My fiance and I are sailing in a few weeks for our honeymoon and want to make the most of this 7 day cruise! We would like some tips on the best shore excursions and shopping, how should we plan our time aboard? We don't want to lock ourselves into a busy schedule but would like to pick a few of the best. We really love snorkeling and I've been wanting to swim with the Dolphins. We'll be sailing to the Southern Carribean to Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and St. Johns Antigua.
Ahhhhhhh yes....another Radiance traveler....We leave March 8th....I went online to try to book some shore excusions but I was unable to do it yet. Have you even tried to do it yet? When I go to thier website, this celebrity "win a cruise" pops up. Let me know if you have any luck. My travel agent told me snorkling in St John (St Thomas) is a MUST!!! Let me know if you are able to book the trips off the website!!!
We will be going on Radiance 2-22-03, and from previous RCCL cruises, we should be able to pre-book excursions 60 days prior to the cruise. Is there anything that looks good and you have to do, need some suggestions?
I don't know of any stops on your trip where there might be a dolphin encounter, but after looking at what is being offered (and I am a scuba and snorkel bum) I suggest:
Barbados: Do a sail and snorkel, most of them stop in Carlisle Bay which has some great shallow water wrecks to snorkel. Or the Horseback tour, which my wife did and loved it. You see a lot of the island and after still have time to got to the Mount Gay Rum Factory.
St Lucia: Go on the St Lucia Beach Snorkel. They take you over to a resort located at the marine park. The water is very clear, but a little chilly. Lots of fish life and an odd grey sand. Great beach too. Would do this again in a heartbeat.
St Thomas: Do either the Buck Island Sail and Snorkel or the Captin Nautica Power Raft, the Buck Island trip is a nice relaxing ride over to a cove on Buck island. You snorkel in a sheltered cove, but no beach, it is all rock and coral. It is deep too, 6ft by the shore to over 40 in the middle. The Capt Nautica, you go on a 30ft zodiak raft with 2 huge outboard engines. It is a fast and sometimes rough ride over to Lesser St james for some snorkeling, then over either Honeymoon Beach or Trunk Bay for an other hour or two. You get some beach time and the snorkeling is easier on a novice, and if you like rollercoasters, then you would enjoy the boat ride. I loved both (2 sep cruises). When you get back there is enough time to shop in the stores near the ship for a couple of hours.
St Maarten: avoid the timeshare sales people. My wife did the Butterfly farm and I went diving the first time there. The water can be rough for snorkeling and diving. I hear good things about the Golden Eagle tour. This last time there, we just shopped (it was our 10th anniver) and hung out at Everyting Cool (don't buy the ship package for that, just show up and walk right in). Great place to spend a day drinking on the beach. If it has rum in it, they can make it.
San Juan: The Bicardi Tour is fun (if you like drinking), other than that, we usually just walk around Old San Juan.
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That's wonderful!! We're getting married on November 23, 2002 and spending the first few days of our honeymoon doing something else (I'm not sure b/c my fiance planned it as a secret). We'll definetly have to meet up and congratulate each other!! What excursions have you planned? We just finally booked a few, the dolphins in the afternoon in Antigua (we wanted to go in the morning so we could do Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise in the afternoon), so we're going to do Jolly Roger in Barbados. We also booked a snorkel to St. Johns at St. Thomas. I can't wait, I'm sooo excited about this cruise!!!
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Congrats to you! We are getting married November 29th - and we'll be on the cruise the next night! I am not sure how to book excursions - we've been so busy with wedding plans we kind of put it on the back burner. Did you book them through RC? I just found this website yesterday - help! We'll have to meet for a cocktail or something! Any tips you can give us would be much appreciated!
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I definetly know what you're talking about!! The cruise was supposed to be a surprise but my fiance got a little nervous about the packing restraints and stuff, so he decided to tell me about it I've been hitting this board and the cruisecritic board for advice. So far the suggestions that I've gotten are to snorkel in St. Thomas (take an excursion to St. John and Trunk Bay), shop in St. Maarten, visit Orient Beach (not sure which port off the top of my head), and do the Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise if you like to drink. We are also going to swim with Dolphins in Antigua b/c I've wanted to do it since I was a kid.
