and did the Irie tour another, and Grand Turk has a Margaritaville where you can sit by the pool or beach. As far as shopping prob Aruba and Curacao offer the most.

 

Edited by LPut714
correction
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On 3/9/2019 at 9:17 PM, Mrs CruisinCritter said:

We recommend going to Monkey Land in the Dominican Republic. It was one of the best excursions we have ever done and we've been on 15 cruises so far. You get to spend a lot of time with the monkeys. The guides give each person a small dish and keep filling them with food. The monkeys just climb all over you. We have several pics of each of us with monkeys sitting and climbing on our arms, shoulders, and heads that we took with our phones. You can take your own pics and the guides take some as well that you can purchase at the end if you want, but they don't pressure you to buy anything. 

 

On 3/10/2019 at 7:01 PM, tallnthensome said:

I second this, wonderful experience for everyone young and old.

 

How much time do you spend with the monkeys? The excursion also includes a tour of a village, so was wondering how they divided it up. I read some reviews on TripAdvisor that said it's about 45 min. with the monkeys. Also, they climb on you, but you're not allowed to touch them. Is all of that true?

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33 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

 

How much time do you spend with the monkeys? The excursion also includes a tour of a village, so was wondering how they divided it up. I read some reviews on TripAdvisor that said it's about 45 min. with the monkeys. Also, they climb on you, but you're not allowed to touch them. Is all of that true?

I was wondering about the 45 min also and spending so much time on the bus and at a village I probably won’t have an interest in.  I know they climb on you but hadn’t heard the part about not being able to touch them.   Guess I can see where you wouldn’t be able to for safety reasons but since they’re already climbing on you who’s to say they wouldn’t possibly take a bite off an ear or finger 🙊🙈

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7 hours ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

 

How much time do you spend with the monkeys? The excursion also includes a tour of a village, so was wondering how they divided it up. I read some reviews on TripAdvisor that said it's about 45 min. with the monkeys. Also, they climb on you, but you're not allowed to touch them. Is all of that true?

We spent about an hour with the monkeys. It is true that they tell you not to grab or touch the monkeys, but it is for safety reasons for the monkeys. They can slip and fall off of you very easily so you're asked not to grab them. Honestly, all you have to do is stick your arm out and they will jump right onto it. They jump and climb all over you. There's no reason to grab them. Just be mindful that they are wild animals and they may potty on you. A man on our tour had a monkey pee on his head and a woman had one go on her shirt/arm. 

 

You don't tour a village, but the buses do drive through the countryside and through a city. The other stop that people and the tour refer to is at a house in the middle of the rainforest which is only a few miles away from Monkeyland. They have cocoa trees and they grow coffee beans among a few other things. The guide will walk you through and you get to watch how they process the cocoa beans and use the shells to make cocoa tea. You also get to watch them grind the coffee with a large mortar and pestle. Then you get to taste them. The cocoa tea is really good. The coffee is sweet. They add cinnamon to the coffee so if you or anyone on the tour with you are allergic, steer clear of the coffee. 

Edited by Mrs CruisinCritter
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