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Sweetnspicy

Is it worth it to get off the ship?

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Hey everyone! January 2020 our group will be on an 11 day Southern Caribbean with 9 back to back port stops and only one sea day. Bonaire would be Day 5 on the ship. We are only in port from 7-1. I'm trying to come up with an itinerary for a group of 6 and we all have an excursion credit for every port. We are all in our late 20's early 30's but I am concerned that we would all be too exhausted to enjoy anything while in port for such a small time frame. Is it worth it to get up early and battle the crowds off the ship? Is there anything we can do that is more relaxed as we are snorkeling and scuba diving in almost every other port. 

 

Thanks for any advice! This is our first cruise longer than 7 days and I'm a little anxious that I won't have any time to relax!

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From reading your post, I see you are doing a lot of snorkeling at other ports.  Keep in mind, that Bonaire is one of, if not the top island to snorkel at in all of the Caribbean.

 

We have a tour booked with Wooodwind in December.  They are probably the best tour to take while snorkeling in Bonaire.  You can look at the many, may threads about their company on the Bonaire port in Cruise Critic.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/28/2019 at 12:37 PM, Sweetnspicy said:

Hey everyone! January 2020 our group will be on an 11 day Southern Caribbean with 9 back to back port stops and only one sea day. Bonaire would be Day 5 on the ship. We are only in port from 7-1. I'm trying to come up with an itinerary for a group of 6 and we all have an excursion credit for every port. We are all in our late 20's early 30's but I am concerned that we would all be too exhausted to enjoy anything while in port for such a small time frame. Is it worth it to get up early and battle the crowds off the ship? Is there anything we can do that is more relaxed as we are snorkeling and scuba diving in almost every other port. 

 

Thanks for any advice! This is our first cruise longer than 7 days and I'm a little anxious that I won't have any time to relax!

One super-easy activity in Bonaire is to swim right in the shadow of the ship. It's an easy walk from the gangway - just a couple hundred yards towards the stern southbound on Kaya Hellmund  - to a spot where they have a small, elevated wooden pier you can jump & dive from into the water. Free. Not the biggest area & not beachy at all, but relaxed and fun. You can come & go as you please.

 

If you have your snorkelling gear, you can similarly snorkel from a number of different spots just a few hundred yards from the ship for free. Just stroll up Kaya Hellmund northbound and there are several spots where there are stone & concrete steps going right into the water.

 

I have to say if you like snorkelling at all and are visiting Bonaire, it's almost criminal to not snorkel there. Bonaire is one of the best places on the planet for easily accessible snorkelling as well as guaranteed clear water.

 

The salt flats on the south side of the island are another super-easy excursion. There's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world - very unique opportunity, and it's something you could do even if your group wanted to sleep in and start a little later since a van tour would only take a couple hours.

 

Overall, it's well worth getting off the ship in Bonaire. There are no crowds to have to fight, no vendors chasing after you hawking their wares. The whole island is off the beaten tourist path to begin with, and very relaxed. 

Edited by Booth44

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On 7/28/2019 at 10:47 AM, hrmkr said:

From reading your post, I see you are doing a lot of snorkeling at other ports.  Keep in mind, that Bonaire is one of, if not the top island to snorkel at in all of the Caribbean.

 

We have a tour booked with Wooodwind in December.  They are probably the best tour to take while snorkeling in Bonaire.  You can look at the many, may threads about their company on the Bonaire port in Cruise Critic.

Thank you! 

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On 7/29/2019 at 10:57 AM, Booth44 said:

One super-easy activity in Bonaire is to swim right in the shadow of the ship. It's an easy walk from the gangway - just a couple hundred yards towards the stern southbound on Kaya Hellmund  - to a spot where they have a small, elevated wooden pier you can jump & dive from into the water. Free. Not the biggest area & not beachy at all, but relaxed and fun. You can come & go as you please.

 

If you have your snorkelling gear, you can similarly snorkel from a number of different spots just a few hundred yards from the ship for free. Just stroll up Kaya Hellmund northbound and there are several spots where there are stone & concrete steps going right into the water.

 

I have to say if you like snorkelling at all and are visiting Bonaire, it's almost criminal to not snorkel there. Bonaire is one of the best places on the planet for easily accessible snorkelling as well as guaranteed clear water.

 

The salt flats on the south side of the island are another super-easy excursion. There's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world - very unique opportunity, and it's something you could do even if your group wanted to sleep in and start a little later since a van tour would only take a couple hours.

 

Overall, it's well worth getting off the ship in Bonaire. There are no crowds to have to fight, no vendors chasing after you hawking their wares. The whole island is off the beaten tourist path to begin with, and very relaxed. 

Thanks for all the info! It definitely helps with the planning. I think getting off for a couple hours of snorkeling and then going right back would be great. Still plenty of time for a massage before we leave port! 

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When we were there I did both things mentioned above.  Woodwind snorkel tour (which was great!) and then I snorkelled in the shadow of the ship on the way back. I was actually surprised at the variety of sea life just in thay area.

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9 hours ago, trophy_23 said:

When we were there I did both things mentioned above.  Woodwind snorkel tour (which was great!) and then I snorkelled in the shadow of the ship on the way back. I was actually surprised at the variety of sea life just in thay area.

