Barbaos, St Lucia, Antiqua, ST Maarten, St Thomas via Princess CL
If anyone could choose from all above please advise
which is best for snorkeling.
Or rate above from best to worst, where
Who has any comments on using Cruise Ship shore excursions versus
contracting with others on the islands. If using others please advise
who, wherev and how much they charge per person. Waht do you get ?
Do you think it is best to bring one's own gear or is renting equipment
This is our ifrst cruise to 3ower Antilles
Please give us your best suggestions .
St. Thomas - very good snorkeling, we like to go over to St. John island to snorkel - Trunk Bay Beach is the most popular - they have a marked snorkel trail - beach gets very busy, and very crowded. We like to go next door to Cinnamon Bay Beach - much less crowded with good snorkeling. Do it on your own , very easy.
St. Maarten - good snorkeling over on Pineal Island- recommend using ships tour only because you are traveling off the main island and if something should go wrong mechanically for example, the ship will wait for your tour to return, whereas if you did it on your own you are out of luck if you don't make it back to the ship on time. Another good snorkel excursion in St. Maarten is the Golden Eagle Catamaran sail - you have no choice but to book this one through the ship. Great time, good snorkeling.
Barbados. Several excursions off the ship will take you by Catamaran to snorkel spots on beaches west of the cruise pier. One private alternative in a boat called HarborMaster. This is sometimes booked for excursions by the ships so may not be available as an independent .
St Lucia, There is probably some snorkelling, but, this is not a number one activity at this port.
Antigua, there is one snorkel company that runs almost all the excursions, they have two or three catamarans. The snorkelling is not that great but the party on the boat is usually so good you forget that.
St Martin , I concur with the recommendations above.
St Thomas. If you don't want to take the time and trouble to go to St John, two local beaches are quite nice and have good walk in snorkelling. Both are easily accessable by cab, both avoid the crowds (and bad snorkelling) of Maegens Bay. They are Coki Beach and Saphire Beach. There are all facilities available at either one and snorkelling off the beach isn't bad. Most ships offer a tour to Buck Island (not the famous marine sanctuary of the same name near St Croix). It involves about a 45 minute sail from the harbor . Anchorage in one of two coves. One has a sandy bootom, nice fish, little coral and the possibility of a sea turtle sighting. The other has a darker bottom, light coral and the wreck of an old ferry in about 25 feet of water. Where you end up depends on who else is tied up to the mooring balls. I have enjoyed this trip twice, as much for the boat ride as for the snorkelling.
Buy your own mask and snorkel at least. The mask for fit, the snorkel for hygeine. Brands like Body Glove and US Divers can be had inexpensively at places like Wal mart, Target, Costco, BJ's Sports Authority etc. LL Beans even sells a nice complete set on it's web site.
Fins can be gotten on each excursion or rented locally if you decide not to travel with them.
While in St Thomas, if you'd like to try something a bit different, I highly recommend the daysail on the Winifred with Sharon. Its a beautiful boat, a wonderful sailing experience, and they take you to the best snorkeling spots and can guide you through what you are actually seeing. www.sailwinifred.com Lunch and drinks included. Honestly, the best part of our vacation.