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Newcomer seeking feedback & any reco'd excursions in St. Kitts, Antig, St. Lucia, Barbados, or St. Maarten? Thank you.


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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.  

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I can recommend a great option for St. Maarten, although I'm not sure if they have two slots left at this point as they tend to sell out quickly. It's called Soualiga Destinations; I did their "most popular tour" last April with my family and we all loved it! Great, friendly crew, a great tour around the island with two snorkeling stops, two beach stops, a stop by Maho Beach, and lunch plus a cooler with a variety of beverages included.

They don't book through Royal, you email Capt. Bob directly (email address on their site), and he'll let you know whether he has any openings.

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