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blueskadoo

Horizon: Grand Turk stop question

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Hey everybody! So we're leaving in a few days to go on the 8 night Horizon trip. We've not planned much because we weren't sure until the last minute we'd actually be able to go, so now I'm trying to figure out what we can do in the different ports. In Grand Turk, we don't seem to be there that long (7-2), but I would like to try to visit the Bohio resort for some beach time based on reviews that I read. My fear is that with the time frame, its pretty much pointless and not relaxing. We'd prefer to get away from the crowds and just have some quiet, which doesn't sound like the usual Jack's Shack/Margaritaville route.  The place I wanted to go in Aruba is sold out, the DH isn't excited about Curcao, and we don't know if we'll get off the boat in La Romana...so I'm just striking out all around. Opinions are welcome and requested. Thank you

Ps: I scoured the Grand Turk board but its very quiet and time is flying by on me. 

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Buffalofirsttimer is right, Governor's Beach, which is to the north not too far past Jack's Shack, is usually pretty empty, but the buildings there are abandoned. They used to have food and whatnot at some point in the past, but for whatever reason, that beach died off as a popular destination. But if I remember correctly, people have said in the Grank Turk forum that the bathrooms and outdoor showers are still available. Some people in that forum have also reported that there is now a tour group that finishes their day at Governor's Beach, so if that's still happening, it could be more crowded in the afternoon. I don't think it's part of an excursion offered by Carnival. I think it's either from another cruise line or an independent tour operator.

 

The beach in front of Margaritaville is always very crowded. We always go to the south (to the right of the pier as you're facing shore). There's a smaller area to the south of the pier that was always fairly empty when we've been there. You do have to navigate some large rocks that are underwater right along the shoreline. Sometimes they're awkward to get over because they can be slick and the waves don't help. But beyond those, it's nice. If you go even farther south, there's even fewer people. In 2018, we walked to the southern tip of the island, only about 1/4 mile from the pier. Only a few other people down there and they never stayed long. You also don't have the large rocks to climb over. We just like to do some snorkeling from the beach. There isn't as much marine life as there'd be if you went on an excursion, but it's good enough for us, we enjoy it.

 

Just a heads up, this thread might get moved to the Ports of Call section since it's not necessarily Carnival related. I know what you mean, there's often a lot less traffic over there, so many times questions go unanswered.

Edited by Organized Chaos

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59 minutes ago, blueskadoo said:

Hey everybody! So we're leaving in a few days to go on the 8 night Horizon trip. We've not planned much because we weren't sure until the last minute we'd actually be able to go, so now I'm trying to figure out what we can do in the different ports. In Grand Turk, we don't seem to be there that long (7-2), but I would like to try to visit the Bohio resort for some beach time based on reviews that I read. My fear is that with the time frame, its pretty much pointless and not relaxing. We'd prefer to get away from the crowds and just have some quiet, which doesn't sound like the usual Jack's Shack/Margaritaville route.  The place I wanted to go in Aruba is sold out, the DH isn't excited about Curcao, and we don't know if we'll get off the boat in La Romana...so I'm just striking out all around. Opinions are welcome and requested. Thank you

Pto wonders: I scoured the Grand Turk board but its very quiet and time is flying by on me. 

Curcoa is a great place to wonder around at

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Curacao is a neat city to just walk around.  

Grand Turk is a great beach day.

We did a private tour at Aruba and hit all of the landmarks.  

The Horizon is a great ship!  Just do you homework on the elevators.

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We recently did an ABC cruise and agree with WashCoCruisers.  Step off the ship in Aruba and you can get a three hour tour that drops you at a beach (with return transport to the ship) for $20-25 pp.  We visited the rock formation, the Alto Vista church, the Lighthouse and then Eagle Beach.  We didn't wait for the return bus from Eagle Beach, just took a taxi back to port for $5 pp.  

 

In Curacao, we walked to the right, went through the converted fort and took the free ferry to downtown.  Did some shopping then did the floating bridge on the way back.  Stopped at a bar for coffee and beer.  Pretty nice way to past the time.

