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Cheap things to do on port days with group of 10?


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Hey everyone, I'm sure that this topic has been covered but it is difficult to sift through so many posts to find what I'm looking for. We will be on the Freedom of the Seas on March 3rd and will be traveling with my husband, six children ages 8 mos to 13 years, and my two parents who are almost 70. Looking at things to do on port days and even cheap things add up when you're paying for 10 people. Any recommendations for cheap things to do that will allow us to see the ports? Any beach recommendations for kids (I've heard some of the beaches are not kid friendly)? We will be in St. Kitts, Saint Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee, Haiti. Any tips or advice from those who have done these ports is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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I feel your pain. As a family of 6, any planned excursion is expensive.  

San Juan - I'd go to the Forts.  Its a $7 admission for adults, kids free. Not a beach day for the kids but its looks fairly neat and that is what we're doing with mine as we have a shortened day there. There is a free trolley so you don't have to do a ton of walking to the forts.

Labadee- you don't have to pay for any extras. You can grab a bunch of lounge chairs which are free (just tip the guys who set them up). Its set up by the ship so food is free and only drinks you'd pay for are what you'd pay for on the ship.

St. Maarten - I'm struggling with a beach with this one.  We will most likely go to Great Bay Beach and take a water taxi.  Parts of Orient Bay beach is clothing optional. Having 15 and 12 yo boys, we will stay away from there.

Beaches are the easiest as you can just pay for transportation and lounge chairs...my younger kids don't get their own lounge chairs and I tend to just get them for the adults.  Sometimes we'll stay on the ship during a port day.  Its a nice to do things without lines.

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I cant imagine how quickly the costs add up anywhere for a group that large.

 

Normally we just wander in the ports. Usually we look ahead before we travel for a couple things we want to check out in each place(shopping, bars, restaurants etc) and then do it at our own pace and schedule.......works great for us. Is quite cheap and laid back and not stressful at all....but that works much easier with 2 than it would with 10 and such a wide age group.

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St Kitts I'm struggling with, there is a train that runs around the whole island but it may be expensive, I went on an ATV tour but that wouldn't fit your needs. Do a Google search for "Things to do in St Kitts", worst case you get off and look around and then get back on the ship, some of the best cruise days I have had were on port days when everyone else got off the ship, you have the whole ship to your family.

St Martin, go to a beach or just walk around port.

San Juan, the fort idea is the best along with Old Town, just walk around and site see.

Labadee, like everyone has said, it's one big beach and part of the cruise.

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This will be a useless post because I've never cruised with that big a group, but my wife and I rarely pay for excursions. We get off the ship, wander amongst the little trinket shops, find a place to get local fried seafood and a local beer, and get back on the ship. We are exciting people.

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On 2/22/2018 at 9:27 AM, Matt said:

In St Maarten, you definitely want Le Galion Beach

Hey Matt, I read the blog and it sounds very interesting but I'm not sure it's right for a first time visit.  Would you mind comparing that experience with the Great Beach excursion offered by RC?  We will be 4 adults, (one who greatly prefers shallow, calm water) and a 2 year old boy who loves to splash.  The prospect of the town, right off of Great Beach is interesting vs. the equally enticing prospect of visiting a remote, locally preferred beach.  The RCI excursion is $29 pp.  Thanks!

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IMO the RC excursion is a rip off.  They are charging $29 pp for the water taxi and a lounge chair but you still need to rent an umbrella and no food or drink included.  You can do this all on your own.  The RC excursion would cost you about $261 (not counting baby) and you still have to pay for lunch. Take the same water taxi for $7 pp (3 and under are free), it sounds like you pay once and you still have all day access.  According to Trip Advisor, you can rent 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella for $20. You could do this same thing on your own for under $130 (assuming only 6 chairs because my kids would share). The price difference would probably pay for lunch. Look up Twangster's live blog and the Independence Christmas blog he posted about Great Bay.

I've been looking at Le Galion Beach too but I haven't seen any reviews after the hurricane which scares me away.

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Sorry @Digmenow.  I did the math on the OP not you...I still think the general idea remains.  The biggest reason I think to use RC shore excursions is the guarantee that the ship won't leave you.  In this case, its really not an issue.  You could always leave when they call RC to leave and catch the same water taxi.

@homa0605 Please come back after your cruise and tell us what you did.  I would love a quick review as I'll be at 3 of these ports at the end of March.

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Agreed, @melski94 .  I only included the RC excursion because it mirrored what we'd do if we didn't do Le Galion. I came across one  Le Galion review from this month that only said "utter devastation" but I lost the link to it or I'd have posted it here.  Orient Beach reviews from Jan and Feb '18 are mostly positive in that the many commercial enterprises are not back yet so the beach is cleaner and more primitive, more like 20 years ago but there are SOME amenities. 

Based on whatever information we can gather by then, I think it will be a game time call for us when we step off the Jewel.

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