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scotty p 09-24-2011 09:23 PM

eastern caribbean excursion help
Wife and I are going on our first cruise in 2 weeks on Royal Caribbean to the eastern Caribbean. Wanting to know what excursions are good. Should we go on our own or do the ones from the ship. We Port in Bahamas, St Thomas and St Marteen.
WE like to Snorkel (novices), hang on the beach , sight see, go off the beaten path, shop.
Are there beaches to take a cab to that would be more secluded?
Thanks for any info!

Dave 09-25-2011 07:10 AM

While all three ports are safe enough to do your own excursions, I wouldn't go too far off the beaten path in Nassau or St. Thomas. Both places have problems with criminal activity if you happen to wander into the wrong place.

St. Maarten is a good place for going to a beach since they are plentiful there and easy to get to. There is a pretty nice one near the cruise ship pier. Or perhaps take a cab to the beach at the approach to the airport. Google 'St. Maarten airport' and you'll see what I mean.

For a more quiet time at some nice beaches, don't stay on St. Thomas but instead go to St. John. You can take a ferry to it.

poormom 09-25-2011 10:55 AM

We're are doing the same itinerary in four weeks:
For Nassau we're going to BlueBlue Lagoon Island - The Real Bahamas - Enjoy the Dolphins and Secluded Beach Lagoon. They have dolphin and sea lion encounters...but we're just going to snorkel, float, and enjoy the beach/ lunch. I tried to book on my own, but they have an arrangement with Royal that won't let them. No problem the ship excursion picks you up at the pier instead of a taxi to Paradise Island. Most of the reviews say it's pretty quiet there becuse it can only be accessed by boat.
On St. Thomas, we like to go to coki beach. The area is undergoing a major renovation, but the snorkeling is amazing. We just take a cab over and back. The trip there is about 20 minutes and offers some great views. It gets crowded, but they have restaurants and equiptment right on the beach. Coral world is right there as well, but you won't see much inside that isn't swimming outside. The ship tours only stay for a limited time. The ship docks right in the middle of a mall, but for the best shopping head downtown. There's also a skyride right across the street for great views of the island, photo ops of the ship..and of course a bar.
I also did the turtle cove/ water island tour. The turtles were amazing and the beach on water island was very isolated. The crew on the ship 'Bones' was lots of fun, and of course lunch and drinks (after snorkeling) were included.
On St. Maarten, we're going to rent a car. It's less expensive than a taxi back and forth, and they drive on the right. The main road essentially does a circle around the island. Just try not to drive up the main street (front street I think) in Philibsburg. It's crowded with shoppers and there's hardly any parking. You're better off returning your car and walking back to the shops.
Whatever you decide, be smart, and limit the cash you bring with you. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on the time!

penny3333 09-26-2011 10:36 AM

You could go to Cabbage Beach in Nassau, it's adjacent to Atlantis. You can get a cab to Atlantis for $4.50 and you can walk through certain areas for free. Then just go to the right as you exit to get to Cabbage Beach. St. Thomas you could go to Sapphire Beach, snorkeling is decent if it's not too windy. However, I definitely agree with Dave about taking the ferry to St. John and going to Trunk Bay. We did a great excursion to the TikiHut in St. Maarten. Good snorkeling, great operators. They run a water taxi from the port to the TikiHut and will drop you either back in town or at the ship. It was a great way to spend the day.

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