I feel very sorry that you think Puerto Rico is your least favorite Island. To tell you the truth i think that PR is the best island in the whole caribbean, and I had almost visited them all. That's why all the Southern Caribbean cruises sail from here. We have the best ports, and the best airport in the caribbean. I know that not everyone has a good attitude all the time, But if I tell you all the not so good attitude that I received when I visited the "Mainland", maybe you get impressed. But that is not a reason for me to say "My least favorite country is the USA."
But a lot of people from the mainland came to Old San Juan, and think they visited Puerto Rico, If you want to visit Puerto Rico and have a great time you have to go to the west coast of the island, and then you can make a real opinion.
I think all the caribbean Island are great, and all of them has a lot to offer. But I think that it is you that has the hostile image in your mind. I'm Puertorrican who was born on NY, and i enjoy a lot to talk and to have friends on the mainland, I think they're my brothers.
And you all are very welcome here, as you said We are a US territory, and we have the Star Spangled Banner has our banner too, only that our star isn't there. Did you notice that the Custom Officer that you mentioned, is an USA Goverment Custom Officer?
I hope you come back to PR in other way than to take a cruise, maybe you can stay for a long time and in other places, you will see how your opinion will change.
Jamaica is one of the few places I would go back to again. We made friends with locals and were invited to dinner in the ghetto where our hostess lived on tamped earth floor in a thatched roof house. I went alone to the local store, in the pitch black night (no street lights in the ghetto) and bought 5 beers (different kinds because the store did not have like a 6-pack). While I was there a local holding a baby boy asked if the boy could touch my skin because he had never seen a white man before. I said sure, and the boy with big bright eyes, gently caressed my cheek, and the whole store started laughing.
In another spot I began talking to an old man in the street and asked him if he wanted a shot of rum. He took me to this native bar where the Jamaican were playing dominoes. They stopped playing and began scowling at me. So I bought shots of rum all around (cost me all of $3) and everyone smiled shook my hand and went back to playing dominoes.
Later that night, I got hungry and was taken by the old man to a house in the village where a woman cooked me some friec chicken.
About that time the cab driver came breathlessly through the door looking for me, then started laughing when he saw me eating my chicken with the other members of the family.
I dunno, I guess if you just are not scared, and do the right thing, no one pays much attention to you. I stayed away from tourist traps like Ocho Rios, and would not even think about visiting Kingston.
We had a great time SCUBA diving and dancing 'til the wee hours with non-stop reggae at a little resort in Runaway Bay.
Definitely do Peat Taylor. Without his tour, we wouldnt have gotten off the ship after all the posts we read.
First he will take you to Dunn's River Falls before the crowds, then on a tour through some nice spots but.... Be prepared he does have a few stops that he obviously wants to help out some vendors. We just said no thank you, dont want to get off the bus and didnt fell pressured at all.
We had asked him to take us to a good spot for jerk chicken for lunch. Just locals, had a wonderful meal and felt extremely safe.
On the other hand, he took us to a shopping spot that had some stores and a "flea market" We walked through the flea market. Big mistake, felt very uncomfortable, agrressive vendors, guys trying to sell my son and nephew drugs, etc. Had a hard time finding out the way out.
Besides I found the same exact jerk chicken sauce in a local Caribbean store, so no reason to bring these items home.
Peat is very flexible, so if you have somewhere you want to go that is not on his itinerary he is more than happy to oblige.
While I loved the Western itinerary if I do it again, I will stay on the ship if Jamaica is a port.
just as I'm offended at the stereotypes that others have made it this thread, I'm just as offended by YOUR stereotype of citizens of the United States. The US is almost as ecclectic as you can get for a country. California is drasitcally different from Georgia for instance; moreover, Atlanta (the largest city in the Georgia) is a world apart from rural Georgia.
To make the correlation that Californians must a bunch of drug addicts because you were questioned to that degree would be like me saying the Dutch are a bunch of addicts because they have gone so far as to legalize drugs. Off-base of course.
Instead, you should have been ashamed for your own countrymen to have made such brash prejudicial generalizations towards you.
Let me ask you this, how would you have felt if you were the exact same woman in the exact same situation but actually DID hail from California?????? Offended? I'll bet. Offended in a more personal way from a heritage standpoint? I'll bet that, a well.
Your statements towards Californians in your post were as brash as the jokers who instigated the very of which you spoke.
I lived in beautiful San Diego for 43 yrs. I was merely pointing out the perception that others in the world have regarding Californians. When my co. transferred me to North Carolina several of my coworkers asked "do most people walk around snorting cocain in Ca.?" I have fond memories or living in San Diego and raising my 2 children there, and would never say anything derogatory about Ca.
St. Thomas--what a nightmare. Overdeveloped almost from end to end...tacky stores and loud drunk tourists everywhere...cruise ship passengers skipping the few beautiful spots left on the island and instead spending the day bartering to save five bucks on china or electronics they then must drag all the way home.
Yuck. Yet nearly every ship seems to stop there, so everyone else must like it. I'll keep catching the first ferry to St. John.
For us, it's Nassau. Fortunately when we do go there, our ship is docked there for only a few hours. The only place to go is Atlantis. We hate the market!
Our experiences w/ Jamaica weren't great (been there a few times while on cruises) until our last one a couple of weeks ago when we sailed the Mariner. We hired a cab for a few hours were very pleased w/ our driver. He was a former port authority employee who was laid off this past March along w/ 300 other workers. He was clean cut and took us to the best places. He was very respectful as well as an interesting person to talk with.
