Has anyone ever taken the full day boat/bus shore excursion on St. Lucia? Is it worth the time and money? Can it be arranged independently? We are six family members sailing on the Constellation on November 23. If we take the ship's excursion is there any way to assure taking the bus tour first so we don't have to sit on the bus in the afternoon in wet swimsuits?
Your comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
We did this in St. Lucia in March and enjoyed it a lot - although I think the land portion was better than the sea portion. I'm sure it can be arranged independently, but this was a cruise on short-notice for us, and we simply did not have time to check it out. One thing for sure, after seeing the hairpin curves and narrow roads, I was glad we had not rented a car ourselves.
I found this particular tour to be the best way of seeing as much of the island as possible in one day. We did the water part first and I do believe there was quite sufficient time for suits to dry for the "bus" part. Keep in mind the bus part is probably not quite what you think. You are taken from the pier in Soufire to lunch(where you could use the restroom to change out of your suit, then to botanical gardens, then to the "volcano" then back to the pier where you swith to larger buses for ride back to Castries (with no further stops, but it is a fairly long ride).
To insure you get the land part first, get off the ship first and speak up as to your preference. We quite enjoyed that tour.
Although there are independent tour operaters, I do not recall one offering as comprehensive a tour.
Visited St. Lucia in February on the Summit and opted for the island tour with our own car and driver, rather than the island tour through the ship's shore excursion desk. Not only is it cheaper, but you don't have the hassle of waiting for 30 or 40 people to get on and off the bus at each stop - not to mention the ever present stragglers who always keep everyone waiting! When you exit the cruise terminal in St. Lucia you'll be met by hordes of drivers offering island tours. Pick one, bargain with him (you can usually get them down from their original price) and enjoy the island.
We did the ship's excursion that let us go in both directions on the catamaran. It docked and we transferred to minibuses to see the volcano and plantation. The swim stop was towards the end of the trip and you dried off while sailing.
We went to St Lucia last year. At the dock, a lot of taxis and mini-vans line up and you can rent them for a day rather than get on an excursion. With that many people, Call Avis, rent a van and you will really save. They drive on the left like in England, but it is not that hard to get used to. I like to bring a portable GPS so I can verify my direction and figure out how close I am to the ship. I rented cars all over the Carribean and it ranges from 40-60 per day. Excursions usually start at $60 per person. Get an international driver's license. In Antigua, you have to buy a 1 day license for $16