Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
pezgirlroy

Southern Caribbean Shore Excursions Help Needed

Recommended Posts

Hi all, thank you in advance for reading. My husband and I will be on the Freedom of the Seas leaving San Juan on July 28th for a kid free vacation. The stops are Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Maarten.  I am having a very hard time figuring out what we should do in each port. We do want to get off the boat at each port. We are willing to do shore excursions either through RCL or not. We like sight seeing but wouldn't mind some time on the beach. What I do not want is something super expensive and full day. Really looking for half day adventures.  I am not even sure where to start.  Anyone done any excursions they loved? or can you just explore on your own?  Thank you so much. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you like snorkeling at all, don't miss Woodwind in Bonaire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Curacao I just did the beach hopping tour with IRIE TOURS. Was my favorite of the vacation. See some sight, swim with sea turtles, cliff jumping, and some beach time on a couple of beautiful beaches. They pick you up at pier, all for $65. I thought it was a great deal. Highly recommend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Host Clarea said:

If you like snorkeling at all, don't miss Woodwind in Bonaire.

 

I second Bob's recommendation, even if you are not seasoned snorkeling person.  We did Woodwind a month ago and loved it.  I've yet to find anyone on Cruise Critic with a different opinion of Woodwind.  Check the individual port boards for more info about each port.  I posted a Woodwind review on the Bonaire board.  I'd also recommend Blue Bay Beach on Curacao if you want a quiet beach day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Aruba, we came across a local tour just at the end of the dock area near the main street. Don't recall the name but it was $25 pp I believe. He had about 8 passengers and took us around the island for 2-3 hours. Four stops, including the lighthouse and the rock formation area which was covered in cacti. Good photo opps. Also the Aloe fields and factory. He then stops at Eagle Beach and will pick you up after an hour. That is optional. Seemed like much more value for money than ship excursion for sure. Never stopped talking about the island. I would recommend. 

 

We just walked around in Curacao but noticed local tours being sold in the area just after you cross the pontoon bridge. Considered a $35 tour there but after our walking didn't have enough time. May be worth checking out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

When visiting new ports I first go to the Cruise Planner and read about all the excursions that are offered for each port.  Then decide how long and how much.  Sometimes just get off ship and enjoy port area if it is a nice non industrial area.  St. Maarten's is great for wandering around.  As bobmac recommended I then go to the Port boards and see what is recommended or I ask for a recommendation.  Not a beach person so automatically rule out anything beach.  Do a little research.  Enjoy your cruise.

 

Also, join the roll call for your cruise.  I sometimes have met other cruisers and joined them for independent tours.

Edited by Snit13
add info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently did Compass Sailing In Bonaire. Half-day snorkel with drinks, snacks and great hospitality. The crew were charming and funny, all Dutch. It was about $50 pp., only about 15 passengers so not crowded at all. Nice excursion.

A3A4A9F0-C7BD-4CB6-8C1D-A46F4C5E9F13.jpeg

6A54448D-D3A3-42F5-AB71-14EBC404809A.jpeg

2B1FAD32-6182-4C0A-A42A-CCF2913B979E.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

In St Maarten, I would do Bernard's Tour. Use him a few years ago and he was great. Showed us Orient Beach, Marigot and Maho Beach and still have time for shopping at a local store before returning to the ship.

Edited by smalltimecruiser100

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a popular opinion, but we always book through the ship. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Aruba, Mi Dushi sail and snorkel is usually available thru RCI. In Curacao, Bounty Adventures is a well reviewed sail and snorkel available thru their website. I have not done either excursion myself. I can vouch for Woodwind in Bonaire, they are one of the best and fill up fast. You need to book thru their website. Their dock is an easy walk from the ship ports. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
Just now, Maplemoose said:

In Aruba, we came across a local tour just at the end of the dock area near the main street. Don't recall the name but it was $25 pp I believe. He had about 8 passengers and took us around the island for 2-3 hours. Four stops, including the lighthouse and the rock formation area which was covered in cacti. Good photo opps. Also the Aloe fields and factory. He then stops at Eagle Beach and will pick you up after an hour. That is optional. Seemed like much more value for money than ship excursion for sure. Never stopped talking about the island. I would recommend. 

 

We just walked around in Curacao but noticed local tours being sold in the area just after you cross the pontoon bridge. Considered a $35 tour there but after our walking didn't have enough time. May be worth checking out. 

