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Old 07-23-2005, 09:04 PM
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My parents (age 50), boyfriend (age 22), and I (age 22) are planning on taking the nine night eastern caribbean cruise and visiting Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. John's, Antigua. I have been reading all of the ship reviews and port reviews and basically would like any information people could give us.

My main questions are is it better/cheap to schedule excursions on your own or do the ships? If on your own were are some good places? Also, the last couple reviews I read mentioned that the ship was becomming outdated, is this still true? Are there any hints or tips? Lastly, basically anything you can think of.

We are all new to this so I really appreciate anything. I am truly excited and even though its 7 months away can't sleep.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-24-2005, 04:09 AM
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You can do a lot of things on your own in those ports, but it depends on what activities are of interest to you. Maybe you could tell us the kinds of activities you were considering?
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:05 AM
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Hi Tiffany,
Welcome to cruise-chat. It is usually cheaper to book excursions on your own - but NOT always better - it depends on the port and the specific excursion you are interested in.

Here is a link to a great source of independent shore trips that might help you decide:
http://www.caribbean-shore-excursions.com/

I very recently took a Baltic cruise on the Century (am still working on finishing my mega review) and although there were some signs of age (if you really look), she has been well maintained and still looks great, in my opinion.

Nancy
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:44 AM
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Thank you so much!

I think the main things that we would like to do on the islands is to see some of the main tourist areas such as the volacano in St. Lucia, Harrison's Cave in Barbados and so forth. But, we love to swim and have fun in the ocean. I was hoping to find a tour or something that would combine a bit of both, but not take the whole time so we could shop or whatever.

I don't really know what to expect. We usually go to Mazatlan and have been there several times. We are also somewhat weary because in Mazatlan the tours and so forth were just never worth the money. So I am trying to research extensively so we do not end up in the same situation.
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:36 AM
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Hi Tiffany,

in all ports you can go to a taxi-dispatcher and ask about the prices for different roundtrips they offer.
We have done that in Barbados, in St. Thomas and some other places in the Caribbean and it was much cheaper than the shore-excusions and not crowded and you can tell the driver your wishes and they try to bring you to the places you want to see.

Never had an uncomfortable feeling about doing this by ourself.

Best wishes, Marita
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Old 07-24-2005, 05:57 PM
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Hi Tiffany.....my name is Shirley and I'm travelling on a Western Caribbean cruise on Explorer of the Seas in January with my family....first time for all of us. I know exactly how you feel when you say you are so excited you can't sleep. I feel the same way. We (myself, my husband, son and sister) decided on this trip a little over a month ago but just booked it this week... and I'm constantly thinking about it. When I meet somebody who has been on a cruise before I'm all ears. I have travelled a lot but I've never been so excited about a trip.

Thanks NancyN for the website on independent shore trips. I have to research our excursions carefully as my sister requires crutches to get around and I am hoping to make some good choices prior to the cruise.

This is a great site.
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:29 PM
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I'm glad I'm not the only one. My family thinks that I am going crazy. Its just so exciting and a lot of work (but fun work) to try to make sure everything comes together and that you planning something everyone will enjoy. I love this website because you can get hints from others.
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:47 PM
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You're not crazy. You're one of us. You will have the time of your life! I haven't even booked our next cruise but I'm planning it now and I'm already excited.

When we went on our first cruise, I booked excursions at every port. We had a ball but we came home tired. It was a little stressful to have such a full schedule and I never did it again.

Now we get up in the morning and leisurely get ready. If we're late, so what. We find a taxi driver and ask him what's the best thing to do on the island. He'll ask us questions about what we like and bingo, we have us a great day. The taxi drivers will point out things of interest and you'll also hear about life on their island.

Some of my relatives book maybe one excursion per cruise, but you are young and might enjoy more.
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Old 07-25-2005, 08:30 AM
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How much do taxi's run? Just so that I know a ballpark figure to start saving up for.

I really appreciate all the advice you all have. Since we live on the west coast most of the people we know go to Mexico and Hawaii. So, there aren't a lot of people around to ask advice from.
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Old 07-25-2005, 10:41 AM
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Hi Tiffany,
Are you referring to taxi fares from airport to ship or in each of the ports? If you are referring to the ports, you might want to check the main page of PortReviews. I know that information is provided for many of the Caribbean ports.
http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/

Also, check the additional reviews (look for those that are identified by doing a trip on their own) as often readers include details of the cost.

Nancy
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