I will be taking my first cruise in May 2009. A 9 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Grandeur Of The Seas. Any advice from seasoned cruisers would be greatly appreciated. What excursions are worth the money, what I shouldn't waste my money on, must see places, shows, etc. It's just me and my husband.
Welcome aboard. The cruise administrators here are much better versed in such matters. That being said, it helps to know what your interests are.
Click through the various pages and read the posts. Also click on the names of those who post to see their public profiles. Many of the cruiseres have links to their own photos which are much nicer than the cruise line sites.
San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Samana, Dominican Republi, and Labadee, Haiti are the ports.
Up for almost anything. I'm not much for site seeing or golf. The Dragons breath flight line looks fun, but my husband doesn't like heights.
The only thing I've booked so far was horseback riding in Puerto Rico.
what to expect?
expect to have FUN
expect to relax
expect to be pampered
expect to eat well
expect to meet lot of great people
expect your room to be straightened every time you leave it
expect to see beautiful views from the ship
expect to bring back lots of great memories
expect to sleep well
expect to over eat
expect to play games
expect to watch a few shows
expect to go to a captains party
expect the cruise to be the best vacation ever
expect to be ready to book your next cruise 10 mins after the ship docks back at home port.
Lets see: Labadee is the RCCL island. We use this as a beach (read economy)day. We just go over early, find a good spot (remember a couple bucks to tip the guy who gets loungers for you, and helps you move them when the sun or shade moves--there is no where to really get change on this island). There is a market place there run by natives. They are very aggressive. They won't approach you anywhere but if you go into the market so no worries. Have correct change and dicker on the prices if you see anything you like. All food and bar service on this island comes from the ship. We have done jet-ski there and practiced snorkeling--there isn't enough to see to be really exciting. The zip line books before you leave home so decide in advance if you really want to try it.
I have not done the horseback ride in San Juan (I assume this is the RCCLs rain forest ride?) but our table mates did and we were very envious. They had a blast, took a break to swim in a cave pool, saw a lot of neat stuff.
In St. Thomas I like to take a cab to the ferry dock and Red Hook and go across to St. John. It is a National Park and 80% undeveloped. It is what the Caribbean used to (and should) look like. Cabs are waiting when you exit the ship, depending on the size of your party you may share-there will be others wanting to go there too. The ferry at Red Hook runs on the hour. We like Trunk Bay best--there are washrooms, snorkeling rental (the snorkel trail is from the shore-no boat) concession. There is a small admittance fee to the area. The beach itself is postcard perfect. You can do a tour, but they will not give you enough time. You won't save a ton of $$ doing this on your own, but since you will probably be in port a long time that day you can do it without worry and not be herded back to the ship at 1 p.m. when you aren't done yet. if you use the find function on this site you can probably find both ferry schedules, prices, and pictures. This was ours (we are both 48) and our kid's favorite day ever. I don't usually recommend first time cruisers go off on their own, but this is a good place to try it. Lots of cabs, lots of other cruisers headed over.
You will have a great time. Welcome to a strange and wonderful addiction.
RCCL Nordic Empress 1993
RCCL Nordic Prince 1994
RCCL Explorer 2003, 2005
RCCL Navigator, 2004, 2007
RCCL Mariner 2006
RCCL Liberty 2008
RCCL Adventure 2009 Read and post cruise reviews
When I was in St. Thomas, for my shore excursion, I took a boat ride to Trunk Bay on neighboring St. John, U.S.V.I. It was very beautiful. I snorkeled around the coral reefs and relaxed on the beach. I had a great time:
When I was in San Juan, for my shore excursion, I did a "Walking Tour of Old San Juan". It was very interesting. The highlight was the visit to the old fortress that guarded the entrance to San Juan harbor. That fortress was called "Castillo San Felipe Del Morro" or "El Morro":
This is a picture looking down from El Morro (with my back turned from the fortress). I do have a photo of the fortress itself, but I have yet to upload it into Webshots.
Anyway this walking tour of Old San Juan was very interesting. However, you must be able to walk long distances to go on this walking tour. And the long distance includes walking uphill (as seen in the photo above) and walking plenty of stairs. Eventhough I am still young, I was worn-out at the end of this walking tour. At least it helped burn off allot of the calories from all the delicious food I ate onboard the cruise ship!
TO BE CONTINUED.....