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Old August 1st, 2004, 06:10 PM
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Default Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

We are trying to decide between a 7 day Norwegian Sea cruise to Belize and Honduras or an 11 day Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas to Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba. We've been on several NCL cruises, which we loved, but we've never been on Royal Caribbean before. All of the above mentioned islands are also new to us. Has anyone been to any of them or on the Empress?
Any input would be appreciated.
Thank you!
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Old August 1st, 2004, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

I'm going to Aruba and Curacao in Febuary. From the research I've done they seem like beautiful islands. I think you'd be very happy with RCI. I love it.

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Old August 1st, 2004, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

There is quite a bit to do on Aruba. Snorkeling, shopping, beaches, a butterfly garden and some interesting natural sights. You can move around easily via taxi, so a ship sponsored tour is not necessary.

While we enjoyed Margarita it was not as nice. Our dock wasn't near a town (though
we heard a new dock was being built). Also the time in port was relatively small. If you have a similar situation I would recommend a ship excursion. We did enjoy the garden/mangrove tour, just not sure what we would do if we were to make a return trip.

Lara
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Old August 5th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

We are taking the Empress of the Seas April 11 to the islands you mentioned. Although, the Empress is the oldest RCI ship, I understand it was completely refurbished in April of this year. I definitely selected this cruise because of the ports visited. I've never been to Aruba, Grenada, Curacao, St. Kitts, St. Barts, or Margarata Island. What a fabulous itinerary. I'm look forward to discovering these islands. Any suggestions for excursions? Which islands can we get around by ourselves, and which ones should we book a tour.

Whichever cruise you decide on Llarson, have a great time!

Nancy
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Old August 15th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

We loved the snorkeling on Roatan. That was worth the entire cruise.

Ricardo
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Old August 18th, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

i would choose an 11 over a 7 day cruise in a flash, those extra days are sooo nice.
Grenada is known as the "Spice Island" take a tour up into the rainforest and the spice plantations, the scenery is amazing, the spices are fresh and you can get some great deals on spices - especially cinnamon and nutmeg.
Curacao - one of our favorite islands, very clean.There is a nice aquarium that has a nice beach, good snorkeling, we did the submarine here, very cool. The waterfront downtown is great walking tour lots of artisans and craftspeople selling their wares.
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Old August 18th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

I will be sailing on Princess the week of Sept 12, 2004 and wanted to know if it's possible to do the dolphin swim in Margarita Island separately from booking it through the cruise company. The cruise cost is $110.00 p/p and I have seen quotes on web for $60.00 p/p. PS: I am travelling from Canada so the cost is going to me much higher for me.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Thanks for all the info, we decided to take the 11 day on RCCL!
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Old August 19th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

woo hoo! good call. you will love doing an 11 day, warning! it will spoil you - 7 day cruises just don't seem long enough after doing an 11.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

I agree with ydoodle, we are going on Empress Jan 17,and we booked for the amount of time ans ports.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Aruba is very popular. The people there seem to have a pretty good life. It looks like Arizona, but that was OK by me. I really felt a strong sense of place there. I wandered off to a local tavern and despite the language barrier, had a great time.

English is common in the tourist areas, but a few blocks away Spanish is common, or maybe Dutch, but certainly the local creole tongue called papiamento.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

When I think of caribbean, I imagaine "tropical". I've seen some web cam photos of some of the islands and they really do look like the desert when you scroll the web came away from the beautiful water. I don't care for the desert, but we will be in the water most the time anyway.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

I lived in Aruba several years ago. It is a lot of fun, but the main tourist areas have gotten very Americanized over the past few years. The people are friendly and all speak English. GREAT shopping, dining, gambling, and snorkeling. Curacao is a little less developed, but is quickly growing. The only caution about Margarita Island is the political situation in Venezuela. Civil war sould break out any day now. I would book through the cruise line for any excursion there. Crime has gotten pretty bad.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Where was the good snorkeling in Aruba?

Thanks

Rick
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Old August 24th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Good snorkeling in Aruba can be found at Baby Beach - you have to enter the lagoon on the parking lot side, then swim to the opposite side, turn left toward the rocks and exit the lagoon. Good coral, variety of marine life including eels, angel fish, parrotfish, turtles and the occasional barracuda. Also, good snorkeling can be found at Pet Cemetary Beach (really. That's the name. ) It is about a 3-5 min drive from baby beach. The shore is not as nice, and the water is a little rougher than baby beach, but the snorkeling is better and it is not as crowded. Ask a local. They will be able to tell you how to get there. I believe De Palm Island had good snorkeling as well, but I haven't been there in a long time.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

If you're interested in an all-inclusive day while in Curacao, Breezes offers a day pass. Absolutely everything is included: food, alcohol, water sports, snorkeling gear...

