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st. maarten St. Maarten Now
BrianAlt posted a topic in Shore ExcursionsFor anyone that has recently traveled to St. Maarten, what do you recommend for the day on the island? St. Maarten is one of our favorite places to visit. We've been there more than a half dozen times. We did Bernard's Tour our last time there and really enjoyed that. But that was mainly because we were with a large group, some with mobility issues. Usually we will just taxi to Marigot, do some shopping and some pastry eating and then head to Orient Beach for the rest of the day. Then taxi back to the ship. Is this still a viable plan in the COVID era? Would it be better to book a ship tour? Or another organized tour? We're going in April, if that makes a difference. Thanks for any advice you might have.
Symphony Eastern Caribbean St. Thomas, St. Maarten
CTcruisers88 posted a topic in Shore ExcursionsHey everyone, new to the site but not to cruising, have a trip in beginning of May on the Symphony and we are stopping in both St. Maarten and St. Thomas, We were thinking of doing “4x4 St. Maarten and Beach Escape” and “St. John Trunk Bay Beach & Snorkel”, anyone been on either of these before? If went on St John excursion, did you feel like you had enough time in St. Thomas as well? Also would like to know name of boat involved in taking you to St. John if anyone knows, Would love some feedback
Hi All, I'm a newcomer to this forum and am hoping to get some suggestions for shore excursions on our fast-approaching (2/24/19) cruise out of San Juan on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas visiting St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Maarten. We have not been to any of the islands before, except St. Maarten (where we stayed at a private home years ago, swam in pool, and went to nearby beach). My husband and I (late 60s and late 50s) tend to enjoy shore excursions ranging anywhere from moderate physical activity tours (e.g., kayaking) to culture/history tours (e.g., narrated tours), to beautifully scenic drives, to simply lounging on a beach. On the last cruise we took out of Baltimore (Carnival), we did two excursions-- kayaking through mangroves and a small group sailboat tour with snorkeling and lunch. We enjoyed both, but particularly enjoyed the small group sailboat trip which had about only 15 people on it ... it was so relaxing, the snorkeling was beautiful, and the staff, very helpful. As I booked this cruise only two days ago, I unfortunately haven't had tons of time to research shore excursions. I've looked at some on the RC site (...but not been particularly wowed) and some on TripAdvisor (I love the fact that I can look at reviews and get first-hand accounts to see whether it's worth doing or not). Today, my cruise agent suggested this blog, which I am thrilled to learn about! At this point though, if I'm being perfectly candid, my head is starting to swim with information and thwarting my progress on excursion decisions. That said, I'd just love to get any suggestions from folks who have first hand experience to share. We're not averse to RC excursions, but again I wasn't wowed by anything I saw skimming the website. Also, one thing I really don't care for regarding excursions is feeling like I'm one of (way too) many people being herded along on an excursion. I much prefer smaller group stuff (but am certainly open to big groups if a specific tour is reco'd). Another note, I realize that going with non-RC tours does run the risk of delays/missing ship departures, etc., but if an excursion is well run and recommended, non-RC is fine with us. Looking at the Trip Advisor site, some of the excursions that looked interesting were: St. Kitts: Catamaran & Snorkeling Antigua: 1) Lobster Lunch to Bird & Maiden Island, 2) Reef Rider Self Drive Boat & Snorkeling St. Lucia: Tet Paul "Stairway to Heaven" Tour Barbados: 1) Turtle swim & snorkeling, 2) Catamaran & Snorkeling St. Maarten: 1) Eco Snorkeling, 2) Speed Boat and Snorkeling As you can tell, the above list is sports-skewed as I didn't find any culture/history/scenic wonder sorts of tours that looked particularly compelling. But we are interested in those topics as well, so if you do have specific reco's for tours in those areas (as well as sports, beach, etc. tours), I'd greatly appreciate hearing about them. Thank you most kindly for any suggestions/feedback you might have regarding excursions in any one or more of the above ports.
Mirabella or Golden Eagle Catamaran in St. Maarten?
