Jump to content

What to do in port when everything's sold out?


Recommended Posts

On 12/22/2019 at 9:59 PM, mbklein said:

Long story short: I'm cruising with my dad, my sister, and my teenage daughters next week. We planned and booked the cruise pretty late in the game for various reasons I won't go into here. I talked them through all the shore excursion options from RCCL as well as a couple reputable third party operators recommended by my travel agent, and we decided on three. I went to book them, and two of them are sold out. There's really nothing left that matches the interests and activity levels of the group.

 

So, what's the best way to make our own fun for five people, ages 14-84, in St. Maarten and San Juan? What can I plan in advance vs. winging it when we get there? Is there any chance anyone on board will be able to help us plan things, or are we completely on our own?

I have not been there but St.Maarten has a Star Wars museum which is supposed to be great.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/26/2019 at 8:10 PM, lenquixote66 said:

I have not been there but St.Maarten has a Star Wars museum which is supposed to be great.

We have been there many times but never heard of that "Yoda" museum until the past year.  It is definitely on our "to do" list the next time we are in St Maarten and the weather is not conducive to our usual beach day.  

 

Hank

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Hlitner said:

We have been there many times but never heard of that "Yoda" museum until the past year.  It is definitely on our "to do" list the next time we are in St Maarten and the weather is not conducive to our usual beach day.  

 

Hank

Unfortunately I am physically unable to go there ,however,my wife might possibly go.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/29/2019 at 12:17 PM, john watson said:

Maho Beach at St. Maaten is widely shown on the internet for excitement. There is a beach bar with timetable.  See YouTube videos.

 

Regards John

Maho is actually a pretty lousy beach.  It is popular (with some) because it is located right off the end of the runway of the airport.  A few years ago a tourist was killed by a flying stone (kicked up by a jet engine) and there was another tourist blinded when she was hit in the eye by a pebble.  There is a pretty decent bar/restaurant off to the side of Maho (Sunset Bar and Grill).  One can easily get to Maho via taxi from the port (or Phillipsburg).  It is also possible to hike between Maho and Mullet Bay which is a much nicer beach for sunning and swimming.

 

Hank

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like to open up maps and peruse the walkable area off of a port or wherever we’re staying when we travel. Shops, restaurants, and museums or other interesting places will have a little icon to click and see what they are. I’ve found many interesting restaurants I wouldn’t have discovered just by walking around. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We're going to St Maarten in March and for the 3rd time, we are booking the Beach  Bum excursion with Amigo Tours through ShoreFox. It combines lots of time at Orient Beach as well as lots of time at MaHo Beach to watch the planes. It's a great excursion for all ages. 
In San Juan, the old forts are very interesting and within walking distance of the port. We plan to just wander the old town and enjoy the architecture, local restaurants and shops this time. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with mikenbon, the old forts are interesting and fairly easy walk from the dock, one entry fee gets you into both forts. There is a walk along the ocean from one of the forts back to San Juan gate. It's great for Iguana spotting. It took us about 20 minutes from fort to gate including some picture stops. Also, as others have mentioned, any port I have been to has had multiple people waiting just outside the gates selling a wide variety of tours/excursions/activities.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, just look into all places where you want to go and take note of what you like to do/see. 

All cruise ports in the Caribbean have also local travel agents. And if you are able you could even do it all by yourself. And a good tip was given already before; do not take the taxi at the gate. Walk a little futher away and the prices will be more reasonable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, angie7911922 said:

. And a good tip was given already before; do not take the taxi at the gate. Walk a little futher away and the prices will be more reasonable.

 

 

Hi Angie,

 

That's advice I'd be wary of.

 

In the Caribbean the taxis & vans at the port are known to the authorities and to each-other. I'm happy to put faith in their integrity, their knowledge and their reliability.