 

We are doing the 8 night on the Horizon on March, and just plan to walk the beach at Grand Turk, then grab a drink in the pool.

 

Not found anything I want to do in DR, so if anyone has suggestions, please let us know! 

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When I was in Grand Turk this past November we stopped at Governor’s Beach. We rented a golf cart for $100 and drove around the island for a while—up to the lighthouse and around other streets. On our way back we stopped at Governor’s Beach for about an hour and swam/snorkeled. There were vendors set up selling snacks and drinks but we didn’t purchase anything as we headed to Jack’s Shack for lunch before returning our golf cart and doing some shopping before we went back on the ship. Both times when I’ve been to Grand Turk the beach right at the port has been busy (once with one ship, another time with two ships) and both times the beach at Jack’s Shack has not been crowded. When I was there a year ago we were situated near the industrial pier that sits between Jack’s Shack and Governor’s Beach and didn’t see anyone at Governor’s Beach the whole time. When we went in November there were probably 20 people at Governor’s Beach when we were there. 

394F5796-89F9-4B4E-9930-BED1786D1EC7.jpeg

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1 hour ago, blueskadoo said:

Hey everybody! So we're leaving in a few days to go on the 8 night Horizon trip. We've not planned much because we weren't sure until the last minute we'd actually be able to go, so now I'm trying to figure out what we can do in the different ports. In Grand Turk, we don't seem to be there that long (7-2), but I would like to try to visit the Bohio resort for some beach time based on reviews that I read. My fear is that with the time frame, its pretty much pointless and not relaxing. We'd prefer to get away from the crowds and just have some quiet, which doesn't sound like the usual Jack's Shack/Margaritaville route.  The place I wanted to go in Aruba is sold out, the DH isn't excited about Curcao, and we don't know if we'll get off the boat in La Romana...so I'm just striking out all around. Opinions are welcome and requested. Thank you

Ps: I scoured the Grand Turk board but its very quiet and time is flying by on me. 

 

I think we're probably on the same cruise.  What do you like to do?  Maybe someone can suggest something you guys might like for the other ports.

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We are big "blue water" people...aka we like to sit on our butts and listen to the waves on a clean, sandy beach with a bathroom near by. Definitely not adventurous or real history buffs (unless there's some kind of plantation home that shows how people lived/worked back in the day- my husband has a weird curiosity about that stuff). My husband has been to most of these ports, but I've never been to any of them. We thought about the Catalina Island snorkel excursion in La Romana but I've read some bad reviews talking about all the trash in the water...so I've kind of backed off on that one. 

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2 hours ago, blueskadoo said:

Hey everybody! So we're leaving in a few days to go on the 8 night Horizon trip. We've not planned much because we weren't sure until the last minute we'd actually be able to go, so now I'm trying to figure out what we can do in the different ports. In Grand Turk, we don't seem to be there that long (7-2), but I would like to try to visit the Bohio resort for some beach time based on reviews that I read. My fear is that with the time frame, its pretty much pointless and not relaxing. We'd prefer to get away from the crowds and just have some quiet, which doesn't sound like the usual Jack's Shack/Margaritaville route.  The place I wanted to go in Aruba is sold out, the DH isn't excited about Curcao, and we don't know if we'll get off the boat in La Romana...so I'm just striking out all around. Opinions are welcome and requested. Thank you

Ps: I scoured the Grand Turk board but its very quiet and time is flying by on me. 

My DH and I were just in Aruba back in September 2019. We did a Carnival Excursion called "The Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus & Nightlife with Dinner. LOVED It! If you like to have a good time, good food, and dance then this is the tour for you. You can read the short bio on Carnival's Shore Excursion Page. During the day, we shopped and had a small lunch on the Island. 

