A few years back, I posed this same question on Cruisemates and was stunned by the comments you made, as the vast majority of those who answered came down hard on one of my favorite islands.......(I'll tell you later!)
So what is your least favorite place in the Caribbean & why?
(by the way - it's great to be back. I missed you all)
I have several.
But the one I think is the worst is Nassau. Ungly, dirty, crowded
and the food is not that good.
Next would be any of the islands that you have to tender to. Especially if the water is choppy and you get bounced around. Not good for my back and spine.
The only thing I enjoy about Nassau is Atlantis and even that isnt the best (weve stayed there several times). Jamaica would be #1 on my hit list. Its dirty, and Ive never felt safe there, even when walking with a group. We now stay on the ship if we docked there.
I used to love Grand Cayman, but it has just exploded since we stayed there in the early 90's, losing its small island appeal. I hadnt been back until '03 and was shocked by the development. You used to be able to drive along 7 mile beach and actually see the water. Not anymore. It was impossible to get around the stores and island with 7+ ships in port that day (3-4 were the biggies, including ours the Navigator). While I will still go ashore there, its not as appealing as it used to be.
I would have to say Nassau! Haven't been there since Atlantis and our cruise in March ends there. My husband and I have decided to go see Atlantis and then probably just head back to the boat and enjoy the pool, etc. for the afternoon!!
For me, its almost any tender port, think you waste a lot of port time going in and returning. You can also miss ports, depending on the weather. Not really impressed with Grand Caymen either, though I know a lot of people like it. Have been there twice and once you have done the Sting Ray thing, didn't find a lot of interest to do. Don't really think its a pretty island, not very tropical, and I have found the prices high. JMHO Really not sure why nearly every single western caribbean cruise stops there.
I know the previous time this was asked it became a bash Jamaica fest. As beautiful as that island is, there is still an unsettling feeling in the over zealous , very in your face, vendors and the constant approach of friendly dealers in less than legal substances on the beaches. Folks need to get away to the mountains and the beaches outside the immediate tourist areas of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios to appreciate the true beauty of this island and it's people.
I am surprised at those "bashing" Nassau in this thread so far. It is too bad that folks don't get beyond the first two streets and the straw market in downtown Nassau, or if they do, that they think their only alternative is the high priced gaudiness of Atlantis. New Providence is a lovely island full of things to do and absolutely wonderful people.
I'm shocked. Don't people get out beyond the pier and the first two shopping streets ?
St Martin is a gorgeous island with two diverse cultures on one island, dozens of fabulous beaches, some of the best restaurants and clubs in the Caribbean. Not to mention historical sights. There are 50 places to go to within 4 blocks of the town pier that have replaced Everything Cool.
St Thomas has drop dead beaches like Maegens Bay (OK crowded but beautiful), Saphire Bay, Coki Beach, Coral World, Lovers Beach, Buck Island snorkelling etc. How about access to St John and these days even tours to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI's. How about 4000 , yes 4000 shops?
Belize has some of the best snorkelling in the world. How about the unspoiled natural beauty?
Costa Maya, the whole point is the ruins.
Old San Juan has more shops, restaurants, clubs and historic sites than one could explore in a month , never mind the rest of the island.
Grand Cayman- How about Seven Mile Beach? How about snorkelling or diving the reef surrounding the entire island? What does one need in the Caribbean besides white sand, blue water and a cold beer?
Nassau was the least enjoyable stop on our cruises, but with a wife like mine, she knows how to make the most of it with the shopping and the tourism. Not saying it is a bad place, just for family we enjoyed the least.
On the other hand, I have to agree with Papa,, St Maarten is the Best place to stop and shop, enjoy the beach, enjoy the culture. Having been there and walking back on the beach after a year removed from our previous cruise, Walking up to the same beach bar, and the owner of the bar remembering that I was a fellow New Yorker, surely made our vacation more memorable.