JLMoran posted a topic in Shore ExcursionsSo there are four different catamaran excursions that Royal offers while in St. Maarten, and we've narrowed it down to two based on the descriptions and the Trip Advisor ratings (both 4.5 stars with hundreds of reviews) -- The Mirabella catamaran sailing, and the Golden Eagle. But we're having a hard time figuring out what each one does exactly or if the descriptions don't reveal anything we should be aware of. It looks like the Golden Eagle trip is a bit more "upscale" and the crew pampers the guests a bit more. But if I'm reading the description and the reviews right, it only goes to one beach (which you have to swim a fair distance to reach), and all snorkeling is done at that beach. Haven't really seen if you get to see any more of the island apart from what's en route, but it looks like no. That excursion goes for four hours. The Mirabella excursion looks like it isn't as "upscale" as far as what they provide the guests, but I think it's the more interesting one in that you visit four different snorkeling spots (including one with a sunken sub and helicopter). It seems like this would be the better option, although with this one I've read that the places it visits tend to be more crowded with other cruise ships sending their own excursions to the same locations. This excursion is a little shorter at 3 1/2 hours, so I'm not sure how much actual snorkeling time you get at each spot. Has anyone here done either of these trips, where you could give some more details about the actual places you went, what the pace was like, how you were treated by the crew, etc? I'd love for the family to have something like the trip my wife and I did on our honeymoon, where it was a few spots with about 45 minutes at each to actually snorkel and look around / take underwater photos / relax and enjoy the island views. I'll be sitting on the catamaran the whole time due to my mobility issues (which pretty much make snorkeling impossible for me now), so a steady supply of mojitos / margaritas / rum punches would be welcome! I'm trying to book it this month / on the current billing cycle, so we can move on to picking another port's excursion in mid-May. Appreciate whatever feedback you can give! [EDIT] if there's another excursion of this sort that you can recommend but doesn't happen to be through Royal / has to be booked on my own, please let me know! I'm certainly open to an "external" booking if it's a better option! Especially if it avoids the crowds and gives a more private / secluded option.
Quick update on at least one part of St. Maarten. I sent a short email to Capt. Bob of Soualiga Destinations, to ask if the lunch place they traditionally would stop at (an on-the-beach cafe in Grand Case) had been rebuilt after being totally destroyed by hurricane Irma. I was hoping it had been restored so we could give the owner our business and further help the local economy when we're there in a month, but it's not to be. Here is his exact reply: I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think it's good that people who lost their homes are getting those restored as fast as possible around the constraints on available supplies and labor. On the other hand, what good is having your house back if you don't have anywhere to go to resume earning the income that paid for that house and the groceries and all the rest? Never mind the point previously mentioned in other topics here that being able to go to work and provide for themselves and their families gives a welcome sense of returning normality. Hopefully people like the cafe owner have found another place to work and are getting at least some of that feeling of getting back to normal. As our trip with Capt. Bob is all day and we're getting back to the dock only just in time to make it back for All Aboard call without being one of those runners, we won't have a chance to do any more for the locals than what we've paid to Capt. Bob and his crew. I'll just have to tip extra well and hope they spread it around that way.
41m33 posted a topic in Shore ExcursionsOur family would like to do a variety activities including a visit to a beach with parasailing/jet ski rentals, a catamaran snorkel excurion and an island tour with beach stop. Our stops are Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Any advice on which activity I should plan for each port?
Shore Excursions (Sept cruise) - Eastern Carribean
cwtom posted a topic in Shore ExcursionsLooking to get some reviews/suggestions for shore excursions. Will be sailing AOTS in September, with port stops in Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Will be travelling with husband, 4YO son, and my mom. Looking for family-friendly excursions! TIA!
Corlealeo posted a topic in Shore ExcursionsI will be taking my first cruise with Royal Caribbean this summer and docking at San Juan, St. Maarten and Haiti. Which would be the best location for scuba? We also go to Bermuda, but have already dived there once before.