My wife, 17 year old daughter and 11 year old son will be sailing on the Carnival Spirit on 3/11. We're looking for suggestions as to what we should see at each stop. Snorkeling is a must. I travel a fair amount internationally so I'm not afraid to venture out on my own. This our first cruise and we would like to have an itinerary before we leave.
Thanks in advance for the help!
Mr. J & Fam.
We're going on the Spirit 3/27 with the same itinerary as you. I have gone on the message boards of each country trying to get info since we also prefer to do it on our own. We're still searching for solid info, but as of right now the plan is to rent a taxi for a few hours at each port. I don't think the islands are that big that you couldn't tour most of them in 3 hours. There will still be time to go to a beach. The msg boards seem to indicate that the taxi fares are regulated and that the drivers know a great deal about their country to take you to the most interesting sights and the best beaches. We tried this in St. John on a cruise last year and it was perfect. We toured for about an hour (St. John is not that big) and then he took us to a magnificent beach where we snorkled and swam for 2 hours. I hesitate renting a car because if you are not with someone who has been there before, you could waste a lot of time and miss "must see" or photo op places. Enjoy your cruise and please let me know what you ended up doing.
thanks very much for the advise. I may book a Catamaran Sail/Snorkel tour in St Maarten online before we leave. It takes up most of the day and apears to have a pretty good itinerary. I was on a similar trip in Cancun and it was well worth it. I think the cost PP is~$60 but I'm sure it is much less than the price Carnival will offer. I'll try to pass along any good/bad experiences when we get back. Hopefully they will all be good. Thanks again for your time.
Last year after tons of research we went to Folkestone Park on Barbados specifically for the snorkeling. It is not too scenic an area, kind of dirty, no beach BUT the snorkeling on the reef just off shore was very good. The bonus though was that some other people from our ship walked by, recommended going down the rocks to the right as you face the water, and you come to a beautiful resort beach with nice sand and palm trees, and snorkeling over a part of the same reef. Definitely recommended! (take a taxi from the pier, should be about $8 per person each way). Although we've been to Orient Beach twice on St. Martin (no snorkeling but still plenty to look at ;~) ) next June we're going to try either Dawn Beach (Dutch side) or Pinel Island (French) for the snorkeling, which has been recommended by a few people. Good Luck!
We are Cruising on the Golden on 4/6 but I spent almost 2 mounts all together in St. Maarten last year and am baffled what to do with my Family for the 1 day I am there but I have narrowed it down to 2 things which I suggest to you people.. #1 is a trip to Pinel Island. I don't suggest the excursion off the ship you can get a cab to take you to the dock (Guessing $10) and then the water Taxi is $5.00 round trip per person. It is the most beautiful beach I have been on. The other thing I suggest is Maho. There is a beach in Maho which is at the end of the airport runway and it is amazing to watch the planes come in and go out... there is also shopping there to and it is not even close to as crowded as Marigot or Phillipsburg will be. Prices are about the same and there is a restaurant called Cheri's which you can't help but enjoy. Hope this helps for anyone looking to do something a little different. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Remember for anyone on the Golden you dock the same day as the one of the Disney ships so it will make for a really crowded day in Phillipsburg.
Pick up a copy of Frommers 2002 Caribbean Cruises And Ports Of Call. It will tell you which places to see, cab fares, things to avoid, and which shore exc are better than going it alone. Frommers does'nt accept advertising, so it is unbiased. My friend suggested ti to me and I have'nt been able to put it down.Available at most bookstores. Colleen
On St. Maarten we went to Dawn Beach which had Mr. B's island spot where we rented lounge chairs and umbrella we liked it so much we spent the entire day at port there.It is not a clothing optional beach so good for the family. You can snorkel from shore but the snorkeling is kind of far so you must be a strong swimmer.
It did get busy by noon so if you go get there early for the best lounge chair spot.
Did you take a taxi to get to Dawn Beach? Cost? Do you remember the cost to rent chairs? Were you on a cruise that went to Barbados & Martinique? Please share your experiences on these also. Thank you for your assistance and for the others who responded. We're leaving in two weeks.