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-   -   Shore excursions in Eastern Caribbean (http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/holland-america-line/18572-shore-excursions-eastern-caribbean.html)

Pixiegirl 07-20-2006 06:49 AM

HI-
My husband & I are in our low to mid 40's; exercise daily - have no medical problems. We are going on our first HAL Zuiderdam cruise this Dec. and want to snorkel and enjoy the excursions. Our Itinerary is: Grand Turks--Tortola--St Thomas--Haly Moon Cay--back to Florida.
Any tips?? Which are the best snorkeling places? Should we purchase our own snorkel equipment instead of rent? I've also heard about reserving a space on some excursions DIRECTLY and not through HAL? Any other suggestions at these locations on things to do?
Help??
Thanks in advance!! http://images8.fotki.com/v154/photos...33/wave-vi.gif

Pixiegirl 07-20-2006 06:49 AM

HI-
My husband & I are in our low to mid 40's; exercise daily - have no medical problems. We are going on our first HAL Zuiderdam cruise this Dec. and want to snorkel and enjoy the excursions. Our Itinerary is: Grand Turks--Tortola--St Thomas--Haly Moon Cay--back to Florida.
Any tips?? Which are the best snorkeling places? Should we purchase our own snorkel equipment instead of rent? I've also heard about reserving a space on some excursions DIRECTLY and not through HAL? Any other suggestions at these locations on things to do?
Help??
Thanks in advance!! http://images8.fotki.com/v154/photos...33/wave-vi.gif

susanmaz 07-20-2006 11:52 AM

My husband and I are doing the same cruise in October - we'll have that information when we get back... if anyone has it before we leave, that would be great. We purchased our own snorkel gear. $40 at Costco. They will pay for themselves after two uses, as rental usually runs around $20.... we are still undecided on ships' excursions vs our own. I'm still doing research.

penny3333 07-20-2006 12:19 PM

We have our own equipment as well, however, most excursions include the snorkel equipment. We've done 2 really great sail/snorkels in Tortola. Both went to the Norman Island area, really nice snorkeling. We booked it through the ship, so I can't help you on private tour companies. We also made a deal with one of the local cab drivers to take us around the island. He gave us a 2 hour tour for $20. He took us up to a restaurant that over looked where the Atlantic and Caribbean met. It was absolutely beautiful. In St. Thomas my 2 favorite are Trunk Bay and Buck Island. Trunk Bay we do on our own, we catch a ferry to St. John, take a cab to Trunk Bay, and pay admission. The ferry is $6/pp, cab is $4/pp, and I think admission is $4/pp. There is a beautiful white sand beach, with warm crystal clear water, and a self-guide snorkel tour about 50 yds. from the shore. They have fresh water showers, lockers, a snack bar, a couple of shops (shop in St. Thomas), and a place to rent snorkel equipment. It is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Or we take a sail/snorkel exucrsion to Buck Island, great snorkeling as well. I haven't been to Grand Turk in about 30 years, and I don't remember where the good snorkeling was. We're going in December, so let me know when you get back if you found a good snorkel trip. Half Moon Cay is their private island, so if you have your own equipment, there is some decent snorkeling there. You can also rent the equipment there. We purchased our own equipment because we snorkel a lot, but you'd have to decide whether it is worth it to you. Have a wonderful cruise.

Traveling Grammy 08-02-2006 09:20 AM

I stayed on St. Thomas for a month at a friend home. The best place to snokel for me was Sapphire Beach @ the hotel, it is public and you can rent a lounge chair for $5 and other beach stuff. It's beautiful, clean and we were there when something was being celebrated and were invited to enjoy their food. Also if time allows, take the boat from town to St. Johns and then a shuttle to Trunk Bay, it has markers under the water that guide and instruct you, very beautiful and lots of fish. We took our own snorkel equipment rather than using something others have used and might look pretty worn. There's a restaurant in St. Thomas call Mafiloy (might be spelled wrong), it means, "might fall down" has a beautiful view of St. Thomas, night or day.

Ron Bishop 11-12-2006 07:30 PM

Hi, we will be on the same cruise and are of the same age. I strongly recommend you buy your own snorkel equipment. Proper fit is very important. Not sure you have recourse for a refund if things dont go right when you book directly. I think you have some recourse via HAL. Keep us posted as to what excursions you go on. Maybe we can link up and the 4 of us can go together.

Bill C 11-13-2006 07:56 PM

My wife and I have taken that cruise twice. In Tortola I have rented a car and we went up to the national park and hiked in the semi-tropical rainforest. Great views. I then drove to some no name area and had great snorkeling(we have our own gear). Or you can ferry over to Virgin Gorda to the Baths(Most spectacular)I think I ferried from Speedy's as well as car rental on Virgin Gorda. In St. Thomas again I rented a car(all car rentals done on-line prior) drove to Red Hook and caught the car ferry to St. Johns where we toured the Island and then went to Waterlemon Cay to snorkel. It was unbelievable. A little current on the far side of the island but it was like swimming in an aquarium. Sea turtles, rays, urchins and thousands of fish. It's a bit of a walk to this area along an abandoned road, but soooo worth it. Half moon Cay is nice but to find interesting snorkeling you either need to keep to the far left of the beach area(lots of people here) or walk the beach all the way right(maybe a mile) and there are some coral heads out in the water with great sea life(sea fans,brain coral,fish etc) I also found an area of sand dollars but they were in about 20 feet of water about 1/2 way back to the beach area(becareful of the banana rides and hobie cats out there) The biggest problem of going out on your own is making sure you get back on time, because you have so much freedom to do as you please.

gradmom 11-15-2006 04:23 AM

We too have snorkeled at Buck Island and thought it was awesome! There was either a large sailboat or small ship on the bottom that had been broken in half by a hurricane. It wasd the home to some great fish. We saw a very large eel and a turtle while we were there. It was our favorite excursion while we were on St. Thomas. Have a great trip.
Gradmom


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