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Things to Do in the Caribbean


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Ellie and I are on the holiday cruise in the Caribbean. We haven't been there in more than a dozen years. We were wondering if anyone had any can't miss places to go, see, or do there.

 

Our ports include;

Turks and Caicos

St. Maarten

Antigua

St. Lucia

Barbados

Tortola

 

Thank you.

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45 minutes ago, artbcpa said:

Ellie and I are on the holiday cruise in the Caribbean. We haven't been there in more than a dozen years. We were wondering if anyone had any can't miss places to go, see, or do there.

 

Our ports include;

Turks and Caicos

St. Maarten

Antigua

St. Lucia

Barbados

Tortola

 

Thank you.

In Barbados, try to visit the Nidhe Israel Synagogue which is one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.  You might want to ask the Rabbi if they will be visiting it.  There is also an historic church nearby which supposedly George Washington Visited.  We like to walk and it is about a 30 minute walk from the ship.  You get outside the port and make a left and we walk along the water and once we come to the town we make a left.  The Crystal Map will show these places.  We walk back on the opposite side and there are some local craft shops we visit about five minute before we get back to the terminal.  Taxis are plentiful.

 

St. Lucia do not walk the town.  IMHO it is not worth it.  It is known for its beaches and there are some very nice resorts about 45 minutes away.

 

Turks and Caicos.  The Island is very small.  There is one section where you can see both sides at the same time.  First time there we walked over to the parking lot and negotiated with a driver of a van to drive us all around.  We saw what we wanted to see in three hours.  Old USA military base and light house, replica of John Glenn's Friendship 7 capsule, etc.  If you do like beaches right at the port is a beautiful beach and  shops and there is a Margaritaville there.  Carnival built the area near the pier.  

 

Keith

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Thank you both.

 

Has anyone done a Crystal fishing trip excursions. Your thoughts?

 

Alternatively, I am considering doing one before we leave on the cruise.  Normally I prefer fishing in the back country rather than deep sea fishing and the bone fishing and snook fishing in the Florida Keys is a special  treat.

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51 minutes ago, artbcpa said:

Thank you both.

 

Has anyone done a Crystal fishing trip excursions. Your thoughts?

 

Alternatively, I am considering doing one before we leave on the cruise.  Normally I prefer fishing in the back country rather than deep sea fishing and the bone fishing and snook fishing in the Florida Keys is a special  treat.

I've only done it in Alaska. 

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We have visited all of those islands and love each of them for different reasons. We are beach people with a passion for great food. We also like hiking and snorkelling. The following is probably TMI (too much information) but I had fun compiling the list of suggestions for all who are also be looking for ideas! Here goes:

 

Turks and Caicos:

We visited once in 2017 via the Serenity. As Keith said, it would be easy to catch a taxi for an impromptu tour.

1. Margaritaville is right there off the pier with a pool, beach access, restaurant and shops for an easy day.

2. Jack's Shack is great if you are looking for a more local, casual experience. Just head further along the beach to the left from the pier about 10 minutes by foot along the beach. It's a rustic spot with a relaxed vibe and chairs to rent. We shared a chicken and rib plate for lunch. We enjoyed it so much we bought a bottle of their house-made BBQ sauce. (Disclaimer: We love authentic Caribbean beach bars but acknowledge the ones we like may be too rustic for some.)

3. Snorkelling is reputed to be quite good on Grand Turk. We would do a morning excursion next time. 

4. Golf carts may be rented for a self-guided island tour. There are some more secluded beaches around the island with some supposedly good beachside restaurants.

 

St. Maarten:

We've been twice. As Ata said, the America's Cup Regatta excursion would be a blast! 

1. Phillipsburg for an easy, lazy day of wandering from the ship and having lunch on the boardwalk/on the beach. The usual jewelry, sunglass, etc shops are abundant here but my fave shop is the Guavaberry Shop. They're known for their liquor but we like their hot sauces.

2. Airport Beach AKA Maho Beach may be accessed by taxi around 30 minutes from the pier. It's the famous beach with an airport strip feet away from the sand. Cool if you're into aviation or photography. Note it will likely be crowded. We're glad we did it once and it made for excellent people watching! A short visit would suffice.

3. A Boat Tour is what we would book next time to see the other parts of the island, including the charming French side which I visited back in 2000 but my husband has yet to see. That could be done by land, though, as well.

 

Antigua:

We have been twice and made it a beach with lunch day both times. These are just a couple of options... 

1. Catherine's Cafe for lunch near Shirley Heights. We took a public bus to Shirley Heights to look around then walked up and down a large hill of a street (20 minutes) to Catherine's on Pigeon Point Beach. A direct taxi would get to Pigeon Point from the pier in about half an hour. Catherine's was wonderful! Lounge chairs were available before lunch. The bay is quiet and calm with that beautiful turquoise water everyone pictures when thinking about the Caribbean. At one point before dining, we shared the beach with just two other Antiguans! The menu is best described as Caribbean-French fusion. We hiked what was supposed be an easy, scenic, 30 minute trek along the "goat path" to return to Shirley Heights after lunch. The paths weren't marked well and we almost turned back. We found our way, fortunately. The views were worth it and we had enough time to backtrack if we couldn't find the final path to Shirley Heights. 