Thanks for the advice. We just got the email that our itinerary changed and Bonaire is now a sea day instead. 

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On 8/3/2019 at 8:06 AM, Sweetnspicy said:

Thanks for the advice. We just got the email that our itinerary changed and Bonaire is now a sea day instead. 

That is too bad, hopefully you’ll make it there some other time it is beautiful.

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Bonaire was such a cute port. Small, but it took us awhile exploring it. We loved the colors of the island, the awesome snorkel and the beach close by the ship. We took amazing photos there!

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On 7/29/2019 at 1:57 PM, Booth44 said:

One super-easy activity in Bonaire is to swim right in the shadow of the ship. It's an easy walk from the gangway - just a couple hundred yards towards the stern southbound on Kaya Hellmund  - to a spot where they have a small, elevated wooden pier you can jump & dive from into the water. Free. Not the biggest area & not beachy at all, but relaxed and fun. You can come & go as you please.

 

If you have your snorkelling gear, you can similarly snorkel from a number of different spots just a few hundred yards from the ship for free. Just stroll up Kaya Hellmund northbound and there are several spots where there are stone & concrete steps going right into the water.

 

I have to say if you like snorkelling at all and are visiting Bonaire, it's almost criminal to not snorkel there. Bonaire is one of the best places on the planet for easily accessible snorkelling as well as guaranteed clear water.

 

The salt flats on the south side of the island are another super-easy excursion. There's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world - very unique opportunity, and it's something you could do even if your group wanted to sleep in and start a little later since a van tour would only take a couple hours.

 

Overall, it's well worth getting off the ship in Bonaire. There are no crowds to have to fight, no vendors chasing after you hawking their wares. The whole island is off the beaten tourist path to begin with, and very relaxed. 

Just signed up on a Carnival trip down there in 2020 and have never been to Bonaire.  I love to snorkel and this is great info as the wife doen'st like to really get in the water that much and this sounds like I can get some snorkeling in for some time and have time to spare to do other things!!

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On 7/28/2019 at 12:37 PM, Sweetnspicy said:

Hey everyone! January 2020 our group will be on an 11 day Southern Caribbean with 9 back to back port stops and only one sea day. Bonaire would be Day 5 on the ship. We are only in port from 7-1. I'm trying to come up with an itinerary for a group of 6 and we all have an excursion credit for every port. We are all in our late 20's early 30's but I am concerned that we would all be too exhausted to enjoy anything while in port for such a small time frame. Is it worth it to get up early and battle the crowds off the ship? Is there anything we can do that is more relaxed as we are snorkeling and scuba diving in almost every other port. 

 

Thanks for any advice! This is our first cruise longer than 7 days and I'm a little anxious that I won't have any time to relax!

This advice is coming from someone who's literally done it all on Bonaire after 5 visits. I'm Woodwind out, done it several time's and will never do it again. Yes it's a great tour and on and on and on and on. 7am-1pm I would take the advice of a previous poster and snorkel in the shadow of the ship, it's nice out there we went all the way over to Klein Bonaire yes snorkeling is world class but in the time frame you are working with, time could be tight. 

 

Unless there's some change when it come's to Bonaire my next trip I'll never get off the ship, it's an AIBP sea day. 

Hope that helps Todd

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One more thing the way the ship ports on Bonaire makes for a great day to stay on the ship. Excellent views of everything on the ship if there's something you do want to do at port you can see it, and go down and do it. Everything is pretty much accessible from the ship. Other than snorkeling Bonaire, there simply isn't much else to do. Have fun whatever you decide. 

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We’re doing Woodwind again next month, but there’s lots to do.  There are beach clubs to relax at within a short taxi ride, lots of local shops and restaurants.  I really enjoyed visiting the local brewery and we had friends who did the Trikes tour and loved it.  Nothing wrong with staying on the ship but certainly lots to do there.

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On 10/23/2019 at 11:55 PM, iahawkfan21 said:

We’re doing Woodwind again next month, but there’s lots to do.  There are beach clubs to relax at within a short taxi ride, lots of local shops and restaurants.  I really enjoyed visiting the local brewery and we had friends who did the Trikes tour and loved it.  Nothing wrong with staying on the ship but certainly lots to do there.

I love the island, I should have said, No more Cat. tours on Bonaire. I first went to this island in 2008 when it became a cruise port, there was pretty much nothing there. Growth on the island has been VERY positive, Bonaire is adorable and CLEAN. NICE, pretty people too. 

 

The Woodwind is a great day we always have a good time or we wouldn't keep booking it. I'm just shipwrecked and turtled OUT!:classic_blink: Our group from our CC roll call, we discussed this last time unless it's something truly unique that none of us have done before no more Cat tours. We are all kinda of tired of getting off the ship getting crammed in a car driving to the marina and on and on and on. By the time we get back to the port it's been basically the whole day so we don't have enough time to do anything in town. Getting crammed in a small car and being driven to and from "the marina", never again. 

 

You on the other hand are going to have a great time. If you've been over to Klein Bonaire and haven't snorkeled "the hole", before you get like me and don't want to do these things on a cruise anymore LOL, you need to see that. Of everything we have snorkeled in the Caribbean, I found the rim of "the hole" the most impressive thing we've ever seen. 

 

What's under the sea is a different kind of BIG. Have a great trip and looking forward to your review.

 

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