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2 hours ago, blueskadoo said:

Hey everybody! So we're leaving in a few days to go on the 8 night Horizon trip. We've not planned much because we weren't sure until the last minute we'd actually be able to go, so now I'm trying to figure out what we can do in the different ports. In Grand Turk, we don't seem to be there that long (7-2), but I would like to try to visit the Bohio resort for some beach time based on reviews that I read. My fear is that with the time frame, its pretty much pointless and not relaxing. We'd prefer to get away from the crowds and just have some quiet, which doesn't sound like the usual Jack's Shack/Margaritaville route.  The place I wanted to go in Aruba is sold out, the DH isn't excited about Curcao, and we don't know if we'll get off the boat in La Romana...so I'm just striking out all around. Opinions are welcome and requested. Thank you

Ps: I scoured the Grand Turk board but its very quiet and time is flying by on me. 

 

We did the 8 night Horizon trip last year.  The ship is awesome!  Hopefully you have a Havana Cabana!

 

We did not get off in La Romana so I won't comment on that piece, however...

  • Grand Turk - I always like to swim in the ocean so we made this a beach day.  Couple of options...
    • Use the beach right off the ship.  Yes, it may be a bit crowded but on this particular trip we weren't planning on speding ALL day at the beach, just an hour or two, so we dropped our towels along the waters edge so we could keep an eye on them and hit the water.  Once we were done, headed back to the ship that was right there.
    • Jack Shack - I have been to Jack Shack a few times and have NEVER seen it crowded.  Most people don't want to walk that far (as was our case this trip) and therefore stop before they make it down that far.  Water there is actually better than right off the pier as there are almost no rocks to contend with.
    • Governor's Beach - I've never been here as the other two options always worked for me, but you can head here which appears to rarely have people.
  • Curacao - This stop was fantastic for walking around and seeing the city.  There are no annoying vendors right off the ship trying to sell you crap.  Everyone was just as friendly as can be.  We did this in two trip.  First, we got off during the day and walked around the city looking in shop, taking in sights, and having a few of the local beers at a restaurant.  Second, we had dinner on the ship, then went out to see the city at night.  The floating bridge is all lit up as are a lot of other sights and it made from some great pictures.  I have heard that Curacao has some great snorkeling so next trip I will do that.  
    • As a side note, we stopped in one shop to browse their selection of Curacao (alcohol) and the wonderful young lady in there gave us a full tasting of all the flavors so we were able to buy the ones we liked.
  • Aruba - I highly, HIGHLY recommend Trikes Aruba!!  You have to book this independantly as they don't have an excursion through the ship, but OMG was this a fantastic trip!!  You get to drive/ride the trike over the ENTIRE island and get to see some beautiful sights!  Both my wife and I thought this was one of the best excursions we have ever done and I can't say enough about it.  Just do a search for Trikes Aruba and you will find them.  They pick you up right outside the port and will make sure you are back to the ship on time.  I'm pretty sure we had 4 couples from our ship that booked them and every single person absolutely loved it.  My wife took a ton of videos of us riding around the island.

Hopefully that helps you a little but you will enjoy this cruise.  I plan on booking it again in the near future.

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We always just walk down the beach in GT (to the left) until we find some chairs to rent that we want. Yes, it's crowded but it's so beautiful in the water that we always have a great time. I've been there several times now and we always just have the plan to walk until we get to an area that looks relaxed enough for us. 

 

We were in Curacao this fall and used a company called Curacao Dreams for a great tour (sea turtles, flamingos, beach time etc). We're using them for a private tour this spring because we enjoyed them so much. 

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We did this same cruise last 4th of July. Eagle Beach in Aruba is so beautiful- DREAMY like a postcard! And Curaçao was so much more than I imagined- a fun, friendly, and walkable place to visit that has a lot to look at and a great island vibe! I would be thrilled to visit both again. We did Jacks Shack at Grand Turk. It was not crowded- we were the first to arrive actually. It was an easy day- the walk in the heat with our stuff was probably the worst part. We go back to Grand Turk this summer. Still undecided about what we’ll do, but could easily spend another day at Jacks Shack! 

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We've been going to Jack's Shack.  I don't recall it being noisy like Margaritaville.  We like it because the beach is sandy out into the water, unlike the beach by the ship.  Plus, I like the dogs. 

