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abbiesmomma

St. Thomas-- Buck Island catamaran excursion with elderly MIL

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Traveling in December on a RCI Christmas cruise with my husband, 2 daughters (18/21) and elderly MIL (78)--- background is that FIL passed away this summer (they were married 59 years) so we decided to do a non-traditional Christmas this year.

 

A few question--looking for insight from those who have taken a catamaran snorkeling tour in St. Thomas. 

 

After reading about potential shore excursions in St. Thomas, I have now got my heart set on snorkeling with the sea turtles... MIL gets around pretty well but would have no interest in snorkeling-- BUT we don't want to leave her behind on the ship.  The ship's excursion describes this activity as 'strenuous' which I'm assuming means if you are actually doing the snorkeling... Would she be ok just to go on the catamaran and watch?  Do you think she would have difficulty accessing the boat from the dock? Any other pitfalls you see in taking her along? 

 

Also, I know that the weather/seas are subject to change daily-- but in general, is riding on a 60+ ft catamaran fairly smooth in terms of sea-sickness??  Obviously Dramamine will be in play for those who are prone to it but I was just curious how smooth of a ride it is and generally how rough the waters are in that area...

 

Thanks for any input. 

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Is this a ship excursion?   Is there a separate price for "observers"? It could be crowded, making a 60' cat seem like an overfilled dinghy. Otherwise, getting on and off the cat may be the biggest issue.  We did a private sailboat to Buck Island several years back and as I recall all the boats heading that way used tenders to get people from shore to their boat.  Some of these were small inflatables.   So if so for your excursion, she would have to get into a tender, from the tender to the cat, and then reverse getting back.

 

As far as the roughness of the seas, if there's a storm (not too likely in late December) the boats won't go out.  Most likely they will motorsail over, so any chop in the water will be bouncy.  But the gentle rocking once anchored could be siesta inducing.  If time, they will sail back and that would most likely be a down wind run.

 

Look for Bonine instead of Dramamine, less drowsy.  And take before leaving the cruise ship.

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In general how is her mobility? Does she use a cane? Can she go down steps confidently? If she has a couple of family members or crew to help her down into the boat from the dock, she should be ok as long as she finds a seat in the shade.

 

I am basing this on my experience with a company called VI Cat. To me, most of the ships at Buck island looked about the same. I would have no problem with my 80 year old mother riding along on that.

 

I don't recall if the cats had a restroom but I think they did on a lower level. That may be something else to ask about.

 

Have a great time!

 

 

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1 hour ago, MNgardens said:

In general how is her mobility? Does she use a cane? Can she go down steps confidently? If she has a couple of family members or crew to help her down into the boat from the dock, she should be ok as long as she finds a seat in the shade.

 

I am basing this on my experience with a company called VI Cat. To me, most of the ships at Buck island looked about the same. I would have no problem with my 80 year old mother riding along on that.

 

I don't recall if the cats had a restroom but I think they did on a lower level. That may be something else to ask about.

 

Have a great time!

 

 

She is recovering from a hip replacement this summer but is already down to a cane and we expect her to be fully independent by December... I think that with help she should be able to get from the dock to the boat without problem and could manage steps alone as well... a seat in the shade would be preferable for sure-- it seems like most of the photos I've looked at show some shaded seats... 

 

Thanks for the input...mostly making sure I'm not crazy to think she could enjoy tagging along on this type of excursion...

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We've been on LOTS of catamarans snorkeling in the Caribbean.  There are almost always a few people who don't get in the water, get comfortable in a seat, and appear to be enjoying themselves.  Nothing beats a boat ride in the Caribbean:classic_tongue:

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Just one to add:  The day sail boats I have been on require people to take off their shoes before they board. You get your shoes back at the end on the dock. Just want to give you a heads up on that in case she is wanting to wear lace up sneakers. There may be a bench to sit while putting them back on but I wouldn't count on it.

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Agree that she should go - it's fun to watch.  A heads up - when we did this excursion last year we were freezing on the way back to the port as we were wet and the wind from the moving boat was nippy.  Remember to bring something warm and/or dry to wear on the way back after you're done swimming!   

 

Access to the catamaran is a few steps up/down - and if she's already down to a cane she'll be fine.  

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@Djsmrs Do most catamarans have a place to change Into dry clothes for return home?  We are looking at taking ships Champagne Catamaran tour.

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We did the ship's excursion for this a few years ago.

The catamaran is SMOOTH sailing, no need for sea sick meds at all.  

Several people did not do the snorkeling part, they just watched everyone from surface.

When we came to shore, the boat is moored, so you have to jump off in chest high water and walk to shore - this might be the issue for her.  I am short, only 5'2" and it was literally chest deep water to wade to shore and back again.  There is a ladder to climb back onboard though so only wading in water could be a problem.

 

my photos:

2017_Magic_StThoma298-XL.jpg

 

2017_StThomas_snorkel1-XL.jpg

 

2017_StThomas_snorkel5-XL.jpg

 

You can see the people wading in from both of the catamarans.

 

We loved the excursion.  Fun time and food and drinks are available for sale on the island.  Also very strong rum punch for free on the boat... they even had the pitchers of it sitting on the stairs of the boat so if you were on shore, you could take your cup  and wade in, fill cup, then wade back to shore.  Some people got pretty lit.

 

robin

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Thanks for the info on the smoothness  of the catamaran ride-- that is the general jist of what I am finding online so hopefully we will have smooth sailing on Christmas day!!  I am feeling like she will be ok... If she has to get off into the water at the end, I guess we will just figure out how to make that work when the time comes!! 😳😂 

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