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Old August 24th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Default Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

Going to St. Marteen, and St. Thomas/St. John. We are 2 couples in our early 40's and we love the beach and maybe do a little shopping. What are your favorite excursions?
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Old August 24th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

St Thomas......Doubloon for leisure sailing and snorkeling in Turtle Cove and Captain Nautic's for power traveling to Turtle Cove and Honeymoon Beach on St John for snorkeling. St Maarten America's Cup Race for participant sail racing. Have Fun you are going to my two favorite islands! We will be back to both in Oct and November. Bon Voyage!
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Old August 25th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Default Re: Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

when we were in St. Maarten we did the Golden Eagle Catamaran Sail - great trip, you sail up the coast - very scenic to island of Tintamar - wildlife preserve, you can swim,relax on the beach or do some snorkeling. We had a blast - did this tour in the am, came back to the ship, changed into dry clothes had some lunch then went into town and did some shopping.
If you just want to hit the beach you don't have to do a tour, plenty of cabs available. THe most popular touristy beach in Orient Bay (parts are clothing optional). Dawn Beach is lest touristy and more family-oriented.
St.Thomas -we do it on our own - lots of great beaches to choose from. Maegan's Bay is the most popular and gets very crowded - no snorkeling here. Coki Beach is very nice, good family beach - good snorkeling - Coral World attraction is right next door.
Just a short water taxi ride is St.John Island - our favorite beaches are over on this little island. Trunk Bay is the most popular. All of the beaches are gorgeous and have good snorkeling. Hawksnest, Honeymoon and Cinnamon Bay are top picks.
Shopping in St. Thomas - Havensight Mall is right there when you get off of the ship. Very nice strip mall. IF you want to go shopping downtown Charlotte-Amalie you would have to get a cab.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

Definitely go on your own - I have booked snorkeling tours and sailing tours on line - they are usually cheaper and less people - just type in a search of what type of tour you would like.

We have also just got a taxi driver - and offered him a price to do a private tour - which is great - if you get a good driver, they show you lots of things and have a lot of knowledge of the islands.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

We rented a car for the day in St Maarten with another couple and had a wonderful day. Drove all around in the morning, stopped in some shops and then went to Orient Beach. There are some nice restaurants for lunch and rental of chairs. Was a lovely day at our own pace (we hate packaged tours). Many others off the cruise also rented cars. We hadnt booked ahead and was able to easily get one as there are a few car rental kiosks right at the port.

Spend the time and go to Trunk Bay in St Johns. The beach is so much more beautiful than Coki Beach (been there) and am sure a lot less hectic than Maegans Bay. We spent a few hours on the beach there, then had a wonderful lunch in a restaurant near the ferry boat dock area where there are some quaint stores and restaurants. Had plenty of time to then check out the shores near the dock in St. Thomas.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

These are two islands where it's both easier and less expensive to do it on your own. Whether you head out from the port or from town, you can catch a cab for a ride to a beach in St. Thomas or Orient Beach. We loved Coki Beach in St. Thomas and Orient Beach in St. Maarten, where they told us which was to turn based on how much nudity we wanted to see or do.

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Old August 28th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Go on our own, or book a ship excursion?

Our favorites...

St Maarten:
Maho Beach at the end of the runways of SXM. Pictures: www.sunsetbeachbar.com (planes land right on top of your head!! closest place in the world you can be to these huge planes - and probably the most gorgeous beach next to an airport!)

St Thomas:
For a first-time visit, I would recommend a Godfrey tour. www.godfreytoursvi.com Allots time for shopping, beach (choice of three), and island tour. Our wedding group was very complimentary of him. Gives you a great overview, a terrific tour guide, and gives you good ideas of what you would like to do for your next visit... be it on a cruise or land-vacation.
Our personal preference is to take the ferry to St John:
We enjoy visiting the various beaches, and try to stay away from the ones that have more people than fish.
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