Going on the above cruise in April, first time cruisers, What are 'must see, must do' excursions on Aruba, Curacao, Tortola and St. Thomas? Also which is best, self arranged excursions or ship arranged? Thanks!
We are going on the NCL's Majesty also on April 22 cruise. In our past cruises that my partner and I have taken and also on this one we plan on doing our own shore activities. The only activity that we plan on doing is in Aruba going to the caves. Some shore activities are worth going in the group letting the ship arrange your shore activities, however, some are just plan rip off's. On St.Thomas I recommend the snorkeling that is offered throught the ship.
If you have any questions about cruising or NCL ships or other ships please let me know. Looking forward to your next email....
try megans beach in st. thomas. it is supposed to be one of the top 10 beaches that are a must see in the carribean.
we took the majesty out of boston last year. went to bermuda. the alternate restaurant on board is a must. the food is much better than in the regular dining room although it will cost you 10.00 ea for gratuity which is added to your cruise ship bill. do it at least once.
remember...if you take tours on your own in the islands the ship wont wait for you if you are late. it will if you are on their tours. arruba is kind of a homely island. the caves are neat. i suggest going to the beaches on arruba. the beaches are beautiful.
Shore excursions arranged by the ship generally are seemless -- the transportation meets you at the pier and brings you back to the pier. Additionally, in tender ports, passengers who are on scheduled excursions generally get priority for the tenders at the scheduled times of their tours over passengers who are going ashore on their own.
That said, I can't speak to the quality of NCL's tours since my only experience is with Princess (a company whose tours are outstanding), though they probably use many of the same local tour operators.
As to the islands that you named:
>> On Aruba, my only experience was on a "Catamaran Sail, Snorkel, and Beach Barbeque" that was really outstanding.
>> On Curaçao, the "Island Highlights" tour that visits the distillery is well worthwhile. Be sure to bring home some samples of Curaçao Liqueur, too.
>> On St. Thomas, I have always opted for the "Champagne Catamaran Sailaway to St. John" -- which, unfortunately, might be a Princess exclusive, but NCL probably has something similar. The catamaran picks you up at the pier, sails over to St. John and anchors at a magnificent beach with a reef nearby and lowers a bow ramp into the water for those who wish to go swimming or snorkeling (snorkel gear and lessons provided at no extra charge by the caramaran's crew), serves a buffet lunch while there, and sails back to the pier in time for either tea aboard the ship or a little shopping in Charlotte Amilie before departure time. Of course, they serve beverages -- your choice of champagne, rum punch, beer, sodas, or juices -- the whole time. It's a glorious outing, well worth every penny of the price.
I can't give you a recommendation on Tortolla yet, as I'm going there for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks.