Go Back   CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums > Cruise Lines (Mainstream) > Holland America
Register Forgot Password?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 19th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 5
Default Noordam Southern Jan.3 - What to do on islands for Anniver.

Travelling Jan. 3 with our college daughter to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, St. Maarten and HAL's private island.

Another post from a different person asked for information about the ports but only one person really answered the question about what to do, so I'm asking but didn't want people to think I didn't search the boards first.

This is our 3rd Holland America cruise - the last one was about 8 years ago and I am wondering if I made a big mistake booking the Noordam for our 25th Anniversary. Of course, everyone has their own + and - comments, but unfortunately, I'm reading lots of negative I guess I was hoping for that special HAL treatment we had years ago and wanted to revist it again. Since we put the money down, I guess we're going and will try to make the best of it.

Please cruisers, help by telling us what to do on the islands.We aren't gamblers nor big shoppers - unless it's native artisan items. We really just want to lie on beaches and rest in the sun if possible. What beaches or beach hotels would you suggest to go to? If there aren't beaches, then what are your suggestions?

Thank you in advance.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 19th, 2008, 01:18 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,139
Default

I'm really not too familiar with those islands, though I have been to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, as well as Hallf Moon Cay.

There will be a variety of shore excursions offered by the ship, as well as vendors on the pier hawking their tours. These Caribbean islands are great places for snorkling, or really any type of water activity. If you are a SCUBA diver, I can personally attest to the beauty of St. Thomas and St. Maarten for SCUBA. I did my open water certification dives in those two ports on a Princess cruise.

A beach day on any of those islands is a great, and economical, way to spend your day. A taxi to a nearby beach won't cost you that much and the taxi expense will be just about your only expense, unless you decide to drink or eat at the beach.

For Half Moon Cay, if you want to do any "excursion" type things, you'll have no choice but to book through Holland America ... because it's their island and they are the only excursion providers there. For myself, I love parasailing there. It's a neat photo when you can get a shot of your ship anchored a ways from shore, and get that photo from high above. Parasailing is also a neat "once in a lifetime experience" that might make a great way to celebrate an anniversary. It's also something that the whole family can do.

If parasailing isn't your thing, they also offer glass bottom boat tours and eco-hikes, and stuff of that nature.

Another neat thing you might want to consider is celebrate your anniversary by renting a private cabana on the island. I think they will hold up to four people, and you can get them with or without butler service. The cabanas, from what I understand, provide a nice private retreat that you can relax and spend the day in. They come with snacks and I believe they are air conditioned. They also come with some water toys included in the cabana price. You can find details/pricing for these on HAL's website.

As for the Noordam, I've never been on that ship, so I honestly can't tell you one way or the other whether you made a mistake in booking her. I personally don't like the larger ships, so I generally steer clear of the Vistas (and the new Signature class) ships.

But, I've always found that a cruise to a great extent is what you make of it. If you go with the plan to have fun, you won't let a few negative features wreck your trip. I'm sure the ship is not that bad. After all, it is a HAL ship, and they are all pretty special, right?

Blue skies and have a wonderful trip!

--rita
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old August 19th, 2008, 01:34 PM
crusin' fool's Avatar
Senior Member
Cruise Maniac
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Posts: 154
Default

I am a big HAL fan and I hear wonderful things from my friends who have sailed on the Noordam

You might want to consider a renewal of your marriage vows on your anniversary. That is a great way to celebrate your 25th.

We did our 25th on the Ryndam Hawaii/Tahiti cruise. Regardless of what you do your memories will last forever. Have a fantastic cruise.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2008, 07:39 AM
Junior Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: MA
Posts: 18
Default

We sailed to the Carribean on the Noordam in February 2007 and 2008, and visited a number of the same ports.

My experience with independent excursions in the Caribbean in non-existent, as my husband is the nervous type and terrified of missing the ship.

One Holland America excursion which I thought was terrific was the Champagne Catamaran Sail in St Maarten. We spent a glorious afternoon sailing the shores of the island, with 2 significantly long stops, one for snorkeling and one for swimming.

This February, there were many families with kids on the ship, since the trip corresponded with the school vacation in the Northeast, and many of them grabbed cabs to the beach in St Thomas (the cabs are available as soon as you get off the ship). Everyone we spoke with who did independent beach excursions seemed to have had a great day.

We were celebrating our anniversary on this cruise and had a lovely dinner at the Pinnacle Grille...the food and service were excellent.