 

No doubt the same applies to most drivers away from the port. But there are some who aren't even professionals, who just use their personal hack to earn a few bucks from visitors and who are not even licensed or insured to take paying passengers.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

If your ship is docking in Old San Juan, it is easy to DIY.  Skip breakfast.  Get off the ship, walk up the hill past the Sheraton for about 3 blocks.  You will come to a small green area and Cafecultura will be straight ahead.  Go in Cafecultura or stand in line if you were slow to get off the ship.  When you get a table order the Tostados Francescas (they. are divine!). Be sure to have some Puerto Rican coffee such as in a cappuccino.  After you are done at Cafecultura,  you can walk around Old San Juan. It's only a few blocks, so it is easy to navigate. You can go various stores along the way, visit the Cathedral of San Juan Baptista.   and see Ponce de Leon's tomb inside.  If anyone is interested in fine cigars walk about 2 blocks uphill from the cathedral to Don Collins at  59 Calle del Cristo. Next visit Ponce de Leon's family's home at 1 Calle San Sebastián (he never got to live there but it is worth seeing), visit the fort.  Then afterwards walk to 104 c de la Fortaleza for lunch at Barrachina's - have some Puerto Rican food.  At least have a Pina Colada as Barrachina's is the restaurant where that drink was invented.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

We did an excellent food walking tour in San Juan last April. We booked it through the ship but, I bet you'd be able to snag a booking for your family. This is great way to learn some the history of Puerto Rico while also sampling some delicious, authentic local flavors and drinks. We've done several food tours at various port stops and they are always terrific. 

 

 https://sanjuanfoodtours.com/

 

Jonathan

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/22/2019 at 9:59 PM, mbklein said:

...

 

So, what's the best way to make our own fun for five people, ages 14-84, in St. Maarten and San Juan? What can I plan in advance vs. winging it when we get there? Is there any chance anyone on board will be able to help us plan things, or are we completely on our own?

San Juan can easily be done on your own - the old city is fairly compact - contains lovely old Spanish Colonial buildings, churches, etc, a large fortress, free shuttles to get around, many restaurants..  I am not sure where RCCL ships come in - one pier is right at the edge of the old city - the other just a short taxi (many available) ride away.

 

Depending on what you want to do at St. Maarten, it is also easy on your own.  Given post-hurricane problems, you may not want to go to French side, where there is some unrest - but taxis are plentiful and reasonable.  If you want a quiet beach day, just take the water shuttle ($6.00 all day round trip) from the cruise pier to the beach in the center of town - where you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, perhaps hit some of the shops, and return to the ship.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

San Juan can easily be done on your own - the old city is fairly compact - contains lovely old Spanish Colonial buildings, churches, etc, a large fortress, free shuttles to get around, many restaurants..  I am not sure where RCCL ships come in - one pier is right at the edge of the old city - the other just a short taxi (many available) ride away.

 

Depending on what you want to do at St. Maarten, it is also easy on your own.  Given post-hurricane problems, you may not want to go to French side, where there is some unrest - but taxis are plentiful and reasonable.  If you want a quiet beach day, just take the water shuttle ($6.00 all day round trip) from the cruise pier to the beach in the center of town - where you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, perhaps hit some of the shops, and return to the ship.

Does that take you to Little Bay Beach or Great Bay Beach?  I will be there in May (Carnival) and assumed we stopped at the cruise port (Google Map) and would just walk around, especially since Great Bay appears to only be a 30 minute walk (2.5KM).  The shuttle sounds like a very inexpensive option though, especially if it is really hot that day.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, pacruise804 said:

Does that take you to Little Bay Beach or Great Bay Beach?  I will be there in May (Carnival) and assumed we stopped at the cruise port (Google Map) and would just walk around, especially since Great Bay appears to only be a 30 minute walk (2.5KM).  The shuttle sounds like a very inexpensive option though, especially if it is really hot that day.

The shuttle takes you to Great Bay - a good beach and very convenient - although I prefer Little Bay for swimming - a taxi ride away. While it is probably a 30 minute walk, it is over rough, sometimes broken, sidewalk - not a great way to spend a hot hour (going both ways) of your day

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
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Azamara - We are back with New Greece Voyages
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Barbara Muckermann, CMO Silversea Cruises
      • ICYM Our Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...