Could someone direct me to a good review of the southern ports. We are doing Empress in Dec (11 night, 8 ports). We'd like to know which ship excursions are worth the money, although we usually often book our own, or find our own beach for snorkeling, etc. We enjoy adventurous outings. Although we are over 50, we did an adventure tour-- 'mountain climb', 7 zip lines, rappelling cliffs etc. in Puerto Vallarta in January this year. We also enjoy history and walking so can do those on our own. thanks for the help.
Hello penny3333 - my husband and I have the southern caribbean cruise booked. With the first port being Puerto Rico. The nect ones are; St Maarten, Antigua, St Kitts, St Lucia, Barbados, Margarita Island, Curacao, Aruba and back to Purerto Rico. How about your next cruise? Where are you headed?
we are going on the empress dec 4th...i went to a few of the islands on a previous rcl cruise but most of these will be new for me too..let me tell you about the ones i visited..st maartin was great we booked a power snorkel tour which included some fancy equipment like a james bond type underwater scooter which pulled you through the water faster than you could swim and a radio snorkel which played music from the mouthpiece through your jawbone and teeth (it really worked) you could scan the local stations and find your favorite style music to swim with...it was a fun tour and well worth it at $70 each.
Next was st. lucia we had decided to try to snorkel on our own, i researched a nice reef just offshore from a resort and since we own our own snorkel gear i thought it would just be a cheap cab ride away....wrong, when we got to the taxi stands we found out it was $60 per person each way and would take 2 hours of riding curving mountain roads to get there. But before we left the area a guy saw our snorkel gear and asked us if we wanted to go on his friends boat, i was sceptical, but he handed me a brochure for a dive boat that looked for real, he explained that they also took snorkelers and the tour went to the place we wanted to snorkel, it only took 45 mins by boat and saved us a stomache wrenching cab ride over the mountains, and included a stop in the town of castries for lunch all for $40 each...it was just as promised we waited at the water taxi stand and the boat came to us and picked us up took us to 2 reef sites and castries for a delicious lunch...we even got to see the pitons ( two huge tit shaped mountains sticking out of the water) I will dig out the info before we go and see if i can do it again...i will post it once i find it.
Next is barbados, we were there just before tiger woods got married there, we even saw the yacht he used for his honeymoon "the privacy" was its name. we took the swim with the turtles and shipwreck tour...it was well worth the $35-40 they charged...we went and snorkled a shipwreck, then went to a place where the guides called the turtles in by slapping the water until they showed then feeding them squid so everyone could get a good close look, after an hour in each place we were supposed to go to a northern beach, but seeing a storm in that direction the captain wisely pulled over at a high dollar resorts beach...the beaches are all public there so they couldnt say anything, they pulled the boat up and anchored on the beach and served us beers and rum punch in the shallow water, it was a great way to end the tour. The people we met in Barbados were very friendly....
Next antigua, we didnt like this island much..supposedly eric clapton and oprah and other celebs have houses there but i think they were on the other side of the island from where we docked...just outside the ship is a fenced area where only cruise passengers are allowed, then there is a area for tourists with the duty free shops, a casino, and a few market shops, then just a few blocks later there is the real city, where young men with shabby clothes, and no shoes were standing around drinking liquor looking like they were up to no good...my wife and i both took one look and said hell no and headed back towards the ship...we took a flyer for a free spin on the prize wheel at the casino and since it had air conditioning and police around we tried it. we both won a free rum punch (they love rum punch in the islands)...my wife won $35 on a quarter machine and promtly quit a winner, we bought a couple more rum punches and I took an hour to lose $7 on the nickle slots. we then went straight back to the boat...its the only island i dont care to visit again, we will probably stay on ship that day.
Hope this helps, I will post more stuff as i research this trip in the next month or two.
Hi Sun-Seeker. Our cruise in October is going to Antigua (haven't been there), St. Lucia, Grenada, Martinique, St. Thomas, and Princess Cay. Our cruise in December is going to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and La Romana. I'm really excited about both cruises. Haven't been to Grand Turk in ages and never been to Antigua or La Romana. Will be doing snorkeling in all of the ports. In St. Maarten we did an America's cup regatta, it was a blast. The snorkeling there is so-so, but the race was a riot. A bunch of land lovers trying to crew a racing yacht was so much fun. St. Kitts is a pretty island, the batique (sp?) is really fun and the tour of the fort was interesting, the snorkeling was pretty good, so that's where we spent most of our time. St. Lucia is a fun island, we're going to Pigeon Island this trip. We did a land tour last year because our snorkeling trip was cancelled due to lack of booking, plus it rained pretty much all day. The land tour took us to a waterfall that you had to climb down a side of a mountain. It was pretty, but I'm definitely a snorkeling person and would much rather have been in the water. In Barbados, try to book the Tiami catamaran snorkeling trip. Their ships are beautiful and the snorkeling is pretty good. The crews are great and so is the rum punch on the sail back to the port. If you like spicy sauces, try the bajan pepper sauce. It's hot, but so tasty. I put it on everything, including salads. Margarita Island was ok, not one of my favorite. We took a snorkeling trip, but should have just gone to the beach near the port. Curacoa is great, so colorful. Good shopping, good snorkeling, and a tour of the Curacoa factory is fun as well, especially the free samples. Aruba has some really good snorkeling, we didn't do land tours there, just got a couple of drinks on the way back to the ship. We bought a couple of t-shirts right at the port, so really didn't do too much of the town. In Puerto Rico, we stayed at the Plaza in Condada section. The tour of old San Juan is fun, there is a botanical garden that isn't too far. If you're going to be there a while, the locals go to Ponce, which is on the other side of the island. The tour of the Bacardi factory is fun as well. We booked snorkeling trips through the ships for Antigua, Grenada, Grand Turk and La Romana. The rest of the ports, we'll do on our own. Best wishes and have a wonderful cruise!!
I was on this route in december last year with my wife on honeymoon, and were going again this year on the same date, so you can see: it was fantastic. I ve made a short movie about this cruise, so if you are intereseted: A Trip to Paradise
If you have specific questions about this cruise, feel free to ask.
In Antigua, we snorkeled with stingrays. It was a GREAT time!!
In St. Maarten and Barbados, we took tours of the islands. There was so much to see on each island. . .They were my favorites of the five we visited (San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados). We found the historical part of our tours VERY interesting!