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Old July 15th, 2003, 12:16 PM
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Default shore excursions-eastern

Hi, I am going on The Glory next spring and I need help. In Nassau I know we are doing the dolphin encounter. But in St. Thomas and St. Maartin, I don't know where to go. My 13 yr. old son wants to snorkel, I want to shop and he wants to parasail also. Any ideas? I'm nervous about the snorkeling because the ocean scares me to death. (what about sharks?) Are there any controlled snorkeling? I know I sound paranoid, but I thought I'd ask. Thanks, Marge
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Old July 15th, 2003, 07:44 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 400
Default Re: shore excursions-eastern

Hi - you might want to search these boards a little further back. You'll find tons of info on St Thomas and St Martin.

My personal suggestions:

St Martin:
If either of you enjoy big airplanes landing at a close distance over a beach, then go to Maho Beach. www.sunsetbeachbar.com has pictures. The big planes land after lunch. Air France has a nonstop from Paris, and we've seen American -757s land, Continental, etc. This is free, and there is a beach bar (outdoor, picnic tables) right there. A "bar" is not really the name - it is somewhere your son could grab a soda, but I'm guessing he's want to be right in the middle of the action in the middle of the landing pattern.
Or, for about $80 each, go on the America's Cup. Your ship will most likely have it as an excursion. I have friends who have done that - some are experienced sailors and even enjoyed it.

St Thomas:
Be adventureous and take a ferry to St John. (Notice St John is SINGULAR... so many people refer to it as St Johns... plural... which is actually a city on Antigua). You can take a cab from ship to Red Hook for about $5 each and then ferry for $3 each to St John. At Cruz Bay (on St John) cabs are plentiful and can get you to Trunk Bay for about $4 each.
There is beach after beach on St John. Snorkeling is safe as long as you don't venture too far out. Also, each beach is unique - some are known for coral, others for colorful fish, some for underwater trail, others for facilities. Depends on what your son is after. We paid about $30 for our own snorkel equipment that has turned out to be a terrific investment.
We married there this past March on Hawksnest Beach. Trunk Bay costs $4 per person, but the next beach over is Cinnamon ... and free. There is a 40+ year old plane wreck about 20 yards off the beach that one can snorkel over. My husband and I love that. (A terrific book you can purchase is by Pam Gaffin titled "St John Feet Fins & Four Wheel Drive - I bought mine over the internet)
Past threads on here talk about Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay, as well as transportation. Also, a great website about the US Virgin Islands is www.vinow.com It shows taxi rates, ferry schedules, etc. We took a land vacation to St John last November staying in the Concordia ecotents (www.maho.org) and loved it. We are currently planning a return trip back.
I'm not sure (don't remember) but I think there may have been parasailing at Trunk Bay. (???) I do believe there is SNUBA though. We did that in Aruba and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a cross between SCUBA and snorkeling. http://www.snuba.com/
St John will definitely give you the feeling of Robinson Crusoe (or however you say it). Like you are on an adventure on a Caribbean island!!

Seriously, though, do some searches on these boards. You'll probably be amazed at what has been posted already about these areas. Might give you some ideas (such as Coral World on St Thomas, etc)

~ Mandy in Dallas
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Old July 16th, 2003, 04:43 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 565
Default Re: shore excursions-eastern

We had researched internet sites on some of the E. Caribbean islands too and when I first saw the pictures of the planes flying right over the beach I was impressed and later, when I found these boards Mandy had mentioned doing that. I knew that is what we wanted to do and she gave us a few tips and we got back from our cruise in May and that is what we did in St. Martin. We shopped first for awhile then took a taxi over there and sat in the area of the umbrella covered picnic tables and feasted on BBQ ribs and watched the planes land. We got some neat pictures of them. The ribs were a little pricy $8 per order, but were very good. That was all you got, but it was a basket full. I thought at first when I told my husband about it, that he would want to do something more adventuresome, but he thought it sounded cool, so we had a relaxing afternoon there after shopping in the morning.

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Old July 17th, 2003, 07:45 AM
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Location: Palmer, Massachusetts
Posts: 12,716
Default Re: shore excursions-eastern

If your son likes to snorkel and you want him to snorkel in a controlled environment then St John Island and Trunk Bay Beach is the place for you. There is a marked-out snorkel trail - very easy- not a challenging dive at all. The waters are very calm,very turquoise and very tranquill. Shopping in St.Thomas is very good. What we like to do is hit the beach in the morning, go back to the ship for lunch, then go shopping either downtown or at Havensight Mall. St. Marteen is also a very good shopping port - on the Dutch side of the island. The main beach where all the activities are centered is Orient Beach (clothing optional). There is good snorkeling here also. We are planning on taking a Catamaran sail and snorkel tour in St. Marteen. I don't recall hearing or seeing anything about any type of shark "encounter" on any of these islands in years.
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