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I see from recent posts you have cruised the S. Caribbean on Serenade. We are going February 10-17 and I can't wait. I've been to St. Lucia (one week last year), but not to the other islands. Please let me know your favorite excursions for each island and whether you booked with the cruise ship or private. Assuming you cruised out of San Juan, please let me know where you stayed as well - I'm having a hard time finding anything under $300 in February for one night's stay (deals for more than one night or in off season only). And one more thing (SHEEEESH, I'm asking a lot for people I don't know :-), let me know what is good to do in San Juan (besides Old San Juan) the afternoon before the cruise and the day of, what you did with your luggage etc. (we fly in on Friday). Thanks for all your help!

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What to do on the islands:


St. Thomas - take the Red Hook ferry over to St. Johns (on your own) and go to either Trunk Bay or Cinnamon Bay.



St. Maarten - we didn't do anything here but take the water taxi into town, shop, and dip our feet into the water at the little beach there in downtown.


Antigua - we took a taxi to a beach which was great. I've heard really good things about Eli's Eco-Tour (independent)


St. Lucia - we did a tour with Cosol which was amazing (www.cosol-tours.com) We saw everything including being fed local foods and drinks with only 4 of us in a private air conditioned van.


Barbados - Silvermoon is absolutely the best excursion. Swimming with the sea turtles, snorkeling, good food and drink, seeing the lovely coast. And the best part is there is only 12 people on the boat on the Silvermoon 1, slightly more on the 2 - but in both cases a lot less than the ships excursions. My best friend would go back to Barbados solely because of the Silvermoon.


When you fly in on Friday take your luggage to your hotel. Even if you can't check in yet, they should be willing to store it for you. Then go explore. As for Saturday, once you check out of your hotel go check in for the cruise. We were allowed onboard starting at 11:30am. Since we had gotten there the day before and explored, instead we took advantage of the day on the ship. Since this is a highly port intensive cruise, you might want to do that too. By the time most people got onboard late that afternoon, we'd already made specialty restaurant and spa appointment reservations, had multiple drinks, eaten lunch, swam in the pool, had massages, manicures, and pedicures, and had taken a nap. It was wonderful to have advantage of the ship before everyone else got onboard. If you don't want to stay onboard, you can still check in, drop off your stuff, and then get back off the ship to go explore.

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wrp96 - thanks for all the info; just what I was looking for. Which hotel in San Juan would you recommend (I keep coming up with recommendations for Caribe Hilton, Marriot and El Convento -- all of which run about $300 per night that time of year). Also, Antigua has 365 beaches - which would you recommend? And what did you do at St. John's? I assume Silvermoon in Barbados is a private tour company - do they have a website?

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We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan because we wanted the opportunity to easily explore Old San Juan. But I've heard absolutely amazing things about El Convento so if you can afford to stay there I would take that opportunity.


I can't remember the name of the beach we went to in Antigua, but I'll see if I can find a link to my review which should have it listed. Here's a link to my review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=319409


Yes, Silvermoon is a private excursion. If you go to the Barbados board, there should be several threads talking about the Silvermoon which will have a link.

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Thanks so much. I think I've nailed down the hotel to Embassy Suites Hotel & Casino - for $250 a night, you get the happy hour and breakfast included and the reviews seem support a decent enough hotel, pool, etc. By the time we land (1:15 on Friday), get through customs, check in to the hotel, etc., I figure it'll be 3ish and we won't need to hang out at a beach. We'll check in on the ship early as we can on Saturday and start taking advantage of everything we're already paying for.

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Sleepy.... we too will be sailing the Serenade on Feb 10 - 17. Our second trip for this ship/itinerary.

This time we booked the Courtyard Marriott San Juan Miramar $179 per night for i night pre-cruise. We always fly down the day before.... especially in the winter.


St. Thomas - i think this time we will Ferry to St Johns. Last time we visited our "friend" at Ballerina Jewelers in town. We have also taken a tour with Godfrey.


St. Maarten - We did the Ship excursion to Divi Bay Beach with Lunch. What an enjoyable time! May do it again this time.


Antigua - did not do much last trip as DH got too much sun at DiviBay. Have not decided which excursion this time. Eli Eco Tours are supposed to be awesome.


St Lucia - Went with DH on a semi-sub through the ship. He enjoyed that ... then we shopped. Friends of ours did a mountain bike tour to the waterfalls, etc, through the ship. Still deciding on this trip - may contact Cosol.


Barbados - last trip Malibu Beach break and Friends of ours did a kayak and turtle swim and LOVED IT! :)

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