We are changing our venue this year to some new islands, can not wait, finally under th 90 day ticker (lol)
There is not and insland down there that is not fantastic and amazing to see and enjoy, as always its what you make of it, not what others think of it. Happy Cruising
Aruba!............................Commercialized, expensive, flat, windy, barren, too many timeshares, few natural attractions, lots of stray dogs, and mediocre snorkeling at best. While Eagle Beach is very nice, the rest of the beaches IMO, are over-rated.
Least favorite, Jamaica. Yes, there are beautiful places all over the island but safety is still an issue. My last trip to Dunn's River falls the locals artisans were angry about their stalls being relocated and they rocked the bus and while I didn't think they actually could roll us over it was very unsettling, never the less. On our last bamboo rafting trip in the mountains our raft driver/guide was totally stoned, as were most of the guides who hurridly finished their joints as the patrons were loading. Our guide then told us sad stories about his children and sick mother the whole way down the river trying to garner money for his cause. Some of the best underwater diversity I've seen snorkeling is in Jamaica but you still have to fight off the dope-selling, hair braiders to get about. I certainly wouldn't reject a cruise because of Jamaica as a port of call, I just tend to enjoy the peace and quiet of the ship that day.
Papa Bill, thank you for pointing out the good things about so many of the ports. I too, am often puzzled by people who seem to care for nothing but bars and shopping, but hey, they paid their money so they can go or not go where they please.
One of my favorites is Tabayanka Beach in Roatan. You can get a terrific massage on the beach beneath a palm tree for $30 or so. The same is true of Costa Maya, which I happen to like even just sitting on the "beach" listening to a nice little band and staring at the beautiful horizon. Uno mas cerveza, por favor.
Nicely put PapaBill!!! Living in this very cold Canadian winter..some place tropical with white sandy beaches, cold tropical drinks, and friends and family to share that with you. Now that is paradise! I have been to a few islands...my hubby and I just loved the caymans....loved Jamaica but yes they are very aggressive in their sales. Even the Dominican Republic is beautiful. We enjoy so far all Islands that we have been too....but if it is for shopping then Jamaica is aweful just because they do not understand the word NO. But now that I have experienced the culture there I now know what to expect. Everyone is entitled to there opinion, but everyone should make there own judgement on and Island rather than go by what others have to say.
There's an apples/oranges thing here because the question is in the context of cruise ship stops, rather than a longer stay. Clearly, a 7-hour (or whatever) stop is not the best way to get to know an island and its people. When you're on an island for a week, especially staying at a smaller lodging, you can check out all the places that cruisers don't have the time for, reasonable access to, or the information to seek out. Shopping in the dock area and/or going on a canned excursion may be fun, but they aren't a fair way of assessing the whole island.
As Papa Bill notes, a place like Jamaica may be unpleasant for a cruise ship stop, but wonderful if you get away from the craziness of the port area and Dunn's River. (Never been there myself, but have spoken to family members and other folks who stayed for a week and loved it.)
Because I usually travel solo, I would have to say that Montego Bay in Jamaica was the scariest, even thoug I booked a ship excursion. The island itself (what I saw of it ) was beautiful, but the vendors really scared the daylights out of me!
As part of our tour, we stopped at a straw market. I managed to get cornered in a small shop (more like a tight little hut) by 4 women, each trying to dell me their items. one actually was attempting to braid my hair despite my protests. Once I got out, I ran back to the van and sat there until everyone else was ready to leave. several other women said the same thing happened to them, even when they were in pairs.
It left such an ugly feeling that I will NEVER go back to jamaica.....and if it is a stop on a cruise I want to go on, I will stay on the ship and enjoy the pool.
papabill i agree on what you send in your message i,m not in to bar and shopping
i what to see some history and culther i loved coast maya and going to see the ruins
i thought jamica was beatfull i loved the river garden thing i did,t like was person greb
me to look at ther crafts reason i put san jaun least favorite because the triimph doesn,t
get into port until 5;oopm there nothing to do if we get in ealier i would love explore
PapaBill............I was hoping to experience great snorkeling in Belize, but it just didn't happen on our trip; Cozumel (Chankanaab) rated first, followed by Grand Cayman (Eden Rock, Smith's Cove). Everyone's experience is different, but for us, Belize was our worst port so far.