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27 minutes ago, dmdiver said:

We've been going to Jack's Shack.  I don't recall it being noisy like Margaritaville.  We like it because the beach is sandy out into the water, unlike the beach by the ship.  Plus, I like the dogs. 

 

We always go to Jack's as well.  Never crowded, the food is great, especially the Jerk Chicken and Conch and drinks are well poured.

 

Sadly only 1 dog now, as Topher has passed away, so give some extra love to Calypso as she misses Topher.

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Ah yes, the jerk chicken is yummy.  I was sad to hear about Topher.  I keep up with Jack's on their FB page.  We did get to spend time with Topher & Calypso last time we were there.  He will definitely be missed.

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We rented a golf cart for about 100 bucks (Wet Money Enterprises) and drove around the entire island, stopped at anything that looked interesting and had plenty of time to spare to spend a good hour + at Governors Beach which is very nice and right by the cruise pier. You can get a Jeep or car for about the same price but the island is small enough to take your time on a golf cart and see any and everything you care to see. We got our cart right off the ship and headed as far north as you can go (Lighthouse) and worked our way back. Honestly, there isn't much exciting to see but for us, we like to see the "real" islands outside of the cruise port area and hot touristy spots. And that's not a knock on Grand Turk. It's a nice little island. If you walk down a little ways at Governors Beach, you're going to feel like you have the entire beach to yourself and it's nice. Crystal clear water and nice sand. 

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PS, for La Romana, we went on a dune buggy tour through Pro Excursions Bayahibe with tour guide Donnie and it's a lot of fun and you get to see a lot of off the beaten path stuff like visit a little village and walk into a schoolhouse with kids (stop and bring them candy, they'll love you). We rode through Sugar Cane fields and stopped and tried some of that. We rode down a pretty steep hill (and up) down by a river where we stopped for some freshly made snacks (and shots!) that were good. Felt 100% safe the entire time and I don't know if that sounds like something you'd like to do but it was a lot of fun for us and I recommend it. You WILL get very muddy and that's part of the fun. There are videos on Youtube "Pro Excusions Bayahibe" that show you all you need to see. 

We JUST got off this cruise, same itinerary and loved all 4 ports. 

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Thank you so much everybody for your awesome input. I’m intrigued by the golf cart in grand Turk idea. Is that something that needs to be booked ahead? Hubs was interested in the trikes for Aruba as well...so we’re making progress. 2 days to go and it’s getting hard to concentrate at work, lol! Please keep the great suggestions coming- I never knew there were so many options (I’ve only ever cruised to Nassau). 

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Horizon is an awesome ship, you'll have a great time. Last February, my wife and I did the Two Reef Snorkel & Beach Getaway through Carnival and really enjoyed it. We spent a couple hours at the port beach before heading to our excursion. It wrapped up by dropping us off Reef Shark Bar & Grill for some more beach time. It's a short walk (10 min) back to the ship from there.

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yeah the Grand Turk Port of Call page is very quiet.  So i will ask my question here as well.  Looking for advice on prebooking a snorkel tour or just winging it and finding a boat when we arrive.  There will be 2 ships in port that day (Legend and Pride), so that is good since they are not big boats.  Both arrive at the same time.  Prebooking looks like $65-$115 depending on which tour you take.  I figure we can negotiate that down if we just wing it.  any advice on the lowest price or how many boat operators will be waiting?

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La Romana - take a river excursion!  One of the best excursions I have EVER been on.  Slowly move up a river/rain forrest - relaxing!  Breathtaking.  Good drinks - FRESH fruit - lunch, kayaks in the "slow" river...

 

Something very different!  Something you will remember more than the beach!

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I’ve snorkeled on my own at Grand Turk many times with my own equipment.  From the main beach area, you need to go out by the rope towards the ship.  The trick is, take

some dog bones you can break up or some Cheerios in a ziplock bag.  You will be swarmed by fish.  Also, pay attention to the bottom.  Not uncommon to see octopus or flatfish.  They both like to hide in the sand.  The flatfish will have very light blue dots.

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I recently booked a golf cart with Wet Money as well but we don't cruise until April.  Let me know what you think please.  Sounds like a lot of fun!

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