Does anyone know of a good beach within walking distance of where the ship docks. We are sailing on the Golden Princess in a few weeks. Have been to Orient Beach in the past (very beautiful) but don't feel like a taxi ride this trip. Thanks.
Quite frankly you can go to the beach right in the middle of town or walk past town to find a quieter spot. They've cleaned up the beach behind the stores and things quite a bit. You are however still swimming in a very crowded and somewhat polluted harbor.
Skip Orient beach , but do take a cab and go to Dawn Beach. Family beach, with beach bar with a restaurant and beach "tent" with food and rentals. Nice friendly vendors and a very pretty beach. In a neighborhood of condos and upscale houses on the hill above.
Had a ball there in November.
I did not snorkel on Dawn beach so I can't answer. I did see kids snorkeling and did see one guy with the fanciest snorkel stuff I have ever seen and he did spend a long time in the water. Dawn beach is inside a barrier reef of some sort that breaks the bigger waves a few hundred yards offshore. I presume the calmer water would be good for coral and fish. I hope you enjoy it. If you rent an umbrella and chairs the guy throws in a couple of rum punches. They were GREAT.
I also went to Orient beach summer before last and then tried a different place last summer while there.. it's called "Everything Cool". This is a public beach with a restaurant nearby. They have lockers and umbrellas for rent as well as the best fresh fruit smoothies I have ever tasted at the restaurant (non alcohol or alcohol). They also had a live band playing mid afternoon and will serve drinks beach side.
The water is very pretty and calm here. You walk about 1 block from the cruise dock to get there, passing shopping along the city street as you go.
Cruise ship staff were also seen at this beach playing a serious game of volleyball, you know they go to the best places when they get a chance to escape the ship!
I was just at Dawn Beach 3 weeks ago. Water was a little rough. About like Daytona Beach in FL. Normally I like that, but not when I'm snorkeling. The reef was very close to shore. I could swim there without fins, and I am not a strong swimmer. Unfortunately, right when I got out to the reef & began to see some fish, it started to rain pretty hard! So out I came. I spoke to some people who managed to snorkel earlier, when it was still sunny, & they said the snorkeling was pretty good. If you don't have your own equipment, the stand on the beach is rather pricey. $l0 for a mask & snorkel. $l0 for fins. $l0 for a Mae West vest. The beach is lovely, though, & there are chairs to rent if you want to. Also a pretty good restaurant/bar (indifferent service, but good food) & a snack stand. I'd highly recommend it. The taxi ride was $8 or $9 pp round trip & isn't over 20 min. I'd say, at most, from Phillipsburg. Maybe less from the new port.
Everything Cool is a beach club in the center of Great Bay. You can take the water taxi for $5 per person unlimited round trips then walk to the left of the mid-town pier. Either buy the ships package which will include lunch, or just go there on your own and purchase what you wish; food, beer, drinks, lounges & umbrellas for rent, lockers, etc. You can go to shop and return at your leisure.
We took the Everything Cool package on a Norwegian cruise last summer and the cost of $25.00 pp included a floating mat, lockers, two fresh fruit smoothies and lunch for ea.
We paid additional $10.00 for two lounge chairs and umbrella.
The manager of this establishment said our package was cheaper than purchasing everything separately. It was worth the money. Our ship tendered us to a pier about 1 1/2 blocks from this beach. Took a left at the pier and walked abouth 1 1/2 blocks through town.