My family is planning a cruise for next year. We have it narrowed down to 2 choices. A 7 night cruise on the Navigator doing the Western Caribbean or a 7 night cruise on the Serenade doing the Southern Caribbean. We have been on many RCCL that did the western Caribbean. My wife would like to try different ports and we have never been to the southern Carribean. However, my family likes active excursions and we hate shopping. We liked the western Caribbean because we could go to Sting Ray City in Caymen, Dunns River Falls in Jamacia and rent jeeps and drive around the island in Cozumel to the beautiful beaches on the other side of the island. Can anyone give me any insight into the Southern Caribbean Islands (St Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St Maarten and St Lucia). What kind of fun and active things are there to do? Has anyone been on both of these itineraries? If so, what did you perfer western or southern? Also, any thoughts from anyone that has been on both ships would be appreciated.
I have done the Southern Caribbean route the past two years in January, and I am booked again on the Serenade in January of '05. Needless to say, I love it! The Serenade is a beautiful ship, and I can't wait to go back. I feel safer going the Southern Caribbean route becuase I feel guaranteed that we won't miss any ports because you don't tender in on any of them. Also the islands are wonderful.
We don't normally take excursions offered by the cruiseline, but instead go off on our own. Cabs are available at every port and can take you to most places on your own for cheaper. You can also look at Shoretrips.com to check and compare prices. We took a cab to Red Hook on St. Thomas, and then caught a ferry over to St. John. Trunk Bay is wonderful, and you can't beat the scenery. There is a snorkeling trail at Trunk Bay. We took a cab to Orient Beach on St. Maarten. I bleieve that Antigua may have a stingray excursion, but we again just took a cab to a beach. We went snorkeling on St. Lucia, but I would probably recommend taking an excursion here. We took a cab to Anse Chastenet, and it took over an hour. It was a pretty hair-raising experience, but everything worked out. I was just afraid that this cabbie would get us there and then we would have no way to get back....he didn't leave us, but it did cause a little stress for me. The Pitons are quite a sight if you have a chance to see them. This past January our Captain took the ship right to the Pitons on our way out of St. Lucia, and then slowed down for us to get some great pictures. I think Barbados was my favorite, and the water was spectacular! You can take an excursion to swim with turtles here or try going to Folkstone Underwater Park. We snorkeled here, and it was wnderful. It is kind of a local place recommended by our cabbie when we told him we were wanting to snorkel. We had intended to go somewhere else, but he told us he would show us Folkstone and if we didn't like it we could go somewhere else. The fare was cheaper to Folkstone, so the only one that got jipped was him. He was great, and then the cabbie will usually just ask you when you want them to pick you up. It is a wonderful thing!
I could go on and on, but I will stop. I hope this helps, and I am sure you will have a wonderful time whatever you pick.