Re: Re: your LEAST favorite caribbean destination?
Aruba. Orangestad and the hotel districts definately built up and commercial.
Lush tropical island??? Absolutely not., Aruba is aa arid climate with only 8 inches og annual rainfall. But , despite Natalie Hollaway, Aruba is safe and friendly. Beaches may be busy but they are clean, safe and active. Snorkelling is great if you do the wrecks,
or the rocks offshore Baby Beach or the beaches beyond the highrise hotels.
This is a small island and due to arid nature did not have 500 years of colonization like many others. However, Natural Bridge, Natural Pond , Baby Beach, several Indian Caves and the barren north/eastern shores are natural wonders.
Expensive?? Aruba probably has the second or third best shopping in the Caribbean and many like it more than St Thomas and St Martin. Food is reasonably priced , excursions, due to competition are a bargain and island transportation by bus costs a dollar. There is a private Island operated by Depalm and another operated by the Renesance Hotel. Both are idealic day visits.
In contrast to comment above, Aruba is probably my second favorate Caribbean/ cruise port stop.
This has been an interesting post! I think it all depends on what you're looking for in a port.
If you like shopping and non-adventureous excursions, Belize isn't for you. However, if you are more active, Belize offers TONS.
For us, Freeport has been my least favorite. Although I didn't HATE it, just wouldn't pursue it as a must see again port. That being said, I have a cruise booked for Dec 2006 that takes me to where? Right! Freeport!
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Won't go on a trip that includes Jamaica-- cruise & land travel there many yrs ago was fun but not a safe place anymore.. Other non-favorite is Catalina Island off DR--very pushy locals (would not leeave stuff on the beach for even a quick swim) & less than good snorkeling... ... Also disappointed in Aruba & the way they handle things--- seems like young women were prey to local guys & the early Natalie investig did not impress anyone (guess they hoped it would go away) Other than that we have enjoyed every place on the usual cruise itin--some more than others...
It would be a toss-up between Belize and Cozumel. At Belize we were advised not to go very far and the "unrest" unnerved us! Cozumel - twice - so HOT! HOT! (in April) and unless you go to one of their pretty beach areas, not much to do except shop and we thought they were a little high $. Some people were killed on a scooter there by a local vehicle - they were from the ship next to ours.
Loved Bahamas - beautiful water and scenery!
Re: Re: your LEAST favorite caribbean destination?
Don't want to debate Natalie Hollaway here. The Aruban Government and the people of Aruba have bent over backwards to find Natalie Holoway. Literally the entire country has turned out to search, they have invited in law enforcement from a foreign country and investigative and search teams from a foriegn country. One sick perverted young man does not make for a bad country. What are they supposed to do, put the kid on the rack? Can't do it here or there.
Natalie Holloway's own actions ,as were those of her friends, chaparones and even her parents were contibutory to her disappearance. This could have happened in a local bar in Birmingham (except she probably would have been better chaparoned ).
Aruba is a premiere cruise and vacation destination, Natalie Hollaway and the US tabloid press not withstanding.
Worst place was Montego Bay Jamacia. Very pushy, very lazy, people the staff at the Quality Inn put us on the wrong bus twice, everything is answered" No Problem Man" but when they gave us a pay taxi and told us it was the free shuttle bus that was the last straw! T hen there was the local who wanted to braid my hair she bugged me for days till i finally agreed, then insisted she must come up to my hotel room and do it! Well im not an idiot asking to be robbed so I refused. The staff at Dunn's River falls did nothing to help a very obese, out of shape woman climb the water fall instead my boyfriend got stuck helping her left me alone and I fell and cut myself on a rock, then the staff wanted a tip for thier non service. Also ate a mystery burger, tasted like a rat or something not beef for sure. I could go on and on, beautiful island, poor work ethic, pushy venders who follow you down the street and grab at you. Only one local was real nice he said the others give the island a bad name, he took us on a private snorkle tour for just $12 a person just me and my guy. He was wonderful too bad the rest of the island has far to go.