Hi, I am going on The Glory next spring and I need help. In Nassau I know we are doing the dolphin encounter. But in St. Thomas and St. Maartin, I don't know where to go. My 13 yr. old son wants to snorkel, I want to shop and he wants to parasail also. Any ideas? I'm nervous about the snorkeling because the ocean scares me to death. (what about sharks?) Are there any controlled snorkeling? I know I sound paranoid, but I thought I'd ask. Thanks, Marge
In St Thomas, do your shopping early in town (or accross from you pier at Havensight Mall). Go back to the ship, change and take a cab to Coki Beach or Saphire Beach.
Although Maegens Bay is bigger and more popular, it is crowded and the snorkelling is all but nonexistent. There are facilities at both Saphire and Coki(which is next door to Coral World, a paid underwater attraction. There is good snorkelling at either Coki or Saphire beaches ( and also unlike Maegens Bay there is no admission charge at these beaches). At Cki, facing the water , there are tons of fish to be seen on the right side (Coral World side) of the beach. There is a reef with some coral down the other end of the beach and just offshore.
In St Martin , do the same thing. Shop for an hour or two and then go back to the ship and change. Here I recommend Dawn beach. There is a restaurant/beach bar, a snack tent, chair and umbrella rentals. The beach is very family friendly attracting , cruise passengers, local condo and resort tourists and locals on weekends. Swimming here is great, snorkelling is OK. Best part you avoid everyone else going to Orient Beach.
Sharks. With Five Billion people living in the world and more than half of them living on or near the Ocean there are about 75 shark attacks a year. More than half of them are
reported in Florida and the Bahamas. 90% are swimmers at dawn or dusk (which is when sharks feed) or surfers . Most areas where you will snorkel are busy beaches
with clear water and sharks will not mistake your son for their dinner. I was told by a diving professional in the Virgin Islands that he had never heard of a shark attack in the over 25 years he has been diving in the Virgin Islands.
Relax, have fun and let your son have fun.
My husband and I went on the Triumph in March and had a wonderful time. We did the Best of St Thomas tour. The sights were AWESOME!!!!! Go to webshots and see our pictures under DalRich4. We wanted to go snorkeling in Trunk Bay but didnt have time. So, therefore we will have to go again....Darn! Anyway, our dinner mates highly recommended it! Have fun!!!
We were just on the Carnival Triumph to the eastern carribbean this year from July 5th-July 12th and had an AWESOME time!! I think you should really look into snorkeling... We went snorkling in St. Thomas through carnival. We booked our tickets aboard, and @ 8am we met outside the ship and got onto a tour bus that took us to the beach with others to begin our snorkling. We snorkled along the beach in St. Thomas about 15 minutes away from the ship. It was SO much fun, I highly reccomend it! I'm 16 and loved it! My parents enjoyed it also. We saw so many kinds of tropical fish and got to feed them. Not once did we see a shark. They told us that sharks don't normally come in the shallow waters of the beach, not many of us went too far out. The excursion lasted 3 hours, wish is was longer!! Have fun with what ever you choose to do tho!!
There are many nice beaches and sites on St. Thomas, but our favorite excursion (and favorite sight!) when we are in St. Thomas is to go to Trunk Bay in St. John. It is mostly a nat'l. park and is georgeous! We think it is far more beautiful than the famed Magen's Bay. (Look it up on the net on USVI.com, I believe is one site). All ships offer snorkeling exursions there. They take you to Cruz Bay on St. John by ferry and then you get in an open air safari bus w/a top on it for shade. Then you are driven to Trunk Bay. Along the way you get some fantastic views and the drivers stop for picture taking opportunities. There are showers, restrooms, etc., at the beach there. The sand is powder white and water is georgeous! The snorkeling is good, however not quite as good as it USED to be due to many visitors - but like all snorkeling areas, better on some occassions than others. (If your son has not snorkeled in Hawaii, the Caymans, Belize or Cozumel, he will think it's great!) Since this excursion is offered fairly early in the a.m., you return to the ship in PLENTY of time to shop in Charlotte Amalie. Also, there is an area right by the dock called Havensite Mall. Many repeat cruisers have learned you can get all the same stuff there for about hte same price. But I'd still advise seeing the main town.
Re: St. Maarten/St. Martin - Yes, Dawn Beach is nice. There is a restaurant (that is the ONLY restroom there and you may not use it unless you have been a patron that day). There is a little hot dog type snack shack, too. You can rent snorkeling equip. for about $8 or so. The beach is nice but small. There is a small reef within easy swimming distance from shore. Now a word about Orient Beach. That is where you can parasail. There are several vendors. There are many open air, shade-covered, full fledged restaurants w/nice entrees/sandwiches to snacks to margaritas, and also restrooms in back w/rudimentary showers in some cases. Food is GOOD. Prices aren't too bad. You can rent waverunners there, & I think there was a water trampoline, and it's more lively than the other beaches, so there is more to watch. Maybe because I used to live in FL, so even though we were there during spring break, it wasn't what I'd say uncomfortably crowded. A word of caution that will no doubt probably make you decide not to visit Orient: Sometimes people refer to it as "the nudie beach". We heard this several times. We were once on the island for a wk. w/my son's baseball team and never visited this beautiful beach due to this! What a shame. There IS a famous nudist resort at the far right of the very long beach if you are facing the water. I'd say we saw maybe 2 nude people the whole afternoon we were there. One was a fat old man. One was a lady from a great distance as she was well down the beach and we were walking in that direction toward the nudist resort. There were a FEW topless women (& you may also see this at Dawn Beach, even though it IS on the Dutch side and Orient is on the french side), but it isn't as obviously noticeable as you might expect. We and some other parents took our teens there last spring and it was no big deal. 98% of the people were covered top and bottom. Your son will most likely meet up with kids on the ship and might find he wants to go wherever they are going on excursions. If they are going to a certain beach, he might want you to take him there. (Don't take a ship excursion to the beach in St. Maarten. Just hire a cab at the port. The driver will return for you. If he doesn't, others will be there waiting. No problem.)