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JanAndJeremy

Favorite Shore Excursions -- Eastern Caribbean

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Hi There!

 

We'll be traveling on the Maasdam 10/30/04. What are your favorite shore excursions in:

 

1. San Juan

 

2. St. John, Antigua

 

3. St. Thomas

 

4. St. Maarten

 

Never been to the Eastern Caribbean so we want to make the most of our short time on each island. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

 

Thanks,

 

Jan

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Jan, can you give us an idea of what you enjoy doing? Do you want to sightsee? Snorkel? Swim? Do you like to sit on a bus and be driven around or would you rather hike? That would really help in giving you some ideas.

 

P.S. One of our favorite cruises of all time was on the Maasdam. We had 10 people at our table from the ages of 30 to 85 and we all agreed we couldn't have picked better tablemates. No matter what tours you take, have a ball!:D

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1. San Juan - do this on your own. Walk around the port out to the base of El Moro. Then hike up to El Moro and come back down through Old Town. No need to spend any excursion money. You will enjoy exploring all Old Town has to offer on your own.

 

2. St. John, Antigua - sorry, never been there.

 

3. St. Thomas - again, you can do this on your own. Catch a cab to Red Hook Ferry. Ride the ferry across to St. John where you will catch a cab to Trunk Bay. This has to be the most beautiful beach in the world. They have showers and changing rooms. After enjoying the beach, you just reverse your course. Plenty of taxis and the ferry ride is beautiful. You can make it back in time for shopping.

 

4. St. Maarten - again, on your own. Rent a jeep and drive around the island exploring both Dawn Beach and Orient Beach. St. Maarten also has beautiful beaches and the water is great. You should be able to make it back in time for shopping in Phillipsburg.

 

In my opinion, there is no reason to book expensive excursions in the eastern caribbean.

 

:)

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Hi There!

 

We'll be traveling on the Maasdam 10/30/04. What are your favorite shore excursions in:

 

1. San Juan

 

2. St. John, Antigua

 

3. St. Thomas

 

4. St. Maarten

 

Never been to the Eastern Caribbean so we want to make the most of our short time on each island. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

 

Thanks,

 

Jan

 

Its hard to say without knowing what you enjoy. You live in Virginia Beach - so I am not sure if you are looking for more beach stuff or not.

 

St Thomas - take a taxi and spend the day at Magens Bay. or catch the ferry to St Johns and explore the island

 

St Maarten - cheap shopping. There's a nude beach on the french side of the island. Or there is a nice beach a short walk from where you get off the tender.

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Thanks everyone for your replies already!

 

To answer your questions we want to see the islands...explore...learn. We are thinking that HMC will be our day at the beach, but you're right, since we live at the beach year round we're not wanting to spend everyday there while on the cruise. We like to shop also...we're really interested in visitng the Rain Forest in San Juan...anyone done that? But otherwise, we're up for just about anything.

 

Thanks again,

 

Jan

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We actually stayed a week on Antigua so I have a few ideas for you. First, definitely visit English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard which has been completely restored and is really great to see. Even more important, make your way up to Shirley Heights and look out over English Harbour and even further toward Monserrat and Guadalupe. A greater vista cannot be found. If you want to go to a beach on Antigua, I recommend Half Moon Bay which I believe is now a National Park. However, that may be a bit too far for you to go.

A walk through Old San Juan (where you'll be docked) and up to El Morro Castle is always interesting. But if you've not visited a rainforest then I think you will really enjoy a tour through there. It's lovely and cool, too!!!:)

St Thomas is great for shopping, but if you want to see a magnificent beach, then Megan's Bay should be your pick. Alternatively, a tour over to St. John can't go wrong for you either because that island is truly magnificent.

You've got me with St. Maarten. We've only been there once and we did a snorkelling tour which was fantastic. We're going in November and I don't know what we'll do so let us know when you get back!!!

Hope this gives you some ideas and I hope you have an amazing time.

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I totally agree with Nelson's and Shirley Heights...take a camera for sure.

 

The Castle in Old San Juan is interesting too, especially when you listen to the whole history of it.

