My family is going on a 7 night cruise to the Southern Caribbean. We are going on The Adventure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. Our ports will be Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. We don't want to book the excursions through the cruise line because of the cost of 4 of us. We have 2 children. The girl is 3 and the boy is 7. We don't think they would do well on any long bus tours either. We can't take them snorkeling. We are looking for some advice on shore excursions. WE don't know how to get around the islands and don't want to pay a cab an astromical fee to take us to too many spots. Please if anyone has any recommendations for children, transportation, beaches without nudity, and good sights to see. We were interested in a horseback riding tour through Rancho Damari or Rancho Notorious in Aruba so if you know anything about those that would be helpful too! We want to do excursions on every island, but we aren't sures if the cruise excursions would be of best interest! Thank you!!
We are leaving tomorrow for the Southern Carribean! We will be hitting Aruba and St. Thomas, but the other stops are different. We have 4 kids ages 2, 6, 8, & 9.
In Aruba we are planning to rent our own mini van and hit a beach and see the sights at our own pace. Mini van rental for the day is about $75-$95 total. Much cheaper than the ship price for a short excursion.
In St. Thomas we are taking the Safari Bus tour from Godfrey for $20. From the pictures it looks great and there is a variety of stuff in the trip (shopping, sights, and the beach). Carnival doesn't offer anything like it, and it would be over $80 per person to put something similar together through the ship.
RE: Snorkeling. My 9 year olds first experience snorkeling was at age 20 months! We rented a Boogie Board (like half of a surf board) and it had a snorkel mask cut into it. He laid on the top while dad pushed him around and I snorkeled near by. It was a blast! We hope to find the same thing for our 2 year old, and I am sure both your kids would love to try it. Check out the fish and no wet face!
I cannot help regarding the specific horseback riding you refer to.
Can help with all your islands in general.
Aruba. Many alternatives. Check out tours offered by Depalm Tours , (Very many) and Redsail. Beaches . Go to Baby Beach. It is a protected Cove and is like a big gigantic salt water swimming pool. Alternatives , go to the beaches out by the High Rise hotels (by cab or bus). Ask driver to let you off near Pelican Pier where you will find food and facilities open to public. More alternatives, DePalm Island (probably offered as an excursion off the ship).
Beaches on Curacao are pretty but they are usually made up of hard coral not soft sand. There is a Dolphin Encounter on Curacao. Books up very quickly when there is a ship in town, you may want to book this through the cruise line.
St. Thomas. No need to do a tour. Take a bus and go to either the very popular Maegens Bay. My favorate is Coki Beach. Very family oriented, ffod and chairs and facilities available. The kids might like the paid attraction Coral world which is on one end of Coki Beach. Another alternative is Saphire Beach. Again, full facilities food and rentals available. All are just a cab ride away.
St Martins. The beaches will almost all be european influenced (especially Orient Bay) on the French side. A really nice family beach with full facilities (food, bathrooms, chairs etc) is Dawn Beach. Attracts a mixed crowd of cruise passengers, locals and touists from the nearby upscale condos. There is a slight possibility of seeing some european women going topless. The ship will dock just outside Philipsburg on the edge of the harbor which is called Great Bay. The beach rings much of the bay and the area in town, right behind all the stores has been cleaned up in recent years. You can actually go to the beach right in town.The adults can take turns shopping while the kids swim.
There are a number of bars, restaurants and places to buy food right in town by the beach.
I hope this helps.
in Curacao there is a really nice aquarium with a nice beach. The kids might like that. Curacao is very neat, clean and friendly very easy to get around- just grab a cab at the pier to the aquarium. Lots of neat little shops along the waterfront.
St. Thomas - also condsider spending some time at the beach over on St. John Island -get there by water taxi - Trunk Bay is a beautiful beach with facilities.
We are leaving here on March 24, we sail on March 27 from San Juan. We have done a lot of traveling and have found that we can do tours on our own by hiring someone at the pier...these are our ports of call....can you tell me if there will be taxis and people for hire to do tours:
Casa De Campo, Domican Republic
St. George's, Grenada
St. John's, Antigua
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (probably would like to scuba dive here - any suggestions or are any of the other ports better)
Please respond to me at ppk347 aol com.