I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip - the Noordam is a lovely ship and her crew is very attentive and anxious to make your sailing memorable.
__________________
"I must go down to the sea again"
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2008, 08:35 AM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 5
Default Thank you for responding - keep those comments coming!

Thank you to all for responding.

Any other cruise mates with info about the islands -- I'd appreciate your advice about what to do on Grenada, Martinique, etc.

Everyone here is so kind to respond - I appreciate all your details and ideas.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2008, 03:56 PM
Trip's Avatar
Moderator
Admiral
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Boston
Posts: 19,812
Send a message via ICQ to Trip
Default

Quote:
Travelling Jan. 3 with our college daughter to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, St. Maarten and HAL's private island.
I happened to love Grenada..We did a tour that stopped at one of the 10 most beautiful beaches..Grand Anse Beach..do a search and you will agree with the polls, it was gorgeous! They also took us into the hills to see the nutmeg farms, and, the market by the port..This island has the prettiest curved harbor...just watch as you cross the streets., they drive English style, oh and btw, the pushiest cabbies in the Carib! This is a tendered port....

Martinique is considered by many to be a place to pass on..I really enjoyed this bit of France in the Caribbean..we just shopped, but there is a butterfly farm there I remember....A Mercedes cab can take you to the beach..They take price in their cabs..no sandy bodies allowed:)

Dominica is a very eco tourist island...really no shopping at all...there are many tours to bring you up into the mountains to explore.

St Thomas, has Megans Beach, ...glorious...or ferry over to St Johns, for what some consider to be the best place to snorkle....

St Maarten has Orient Beach...partial nudity, and Dawn Beach as well, both get raves... Have a great cruise!
__________________


Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator


Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:25 AM
Junior Member
Welcome Newcomer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4
Default

We're on the same trip. We spent a week on Martinique...beautiful island. There is a wonderful botanic garden, a small version of Mont Marte's (sp?) Sacre Coeur, the home of Josephine, wife of Napoleon, beautiful beaches, both white and black, and great food. But most important of all their rum is the best in the world. Made from sugar cane instead of molasses, and the French treat it like their wines. HAL has tours to most of these places. Check out their web site for this trip.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2008, 03:53 PM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 5
Default Can you name the best beach on Martinique, Grenada, Dominica

Thank you to all - any additional info is appreciated.

Can anyone recommend the best white sand beach on Martinique, Grenada, and Dominica?

We're looking to take a cab to a beach and would like to get some chairs, have access to a toilet, and food without being bothered by too many solicitors on the beach, if at all possible. Any ideas from expert cruisers or past vacationers on these islands?

Thank you.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2008, 04:04 PM
Junior Member
Welcome Newcomer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4
Default

For beaches in Martinique, try this website:

http://martinique-guide.info/attractions/beaches/

The guide is also very helpful.

Regards,
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2008, 06:33 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 1,273
Default Re: Can you name the best beach on Martinique, Grenada, Domi

Quote:
Originally Posted by italiacook
Thank you to all - any additional info is appreciated.

Can anyone recommend the best white sand beach on Martinique, Grenada, and Dominica?

We're looking to take a cab to a beach and would like to get some chairs, have access to a toilet, and food without being bothered by too many solicitors on the beach, if at all possible. Any ideas from expert cruisers or past vacationers on these islands?

Thank you.
I don't think you can go to any beach in the islands without being disturbed by hawkers. Even when we stayed in Barbados for a couple of weeks we were bothered by themat the beginning of our stay, but once they got to know us, they left us alone. .

Back in the late 80's when we were in Martinique we took a ferry, docked near where the ship docks, to a lovely beach where we rented chairs and their were places to buy food. Don't remember about restrooms, but I'm sure they were there. This beach was topless/optional. If you do take this ferry over, just make sure you leave plenty of time to return to the ship because they made a few stops at hotels on the way back.

Granada - Grand Anse Beach - beautiful white sand. No chairs or places to eat that I can remember, but again that was a long time ago. Hawkers, YES!
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old November 1st, 2008, 05:45 PM
Junior Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Posts: 16
Default Grenada is just fabulous

Depends how long your ship is in but when we were in Grenada we did the following and can highly recommend it.

Grenada Seafaris is run/owned by a young English couple Suzanne and Howard who simply can't do enough to make sure you are really getting the most from their tour and are enjoying yourself.