 

St. Maarten's the only thing I ever do there is hit a little casino up the street. It has the coolest nickle slots.

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In San Juan, the El Yunque rainforest hike was wonderful. I also enjoyed a walking tour of Old San Juan.

In St Thomas I took a tour going to St John on an open air safari bus. Most of St. John is a US National Park!

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4. St. Maarten
I do almost no ship excursions anywhere, but one I did here and loved was the America's Cup 12 metre sailing. It's a pretty fun outing in itself, sailing on the thoroughbred racehorses of the yachting world, but in addition to that you have a chance of sailing on a piece of history, depending on which boat you are allocated to.

 

When I did it the last time I was in St Maarten, I asked whether it is possible to book this independently. I was told yes in theory, but on cruise ship days they tend to pre-sell all their capacity to the cruise ship - so it may be worth planning ahead to try to book directly for this, and then have the ship's offer as a backup plan.

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Basically an underwater moped...called Bob. Stands for Breathing Observation Bubble. Your head is in an oxygenated helmet and you just ride your moped. It was a blast!

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I dug up this old thread as our cruise is nearly upon us (YEA, YIPPEE!!!!). Ok, my medication just kicked in so I'm OK now.

 

Anyway, I scuba dive, but DW doesn't. So on St. Thomas we figured we'd head to Coki Beach since there is a dive center that does shore dives and you can also go snorkeling or just stay on the beach. This way I could dive, DW can relax on the beach and then we could both go snorkeling. However, a couple of posters recommend for St. Thomas to head over to St. John or go to Megan's Bay, but no one mentioned Coki Beach. Are these so much nicer that I should forget scuba diving and go to one of the other beaches? Or should I just stay with the plan. I enjoy diving, but I'd hate to pass up a fantastic beach, when I'll have other opportunities to dive.

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JanAndJermy.... Your cruise sounds wonderful -- good ports! Glad you let us know your "likes" so we can slant our suggestions in that direction.

 

San Juan: We aren't big fans of the Yunque Rain Forest -- trees, trees, and still more trees! :rolleyes: Old San Juan is very interesting (much will remind you of an old European city) and it's easy to do a walking tour OnYourOwn.

 

Antigua: Nelson's Dockyard is well worth the visit! The ship will offer an excursion with a stop there or you can take a taxi. Antigua has the BEST taxi drivers!

 

Our favorite in Antigua is going to Long Bay Beach where the sand really is as white as sugar and as soft as flour.

 

St.Thomas: Do at least consider going to Trunk Bay on St.John. Know you live in Virginia Beach ... but, but ... it's not the same. The water is glass clear! We normally take the Red Hook Ferry ... but the ship will offer half day excursions which would allow you to see St.John and spend the other part of the day shopping.

 

St.Maarten: Like to shop -- Do it here!!! :D

 

Hope this helps a little. Have fun planning! Happy Sailing! OCruisers :)

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Antigua - definitely Nelson's Boatyard - did it twice - loved it.

San Juan - El Moro Castle - been there a couple of times - walk from the ship - take it easy going up hill from the ship. It's a breeze after you spend a couple of hours exploring the castle to walk down to shop.

St Maarten - Love Orient Beach.

St John's - so many beaches - Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, etc. - all great.

St Thomas - great for shopping.

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To answer your questions we want to see the islands...explore...learn.

 

My two cents...

 

St Thomas: A tour with Godfrey gives a good overview of St Thomas with time for shopping and beaches. www.godfreytoursvi.com $20 pp plus tip (we used him for our wedding group the afternoon after our morning wedding on St John)

But if you want outstanding beaches, the north shore of St John offers many beaches. While Trunk Bay is gorgeous, others are equally as gorgeous (in my opinion) and less crowded. Descriptions of the many beaches can be found at www.*****

 

St Maarten: Have an afternoon drink at the Sunset Beach Bar while planes land very low over your head. The closest place in the world you can be to jumbojets landing - and in a beautiful setting!! Airport is SXM and I think that is technically "Maho Beach". Pictures Check flight schedules coming from Paris (CDG), Miami, San Juan, etc. We missed seeing a -747 the day we were there though, but did see a huge Airbus!

:)

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