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GWENSEL

Can we visit St. Maarten, San Juan on our own, No Excursions booked?

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We are on the Allure of the Seas Eastern Caribbean cruise in September and the Cruise planner is full of excursions.

But we would like to just do a little local sightseeing and shopping and beach fun on our own in the ports St. Maarten, San Juan? Do we really need to book Excursions?

Labadee is of course a Royal Caribbean property so I am not too worried about that and will just enjoy the beaches.

Looking forward to some advice from the experts. Thanks so much.

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Both can be done on your own. 

You dock in Old San Juan which is an easy taxi or longish walk to the forts.  We go to one fort then wander our way through Old San Juan shops on our way back to the ship.

St. Maarten has a beach about a 15 minute walk from the cruise port or a quick water taxi ride.  That area called Great Bay beach has many shops and restaurants in the area too.  

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On any cruise you are free to explore on your own.  Private destinations are just that, private areas where you don’t leave their little slice of paradise.  

When you book an excursion through Royal they go to great lengths to make sure you are back to the ship long before it leaves.  When you self explore it is your responsibility to be back on board in time.  The ship will leave without you.  Don’t let that scare you, just understand it.  Sometimes a port might be on a different time compared to the ship.   Ship time rules, keep track of ship time.

More often than not I self explore based on research of each destination.   San Juan doesn’t have nearby beaches but it’s a wonderful historic old town rich in history.   I love Old San Juan.   

The water taxi in St Maarten is $7 each for an all day pass.   It’s a great way to see the beautiful waters up close like a cheap excursion in itself.   You can walk to the same beach area on your own.  

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Thanks for the suggestions. San Juan sounds very interesting and I want to see the El Morro fort and the Old town.

St Maarten sounds like more of a fun place and will try the water taxi for the views.

We will keep in mind the issue of ship time. That was a good tip for us.

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6 hours ago, GWENSEL said:

We will keep in mind the issue of ship time. That was a good tip for us.

I always take my phone off the setting to set time automatically.  That way assuming the ship time doesn't change, then your phone will stay on ship time.  I've never had a Caribbean cruise change time but it is up to the Captain to decide if and when to change time.

 

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17 hours ago, melski94 said:

I always take my phone off the setting to set time automatically.  That way assuming the ship time doesn't change, then your phone will stay on ship time.  I've never had a Caribbean cruise change time but it is up to the Captain to decide if and when to change time.

 

If you download the Royal Caribbean app and check the ship time (when going ashore at the ports of call). Use the ship time that is located in the upper left hand corner to check the time when ashore at the ports of call so that you can be back onboard the ship before the ship leaves the dock.

When you are on the ship there is no need to open the Royal Caribbean app to check the ship time because you can just check the time on the home screen of your cell phone since the time on your cell phone would be the same time that the Royal Caribbean app says.

The ship time on the app was useful to me so that when I got off the ship at ports of call I would be back on board before the ship left the dock.

23 hours ago, GWENSEL said:

We will keep in mind the issue of ship time. That was a good tip for us.

If you download the Royal Caribbean app and check the ship time (when going ashore at the ports of call). Use the ship time that is located in the upper left hand corner to check the time when ashore at the ports of call so that you can be back onboard the ship before the ship leaves the dock.

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18 hours ago, Bakerette said:

If you download the Royal Caribbean app and check the ship time (when going ashore at the ports of call). Use the ship time that is located in the upper left hand corner to check the time when ashore at the ports of call so that you can be back onboard the ship before the ship leaves the dock.

When you are on the ship there is no need to open the Royal Caribbean app to check the ship time because you can just check the time on the home screen of your cell phone since the time on your cell phone would be the same time that the Royal Caribbean app says.

The ship time on the app was useful to me so that when I got off the ship at ports of call I would be back on board before the ship left the dock.

If you download the Royal Caribbean app and check the ship time (when going ashore at the ports of call). Use the ship time that is located in the upper left hand corner to check the time when ashore at the ports of call so that you can be back onboard the ship before the ship leaves the dock.

I bring a good old fashioned watch and set that to ship time (just in case phone battery dies). I don't even wear it, I just either loop it around a belt loop or stash it in my day pack.

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15 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

I bring a good old fashioned watch and set that to ship time (just in case phone battery dies). I don't even wear it, I just either loop it around a belt loop or stash it in my day pack.

Or buy one on the Ship or in Port...they sell them everywhere.

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