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Old January 9th, 2003, 05:42 AM
Lisa & Larry
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Default First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

As first time cruisers (3/1-8, RCCL, Radiance of the Seas, St. Thomas, Johns, Maarten, Lucia, and Barbados) we are having difficulty choosing our shore excursions. We are leaning towards:

St. Thomas: Planet Aqua, Kon-Tiki Party Boat, Wild Thing
St. Johns: Catamaran Sail & Snorkel, Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise
St. Maartens: Golden Eagel Sailaway
St. Lucia: Renting a Jeep and exploring island/Sulphur Springs on our own??
Barbados: Harrison's Cave, Beach Bar & Pub Crawl

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Lisa
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Old January 9th, 2003, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Hello Lisa & Larry, first off congratulations on booking your first cruise!!! A couple of notes, you won't have enough time to do two excursions on St.Thomas/St.Johns unless you are there for 2 days. These two islands are right next to eachother. These islands are really easy to do on your own. All you need to do is catch the water taxi at Red Hook Harbor over to St. John's Island - once there catch a taxi to either Trunk Bay or Cinnamon Bay Beach - either one you can't go wrong. Trunk Bay has a marked out snorkel trail to identify the marine life - this beach is gorgeous - very popular with the cruise lines- do this in the morning that way you can have the afternoon to take the SkyTram to the top of St.Thomas and still have some time to shop at Havensight Mall. If you don't want to do it alone i would suggest the Catamaran Tour to St. John. On St. Marteen again you really don't need to book an excursion unless you want to try your hand at yacht racing. Hire a taxi - Orient Bay Beach is probably the most popular - note this is a clothing optional beach, another great beach is Mullet Bay and Dawn Beach. If you want a private beach with snorkeling look into an excursion to Pineal Island. Shopping on St.Marteen like St.Thomas is duty-free and you can get some very good deals. Don't forget to try a guavaberry cocktail. - when hiring a taxi make sure your driver speaks and understands english - tell them exactly what time to pick you up at the end of the day. Don't cut it too close - give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship. Hope this helped some. LisaK
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Old January 9th, 2003, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

You were given good advise on St. Thomas/St. John and St. Martin. Please don't try to cram everything into your time at port. You will come home needing another vacation. You didn't mention your age category or interests, so I will try to generalize. If you vary your tour (half day time) or beach times at each port, you will also have a better experience.
As mentioned the two best shopping ports are St. Thomas & St. Martin (Dutch side @ Phillipsburg). If you have always wanted to shop at St. Thomas, you may wish to skip a tour. If you want to shop but want the best buys, wait until St. Martin. Shops are often similar and same company. Best taxi tour on your own at St. Thomas would be to Maegan's Bay via Mountain Top then return to Charlotte Amalie for some shopping. Havensight Mall is where you will dock and also has many of the same shops as downtown without the crowds. St. John is worth a self or ship tour if you love a true beautiful island experience. We have done a ship's tour to Trunk Bay with snorkeling or sun bathing in mind and we have done the independent ferry & tour of the island on a cloudy day. It's really up to what you want to do. They say that the Champagne Catamaran tour is the #1 for St. John.
St. Martin as mentioned, you don't need a ship tour as taxi's are readily available outside the port terminal building. Many people buy a pass for Everythings Cool. This is right on Great Bay downtown which you may be able to see from your ship. It is just a beach club and does not represent the beautiful beaches on St. Martin, so if you will know you will get your money's worth go ahead and buy it. If you want to truly experience the island, take a taxi to tour of the French & Dutch side with a stop at Orient bay for the beach experience. Traffic is heavy at St. Martin, so don't rent a car this time.

St. Thomas: Planet Aqua- never heard of it, Kon-Tiki Party Boat or Wild Thing-150% Booze Cruz - you will get drunk and sick!
St. Johns: Catamaran Sail & Snorkel = #1 tour, Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise=Booze Cruz
St. Maartens: Golden Eagel Sailaway= #1 tour @ St. Martin you can work the boat!
St. Lucia: Renting a Jeep and exploring island/Sulphur Springs on our own??= you would be very foolish to go it alone on St. Lucia. Roads are terrible, narrow and service stations are few in between. Best ship tour is the all day Land & Sea including lunch. You will see the Volcano, Sulpher Springs, Diamond Falls and many scenic areas by land, You will see the Pitons and probably swim in a bay by sea.
Barbados: Harrison's Cave, Beach Bar & Pub Crawl= IMHO, Harrison's Caves are not to be missed. You can do this tour by taxi, too on your own. Just go to the front of the terminal building. Bargain with the taxi driver for a tour. We paid about $30 per couple this year plus entry into the attraction(s).

If you only pick one ship's tour for safety and economy, I would pick the St. Lucia Land & Sea. It really is worth your day in port, especially if it includes lunch. Don't forget, when you are snorkeling or at the beach, you will get very tired as the temperatures are warm. Don't ruin your whole day by doing too much. You will want to enjoy your time on board ship at dinner and with entertainment.

