Very nice question, I should have post it in my first message.
We are interested in sightseeing excursions, not the type of scuba diving etc. We would like to see the most important places, especially those of some historic significance, and on the other hand have a little glimpse in life in the Caribbean today.
Another factor to bear in mind is that my partner has some problem and she cannot walk far distances.
Do you know a reliable local tour operator in some of these islands? Till now I have heart only of Cosol in Santa Lucia.
I have THE tour operator for you in Panama; Jill Berger. Go to www.goldcoastpanama.com; we booked off the Coral Princess and were lucky enough to get her, and were i to go back, i'd just book her directly through her website; she shared her life experience with us of growing up in Panama and showed us personal things like the house she spent in her teens; it was non stop information and she was so helpful! We weren't rushed; she had good recommendations of what to get and where. It felt more like being shown around by a family friend!
We book most of our excursions through the ship, especially if it's ports we've not been to before. I know the cruise line has checked the vendors out, I know the cruise line will wait for us, and I know that if I'm not happy with the excursion, I can tell someone who will actually care. I'm sure there are reputable firms that can offer good tours, but until I am familiar with the island, I stick with the cruise line. We went on a nice tour in Curacao through Royal Caribbean. We just returned from Bonaire and grabbed a taxi from the port and went to Palm Beach. It was a nice beach with nice ammenities. Bonaire you could easily walk around from where you dock. In Barbados we do the Tiami catamaran sail/snorkel, great crew, great catamarans, good snorkeling, and if you do the one with the lunch, great food. In St. Lucia, we grabbed a cab from the port and went to Pigeon Island. You could do a self-guided tour of the fort and they also offered guided tours. There was a beautiful lookout on top of the mountain, nice beaches, and a place to get a sandwich and something to drink. We've done some great snorkeling there, but you're not interested in that. We also did a tour through the Princess that took us to a beautiful waterfall, a fishing village, and we got to see some beautiful country-side. St. Thomas is easy to do on your own as well. There is a cable car that you can take to the top of the mountain, there's Blackbeard's castle, beautiful beaches, great snorkeling and good shopping. Hope this gives you a few ideas.
Penny, i just sent an individual email until i saw this one; i don't know if they'll post the last one because i included my name and i don't think i'm supposed to do that; i don't know if you can either; am i "allowed" to give you my personal email so that we can correspond for my article? I'm sure the person who screens these will let me know, too! thanks. RoseonnaBeach