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Old June 23rd, 2008, 08:15 PM
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Default HAL NOORDAM'S SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE

KUKI, DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT IS THE BEST EXCURSION ON ST. THOMAS, MARTINIQUE, ST. MAARTIN, GRANDA,AND DOMINICA? THIS IS OUR FIRST TRIP TO THESE ISLANDS AND WE COULD USE ANYBODY'S INPUT. THANKS SPACECOWBOY[/b]
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Old June 24th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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The first time we were in St. Thomas, Martinique and St. Maarten, which was many years ago, we took the island tour. You sort of get the feel of the islands.

We haven't been to Martinique in years, but the last time we were there the shop keepers were very rude - some would only speak to you if you spoke French.

A few times when we were in St. Maarten we took the tour to Marigot. We drove to Simpson Bay, boarded a 2 deck boat, then to Marigot and then to a nice beach for a swim & a drink. If you do this, watch your drink - the chickens roaming the beach love to have a taste of it..........they are very tame and you just have to shoo them away.

Spacecowboy - please do not type in Caps - that means you are yelling!
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Old June 24th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Deedee Thanks for the E- mail. I need all the information i can get. My wife and I want to enjoy the islands and wouldn't want to miss anything. Also thanks for the advice about the cap's. I am new to the internet. Any other advice would be greatly apreciated Spacecowby.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 07:47 PM
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e-mail?? I didn't send you an e-mail.

You're forgiven for typing in Caps - I had no idea that typing in caps meant you were yelling - my kids informed me of this when I first started on the internet many years ago!!

There will be so much to see on all the islands and you wont' get to see everything, so I suggest you book another cruise when you are on board - they only require $100.00 deposit pp when you do it this way. Actually you don't have to choose a date, ship, etc., as they hold the $100.00 in your Mariner account. If this is your first time with HAL, you will eventually get a Mariner number - may take them a while to advise you of it, but you will have one.

Any more questions, please ask. There's always someone here who can help you.

Have a wonderful cruise. What ship are you going on?
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Old June 26th, 2008, 06:14 PM
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Dee Dee, This is Spacecowboy. Thanks for replying. My wife Laurel and I are cruising on Jan. 3rd 2009 on Holland America's "Noordam." It's a 10 day southern caribbean cruise. We will be visiting St.Thomas, Martinique, St. Martin, Granada, Dominica,and Half Moom Cay. Any advice on these islands would be greatly apreciated. Thanks, Spacecowboy.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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You will love the Noordam. One of my favourite Vista ships. We were on her twice last year and had a great time.

I haven't been to Dominica or Granada in a long time so can't help you there.

When we stop at Half Moon Cay, we book a clam shell and spend the day at the beach - water is beautiful blue/green and is so refreshing. There's a delicious BBQ so we usually eat there rather than returning to the ship for lunch.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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It's not exactly an "excursion" but we think one of the best deals in St. Thomas is a trip on the cablecar to Paradise Point. We've done it 3 times and never get tired of the spectacular views. I think it is still $18.00 U.S. If you're leary of the cablecar, then you can go by cab. You stay as long as you want so if you had a trip in the morning, you'd still have time after lunch and it's within walking distance of the ship. Have a blast !!!
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Old June 27th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacdenv24
It's not exactly an "excursion" but we think one of the best deals in St. Thomas is a trip on the cablecar to Paradise Point. We've done it 3 times and never get tired of the spectacular views. I think it is still $18.00 U.S. If you're leary of the cablecar, then you can go by cab. You stay as long as you want so if you had a trip in the morning, you'd still have time after lunch and it's within walking distance of the ship. Have a blast !!!

It's only within walking distance of the ship if the ship is docked at Havensight. Now that HAL ships now dock at Crown Bay , the only way to get there would be by cab. I agree, the view from up there is spectacular.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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You're right Dee Dee! I had forgotten about Crown Bay. We've been to St. Thomas 6 times and twice docked at Crown, once with Celebrity once with Princess. I find Havensight so much easier-I didn't realize HAL always docked at Crown Bay. Something to remember for future cruises!
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Old June 27th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacdenv24
You're right Dee Dee! I had forgotten about Crown Bay. We've been to St. Thomas 6 times and twice docked at Crown, once with Celebrity once with Princess. I find Havensight so much easier-I didn't realize HAL always docked at Crown Bay. Something to remember for future cruises!
Maybe a year or two ago, HAL and another cruise line (can't remember if it's Carnival or Princess) signed a contract with the authorities in St. Thomas to dock at CB for xxx# of years, so that's where we always dock now.

