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Old August 1st, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Default St. Thomas and St. Maarten

I will be cruising aboard Explorer of the Seas during President's Week of 2007. We'll be docking in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. I'm travelling with a few adults and three children, ages 8, 11, and 14. In St. Thomas, I would really like to do an excursion to St. John. Any suggestions for outstanding excursions with children in these destinations? I have no objection to spending the day on a beautiful beach with water toys, good food, easy chair rentals etc.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 05:06 PM
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Hi Smiling Jamie,

Get ready for a great time. The ship is so beautiful, you will love it!

We did snorkeling excursions in both of those ports. We really enjoyed the St. Thomas one with Captain Nautica. They were really interested in you having a great time and made you feel that way each and every second of the trip. I've got pictures from the excursion if you're interested.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 05:08 PM
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Default What to do?

Hi!

We've been to St. Thomas/St. John on several cruises. We always go on our own. Take the ferry to St. John and a tour of the island. They'll be taxi drivers waiting when you get off the ferry. I think the tour lasted about 2 hours. Then have the driver drop you off at Trunk Bay and he'll come back for you when you tell him to. You can snorkel at trunk bay or just lay on the beach. You could always skip the tour, which I enjoyed and have the taxi take you to the beach straight away. I know the cost was low. I'll look back through my notes if you'd like.

On St. Martin, we always rent a jeep and drive around the island ourselves, stopping at beaches as we like. It's an easy island to navigate. We stop in the capitals and one or two small villages as well. The price is about $60 for the day. The company we use brings the jeep to the ship for us, and picks it up from us there at the end of the day. Has been great.

Regardless of what you do, we love both of these ports.

Enjoy!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 06:08 PM
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Smiling Jamie,

I will be cruising aboard Explorer of the Seas during President's Week of 2007. We'll be docking in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. I'm travelling with a few adults and three children, ages 8, 11, and 14. In St. Thomas, I would really like to do an excursion to St. John. Any suggestions for outstanding excursions with children in these destinations? I have no objection to spending the day on a beautiful beach with water toys, good food, easy chair rentals etc.

If your ship offers an excursion called the "Champagne Catamaran Sailaway to St. John" in Charlotte Amalie, it's worth every penny of the price. The catamaran (sailboat) picks you up right at the end of the cruise ship pier and sets sail to a secluded beach on St. John, where the crew drops the anchor for for a few hours of swimming, snorkeling (snorkel gear included), and sunning. The crew serves lunch aboard the catamaran while at anchor. The catamaran returns to the cruise ship poer between 3:00 and 3:30, allowing some time for shopping in Charlotte Amilie or, if you prefer, in time for afternoon tea aboard the ship, before the ship's departure.

Norm.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: What to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowWhiteNYC
Hi!

On St. Martin, we always rent a jeep and drive around the island ourselves, stopping at beaches as we like. It's an easy island to navigate. We stop in the capitals and one or two small villages as well. The price is about $60 for the day. The company we use brings the jeep to the ship for us, and picks it up from us there at the end of the day. Has been great.

Enjoy!
If you do rent any kind of vehicle in Sint Maarten, do NOT leave anything of value in it and do NOT lock it when you leave it unattended. Also make sure you get the phone number of the rental agency so you know who to call if, er, when it gets stolen.

We went to Sint Maarten (by air) and had not one, but TWO rental cars stolen within one weeks time.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 02:05 PM
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SmilingJamie- St.John island is not to be missed. You can do it very easily and usually cheaper on your own. You will need to grab a cab at the cruise ship pier, go to Red Hook Harbor where you will pick up the water taxi that will take you over to Cruz Bay St.John. go to www.vinow.com for ferry schedule, rates and beach information. Once on St. John just grab a cab to the beach. Your time is your own if you do it this way, and its the same excursion that the cruise ships use except that your time at the beach is limited. Trunk Bay is gorgeous and has the marked snorkel trail, but it is the destination for the cruise ships excursions and it can get very crowded. Hawksnest, Honeymoon and Cinnamon are all great beaches.
St. Maarten - a Great family excursion would be the Golden Eagle Catamaran sail - you sail on this beautiful catamaran -you sail up the coast which is gorgeous(opening scene from Jurrasic Park was filmed here) you sail over to Tintamar which is a small island preserve where you can swim off the boat, go to shore and veg on the beach, or you can snorkel. Refreshments and sandwiches are served. We had a blast on this excursion. It is VERY popular and sells-out fast.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 04:52 PM
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Thank you everyone, for your helpful suggestions. Lisa K, you mentioned Hawksnest, Honeymoon and Cinnamon Beaches as beaches in St. John that should not get too crowded. Which of these are most fun for children? Do any of them have floats and kayaks? We will also need chair/umbrella rental, bathrooms and food concession.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 01:42 PM
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Jamie - Cinnamon would be your best bet.No admission fee - It is a campground, they have a store, an outdoor grill, restrooms and you can rent floats, snorkel gear, sunfish type sailboats and kayaks(i think). its a bit rustic, but it is beautiful.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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Default Cinnamon Beach

Thank you, Lisa. You said Cinnamon Beach was a campground. Will we see campers with tents on the beach? Are there chair and umbrella rentals? I appreciate the info. Jamie
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Old August 7th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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Jamie, no campers on the beach, you have to get to St. John by water taxi. There are designated camping sites. There are walking trails and picnic tables in the shade. I honestly don't recall if they had umbrella and chair rentals, you can rent a beach mat or just plop your towel down on the soft, silky sand.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 11:03 AM
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We found Cinnamon Bay a great place as well. There may have been at most 30 people on the beach while we were there. I don’t remember beach chairs or umbrellas either, but I saw some lay out beach towels in the shade of overhanging jungle growth and that seemed to do just fine. The snorkeling there is said to be pretty good but you might be better off with a guide. We had a bit of trouble locating the reef on our own and there were no other snorkelers there that afternoon.

We took a cab from the ship to Red Hook and the Ferry to St. John. From there you catch an open air taxi to the beach. When we came back, we took the ferry that returned directly to Charlotte Amalie. It takes a little longer than the Red Hook trip, and is a little more expensive, but it was leaving just as we arrived so it made for a good choice.

In St. Maarten we took the America’s Cup Regatta. It was one of the highlights of our cruise but it might be too much for an 8 year old.

Enjoy your visit!
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