Going out on the Mariner on May 1 and my wife and I were wondering about the portd. We've been to Naussa,but not St Thomas or St Maarten.
Where's the best shopping ,beaches and excursions. This is our 2nd cruise withRCCL
and the first on the Mariner and we can't wait. If we can get a heads up we'd appreciate it.
Many years ago St. Thomas was known for it's shopping. However in the last ten years there have been no bargains to be had there. I have found I do much better in St. Maarten. Aside from the shops, there is a little known flea market where I find great buys for all the grandchildren.
I agree, the shopping on St. Maarten was much better than St. Thomas. The only benifit to St. Thomas is that it is a U.S. Territory, so you can bring in more duty free from St. Thomas than other Carribean ports.
I would love to know if you were to ask the locals (taxi driver) in St Maarten would they know where this flea market is? Or pehaps you might email me or post here and tell us how to get there from the port.
We well be sailing June 26th on the Mariner and I to would like to pick up some neat items for the kids and grandkids.
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Carnival Sensation 2003 Grand Cayman Cozumel
Carnival Victory 2004 New York to Canada
RCI Mariner 2005 St. Thomas St Marteen
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St. Martin gets my vote too for the better and less crowded shopping along the main street which is now closed off to vehicle traffic. Take the water taxi across the bay (was $5 RT). I believe the "flea" market mentioned is the bazaar area behind the Old Town Hall which is right at the head of the ferry pier (old pier for tenders). Just walk down the side street to the Right as you look at this beautifully resorted Dutch building and you will find the vendors. There are many and they all want to haggle or bargain. If you need a break for a soda, coffee or snack, stop into the Kangaroo Court. The owner is from Massachusetts. If looking for nice jewelry Kay's gets my recommendation. Buy a gem stone or stones on board ship and have it set in about one hour. Great way to go home with original piece of jewelery for a lot less. Boolchands is still #1 for camera's and electronics.
As an avid cruiser and bargain shopper, I suggest taking a morning tour or going to Dawn or Orient Beach by taxi for a few morning hours, asking the driver to return for you about 1 to 2 p.m. Have him drop you off downtown and you take the water taxi back to the ship. This way you can experience the local island and get some great shopping done.
St. Thomas has many of the same shops right as Charlotte Amalie at the Havensight pier too and they are very willing to bargain as they know most folks head straight into town. My favorite shop is Beverly's. Again, a half day jitney tour is great, stops at Maegan's Bay for swimming & sun is another must do. Pace yourself or you will get too tired.
Nassau is my least favorit Eastern port, but a taxi to Atlantis and a tour of the Dig is something nice to do there. You can do all of these ports on your own thus saving money for shopping! The new Straw Market is very close, hot and crowded with rude vendors.
I agree with everyone else about St. Martin being better for shopping deals. I always shop at Majesty Jewelers in the downtown area and they have given me some great deal on watches and gold jewelry.
They even send me a letter, calendar and a gift certificate every year. Luckily for me (not hubby) we will be there again this December. Majesty Jewelers told me they are revitalizing the downtown area and making is a much shopper-friendly area. Can't wait to see it.
I was just in St. Thomas and shopped downtown but when I returned to the Havensight Mall near the pier, the prices were lower for what I bought downtown in the same store. The reason being, was that the salespeople work on a commision downtown and the Havensight Mall are family and owners only. The stores are the same just smaller scale than downtown, so if you want to go to the beaches and then shop afterwards, I would skip the downtown area and just go to the Havensight Mall.
As far as Nassau goes, Atlantis is nice to see at least once and there are some interesting shops down the side streets/alleys in Nassau. Usually though we stay on the ship and enjoy some relaxing time, especially if Nassau is the last stop before home.
I just got back from St Maarten. If you do nothing else on this cruise, take the America’s Cup Sailing Regatta shore excursion. It was the highlight of the trip. We were on Stars and Stripes, I was a “rear stay grinder” and we won the race. It was unbelievably fun and unique. The crew was blast.