I will be taking a cruise to the Southern Carribean in January. One of the ports of call is Margarita Island in Venezuela. I was wondering what the name of the beach is that we have access to from the cruise ship? Also, what other activities are there to do here besides taking one of the cruise ships shore excursions? Thanks.
I was on the Celebrity Galaxy in January 2002 and we stopped at Margarita Island. I've copied the Margarita part of my review that I posted on the cruise-addicts website after our trip. As is says below in my review, we absolutely loved the beach about an hour away from the ship named Playa El Agua. Enjoy!!
On Tuesday, Margarita Island started out to be our least favorite island and ended up in our top favorites! I had read online about unreliable taxi drivers who only spoke Spanish, and we didn't want to do the ship's tours, so we planned to spend the day at the beach right by the boat. The beach was a little dirty, but the water was pretty and there was no charge to use the chairs and umbrellas. However there was a very nasty spell and we began to think maybe it was from sewage. (Later we found out the smell was from the salt ponds nearby.) My husband decided to check out the taxi situation and we found that there was a company on the dock that offered tours of the island for half the price of the ship's tours. By this time it was 10:30 a.m. so we didn't have much time. We paid $25 per person and we had a brand new Mercedes van. Our driver did not speak English but we were also sent with a tour guide who was very knowledgeable and fluent in English. The island seemed poor but beautiful. Our driver was very slow and it took about an hour to get to Playa El Agua. This beach is 2 ½ miles long and had beautiful sand and palm trees. We couldn't snorkel there but the waves were great for body surfing. This quickly became one of our favorite beaches but we were disappointed that we only had one hour to spend. Our tour guide said they would be fined if they got us back to the ship any later than 1:45 p.m. Apparently the ship has left passengers behind at this port. We would have loved to have stayed longer on this island and hope to someday return to this beach. Our guide indicated that there is a new cruise ship dock being built by the town of Porlamar and that will cut travel times to the beaches and towns down dramatically. She thought the new dock would be ready in 6 months.
We also loved this island. Take a private tour and you won't be disappointed. the pier is on the dry side of the island and the other side ( the Atlantic) is on the wet side. Our guide found us an internet at the supermarket in the downtown area and helped us buy wine at the grocery store. The beaches on the Atlantic are beautiful and should not be missed. There is no internet at the pier but there are a few stores and 2 phones. You can buy a phone card at one of the shops. There is a liquor store at the pier also.
RK we are on the same ship! We need to get together! My husband and I are traveling alone, we are 45. I'm trying to gather all info I can aas to what to do on the islands since the time is drawing near.
Nushnakka - Let's try to get together. It's fun getting know people on board. I'm going with a good friend of mine from work . We are 39 & 43. Our husbands are not going with us. They don't like to travel as much as we do. I've been on 4 other cruises in the past. My friend has been on 3 other cruises. Cruising is a lot of fun. I've been doing a lot of research on the internet along with getting some opinions off of message boards. I think we've got our cruise pretty much planned out.
My wife and I (47) are doing the southerrn carib on the galaxy, but a month earlier - dec 26th. i would be pleased to pass on my experiences to all of you on the january cruise when i return. i would, however, be interested in hearing your ideas on what to do at all of the ports, particularly outside of the ship's excursions. Many thanks.
RK, we would love to meet up with you. I have been gathering information and put it into a word doc to read later and decide what to do. Now my husband loves to vacation too and while he gripes about the money he still enjoys it. This is our 6th but 1st on Celebrity. Currently I am working 2 jobs (one part time to get the spending money for this cruise, eases hubbys mind about the money ; ) so I haven't had much time to devote to research. Where are you flying from? We hail from Charlotte NC. I bought the cruise/air combo so we still don't know our flight iten. Can't wait, 7 weeks and 1 day woohoo! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as time draws nigh so we can meet.
Mark, I would love to hear what you did and what you think of the islands. As I stated above I am researching but have not really complied my info to review yet. Please if you don't mind email me with the particulars & tips etc. I would really appreciate it.
Mark, I would love to hear all about your experiences on your cruise when you return.
My friend and I are beach lovers, so we will be visiting some beaches on this cruise. I've been to St. Thomas a couple of times now. So, we will be heading over to St. John's for the day. We will be going to Trunk Bay (maybe an other beach along the way also) and may be have the taxi driver gives a tour of the island. We will be doing this on our own. Much cheaper than the ship's shore excursion to St. John's. In St. Kitts we are going to take a tour of the island and then stop off at Turtle Beach. We will be doing this on our own also. In Barbados we will be visiting the Mount Gay Rum Distillery and then going to the Boatyard Beach Club for the rest of the day. I hear it's suppose to be a fun place to hang out. Lots of activities. If for some reason we don't like it there, we will head to another beach like Rockleys on the South end of the island or over to Payne's Bay or Paradise Beach on the west side. We will be doing all of this on our own. At Margarita Island we will be taking a taxi over to Playa El Agua. I've heard that is a beautiful beach. In Aruba we will be heading to Palm Beach for the day. We may even head over to Baby Beach for a little beach. We did purchase the Kukoo Kunuku Bar Hop & Dinner from the ships shore tours for $69. It suppose to be a blast. I found it cheaper if you went on your own, but unfortunately the tour doesn't get back until midnight or so. Our ship leaves port at 11:00. So we couldn't go on our own on this one. It would have been $55 instead of $69. Anyway, this is what we have planned for the time being. Things could change. I don't know what you all are interested in, but there are many other things to do at these islands. We like to tour islands, but we also love the beaches!!!! We're from Wisconsin, so we just want to get some place warm and enjoy. Also, if any of the ship tours interest you, just do some surfing on the net and see if you can find it cheaper some other way. A lot of times you can find it cheaper. You just need to research it.
