Originally Posted by blueliner
So what constitutes a "Cruise/tourist trap"? Also, how does a port or island lose it's "charm" by allowing cruise ships to stop? Probably 2 of the biggest and most used port stops in the Caribbean ar St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Although there seems to be a lot of cheap t-shirt shops and Diamonds Intl., I don't think of these as "traps". They both still have pristeen waters and beaches. I know from reading these boards, some members consider one or the other a "dump", but I don't think they have lost any charm. Both islands still have a large amount or land only tourist going there along with the cruise ship visitors. Just because they welcome large amounts of cruise tourists doesn't make them a "trap" I think.
Sorry, but I think the best thing about St. Thomas after spending a week there is St. Johns...Have never been to St. Maarten so I can't comment, but I do know from reading the boards that St. thomas has become a bit more dangerous than before..Years ago merchants and salespeople told me how they lock the place down the minute the cruisers get back on the ship.. When on a cruise ship many of the passengers seemed only interested in shopping for cameras, electronic equipment, jewelry, etc. on these islands. A guide on our cruise ship said something that I don't think anybody else heard.. he said..."make sure the $$ stays in the country"..in other words... buy at local merchants.. and I did.. Oh yes.. in some ways I'm pretty naive at "flea markets", but what the heck..Oh yes.. the week we were in St. Thomas, Little Switzland and I both did well (I knew my prices and they had an older item on the shelf). A negative was an older woman at our resort bought a flashy diamond tennis bracelet at a well known jewelry shop... when she got it back to the resort discovered several defects in the stones.. Another woman bought (at the time they were new) a digital camera and after talking to my husband realized they did not include important pieces, she went back the next day... What would have happened to these people if they had been on a cruise ship!!! These were two well established shops.. At this point I'm off the subject..sorry about that.. I love cruising please don't get me wrong.. we will of done two cruises by the end of this year..but to me it's the ports and the itinerary and if we ever do a Caribbean cruise again...there are some ports that I may decide to stay on the ship.... as others have and are doing.. they are cruising for the sake of the cruising experience and the ship.