I am cruising on the Golden X-mas week with my husband and 3 sons.
I was wondering which shore excursions people had taken and particulaly enjoyed and would recommend. Also, if you made the reservations in advance or once you were onboard.
Take the Wild thing excursion in St Thomas, it's a snorkling tour( doesn't matter that you may have never snorkled anyone can do it!!) It is the best tour we've ever done, we aren't big boozers so we stay away from "booze cruises" so we really enjoyed this boat trip around the little coves and bays. They do serve snacks(as I recall chips etc,) and beverages( but it wasn't booze)and they take you on a fun ( fast) boat ride then stop at several different stops to snorkle , they suppy all the equipment and instructions.
You didn't say how old your kids were.This would be fun for any boy who likes the water, can swim ( does not have to be a good swimmer as they wear a life type vest)and is at least 8 or 9.( You should check minimum age requirements with cruise line).
Book BEFORE you go.
Grand Cayman, don't bother booking an island tour with ship, just get one of the mini bus tours that are at the docks. MUCH cheaper and there isn't alot to see other than the magnificent 7 mile beach( just take a taxi to the beach out fornt of the Holiday Inn.)
Swimming with the sting rays ( I've havn't done it ) sounds like the best ship tour on Gand Cayman. There are lots of post about it, sounds really great, but, then the age and temperments of the kids need to be considered( some kids may be too young or just not inclined to get in the water with these creatures)
When we did "Wild Thing" a couple of years ago we went to trunk bay to snorkle. I do remember the rum punch they served just had a little rum when we started, They didnt want anyone getting drunk while snorkling BUT just before they left Trunk Bay I watched one of the staff add 5 fifths of rum to what was left of the punch. Wild Thing is a lot of fun and they have non alcohol drinks too.
St Marteen has the American sailing regatta which you acually race sail boats & no experience is needed. This too was a lot of fun.
Grand Cayman's snorkling with the sting-rays is not to be missed. This tour has been done for the 25 years or so meaning the sting-rays are quite tame. Where else can you swim with sting-rays????
p.s. string rays have no teeth.
Jolee, if your older boys like to snorkle then just do a beach day, the two older ones can snorkle and the younger one can just play around. There are many nice beaches where you can snorkle and swim.In St. Marten we did a beach, but I can't remember the name, we just asked a taxi driver to take us to a nice beach( we often do that) I do remember it was on the "French " side of the island.Many of those beaches are topless but I don't remember seeing anyone undressed, you had better go on a "port" board for more specific info on that.
If the boys have water shoes bring them. Your younger son could try snorkling, my son did it in Hiawaii when he was six, he wasn' t a strong swimmer either but we went to a calm beach and he did wear a snorkle vest which is an inflated vest that helps you float on top of the water and look around.
Good luck and happy cruising!
St. Thomas, go to either Mangan's Bay (take a taxi - not a ship excursion). The Bay is on the "other side" of the island from where the ship docks. Beautiful beaches, nice day on your own (not very expensive taxi ride)
Go to St. John's. We love St. John's beaches and go there each time we cruise to St. Thomas. You need to get their by excursion, ferry, or catamaran.
I no longer waste time shopping in St. Thomas. Do your homework before you leave home by checking local prices for booze and perfume. I don't think the price differential is worth carrying all the stuff home. I got ripped off purchasing jewelry there, I will never buy jewelry in the islands. T-shirts are cheap wash them once and they fall apart (unless you purchase the more expensive ones).
Bottom line, enjoy the beaches, swimming, sun bathing, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc.
Wild Thing in St. Thomas docks at Maagens Bay. We didn't snorkel, but for the $75pp cost we got to drink and the most beautiful Beach in St. Maarten. This excursion drops you off at the secluded part of the beach, far from the tour buses....I don't recommend Maagen's Bay by Bus Excursion,my friend says it was crowded on that side of the beach. Plus Wild Thing drives through the Picturesque Charlotte Amelie. ENJOY!