Nushnakka, I will be emailing you soon so we can make some plans on meeting on board.
RK40, your plans sound great. I'd be careful in Margarita, though, because I've read that the trip to Playa el Agua is kind of long, and the taxi's don't always get you back to the ship in time to sail. There have been instances of people missing the sailing. ALso, with respect to the St John's excursion, have you heard of any problems with that given that there are several modes of transportation involved? I'd love to see St. John, but I'm a little hesistant. I might just do Magen's Bay. We also are beach people, but might just do the swimming with the turtles excursion in Barbados, since the price for the privately arranged tour is only about $5 less than the ship tour.
Mark, As far as Margarita Island goes, I guess I will do some more checking on this port. I've read good things and bad things about this port on the message boards. Let me know what you think of this port when you get back from your cruise. As far as St. John's goes, l went on a cruise with my mom earlier this year and we took the ship tour over to St. John's to Trunk Bay. It was absolutely beautiful. That excursion cost between $50 and $60. I can't remember the exact price. Since my mom was older, I felt that this was the best way to get over to St. John's. The only problem with this is I didn't feel that we had that much time at the beach. You're on the tours schedule. I haven't heard of any problems with people going over there on their own. It's cheaper and you are also on your own time schedule not the ship's tour schedule. This is a website that I found on the internet that gives the ferry schedules along with prices to and from St. Thomas to St John's http://www.st-thomas.com/week/ferries.html. I went to Magen's Bay in October of 2000. They said it was one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. I thought the scenery was beautiful, but the water wasn't as clear as I was expecting. When I'm in the Caribbean I like white sand with crystal clear water...if at all possible. So, I wouldn't go back to Megan's Bay for that reason. I've heard that Sapphire Beach is beautiful. That's the beach I would go to next in St. Thomas.
Nushnakka, You need to go to cruisecritics.com and sign up for the Celebrity Cruises/Cruise Critic Connections Party. If 25 people register for this, we will have an official onboard party to meet everyone. So far, there are 12 people signed up.
Thanks RK, I will look for that. I have never really bothered on the other boards but a gal I work with is a member of cruise critics. I have to say it's always easy meeting folks on board. I have to start going thru my information and look at the ship tours available. We have not done ship tours since our 2nd cruise but I'd like to see what they have and then plan it myself. I'm looking forward to it more than ever. I think our objective is seeing the islands and shopping. My husband loves to shop. He is also learning spanish so he may get to use it on Margarita Isle. I love the beach too, always had to take vacations on the ocean but I may never get back to these islands. We will see as things can change. Keep in touch.
Golden Princess 12/04
Enchantment of the Seas 4/02
We were on Celebrity Galaxy 12/2001 and stopped at Margarita Island. At that time, we read it was best to do a ship shore excursion, as that port was "new" and not many people knew much about it. We did a FANTASTIC tour that incorporated some gardens, a tropical labyrinth, some shopping, and a boat tour of La Restinga. We got to hold a huge snake and a cute little monkey named Poncho. The boat tour of La Restinga was very interesting. It was a fairly cheap excursion at that time. We had also read (back then) of the taxi drivers not getting people back on time, which is the reason we chose a ship excursion. If we didn't make it back, then the ship is responsible for us.
Regarding St Thomas and St John: I highly recommend St John. Not because I married there on a cruise in March, but because we vacationed there last Thanksgiving for the week. St John is beautiful, and the north shore road has beach after beach after beach. Our favorite is Cinnamon and Little Cinnamon. Free, very long sandy beach, facilities, and very good snorkeling. It is just a little past Trunk. www.vinow.com has great descriptions of each beach on St John. Plus, you can walk to some ruins right across the street from Cinnamon. Some of our pictures from St John: www.cmgoddard.com
Did this cruise jan 03 enjoyed all the stops that the Noordam made but did take all tours thru th ship. DON'T miss the church in Barbados built in the 1600's with hand carved alter and pews beautiful.
joe quinn email@example.com
Regarding getting back to the ship on time... when we took the taxi over to Playa El Agua we wanted to stay at the beach longer (like forever since it was so beautiful) but our taxi driver made us leave with plenty of time to get back to the boat. She said that the taxi drivers were fined if they made it back late. If I recall right she said we had to be back 1 hour before the ship was to leave the port. Also, if you have children along you'll have to be prepared to explain why some of the women were topless...not a lot, but there are a lot of Europeans who vacation there.
RK40- were are also on tha galaxy on 1/23/04. Have heard from personal friend that has stopped there that the island is exceptionally beautiful once away from port. Was told not to let port scenery keep you from seeing a beauty of an island. Have u signed up for the get acquainted party held for our sailing by cruise critic. Great way to meet people. Go to their website and register. We need at least 25 people for a party to happen. Hope to see you there!!!
It's great to hear that you will be on the Galaxy on 1/23. We signed up for the Cruise Critic Party earlier this month. Only 12 people have signed up so far. I hope more do before our cruise. It sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to meet people. Hopefully we'll be able to meet on board.
We will also be on the Galaxy on 1/23/04. We have a thread going on the Cruise Critic Celebrity Roll Call Board. Come over and join us. As of the other day we had 14 signed up for the Celebrity party. Still 11 to go. We can all arrange a meeting at another time also.
My husband and I are flying in on Thur. We have done the Southern route may times, but have not been to St Kitts or Margarita Island. Still not sure what we will do. I'm a last minute planner.