My husband & I are not into the shore excursion tour bus. We like to explore and get a feel for the culture and the people.
Is there any danger in exploring on your own at these locations?
Any suggestions for what we should try to see?
I have never been to Grenada, Bonaire or Aruba so I can't really speak to those. But I never fealt threatened in St Thomas, or Dominica. So is it safe?" I would say as safe as most places in the states. The fact of the matter is that there is crime no matter where you go, but if you use the same caution you would walking around any unknown city in the States you should be fine. The cruise islands depend on the cruise ships stopping in their ports for the income. The ships would stop coming if the tourists were getting robbed all the time - take the recent occurrence on St Kitts for example. The cruise ships stopped going there for a few weeks after a bus of tourists were robbed. This makes the local official spring into action to 1) catch the thieves and 2) put protections in place to keep it from happening again.
So, if you stick to the well traveled areas and use common sense you should be safe enough.
And remember, if you go exploring on your own to make sure your watch is set to SHIPS time, to ensure you make it back in time. We've been on 6 cruises, and on every single one - we've had passengers literally "miss the boat" at at least one port. Enjoy the islands... the Caribbean is a favorite place to visit.
Hi loislane and welcome to cruis chat. I concur about knowing where you are at all times no matter where you travel. Common sense prevails at all times. I think all the places I have been on StThomas and Aruba I would consider the same as being in the states. I've had no problem on several occassions we have been there. We also spent a week on Aruba and had no problems. Enjoy !
Even if you don't take the ships excursions, you're going to need the assistance of a taxi driver at a minimum on most islands if you want to see anything. For the most part we avoid ship excursions because you can usually do more for a lot less money by doing the research yourself and booking privately in advance. Aruba has a good bus line and it's inexpensive; same with St. Thomas. You'll definately need a guide on Grenada if you want to see the interior and see the real spice stores. Bonaire can be seen well by walking around from the pier area and taking in a beach for the day which is just a 15 minute walk.
Thanks all for your input! Very much appreciated.
We are not inexperienced travelers, just never cruised before. Been to Mexico, Hong Kong, Bali, DR, & Cuba. We only had one 'nervous' experience in Dominican Republic but we just got off at the wrong stop with a local bus.
Any suggestions for 'must see' at these ports? How would we book a taxi or driver privately in advance?
Grenada I would look for a private guide if you want to see the island but you can just walk around St George's or take the local bus ...they are mini vans & drive around the streets picking up people ..just tell them where you are trying to go & they will tell you if they are going that route.
Some charge a different price for tourists but some don't
Dominica you can probably get a tour at the dock we took an island tour with a local taxi guide (Campbell) it was $75. USD for the 2 of us. We could not find others to share.
Just do some research to know what you want to see
Alexandr Pushkin, Carnival-Holiday, HAL-(old)Westerdam, Orient lines-Marco Polo, Royal Olympic-Olympic, NCL-Dream, Dawn-Princess, ACCL-Grande Caribe, Oceania-Insignia (3), Regatta(4) Marina (1) St Lawrence Cruise Lines-Canadian Empress
What do you enjoy doing? We snorkel in every port, but have also done some land excursions as well. St. Thomas, take a cab to Red Hook and a ferry over to St. John, then a cab to Trunk Bay. It's one of the top 10 beaches in the world and has a self-guided snorkeling trail about 50 yards from the beach. Dominica a catamaran sail/snorkel to Champagne Reef, one of the best snorkels we've done in the Caribbean. Aruba, we went to Palm Beach the last time we were there. It was a nice beach, water toys available, snorkeling was so/so, they had a pier with a restaurant/bar there. Bonaire, one of the best snorkels in the Caribbean as well. We took the Mushi/Mushi catamaran sail/snorkel twice and had a marvelous time. Hope this helps some!
Thank you! I'm not a snorkler, but this is all good information. Its interesting to note that everyone takes the ferry from St Thomas to St John and Trunk Bay. Is there nothing worth staying in St Thomas for?