We're unsure we want to snorkel at Nassau or St. Thomas since we plan on doing this at another port on the same cruise (Zuiderdam 9-17). When you dock at these ports are there private companies offering snorkeling for cruise passengers? I remember being at Grand Cayman two years ago and there were tons of people trying to get our business for very good prices.
i do not recall any vendors at pier in St. Thomas selling excurisons, the pier is gated and security only lets in certain tour operators with booked excursions and bonded taxis. St. Thomas is very easy to do on your own. Lots of great beaches with snorkeling. Sapphire is one of the best, then there is Coki Beach. Meagan's Bay Beach is gorgeous but there is NO snorkeling there ( a bit of a toursit trap_ IF you want a bit of an adventure then get yourself over to St. John Island - you grab a cab at the pier, head over to Red Hook Harbor where you pick up the ferry over to Cruz Bay St. John. The ride over is very pretty, the island is very scenic , the beaches beautiful and the snorkeling is really good.
go to www.vinow.com(dept of toursim website) for lots of great information.
We have snorkeled at St. Thomas and Nassau and there is no comparison between the two. St. Thomas (esp. St. John) wins hands down! As Lisa said, there are many beaches on St. T. that you can get to by taxi, and the beaches at St. John are wonderful. The ferry ride over is very scenic and the island is gorgeous. All of these are easy to do on your own.
most of the beaches have snorkel gear for rent, not my first choice. The gear gets lots of use and you have no idea of how sanitary it is (snorkel)
You would be much better off renting your gear on the ship. A lot of the ships allow you rent the gear for the entire cruise, the standards on the ship are higher that those on some islands.
Buy your own gear - you only need mask & snorkel, rent the fins, unless your foot is very small, or very large then you would probably have to pack your own fins.
We got on-line & booked with Godfrey for St.Thomas. We had our own equip, he took us on a little tour & dropped you off on your beach of choice: Coki, Magen's, Sapphire. We saw Magen's from Mtn Top for pics & then snorkled @ Coki on our own. In Nassau (I don't care for Nassau) but we booked thru cruise line to Rainbow Reef. Pretty, lots of BIG fish some as large as Mark & the boat was easy to get & out of. They had equip there for you included.