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Shore Excursions Snorkeling, SCUBA, sightseeing - discuss ports and activities

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 18th, 2004, 09:26 PM
K. M.
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Default How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

We're thinking maybe we'd like to save a little $$$ and try to navigate Nassau and St Thomas on our own rather than do a Paradise shore excursion. As first time cruisers will this be difficult to do? We'd like to find some gorgeous beaches that aren't overly crowded, some fun shopping areas, and hit a dolphin swim. Would we just take a taxi to one stop, then when we're ready to go somewhere else find another taxi? Or hire a taxi for the whole day? How does that work? Is transportation available nearly everywhere you look?

We could really use some advice on where to go and what to see in the beach and shopping areas of these ports. We are so clueless it's not funny! Thanks so much!
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Old April 19th, 2004, 06:46 AM
K.M.
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

I also forgot to ask, if doing an excursion on your own where you need a taxi, do you haggle with the taxi driver for a deal or are they pretty much a set, standard fare? And what is a reasonable fare per person, per hour, in general?

So sorry for all the questions. We so badly need help!
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Old April 19th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

Nassau and St Thomas are probably two of the easiest places to manage on your own.
I Nassau , much of what you will want to see historic wise etc, is right in town within walking distance of the ship. The next most popular destination is Paradise Island and Atlantis or the nearby beaches. This can be reached by cab for just a few dollars or by the "water taxis" near the pier for a few dollars per person each way. An inexpensive cab or bus will take you out to Cable Beach.
St Thomas is the easiest island to do on your own. Shopping is either directly opposite the pier at Havensight Mall or a short cab ride into town. Beaches , and there are several, are also just a short cab ride away. In St Thomas you will find cabs are open air jitney trucks or vans and drivers usually wait for several passengers and charege per passenger. Just ask how much before the driver gets going . Prices are generally fixed between destinations.
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Old April 19th, 2004, 01:26 PM
K.M.
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Default Re: Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

You've been a big help! Thanks for your input!
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Old April 19th, 2004, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

We are doing St Thomas on our own for our Nov cruise. Am sure youcan also.

We have been there before via ship, and did our shopping at the mall right on the ship's dock- some great stores and bargains. Even walked to town from the ship. It's a safe walk, but wear your sunhat and sunscreen! We were shopped out and spent most of the afternoon in a bar drinking ice cold beer.

For this trip, we wanted to do a daysail and snorkle, so we have already reserved that direct also. Found the prices to be better than the ship excursions, and much less crowded. Thought we would sun, sail, swim and snorkle, and maybe even see some sea turtles.
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Old April 22nd, 2004, 11:12 AM
trish1c
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

If you can get from here to there in your own home town & maybe the biggest city nearby, you'll be just fine.

Politely ASK the price before you get in a taxi. Then just go. I think it was about $3 pp from the pier to town in St. Thomas. Hang on when those open air taxis go around some of those curves.

In every port, ground transportation will be available for you to trip over. Remember, theirs is a service industry -- you go where the customers are & the customers are getting off the ships. Many cruise lines give you something to identify yourself as a cruiser. If you get really stuck, walk up to somebody from your ship & ask them.

Have fun.
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Old April 22nd, 2004, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

these are two really easy ports to navigate around. Nassau - most of the historical sights in Nassau are within walking distance. Take the time to go over to Paradise Island if nothing more than just to see Atlantis, this place is amazing. The aquarium and dig are a must see.

St. Thomas- spend the day at the beach- we like to grab the water taxi and go over to St. John Island. Beautiful.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 03:47 PM
kem
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

Our famiy will be in Naussau and St. Thomas, St. Maarten the end of July (Mariner of the Seas) What are some decent beaches to go to? How can you book the Sting Ray tour in Nassau witihout going through cruise line? Anybody know a website? Are there any other fun places to go things to see with two teenage boys?
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Old May 30th, 2004, 08:05 AM
helen lake
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