The odd time when CB is full, a HAL ship will dock at Havensight or at the inner harbour. The inner harbour is great because the tender takes you right into downtown Charlotte Amalie.
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Old July 11th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Hi we are sailing on the Noordam on Nov 7th and I wonder about the coffee?
Do they brew their own coffee from beans? or use that junk syrup stuff that Princess is using? I like a good cup of Joe and it sure would make the cruise more enjoyable.
This will be our first time on Holland America and we look forward too it.
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Old July 11th, 2008, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierquilts
Hi we are sailing on the Noordam on Nov 7th and I wonder about the coffee?
Do they brew their own coffee from beans? or use that junk syrup stuff that Princess is using? I like a good cup of Joe and it sure would make the cruise more enjoyable.
This will be our first time on Holland America and we look forward too it.
They used to use that horrible syrup, but now use beans from a company in Seattle. I think it's a blend made for HAL's, but I'm not sure.

If you don't like the free coffee in the Lido, then try the great coffees they have in the Exploration Cafe. Although they are not free, they don't cost as much as Starbucks, and IMO are better than Starbucks. Also you get a free pastry with your coffee.

Oh, forgot to mention, cappuccino is free in the dining room at dinner.

If you are in a Deluxe Suite and have the privileges of the Neptune Lounge, there is a coffee machine in there - great coffee, cappuccino, & espresso and lots of goodies.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Dee Dee, that is good news, I have a small one cup coffee maker to take along on Princess cruises and I am glad that I can leave it at home now.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Spacecowboy, we were im Martinique last November and I must confirm what Dee Dee wrote. It is one of the most unfriendly islands and the shop keepers only spoke French to you even when they could understand English. Just like in Paris . The town is pretty dirty and none of the usual vendors along the dock. You have to go into town to spend your money. I think that this year we will find a cab and take an island tour to get away from that but we are not to the point yet.
We would rather do without Martinique but that is where the ship docks and we just have to make the best of it.


PS: does anyone know why the Noordam also stops in Soufriere, St Lucia for only one hour??? Must be some political technicality cuz it's not enough time to do anything.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
PS: does anyone know why the Noordam also stops in Soufriere, St Lucia for only one hour??? Must be some political technicality cuz it's not enough time to do anything.
The ship only stops in Soufriere (acutally it anchors in the bay, to pick up the passengers who have been on a tour (see below). The ship stays in Castries from 8am - 3pm, then sails up the coast past the twin Pitons to Soufriere.

If you notice on the itinerary there is an "sc" beside the port - this denotes a "service call".

I think this is the tour that starts in Castries and ends in Soufriere.

boat tours
Catamaran to
Fond Doux Estate
Approximately 6½ hours • $$
Board a custom-designed catamaran and sail down the west
coast past beautiful Marigot Bay, then on to the deserted cove of
Anse Cochon. The boat anchors to allow you an opportunity to
swim in the crystal clear Caribbean waters. At Fond Doux Estate,
step back in time and view cocoa, coffee and flame-of-the-forest
trees. Experience the 16th-century Amerindian way of life in a
re constructed Arawak village with thatched houses. Watch the
workers process manioc and sugar; visit an authentic copra oven,
where coconuts are used to make copra. A refreshment is served
in the Cocoa House before meeting the tenders at Soufrière jetty.
Please note: This tour begins in Castries and ends in Soufrière. The
ship will sail to Soufrière to pick up guests on this tour.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 01:53 PM
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I did love Martinique in spite of the contempt from the French no matter where you go. Put a frown on your face, look cranky and for goodness sakes don't say "Good Morning". lol

You'd have to check with the timeframe to do this but I like to take the ferry across the bay from the fort and town to the small area where the french vacation. There was a little store tucked in the condos in the dock area that has the best pate and french bread to enjoy. The beach is ok and the attitude-atmosphere is chilling but all in all I still love Martinique.

Miserable people but wonderful experience. I'm going back there on the Noordam in February so I'll see if things have changed. Hoping that little grocery store is still there and I hope the French have all taken happy-pills. If not, I hope the same American captain who won the (America's Cup????) Yacht race and openly celebrated with us in front of the french faces on the ferry is still winning the races and still laughing with a couple of American stranger who needed a laugh or two to remove the french frown we developed. lol

The cranky french are actually part of the charm once you get past the shock so don't worry about it. It was a fun place to visit in spite of that imo and not all of the french were nasty...just most.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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Thanks Norcal, how long does the ferry ride take? and how often do they run? sure wouldn't want to miss the ship and get stranded there
I bought a nice pair of European sandals in town but I sure had them going when I erased part of my credit card number. Took me 15 minutes to convince them that they didn't need it. I finally won thanks to my school French.