I expected a bit of a fast ride on the boat and then a snorkel BUT it is way more than that. They take you on a sightseeing trip and fill every stop with a huge amount of nautical facts and history. Pirates, Privateers eg Sir Francis Drake, the revolution, gold washed up on shore in Ivan, modern wrecks. this is all mixed in with more eco facts than I could wrap my head round - underwater volcanoes, the turtle watching and their preservation on the island, setting up the marine sanctuary and how that works with the fishermen, renewing the coral reefs with statues, architecture on the island etc.

The statue park is super and as friends of the artist Jason Taylor, they understood and explained what he was creatign with each piece. Albert (biggest smile ever Very Happy ) actually got into the water with us and made sure we had the most time in the right places so we didn't waste a second looking for the statues. Fabulous fish in there too. Whist we waited for everyone to get back into the boat we fed the fish that came in their hundreds to have a look at us strange two legged beasties.

I cant even describe the boat so check out their website www.grenadaseafaris.com. Looks fast - it is but oh so comfortable and safe too!! The life vests, snorkel gear, fins etc was the best I've come across when doing sea trips, in fact it looked brand new. They offered drinks of juice and water and our little gang of 5 simply had the best time.

In fact we enjoyed it so much we decided not to sit on the beach but to do a short island tour to see the land side of things too. We walked through the mall and got a trip from the Taxi Association which is in a little booth inside. Our driver was Pete and he whisked us up to the top of the island to feed the monkeys at Grand Etang. On the way back we stopped for a quick swim in the waterfalls then a brief stop at the Fort to get a fantastic view of the sea, the island and our boat. The whole way there and back he did not stop talking about the plants we were seeing, the places we were going through, what it was like during and post the hurricane, what we really should see if we had more time if we ever came back.

I cannot stress how much we enjoyed this day out - so much we're going to check out a longer term holiday there. Contact Suzanne on seafarisales@hotmail.com for more info on their tour and head for the Taxi Association booth about halfway through the mall - can't miss it.
__________________
ZanyCruiser
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2008, 12:45 PM
Junior Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 13
Default

We are also booked on the Noordam on this date. We took the Noordam in December and fell in love with the ship. It is beautiful and you never feel like there's alot of people. We've done the Caribbean quite a few times and most of the islands are quite similar. We usually grab a cab for sight seeing. Some of the beaches are close to the dock.The Pinnacle Grill is a great place to celerate you anniversary. Make sure you let HAL know it's a specialo occasion. Sue
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2008, 04:16 PM
jacdenv24's Avatar
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Bobcaygeon, Ontario
Posts: 643
Default

St. Thomas has great beaches but I would suggest taking the ferry to St. Johns. It's gorgeous! It's a National park so very pristine. If you're into snorkeling, go to Trunk Bay. Very picturesque. There is an underwater snorkeling trail, restrooms and showers. Also a restaurant I think.
We were in Martinique 15 years ago and asked a cab driver to take us to a nice beach. He took us to the Arawak Hotel where we told them we were from a cruise ship and could we use their beach. No problem. We were also free to use the washrooms and the restaurant. Not sure if this is still an option-or even if the hotel is still there. Keep in mind that this is a French Island with a lot of French vacationers and all the beaches are topless. And very little English spoken-but that may have changed.
__________________
Oceanus 1987
Splendor of the Seas 1997
Regal Empress 1998
Horizon 2000
Summit 2001
Sovereign of the Seas 2003
Noordam 2003
Zenith 2004
Mercury 2005
Princess Sun 2006
Princess Sea 2007
Constellation 2008
Mercury 2009
Constellation 2010


Celebrity Silhouette
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 5
Default Thanks to all for recent responses

Thank you for responding and keeping this post going. I appreciate all your knowledge. Feel free to keep responding!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
caribbean, excursions, noordam, shore, southern, topless

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
HOLLAND AMERICA'S NOORDAM SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN JAN.3, 09 SPACECOWBOY CruiseMates Group Cruises 0 July 1st, 2008 06:16 PM
Southern Caribbean Islands Information flamomo Shore Excursions 0 September 16th, 2006 11:43 AM
Southern Carribean Islands charmane Caribbean & Panama Canal 16 May 10th, 2004 01:27 PM
Beaches-Southern Carib Islands Bill Princess Cruise Lines 9 September 7th, 2001 11:11 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:22 PM.
design by: Themes by Design

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1