 

We did this $25 Aruba tour just the other day and thought it was the worst tour we have ever done. It was horrible.  The rock formation was ok, then we went to a grocery store, lol. Then the next stop was a random church, then a lighthouse that is nothing special. If you want to go to a beach in Aruba, just go to a beach. Skip the tour. It's terrible. If you want to do a tour, find a better tour.

 

The off-road tours are great in Aruba as the island has a ton of off road stuff that the busses can't do. It's a perfect island for it. 

 

We did the Ostrich farm and sightseeing in Curaçao. It was surprisingly kind of fun and nice to do something a little different. No beach or anything. But it was a short day, a unique, good sightseeing, and they drop you off downtown if you want to wander around before returning to ship. 

Edited by BNBR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

Not a popular opinion, but we always book through the ship. 

 

We've been booking more through the ship lately. I think I've become too lazy to research other vendors. If someone recommends something on CC (like Bob who recommended a food tour in Nassau) we might take a look but I've lost the drive to do my own research.

Edited by Big_G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Big_G said:

 

We've been booking more through the ship lately. I think I've become too lazy to research other vendors. If someone recommends something on CC (like Bob who recommended a food tour in Nassau) we might take a look but I've lost the drive to do my own research.

 

Laura is afraid of missing the ship. Based on past experiences 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BNBR said:

 

We did this $25 Aruba tour just the other day and thought it was the worst tour we have ever done. It was horrible.  The rock formation was ok, then we went to a grocery store, lol. Then the next stop was a random church, then a lighthouse that is nothing special. If you want to go to a beach in Aruba, just go to a beach. Skip the tour. It's terrible. If you want to do a tour, find a better tour.

 

The off-road tours are great in Aruba as the island has a ton of off road stuff that the busses can't do. It's a perfect island for it. 

 

We did the Ostrich farm and sightseeing in Curaçao. It was surprisingly kind of fun and nice to do something a little different. No beach or anything. But it was a short day, a unique, good sightseeing, and they drop you off downtown if you want to wander around before returning to ship. 

I think RCI calls it the "Best of Aruba" excursion. It really is bad. The tour bus was very nice, though.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are renting a golf cart in Bonaire. The Ports of Call boards have some great ideas and pictures.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't WAIT to snorkel Bonaire!  I may snorkel all day!😁

If it is as good as I think it will be,  I may do a land based trip there for a week.

 

Does Woodwind need to be booked?  My cruise is early February.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Judyrem said:

I can't WAIT to snorkel Bonaire!  I may snorkel all day!😁

If it is as good as I think it will be,  I may do a land based trip there for a week.

 

Does Woodwind need to be booked?  My cruise is early February.

 

Yes, book it ASAP.  It fills up quickly.  The morning excursion is a little longer because it includes an excellent lunch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, just looked it up and it seems wonderful!  They are having trouble with their reservations online, so I will wait a bit longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Judyrem said:

Thanks, just looked it up and it seems wonderful!  They are having trouble with their reservations online, so I will wait a bit longer.

 

We found that they are very responsive to email, so don't hesitate to give that a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Judyrem said:

I can't WAIT to snorkel Bonaire!  I may snorkel all day!😁

If it is as good as I think it will be,  I may do a land based trip there for a week.

 

Does Woodwind need to be booked?  My cruise is early February.

It does fill up quickly, especially the morning trip. Though they were kind to email us when they had a drop out so they must keep a standby list

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Judyrem said:

I can't WAIT to snorkel Bonaire!  I may snorkel all day!😁

If it is as good as I think it will be,  I may do a land based trip there for a week.

 

Does Woodwind need to be booked?  My cruise is early February.

 

Just a thought, but have you considered extending your stay in Florida by a day and snorkeling Key Largo as well? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, John&LaLa said:

Not a popular opinion, but we always book through the ship. 

We do the same! I like knowing that the ship will not leave me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, PhoenixCruiser said:

We are renting a golf cart in Bonaire. The Ports of Call boards have some great ideas and pictures.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

We rented a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers when we were there in May.  It is a great way to see the island at your own pace.  They also rent snorkel and mask for $5.00.  We stopped along the road at one of the marked spots and saw the most beautiful and unusual fish we’ve ever seen.  Highly recommend. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...