My family and I are going on the Golden Princess on 5/23 and have questions about the ports. Since they are pretty exotic, compared to other cruises, I want to know what we can do to have the best time.
--St. Kitts / Nevis
--Isla de Margarita
-Any worthwhile Princess excursions?
-Since we would like to do stuff on our own whenever possible, mostly just nice beaches and relaxing stuff like that...what kind of beaches can be reach via taxi? Cost?
-What would you stay away from?
Grenada - known as the "Spice Island" i would book a ships excursion that takes you up into the rainforest and tours the spice plantations. It will be a bit of culture shock but the scenery is magnificant and the spices are soooo wonderful especially the nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and saffron (you can get it really cheap)
St. Thomas/St. John - beautiful beaches on either island. We like to take the water taxi over to St.John and go the the beach to relax and do some snorkeling. Trunk Bay is the most popular and gets very crowded, we like Cinnamon Bay, or Hawksnest Beach.
Good shopping in St. Thomas - we like to shop downtown Charlotte-Amalie as opposed to Havensight Mall (the one right at the pier) Good deals on liquor, gold, jems,
tobacco, electronics, crystal and linen.
What happened to the picture of your beagle? All I see is something that says Image hosted by Angelfire.
We had picked the scenic train in St Kitts, but read somewhere that you don't get to see as much as other tours do because of where the railroad tracks are. Can't remember what we finally decided on. I will write back when I check the personalizer again
Lisa K, by water taxi to St. Johns, are you referring to the ferry from Red Hook or the one that leaves from the dock area. We'd really like to get to St. Johns and go to Trunk Bay or Cinnemon Bay - Which has the best snorkling? I thing we're going to hit the morning DePalm Island beach trip through Princess in Aruba. Have heard pretty good things about that trip. Still may book with Greg's Safaris in St. Kitts - he has a nice 1/2 day rain forest hike trip. Other than that, it's beaches and occasional shopping, with a local refreshment in a tall glass with umbrellas or flowers or fruit or something like that!! Just to keep it interesting. Only 16 days and a wake up!!! We're almost there!!
We have booked an independent tour in Grenada with A&E-four hour that takes to the falls, a nature hike and a stop for spices and in St. Kitts to see the sites. If anyone is interested in joining us e-mail me and I will give you the details. We are going to go over to St. Johns on our own and hit the beaches. Anyone made plans in Aruba or Isle Margaritia(?SP) Kim
Hello to all.
bucksdave: to get to St. John Island you have to take a taxi from the pier to Red Hook Harbor where you pick up the water taxi over to St. John. Once on St. John you grab a cab to the beach. As for the snorkeling - both beaches are really good. Trunk Bay is the most popular, they have a marked snorkel trail which is kind of neat- you know what you are looking at, however, the beach gets very crowded(all the cruise ships excursions end up here) and they charge an admission fee. Cinnamon Bay on the other hand is a bit more rustic shall we say - gorgeous beach, you might have to cilmb over a bank and some driftwood to get to the beach, much less crowded. Nice clean restrooms, a nice little outdoor grill to grab a burger, you can rent floats, snorkel gear. You have to swim out aways to get to the reef but its great.
May just try to get there early and hit Trunk Bay. I've heard a lot of very good things about that spot. Seems the key is to get there early. Someone was asking about Aurba, we're looking at the DePalm Island 1/2 day ticket to paradise. Have also heard good things about that. Kind of waiting to see what feedback we get from the cruise before is, if any. Basically, I don't want to get into the rush, rush mode, gotta be here gotta go there - have enough of that at work...Will take it very mellow and see where that leads us. Gotta have a great time regardless!! See y'all in 2 weeks....
Let me add another reason to get to St John's early so you can get out earlier if you are taking the Red Hook Ferry. We went on our own with no problems with taxis, or the ferry on the way over to St John. But we were scheduled to get on the last ferry out of St John before our ship left. i think it was the 4pm ferry. this gave us plenty of time, but we could not wait for the next one. Well, turns out that ferry fills up with all the locals who travel to work from St Thomas to St Johns every day. It turned into a mass of people rushing the gangway. People on tours were allowed to get on first so their group would stay together. The locals were yellins raciscm & fists started flying. I jumped over the rail near the gangway & pulled my wife over or we would not have made it. Since then we stick to the tours. I think it is possible to save money on your own, but we felt pretty vulnerable that day.
Just returned from the Golden with this itinerary yesterday.
Here's what our group of 5 did:
1) Since we all had been to St Thomas at least four times we took a water taxi to St John. We left the Havenside Port area. Cost to St John is $7 each way. Once in St John, took a short cab ride to Trunk Bay, cost around $4 per person. There were two ships in town that day, so the beach had some people there, but not too crowded. Be careful, as I cut my foot up pretty badly on either coral or rock on the floor of the ocean.
2) St Kitts is not a beach island. We dropped off one in our group at Frigot Bay (small beach, not much greenery. The rest of us booked a taxi on our own for three hours (cost $80 for all four of us). We were able to stop when we pleased, lots of photos ops, and had a nice dialogue about the island's history with the driver. We also stopped at a small park-like settting and watched how they make the beautiful batik clothing items. We all purchased shirts and/or dresses there. This is on the edge of the rain forrest, beautiful and lush. We spent an hour in the Basseterre. Not much there, typical junky tourist shops, boarded back on ship for a late lunch.
3) Grenada. Some in our group took a water taxi and spent the day at Grand Anse Beach. They enjoyed the water, and it was near hotels for drinks and snacks. The rest of us took a self-guiding walking tour through the town of St George's. Very steep streets, beautiful old churches, and the vendor stalls in town are not to be missed. Better prices on spices there, as opposed to the vendor stalls near the ship tender areas.
4) Isla de Margarita was a totally wasted stop. Would have rather had a day at sea instead. Nothing at all where the ship docks, other that a row of vendor stalls selling the usual tourist stuff. The nearest town is a long 45-minute taxi ride. Being that the ship arrives at 7am, and you need to be back on ship by 1230pm, there is little time to explore anything. Those that took the ship tours here were very disappointed. Not much to see on this flat, desert island. My advise is to stay on baord and ejoying a near-empty ship that morning.
5) Aruba. Great island. This island has wonderful beaches in the Palm Beach area. We took a taxi ride (about $5 per person to the Hyatt Regency. We used their fantastic pool right on the beach. As non hotel guests, we rented chaise lounges and floting lounges for $10 each. Had a nice lunch on the beach. Plenty of bars just several feet away from the beach. Thos that took an island tour were disappointed, as this is a desert island without much too see. Spend the day at the beach here! Afterwards, we spent about an hour in the main town of Oranjestad, and bought a few things.
The cruise sponsered tours are way too expensive and not personal. Those that took the Grenada tour were in a tightly packed bus with no air conditioning for four hours.
When you book a taxi, you get tell the driver what you want to see and how long you want to visit each site. You can stop whenever you like (inlcuding stops for drinks, snacks, and lunch), plus you get to converse directly with the driver about the history and culture of the island. You also reach scenic and toursity points when no one else is there, so you are alone and without the crowds from your tour.
Thanks so much for your informative post. We are going to be on those islands in 5 days:-) Getting excited, Been to St. Thomas so we opted for the beach this time, also with Grenada and Aruba too. I agree with you about Isle Marg. too bad it couldn't be a sea day! It sounds like your group had a wonderful time I'm sure we will too. This board will be filled with many comments after we all come back. Thanks again for your honest info.