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-   -   Zuiderdam East Carib. 2/9/08 (http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/holland-america-line/10085-zuiderdam-east-carib-2-9-08-a.html)

sammieksnorkeler 12-31-2007 02:24 PM

Very excited as this is our first cruise. We will be traveling with our dearest friends who have taken several HAL cruises, but have never been to the Caribbean. Any advice on the best snorkeling spots and sightseeing in Grand Turk, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay? Counting the days!!! :-)

susanmaz 12-31-2007 03:26 PM

Not much yet in Grand Turk. The town is small and not much to do. There is a small shopping plaza off the pier with a Margaritaville bar/restaurant/pool. There is also a swimming beach off the pier with lounge chairs set up. We did the stingray encounter/snorkle excursion booked through the ship. You can also look into arranging a snorkle adventure on your own - I no longer have the link to the company that did our excursion, but someplace in the Caribbean ports section I did a posting last year with the link. I haven't been to San Juan in over 30 years, but a walking tour of Old San Juan and exploring the old fort is a great adventure. Lots of folks have liked the tour of the rum factory. If you have the time or and excursion is offered to El Junque - the rain forest - that's a definite treat. Half Moon Cay is a private island in the Bahamas. Beautiful little island - there are excursions offered. We just hung out on the beach and enjoyed the great buffet lunch. There is a small straw market at the dock (you'll tender in). The Zuiderdam is a lovely ship - as is every HAL ship; elegant, clean, exceptional service. You should enjoy your cruise.

sammieksnorkeler 01-01-2008 07:13 PM

Thanks so much for the info. The more I read, the more I believe HAL was a great choice for our cruiseline. Happy New Year! :-)

Scott Taylor 01-04-2008 06:14 PM

Oh you're going to love Half Moon Cay, paradise on Earth!

Do a sail/snorkel excursion on St Thomas to St. John. Holland America offers a ship excursion called the Champagne Catarmaran Sail & Snorkel to St. John. It is out of this world! The excursion will last about 4 hours which should leave you some time to shop in Charlotte Amalie. I've been to a bunch of different snorkeling spots in the Virgin Islands and this one is one of the best you can find if the weather is right. Pristine white sand beach and lots of coral.

I would like to book this same intinerary on the Zuiderdam someday, be sure to write a review when you come back. Have a wonderful cruise!

sammieksnorkeler 01-05-2008 10:02 AM

Thanks for the great info! Can't wait to explore all the islands and reefs on our stops(as much as time permits, that is) Almost every review I've read of Half Moon Cay, they say they didn't want to leave. We are so excited. I will most certainly let you know how everything went when we get back. Counting the days!!! 35 to be exact! http://cruise-chat.com/groupee_commo...on_biggrin.gif Thanks again.

susanmaz 01-06-2008 04:31 PM

I found my link to the Grand Turk Cruise Center site.

http://www.grandturkcc.com/

gpeters 01-16-2008 07:17 PM

For sightseeing in San Juan, I recommend walking through Old San Juan (uphill) to Castillio San Cristobal. You can see it from the port and it's only about a 10 minute walk. It is a 500 year old Spanish fort that is now an official National Park Service site. It must be the highest ground in San Juan and the views are fantastic in every direction. Also, it has been beautifuly preserved and contains many historical artifacts.

When your done, visit the restaurant where the pina colada was invented! I don't remember the name, but any local can tell you where it is.

sammieksnorkeler 01-16-2008 08:05 PM

Thanks! We will definitely do that! I've seen a couple pics of the fort. It is beautiful and I can't wait to see the views. I don't remember the name of the restaurant either, but I just saw it on the Travel Channel. I'm sure we can find it. I LOVE Pina Coladas. :-)Thanks again!

Jelly 02-17-2008 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by sammieksnorkeler:
Thanks for the great info! Can't wait to explore all the islands and reefs on our stops(as much as time permits, that is) Almost every review I've read of Half Moon Cay, they say they didn't want to leave. We are so excited. I will most certainly let you know how everything went when we get back. Counting the days!!! 35 to be exact! http://cruise-chat.com/groupee_commo...on_biggrin.gif Thanks again.
How did your cruise go? We're sailing March 1

sammieksnorkeler 02-18-2008 02:55 PM

Our cruise was fantastic! Weather was perfect. Water temps could have been a touch warmer, but they did not stop us from snorkeling and playing in the ocean. I will post a full review as soon as I have time. But in the mean time, the service was incredible. We never wanted for anything. Food was usually great, though a few times only good. We ate one night at the Pinnacle Grill (extra $30 per person) - UNBELIEVABLE!!!- Could not have been any better! In Grand Turk, the beaches were beyond beautiful. (Governor's Beach and Pillory Beach), though when we went into town, we really didn't see any other tourists. Unfortunately there was a lot of trash around, but the people were very friendly and helpful. Go to Governer's Beach and have a drink at "The Sand Bar". We walked all the way from down town to Pillory Beach (LONG walk!) No place to eat or drink really. The Water's Edge was boarded up. We took the Ultimate Snorkel tour and as long as you hang out with the divers, they will show you where some great stuff is.
Will let you know more later. Enjoy your trip, and bring PLENTY of sunscreen!!! :-)


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