We've been to St.Thomas, St.Maarten, St.Kitts, St.Lucia, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba, Curacao, Antigua, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and a few others I can't even recall! We enjoy all of these islands very much. I found Martinique to be a most beautiful place but the poverty was noticed everywhere. We can't wait to try Costa Rica and Panama this March. We've never been to those ports.
Jamaica for sure. I feel very sorry for the people of Jamaica. So much poverty, but I was there for fun. I felt that if I did not get back on the ship immediately, I was going to be swarmed to death. I also dont care too much for Aruba. It was very windy and when I went to the desert side of the island, I got sandblasted. OUCH!
It's a shame that people can be so influenced by the opinions of others that they will not even consider stepping foot in this place or that. We've been to several islands, and I honestly cannot say that any of them should be shunned by the general population. It really is a question of perspective and what you are into. My friends absolutely will not go to Jamaica just because of 'what they've heard about it'. Too bad for them; they are missing out on experiencing beautiful beaches and first class resorts. If you think the Jamaican vendors are bad, go lie on the beach in Puerto Plata, where you are hounded constantly. They don't care what you're doing -- they butt right in and plop their wares down and won't leave until you buy something. Still, I love the DR and would recommend it to anyone because it has so much to offer. People should experience for themselves and make up their own minds what they like or dislike about a place. As you can see from the preceding discussions, for each negative comment about a particular island there is at least one positive. If there is a place on this earth that is so perfect that no one has a single bad thing to say about it, it must get awfully crowded. Do not deprive yourself of the opportunity to explore and experience new places. Just keep an open mind, use common sense, and remember - you are not at home!
Mary, You haven't seen San Blas! The native vendors don't even live there!
Jamaica is one of my fav ports because of the sights and attractions. A little street vendor nonsense is not going to stop me from climbing the Falls!
when i saw the topic, i thought i would be among the few that said Jamaica. its really bad. barbed wire around the shopping center and armed guards did not make me feel safe at all. went the wrong way at Dunn River and was swarmed by vendors, this was in 1992, and i guess nothing has changed. Thead on tv for "come to Jamaica mon" was showing a hotel cabin with no windows . Ihave wrote down San Blas and Puerrto Plata as places to avoid thanks to this thread. Martinique was very safe in 1992 so i was surprised when our cruise ship told us not to go last year. why do cruise ships take us places then tell us not to go ashore????. Ive been to St thomas many times never a problem,
xcept last year, (watch out for the driver of the blue and white van) over bearing and had to listen to him tell the whole van full of people about his political views, and drunk to boot. i only stop in st thomas long enought to get to red hook to go to st john. Aruba is so beautiful it takes your breath away even when the wind is not blowingI agree with those here that say to go and enjoy, but be aware of surrounds, dont flash money or jewerly, stay in a group. if you feel like your being distracted, you are. heads up. no differant than usa. if u gotta get drunk do it on the ship where u will be safe. us passengers will look out for your drunk butts. any day on a cruise is better...... period
I vote for Belize City. Yes, I know it is not on an island but it is visited by a cruise ship.
The shops in the secure area were fine but once you left the port there was so many people harassing us and it felt so ugly and poor. We took a formal tour of Belize City and it seemed so ugly and run down.
I understand that it is nicer once you leave the city.
I don't know how anyone ca not like St. Thomas. Try visiting Dominica. There is not a beach anywhere, it smells, my husband was offered drugs, not my cup of tea. The second worst is antigua. We stayed there a week and if I never return it will be too soon. Horrible shopping, rude people, no thanks.
Carnival Triumph 2003
Carnival Destiny 2005
Carnival Destiny 2006
Mariner of the seas 2008
I've been to several places in the Caribbean; some on a cruise, some on land vacations. I would say that my least favorite place was JAMAICA, but I would be willing to go again. The interesting experience that I had there was that I was traveling with a friend from Africa. The locals picked up on this and we were treated like royalty because he was from the Motherland.
My least favorite way of visiting the Caribbean is CRUISING. Dumping 2000 to 6000 people in a port in a small town-I would be pretty surly, too. There is a big difference in the way you're treated when stepping off a cruise ship wanting things in a hurry because you've got to get back to the ship, and when you're there for a few days and have time to wait and have real conversations with people.
I think some people get off the ship looking for things to do and are disappointed when there's no Six Flags and go-carts and a lot of excitement and non-stop action. But that's never been what the Caribbean has been about.
we stayed at an all inclusive for 7 long days. The people at the resort were all very friendly, the people when shopping are another story, pushiest people ever, but didn't act like we weren't welcome. I just think that it has been a very poor place and the crime is high because of it. When we were there, one day they advised us to stay on the resort because they were having protests on the street. Never did find out what that was about. There just isn't anything to do in Jamaica and no I wouldn't feel safe without a tour guide.
05/01/10 Sapphire Princess
09/14/09 Enchantment of the Seas
10/19/08 Crown Princess
03/04/04 Majesty of the Seas
Having now read the reviews on this island I must agree. It wasnt always that way. Under British Commonwealth it was heaven and safe for tourists. Now they are independant it is unfortunate they have deep resentment against white people and the Rastafarians encourage this. Crime is everywhere and it is a great pity. They have ruined Montego Bay with the drug pushers, prostitutes and panhandlers and have overpriced things (different prices for residents). No... I dont think I will be returning. So many other Caribbean islands who appreciate tourists and dont hassle them or steal. Grand Turk was delightful, but I guess the key is whether they are Independants or Republics or whether they are part of the British, Dutch or French Commonwealth where there is more attempt to control their reputation for safety of visitors.
The Jamaicans in their hatred for the British and U.S. have destroyed their country and economy. Hopefully the cruise ships will stop going there - so many other more attractive choices.