My husband and I are going on the Explorer of the Seas in February (!!! It seemed so far off when we booked it in June...) and we're stopping at seven ports.
We've been to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico, but never to St. Kitts, Antigua, Barbados and Dominica. We're not planning to book any excursions through the ship but we'd love any and all suggestions for on-your-own type adventures at those ports. Anything in particular we should do? See?
The only thing we're pretty sure on right now is going snorkeling at Champagne Beach in Dominica, although any advice on getting there is appreciated.
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
Penny3333 highly reccommended that Champagne Beach Snorkeling in Dominica. We did a rain forrest excursion (wife's idea) zzzz. Other than RC's ship sponsored excursion there I wouldn't know if you can book that independently. Maybe another post will answer that question...
So you like snorkeling I'm guessing. Been to Antigua and Barbados but didn't snorkel in either island. I did much research about a wonderful boat tour offered at www.AdventureAntigua.com for Antiqua. For some reason, I think it was because my wife wasn't feeling too well, we did an all inclusive beach resort instead which was nice. It was called the Occidental Pinapple Beach Resort. It was about 1/2 the price of a Sandals day pass. I heard from several people that they absolutely loved it Adventure Antigua's tours. Check out the Xtreem Circumnav tour on that website. It's a boat tour and it even goes by Nelson's Dockyard and a bunch of other places. It really sounds fantastic.
On Barbados we did a really nice tour of two plantation homes, the Sunbury and Francia. I like beaches and snorkeling better but it truly was a memorable tour. It also had a stop at a large Orchid Garden. We did that tour in the morning, it was one of the ship's excursions. Then for the second half of the day we did the Malibu Beach Break. (huge mistake). It included a tour of the rum factory, whoopie! The beach was ugly and even a few hits of rum wouldn't make it better. There was an ugly ship yard on one side of the beach and that ugly rum factory on the other! When you think of Barbados you don't think of ugly beaches, so stay away from Malibu!! The ship's excursion desk argued that all the nicer beaches were on the other side of the island and for a 1/2 day excursion they couldn't go too far. So I guess if I go back to Barbados for just one day, I'd do a full day beach so I could get to the really nice beaches. Someone mentioned that the Boatyard had an ok beach, which was closer but I also heard the young people from the ship all go there and that it was a real party place. Here's a link to theBoatyard
We had lunch at Sunbury Plantation in Barbados. The grounds are beautiful. The food and service are very good. It's a very low key, relaxing outing. Also, there is a rum factory nearby that has some tours and rum tastings.
I did a tour in Barbados that included a visit to a Concorde, where you get to sit inside the plane, see videos about its history and flight, sit outside and watch a show projected against its side, etc. It was a very interesting tour.