2. Jaqui O's is another option over in the Saint Mary area. A much bigger beach than the one Catherine's is on but still really pretty. The restaurant recently sold, though, so it may have changed since 2015. The food and scenery were divine in 2015 but it was a bit more pretentious than it needed to be. Perhaps it's even better now.

 

St. Lucia:

We have been here twice as well, most recently last week on the Serenity! 🙂

1. Sugar Beach, I've heard, is the most remarkable beach on the island. It's nestled right in between the majestic Jurassic Park-like Pitons. A former colleague of mine married a woman from St Lucia and he declared Sugar his favourite! Snorkelling was great when we were there in 2015. We took an off-ship tour that time. The tour took us to the public area of the beach but we were able to rent more plush chairs from the Sugar Beach Resort for $20 a piece. 

2. Marigot Bay is another beautiful destination, a little closer to the ship. We were there last week. It's a cove where yachts anchor with a few boutique resorts, restaurants and a small slice of beach under tall palms. A private boat or water taxi would be the way to go here. We had a delicious Indian-Hakka lunch at Masala followed by some beach time.

3. Antilla Brewery is a sweet little spot if you like craft beer. We paid them a quick visit last week. They're located just outside the cruise shopping pier near the water taxi stand. Staff were so hospitable. They make a variety of styles ranging from trendy IPAs to some lighter lagers brewed with local fruits like mango, passionfruit and even sorrel, a flower used in their annual holiday seasonal beer!

Tips: #1. We spoke with some other Serenity guests who booked chairs at a resort for the day and said while it was gorgeous, the beach vendors were relentless. We didn't experience this to the level they did at either Sugar or Marigot Bay. #2. Getting to Sugar Beach and Marigot Bay is reportedly faster and smoother (less hills and traffic) than taking a land taxi. 

 

Barbados:

We've only been there once and had an excellent day! I'm sure others will chime in with ideas, too. 

1. Calabaza Catamaran: We took a half-day tour with them back in 2015. 12 passengers max on a beautiful catamaran. An unexpectedly delicious lunch was provided along with soft drinks, beer, wine and rum punch. They took us to a various sights around the island with a couple of snorkelling stops including an opportunity to swim with turtles. After the tour, the owner emails guests pictures staff took above and below the water along with a recipe booklet of her renowned Caribbean fare. To this day, I still make several of her dishes! 

 

Tortola:

We LOVE the BVIs and funny enough, have only used Tortola as a jump-off point to get to other islands. Here are some ideas nonetheless:

1. The Baths on Virgin Gorda are interesting for a unique beach day. They are large rock formations on a stunning beach that have a maze-like swimming area. Crystal likely offers a tour here. Take note if doing an independent tour, bad weather could make it too choppy to get there. This is a more strenuous activity. We've actually never been despite having been to the BVIs 4 times! (On our bucket list.)

2. Cane Garden Bay is accessible by taxi from the pier in around 20-25 minutes. Lots of beach joints with rental chairs including Myetts, an institution that recently reopened after being rebuilt. 

3. Hire A Boat! We did this last week to visit our favourite British Virgin Island, Jost Van Dyke. We used a company called BVI Day Trips. Most of the small charter speed boats can take groups of up to 6 on board. We love "Jost" as we've stayed on the island before. But other places a charter can take you include Norman Island and a rock formation called The Indians for snorkelling, Pirate's Bight for lunch and a visit to the quirky Willy T floating ship bar and more. 

 

Whatever you end up doing, enjoy! We just returned from the Serenity yesterday. (Trip Report to Follow!) Wishing you an amazing cruise! 

Edited by BeachTunes
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14 hours ago, artbcpa said:

Thank you both.

 

Has anyone done a Crystal fishing trip excursions. Your thoughts?

 

Alternatively, I am considering doing one before we leave on the cruise.  Normally I prefer fishing in the back country rather than deep sea fishing and the bone fishing and snook fishing in the Florida Keys is a special  treat.

 

Regarding Crystal's fishing trip excursions, we were quite tempted to book the one in St Lucia. The description sounded very appealing. We were concerned about rain potentially hindering the experience so we took a pass. It's definitely on the radar for a future visit. 

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10 hours ago, BeachTunes said:

 

Regarding Crystal's fishing trip excursions, we were quite tempted to book the one in St Lucia. The description sounded very appealing. We were concerned about rain potentially hindering the experience so we took a pass. It's definitely on the radar for a future visit. 

 

We just made a reservation in Key Largo to go snook fishing. This will be Ellie's first time fishing

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