Bon Voyage
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Old January 9th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Hi Lisa and Larry,
We'll be getting off Radiance the same day you get on. In case you may not know, you can look through all the shore excursions on-line at the RCCL site:

http://shorex.rccl.com/RC/PurchaseMa...pcur=undefined

You will need your reservation number, but you can even pre-book them now if you already know what you want. Its nice to do this early, some fill up or you may not get the time slot you want. So far, I pre-book an excursion in Barbados that included Harrison's caves, have heard its something to see, looks interesting. There are still a few more I may pre-book as well, good luck and enjoy Radiance!

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Old January 9th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Donna

Is there a site like that for Carnival? Wife and I would like to do some tours on our cruise, but would rather lean to locally provided excursions vice the cruise line. We don't have any experience in this theater of operation. My previous experience always took me to the first watering hole. Thanks to you or anyone that may respond

Carl n Carol

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Old January 9th, 2003, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Carl unless Carnival has changed is polices you cannot pre-book your excursions on the net. You can go to Carnival's web site and check the excursions out so that you will know which ones to pick once you board the ship.
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Old January 9th, 2003, 02:44 PM
Lisa & Larry
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Default Re: Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Thank you, Donna. I have gone to the web site and printed all of the tours for each island. The problem is that we want to do everything! I am particularly seeking feedback from others that have taken the excursions I have listed. I can find all reviews for ship, but not for the excursions. As some of these excursion are relatively costly, I'l hate to spend $85 for Planet Aqua and find out that your only under for 5 min. and the fish have all been scared away due to previous disturbances.

Again, I ask for feedback regarding the excursions themself.
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Old January 9th, 2003, 02:55 PM
Lisa & Larry
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Nana,

Thank you so much for your information. We truly appreciate it as it will help us decide what to do and where.

God Bless,

Lisa & Larry

P. S. Planet Aqua is where you walk along a hand rail path with a weighted helment to depths of 10 -18 feet below the water to see the coral and fish...??????? and we are in our late 40's.
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Old January 9th, 2003, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Hi Carl,
As far as I know Carnival doe not offer the feature to pre-book shore excursions. You may want to check this site and see if there are any for the ports you will be visiting:

http://www.shoreexcursions.com/

Good luck, hope you find soem "fun" stuff to do!+

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Old January 9th, 2003, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Hi Lisa,
We did the "Wild thing" when in St. Thomas once and it was a gas! They ended up taking us over to St. JOhn/Trunk Bay, but I understand thats not the only place you may go, so you never know. Had plenty of snorkeling time and would do it again.

Here is a pic of the boat, taken from Ocean Princess in St. Thomas



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Old January 9th, 2003, 04:45 PM
Lisa & Larry
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Donna,

That is just beautiful...Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Lisa & Larry
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Old January 10th, 2003, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

Donna
Thanks for the info
The site you gave me deals mostly with the Carib--I'm looking for West Mexico and Costa Rica. Thanks again--My bust for not being specific

Carl

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Old January 11th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Re: First time cruisers...Shore Excursions???

WE WERE ON A CANAL TOUR THIS PAST APRIL. PARTIAL CANAL TO GATUN LAKE, LIMON COSTA RICA, COZUMEL SAN ANDRES COLUMBIA AND SAN BLAS ISLANDS PANAMA. IF YOUR A PARTIAL OF CANAL, YOU WILL SEE A TREAT. AS YOUR GOING THRU YOU CAN SEE THE LOCKS OPERATE, AND THEY GIVE A TALK ABOUT HOW THEY WORK. IF YOU ANCHOR AT GATUN LAKE, MAKE SURE YOU GET TO GO ASHORE. GREAT ENTERTAINMENT AT THE YACHT CLUB. PORT LIMON COSTA RICA IS A GRAT PLACE, TOWN IS NOTHING. TAXIS AT THE DOCK AND IN TOWN. CHEAPER IN TOWN, MOST DRIVES SPEAK GOOD ENGLISH. WE SPENT ABOUT 6 HOURS IN PORT. GOT TAXI IN TOWN AT THE LITTLE SHOPS BEFORE GOING INTO TOWN. COST, $20.00 FOR THE 6, HOURS, WENT TO A REAL NICE BEACH, BANANA PLANTATIUOINS , CANAL, PLAYED WITH BABY MONKEYS AND DRANK COCONUT MILK. I KNOW MOST FOLKS DON'T GIVE PRICES, BUT WE HAD SUCH A GOOD TIME I GAVE THE DRIVER A $20.00 TIP. GATUN COST US $36.00 EACH. bEEN TO cOZUMEL SO MANY TIMES IT FEELS LIKE MY SECOND HOME. {PLEASE WRITE IF YOU NEED ANY MORE HELP BOB AND ROSE
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