Thanks for the St Lucia second stop information Dee Dee, now it makes sense. We just took a cab to the Pitons and volcanic area last time that was a lot of fun. We had a super Cabbie who bought us local bread on the way and showed us all kinds of tropical fruits, well worth it.
Juergen
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Old July 12th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierquilts
Thanks Norcal, how long does the ferry ride take? and how often do they run? sure wouldn't want to miss the ship and get stranded there
I bought a nice pair of European sandals in town but I sure had them going when I erased part of my credit card number. Took me 15 minutes to convince them that they didn't need it. I finally won thanks to my school French.

Thanks for the St Lucia second stop information Dee Dee, now it makes sense. We just took a cab to the Pitons and volcanic area last time that was a lot of fun. We had a super Cabbie who bought us local bread on the way and showed us all kinds of tropical fruits, well worth it.
Juergen
Not sure how long that took other than maybe an hour???? but if you are standing at the fort or beach near town and look across to the land mass that looks close...that is the area. Tiime wasn't an issue when I was there so I'd probably put that question at the top of my list when we get there.

We have been the most conflicted by St Lucia because I want to take the back road over the jungle mountain AND I want to backtrack at the bottom to Margot Bay to show my husband both since it is his first time there. I hate that we have to be on the ship before 3:00 pm. I read that the last one hour stop in the second St. Lucia port is to pick up people on tours so I am going to call and find out if we can board at that stop instead of the 3:00 stop since we are not doing a tour. Did you have the cabbie for the entire day? How much was it if you don't mind my asking.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Yes Norcal we had the cabbie for most of the day, We ask how long the trip takes and do our shopping first than take a tour . We always cruise with another couple and I don't remember the exact fare but I think that it was about $40 or so. We split it and for 20 bucks each you have a wonderful tour.
There are always plenty of drivers around and you just need to pick the right one.
Just make sure on what ever island that you are, get the price up front and pay when the trip is over. If the trip exceeds our expectations, we also give a nice tip.
The trip lasted several hours and was much cheaper than if you get it on board. We went from Castries along the coast towards Soufriere, viewed and took pictures of the Pitons and then to the volcanic sulfur springs. smells like a slag pit in the steel mill .
There is an extra entry fee at the sulfur springs but worth paying. On the way back we stopped at a batique factory in Castries and watched them make it. The driver was never pushy to get back. You are probably his only fare and he wants to take care of you,they are great people and that is why we tip him.

This stop is not on this cruise but in St Thomas we found a good driver, its Raymond with his red cab that he calls his fire truck ( he is a local fire fighter)
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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Am thinking about this cruise in SY cabin. Any recommendation on which side of ship? Thanks!
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Old July 13th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darcy24
Am thinking about this cruise in SY cabin. Any recommendation on which side of ship? Thanks!

Port side - that way you can stand on your balcony and see the Pitons as you sail from Castries to Soufriere.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosierquilts
Yes Norcal we had the cabbie for most of the day, We ask how long the trip takes and do our shopping first than take a tour . We always cruise with another couple and I don't remember the exact fare but I think that it was about $40 or so. We split it and for 20 bucks each you have a wonderful tour.
There are always plenty of drivers around and you just need to pick the right one.
Just make sure on what ever island that you are, get the price up front and pay when the trip is over. If the trip exceeds our expectations, we also give a nice tip.
The trip lasted several hours and was much cheaper than if you get it on board. We went from Castries along the coast towards Soufriere, viewed and took pictures of the Pitons and then to the volcanic sulfur springs. smells like a slag pit in the steel mill .
There is an extra entry fee at the sulfur springs but worth paying. On the way back we stopped at a batique factory in Castries and watched them make it. The driver was never pushy to get back. You are probably his only fare and he wants to take care of you,they are great people and that is why we tip him.

This stop is not on this cruise but in St Thomas we found a good driver, its Raymond with his red cab that he calls his fire truck ( he is a local fire fighter)
Fantastic information. That is the way to go. I just read on a St. Lucia site that from Castries they have a ferry that takes about 15 minutes to get to Margot Bay as well so depending on how often it runs that may be another option. I guess Margot is only a 7 mile cab ride from the port too. In weighing all this and trying to pack my favorite sights in for my husband's first trip there at least I know there are options. I want him to love it enough to want to go back and stay a week or two! lol

How can you not love a cab driver that calls his ride a fire truck? If I go there again I will certainly look for the Fireman.

Thank you so much for all your information. It really helps because we may go that way.
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