St. Maarten...take a quick taxi ride into town and rent a jeep. I drove all over the island on both the dutch and english sides and found many awesome spots to take pictures, get souveneirs, lay out on the beach. Careful on the dutch side as conversion rates for the dollar are TERRIBLE and a damn burger costs $20.
Also, head back a little early....we got stuck in traffic near the airport on our way back and had to turn around and go back around the entire island.
BTW, if you haggle enough like we did, we were able to rent a Jeep for under $100 for the WHOLE DAY.
I second the Trunk Bay excursion. There's a great underwater snorkle trail and a decent little food shack. Since it's a U.S. National Park there aren't condos or hotels built everywhere. I would say its the second most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Afterwards we still had time to take the cable car up to Paradise Point. Great view, good drinks, decent souvenir shopping, and a fun bird show.
I still haven't been to St. Maarten.
When we went to St. Marten with our four boys we wanted a beach where the clothes were kept on. We took a short taxi ride around the other side of the bay to the Little Divi Bay Resort it was the most beautiful beach, no charge except for the umbrellas, very quiet and there was a beach hut where you could get drinks and a place you could rent waverunners and other watersports. It is a timeshare resort and they only asked us when we first arrived if we wanted to take a tour we said no and they left us alone.
At St. Thomas we took an island tour through the ship and had a wonderful time but felt rushed, we only had 2 hours at Magen's Bay and wished we would have went on our own so we could have relaxed more. Both islands are safe and depending on what you want to do going at it on your own is not a problem as long as you make it back to the ship on time.
Oasis September 3, 2011
Adventure November 20, 2011
Mariner January 8, 2012
Radiance April 2, 2011
Mariner January 9, 2011
Oasis 9 October 2010
Majesty 20 August, 2010
Mariner January 31, 2010
Adventure September 27, 2009
Explorer March 27, 2009
Monarch January 9, 2009
Liberty September 2008
Mariner June 2007
Monarch June 2006
On each of our 2 visits to St Thomas we've enjoyed taking an island tour with Sunny Liston Tours. For $25 per person he takes you on a 2 -3 hour tour with stops in town for shopping, incredible views of the ships in port from way up on the mountainside.... mountaintop ... home of the "world famous banana daiquiri. Then he takes you to the beach of your choice (we chose Sapphire.... we love it) where you can spend 2 hours and then it's back to the ship. There's singing and music all along the way and it's a LOT of fun. We very very highly recommend this as a great way to get a good taste of St Thomas. Google Sunny Liston tours and check it out.
The ONLY possible downside to consider is that sometimes there could be a crowded ride with 5 people across the seat... we had one crowded ride and one very roomy ride... and frankly both were great!
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2010 RCCL Oasis Of The Seas
2009 RCCL Freedom Of The Seas (so nice we did it twice)
2008 RCCL Freedom Of The Seas (!!wow!!)
2007 Carnival Glory (Super Bowl - Bears vs Colts)
2005 Carnival Sensation (again)
2004 Carnival Sensation
1993 Celebrity Horizon
1991 Celebrity Meridian
you have gotten some good suggestions.
St. Thomas - i would definately make the effort to get over to St. John Island for beautiful beaches and good snorkeling, go to www.vinow.com for ferry schedules and beach info, you can do it on your own if you time manage. We go to the beach in the morning, head back to the ship drop off our beach stuff, grab a bite to eat and then head out to do some shopping. If you dock at Havensight the mall is right there and just a short walk down the pier is the Paradise Point Tramway .
In St. Marteen we did the Golden Eagle Catamaran tour thru the ship, loved it would do it again in a snap. did the tour in the am, got back to the ship, dropped off beach stuff, grab a bit to eat and then shop, we shopped the dutch side which is just a short water taxi ride from the pier.
In St. Thomas we had an excellent trip to St. Peter Great House -views were fantastic, and the estate itself is worth seeing. Trip also included Mountain Top stop as described by someone else here. It was an excursion offered by RCI.
In St. Maarten don't miss the Guavaberry Emporium. We aren't big drinkers, but a friend had told us about it and we were glad we took the time. There are free samples and recipes - a unique taste to remind you of the island.
I would also reccomend taking a taxi to Maho Beach - it's quite a distance and it's easy to share a cab with others to cut cost. Just ask at the Cab stand right out of the pier area, and they'll hook you up- It's also easy to get a cab back - or you can set a time w. your driver. The jumbo jets don't land until after 1pm and we had to miss that as our RCCL excursion was at that time, so we were there for just some small plane landings, and it was quite a sight. I don't think there is any other place like that around. Something worth seeing if planes intrigue you. And you can always have them take you to the shopping area on the way back!