There are excursions that are really popular and while they might still be available when you get on the ship, you might have to get down to the guest relations/explorations desk on deck 4 quickly to book them. There are catamaran tours in Barbados that the staff member told me were really popular and were sold out. Of course this was the day that we were in Barbados that I was looking to do something. I was able to book something that interested me but it wasn't necessarily my first choice. I can tell you what I did and enjoyed: in St. Thomas I was supposed to do the beach tour of St. Johns but it was canceled due to poor weather conditions that would affect our ferry ride over to there. We were notified of this at the last minute, which I know that they can not help, but then it was hard to find something to do. I ended up taking the tour that drove us to Drake's Seat for a wonderful view and then went to Magen's Bay which is gorgeous. The next week I took a taxi to Morningstar Beach which is about a five-ten minute drive from the ship. I went solo in the taxi, so I had to pay $7 plus tip each way. After that I learned to try and hook up with others if they didn't mind and that way save on the taxi fare.
In St. Maarten I went to the Butterfly Farm, shopping in Marigot, went to the beach in Philipsburg, where you can get a water taxi right by the ship for a round trip fare of $5.
The next week I went to Orient Beach where I paid about $10 - 15 dollars round trip including tip. At Orient Beach we walked down by were the beach is out of curiousity and also did a little jet sking. Third week went to Dawn Beach, which was smaller than Orient Beach, but the water was a beautiful blue and so clear. I have also heard of people taking the Americas Cup tour. That sounds like a really great tour if you are not prone to seasickness.
Antigua, I went to Dickenson beach in the morning, and I was really naive that first week I ended up paying $20 round trip because again I went in the taxi by myself. There are a lot of things to do at Dickensons beach. In the afternoon, I took a tour that brought us to Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights. It was nice enough, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you don't mind being in the van much of the afternoon without air conditioning. Each stop we made there were agressive vendors trying to get you to buy something. They were nice if you were polite to them, but I heard one woman complaining about it to guest relations. The only thing that saved the tour for me was the view from Shirley Heights, which is absolutely gorgeous. What a view!!!! But I believe that there are other more intereresting tours that take you to that part of the island. Antigua has a beautiful coastline and everytime we sailed away I was glued to the deck to see the beautiful scenery. I recommend not missing sail away in Antigua and in St. Lucia as the captain should take you past the Pitons in St. Lucia . That is if St. Lucia is on Wednesday, if it is on Thursday like the Jan 17 cruise, you will not sail past the Pitons. The captain does take you past Monseratt on the day at sea at about 10:00am. He gets us quite close to the island which is hauntingly beautiful as you see the part that was desolated by the volcano. In the afternoon he also brings the ship close to the islands of St. Nevis, St. Kitts and Saba.
In St. Lucia I took the catamaran to Fond Doux Estate. That took us south past the Pitons and that week, Jan 17, was the week that the captain didn't bring the ship past the Pitons because we were heading back to San Juan. So that was a good tour to take that week. That tour lasted the whole day and included lunch and unlimited rum punch.
The tour of Fond Doux Estate was interesting and we also we to see the volcano with the bubbling sulfur pit. In St. Lucia the vendors there are very aggressive also. Our catamaran, docked off shore so that we could do some swimming. When we did, these 7 or 8 kayaks came toward us looking like pirates wanting to overtake the boat. It was pretty comical. But then for the whole time we were at this spot these vendors were leaning on the railings hawking there wares. A couple of the vendors got into a fight. I couldn't understand much of what they were saying because they were speaking in Creole but you could tell by the tone of voice that they were not happy with each other. There was one vendor selling large conch shells and every few minutes you could hear him blowing on that thing. Comical but a bit much after a while. When we were departing they left and went over to 'attack' another catamaran that was coming in.
Another week I took a tour that brought us to a place where they do the Carribean craft of Batik. The demonstration only lasted a few minutes and then for about 20 minutes we were left to shop. The prices were pretty steep on the batik so I didn't buy anything but a little doll for my daughter. We then took a drive through the northern interior of St. Lucia. It was pretty but kind of boring for me. We then went to Rodney's Bay Beach which was nice, but again you had vendors coming up to. If you didn't want to buy anything they would say 'come on you got to support the brothers on the island' or something like that.
Near the ship there is a water taxi, $2 round trip, that when you get off if you walk through the shops and make a left when you get outside, you will find local people in these little stalls selling souveneirs of St. Lucia. You can bargain, but it seems that everyones lowest price is the same as everyone elses. My third week in St. Lucia I stayed by the ship because I just couldn't take the vendors anymore. St. Lucia is really beautiful though and I did like it for its scenery.
In Barbados I went on a bicycle ride tour the first week, which was nice. I went to Harrison's Cave the second week, which was beautiful. This tour also took us to Andromeda gardens. It was so hot and humid there, that I just couldn't get into appreciating the scenery. I found it very boring. In the afternoon, I went to Malibu Beach. It was only about 5 minutes from the dock and it was a nice beach. My third week I went on the Rhino Riders tour, which I booked the night before. Would have liked to go on the catamaran tour but it was sold out. The Rhino Riders are a two man cross between a jet ski and a motor boat, I guess. I boat brought us to where the Rhino Riders were anchored of shore and we had to wait about 20 minutes until everyone got on theirs. Not very organized. We then followed the guide around, which others thought was not much fun. They would have rather gone out on their own after getting a feel for it. We then went snorkeling in a Marine Park in Carliyle Bay, that had sunken boats in it. This was my first time snorkeling and I loved it. I even went back to that spot in the afternoon and went snokeling again. I would recommend doing this. The taxi to this
beach was only about $6 round trip. You can either walk on the beach where there is public access or pay at this other location. I just walked down a little bit and got on the beach for nothing. There was this boat that said glass bottom boat on it and they charged $15 for about 45 minutes of snokeling. They brought you out to where the shipwrecks were. Showed you them through the glass bottom boat and then you snokeled. It was great. So anyway hope this was helpful. Have a great time! If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.