TruTrojan, I recommend taking a cab to the Atlantis in Nassau (Paradise Island). After walking around there. There's a real nice beach adjacent to the property (Cabbage Beach). St. Thomas and St. Maarten are good for shopping, if that is your thing. St. Thomas has got some great snorkeling spots. If you want to stay on the island, Coki and Megan's Bay are 2 nice beaches. If you want to go to one of the most spectacular beaches, catch a ferry and go to St. John then grab a cab to Trunk Bay. St. Maarten, most go to Orient Beach. It's a clothing optional beach, fyi. Another fun spot is Maho beach, if a plane is landing. Marigot is another popular destination. There is also a beach near where you port. We did the America's cup race there, that was a hoot. A bunch of tourists manning a racing yacht. Have a great time!
I know most will disagree with me, but we have had rotten luck at Orient Beach (St. Maarten). It was an expensive cab ride there, at least $7-10 pp one way and it was windy and a lot of surf. It is beautiful there--make no mistake. We have been a couple times and probably will not try this again.
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I wouldn't disagree with you at all spoheat. I really think it's overrated and very expensive, but it sure seems like everyone wants to go there. I usually just take the water taxi over to the beach near the dock. We've gone to Orient twice, Maho once, snorkeling twice, and the America's Cup once. It's an ok port, just not one of my favorites.
St Thomas: we rented a car a couple blocks away from the dock...it was cheap we drove the island! Went to Coki Beach (bring a bag of small dog bones to hand feed the fish there...and your mask/snorkel.There are locals hanging out across the street smoking pot but the beach itself was good. Just hide your "goods" in the trunk before you try to park there. Parking is tight but hand feeding the fish is worth it!
There were people walking around trying to sell you parasailing rides for $35 per person they were located 2 blocks north of Coki Beach. So we did that. (Had planned on booking a parasailing excursion but the ship wanted $100 per person--a little expensive to be in the air for 7 minutes!) So I was happy to parasail again and keep a few bucks in my pocket.
We were on the Carnival Glory July 4-11 and stopped at those same 3 ports. For St. Thomas, we took the advice of Penny, Dwayne and others and went to Trunk Bay on our own- it was soooo worth it! We were there for most of the day, and had a fantastic time snorkeling and enjoying the beautiful beach. When we were leaving (around 3pm) the cruise excursion was just getting there, and the beach closed at 4pm.
In St. Maarten, we booked "Captain Alan's 3 island snorkeling tour" www .captainalan. com (no spaces), and I highly recommend it. They met us at the ship, and took us to their dock. Then they took us to 3 outlying uninhabited islands for some great snorkeling and volcanic mud baths. They have 2 boats, each holding 12-18 passengers- we really liked that it was small, and was not a booze cruise since we have 7 year old twins. I can't say enough good things about them- I would book the morning trip (8:30)- I think the 1:00 trip would be cutting it too close. We had time to come back to the ship then take the water taxi over to Philipsburg for some shopping.
Nassau didn't do a lot for me... we took a cab to Atlantis, then walked to Cabbage Beach. It was ok, but not my favorite stop.
This past april in St.Maarten we did the island tour driving the sport coupes,it's a little 3 wheel ,2 seat car.We booked it on the ship.It was a 4 hour tour and we had a blast ! during the tour,we stopped for an hour at Orient beach and had a good time with great water and great sunny day.
Adding into the car rental idea, we usually rent in St. Maarten. You can rent over the internet and the car pickup is at the pier. It is an easy island to navigate. You can go to the beach, drive and see the sights, etc. Marigot is a beautiful city for lunch and wandering. Orient Beach is also quite gorgeous, but is clothing optional. If you have young kids, it is a very European island. If you just want to wander, take the water taxi to Phillipsburg and shop.
We also hired a driver last year. It was about $450 for 8 of us in a van (I think). It was a nice tour of the island.
Nassau we did the Dolphin swim through the ship. First timers and all. A little expensive, but memorable. St. Thomas we were seasoned and learned we could do a lot of stuff on our own. Right off the ship is open air transportation that will take you to Megans, a nice beach, for $4.00 pp. Every 15 minutes they have one coming back. We ask to be let off in town so we could do some shopping and took a cab back to the ship $2.00 pp. St. Maarten there is a nice beach right in front of town for free. Boat ride over to town in a couple of dollars pp.
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