My SO and I spent 8 days at Breezes Curacao last year and had a great time.

Be aware that, while the water is crystal blue, Curacao is known for the broken coral along the shore line. Bring water shoes because cutting yourself on broken coral will surely ruin the rest of your vacation. Once you pass the first foot, the coral is gone.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Rick..... Where and with whom did you snorkel in Roatan?? We are going there in November. How about diving in Roatan? Any thoughts? Thanks.

Paul
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Old August 26th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Curacao is beautiful, we did the ship organised snorkelling tour and it was excellent, we took a boat ride to a cove where there is a sunken barge which has been taken over by the aquatic life, it was just great. The staff were just superb, i don't like to put my face in the water when wearing a snorkelling mask, but even I was zipping around by the end of the trip. Willemstad is gorgeous, we spent hours poking around there. I want to go back, but finding the right itinerary for us is proving difficult. you will have a great time. luck you.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

We loved Aruba. We did the jolly Rogers sunset cruise. It is on a ship like the pirates used, They take you out to a wonderful place in the ocean. they have a rope swing and help you swing out into the ocean. They will even let you hang on to one of the guys if you are afraid to go by your self. They have Rum punch drinks and the sunset is wonderful .During the day we walked to the bridge made of stone from the sea.There are lots of nice places to eat.
Have a great trip

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Old August 31st, 2004, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Grenada: very nice beach at Grand Anse. The interior rainforest area is lovely
Margarita Island: I recommend a ship tour here - preferably something that takes you to historical sites (there is an interesting fortress where Venezuela's national heroine was held prisoner and there is a lovely old church in a lush valley) or into the interior of the island - great views from the national park at El Copey.
Curacao - pretty much covered by others
Aruba: very arid, nice beaches; Casibiri rocks are interesting.
St. Barts: very expensive island but one of my favorites; get a cab driver to take you on a tour and drop you at a beach. A cab tour only takes about 1.5-2 hours and when we were there the price was reasonable.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Thank you for all the info.
Here is our plan for the cruise- any comments or suggestions are appreciated.
St. Maarten- Renting car this time to see beaches (took taxi to Dawn beach last trip)
St. Barts- Taxi to beaches- which are prettiest?
St Kitts- RCCL catamaran tour to Nevis (did this before with NCL and loved it)
St. Lucia- Taxi to Renduit? (took kayaks to Pigeon Island last trip) Other suggestions?
Barbados- Renting car (took public bus to Glitter Bay area and Carlise in past)
Grenada- Need help here- no plans yet, maybe rent car to see beaches?
Margarita Island- Need help- best beaches?
Curacao- Rent car or take snorkel tour-suggestions?
Aruba- Want to take snorkel sail, many tour operators- which one?
Thanks!!
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Old September 1st, 2004, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Dan p........


Please write a review of the Empress of The Seas when you return from your January 17th cruise. We would certainly be interested in hearing your thoughts on the ship and all those great ports. Have you decided on excursions.....?
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba inf

St Bart's : I am having a memory lapse (it's been a couple of years since we were there) but we liked the beach near the airport (it might be Plage St Jean). It is split in 2 by a small peninsula. Seriously consider a taxi tour here - it does not take long and some of the views are spectacular - our driver was quite happy to drop us off at the beach.
St. Lucia: consider taking a sail (catamaran or other) to see the Pitons - they really are spectacular
Grenada: there are boats at the dock that will take you to Grand Anse beach (faster and cheaper than taxi) - although maybe renting a car would be fun
Margarita:Playa El Agua is the most developed beach (lots of facilities) but personally I prefer the beach at Juan Griego (don't know the name of the beach - that is the name of the town).
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Grenada, Margarita Island, Curacao and Aruba info

Very good call in my opinion. As far as suggestions for activities on Isla Margarita and Grenada, I'm not familiar with the tours offered by RCCL, but if they have similar tours to those offered by Princess, then I have some opinions. Princess offered a tour on Isla Margarita called the Coche Island Cruise on a state of the art catamaran and offered a tour called Party Cruise and Beach Experience on a state of the art catamaran in Grenada. If they have something similar to those, you wouldn't be disappointed. The only other comment I would make recommending a particular tour is the Golden Eagle Catamaran on St. Maarten, but I see you've already made a choice there. I did the Golden Eagle on a Carnival cruise. That's all I have. Good luck.
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