From what I've heard you can't go wrong with most of the excursions depending on what you like to do and I've been reading lots of reviews about the ship. Sounds like we're going to have a ton of fun on this cruise!!!
How are your wedding plans going? I just can't believe it's almost here!! We've been planning for a year!
Let me know if you want other suggestions, you can book excursions on the rccl.com website up to 10 days in advance I believe. You can also book on the ship. I've been on one other RC cruise back when I was a kid (Majesty of the Seas).
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If you are on the RC website it is listed as one of the shore excursions. I know for our sail (Nov. 23) the morning one is closed to online booking (may be able to book onboard). We chose the afternoon one. Here's an excerpt:
Your tour begins with a short taxi ride from the pier to the natural saltwater lagoon at Marina Bay where one of the Marine Animal Behaviorists of Dolphin Fantaseas welcomes you. Before your dolphin encounter, you are given an educational briefing on the life and habits of dolphins and guidelines on interacting with them so that it will be a safe and memorable experience. Following your briefing, you enter the lagoon to join the dolphins in their watery world. Touch their smooth silky skin as you hand feed them one of their favorite treats, fish. You will be able to look underwater and see how they swim, hear their echolocation and come away with a much broader appreciation for these beautiful creatures. During the tour, you will have time to stroll around the Dolphin Fantaseas shop, order pictures of your encounter or buy small gifts for family and friends back home. This is a day to leave all your troubles behind and enjoy an unforgettable day in the sea and sun.
Note: Life jackets are provided and required. Masks and snorkels are provided for your dolphin encounter.
That's a great itinerary. I've done it twice. Here, briefly, are my recommendations:
Barbados - not a great snorkelling island. A land tour is nice (Harrison's cave, Welchman's gully, flower forest, or a full island tour). Horseback riding on Bathesheba (east coast) is fun.
St. Lucia: Take a snorkeling/catamarin ride up the east coast to the Pitons. This is one of the most beautiful sights in the Caribbean. The return takes you by land to the walk in volcano and other major sights, but the hilight by far is the snorkel sail. A bit expensive and long, but worth it.
St. Thomas: This is a beautiful island. Take a ride up to Drake's Seat and possibly to Mt. Top, but you get terrific views at Drake's Seat if you don't won't to lose the extra time. The snorkelling here is good at: Coki Beach, Secret Harbor, and Sapphire. Alternately, you can go to St. John, but this will eat into your time for the day. If you are a strong swimmer, there is excellent coral on the west side of Coki way out on the point of the cove. But be warned, you need to be a strong swimmer. The current works against you on the return trip and it is rocky cliff lined out to the point. Also, I've always seen iguanas on the St. Thomas beaches...and added treat :-)
St. Maarten: Tour the island, particularly the French side and Margot, a picture village. The snorkelling is just ok at Pinel Island and Long Beach. I haven't found great snorkeling spot here yet.
Puerto Rico: Tour old San Juan & one of the forts (El Morro or Cristobol). I prefer El Morro and it quaint cemetary. For a longer tour, El Yunque Rainforest is ok. The water is too rough in San Juan to really snorkel.
St. Johns Antigua: Snorkel Paradise Reef. Some of the best and most abundent coral I've seen. If you can get a private charter, not an excursion, they can take you to a better location on the reef that isn't as damaged from tourists that aren't careful.
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Thanks so much for the tips! I know - it's here - can't believe it! Are you having a big wedding? What state are you in? We are from Long Island, NY. We've never cruised before - but we both are really looking forward to it. After the cruise we are going to spend a few nights in Old San Juan. My only concern is that i DID NOT lose the weight I was hoping to - not even for the wedding - more for the cruise - everyone looks great in a wedding gown!!! Oh well - can't wait! The one other thing I will ask you is how to master this and that other site - I'm not the greatest at this stuff! Thanks so much - and best of luck!