In Nassau we went to Blue Lagoon- it was a ship excursion but they also had dolphin encounters there or stingray encounters. It was a beautiful island, with hammocks under palm trees everywhere and not too crowded if you went to the beach on the opposite side of where the boat lands. I don't know if it's possible to get there without booking through the cruise, but it sounded like a place you might enjoy. We just got back two weeks ago.
In St. Thomas we booked our own tour before we left home after reading rave reviews about godfrey/ (www.godfreytoursvi.com). He was fabulous. He picks you up at 9, 10 or 11 am (your choice) at your ship and drops you off downtown for shopping. If you walk there on your own it takes about 25 min. At noon, everyone on the tour leaves downtown for a 2 hr island tour which is beautiful. Then you have the choice of going to one of 3 beaches- Magen's bay, Sapphire beach or Coki beach. We chose Coki because we heard the snorkelling was good. It was great. You can buy 4 or 5 giant milkbone dog bisuits for $1- when you enter the water, there are all kinds of beautiful fish swimming around - all shapes, sizes and colours in about 5-6 ft water. as soon as they see the milkbone they rush over and you can feed them . I let them eat out of my hand. It was fantastic. The beach itself is fairly small but very nice and well worth it for the snorkelling- we would like to go back there with our teenagers- they would love it. Godfrey comes back to pick you up and take you back to the ship in plenty of time. The cost? $20 per person, paid at the end of the day. Makes it more affordable for a family and you get lots for your money. He was friendly, reliable, informative and great actually. Our other choice would have been to get the taxi to red hook, take the ferry to St. Johns; then the taxi to Trunk Bay which we've heard is beautiful. Since we were first time cruiser's, we went with Godfrey. We really wished we had two days there so we could have done both.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

We are to arrive in St. Thomas at 7:00 am and leave at 5:30...is this enough time for one of Godfrey's tours? I'm a first time cruiser, so please pardon any stupid questions! Does the ship arrive in the port on time usually? I've read that Godfrey's tours are great...any first hand experience?

Thanks so much!

Ruth
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Old June 14th, 2004, 08:51 PM
helen lake
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

Yes, that's lots of time to do Godfrey's tours- he will meet you where the ship disembarks at either 9, 10 or 11 am - it's up to you, and drops you off downtown for shopping. He goes back and forth to suit people's preferences. At noon, everyone meets him at a designated spot downtown (there were 15 of us), and he takes you for a two hour island tour, then to a beach of your choice- he drops you off at whichever one you want- usually he does drop offs at all three, to suit everyone, then returns about 2 hrs later to pick you up. He has you back to the ship by 4-4:15. Our ship was in port for the same hours 7 am - 5 pm, and we had lots of time. There was a mix up with customs when we arrived, which took 2 hrs instead of a planned 30 min, so just make sure you get that done early. you won't regret booking with Godfrey- we booked with him because of all the great reviews we read. He charges $20 US each (plus a tip if you want )
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Old June 16th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

St Thomas Beach recommendations, Coki Baech or Saphire Beach. Both have complete facilities and rentals, good snorkelling and much less crowded than Maegens Bay the most popular beach. Easy to reach by cab and plenty of return cabs available.
St Martins, Dawn beach. Again all facilities and much less crowded than Orient Beach , the most popular.
Nassau, Cable Beach. All Beaches in Nassau are public. Several Hotels along Cable Beach will rent you chairs and allow use of facilities.
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Old June 30th, 2004, 12:31 PM
Zina
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

I'd recommend Godfery's tours for St. Thomas.....one of the best buys in the Caribbean!
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Old July 1st, 2004, 12:20 PM
jf
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Default Re: How easy to do Nassau and St Thomas on your own?

In St Thomas you can take a taxi over to St John which is mostly a national park and is incredible I went to trunk bay and it is one of the most perfect beaches in the world. I think it was five dollars for the taxi to the ferry and our driver called his friend on ST John so he was there to pick us up when we landed he took us to trunk bay (another 5 dollars) and asked us what time we would like to be picked up we gave him a time and he told us not to pay him until he came back he was of course there when we asked and both drivers were really nice. The snorkling at trunk bay was great. It is a national park so you do pay to get in under 5 dollars and they have restrooms showers ect. I hope this is helpful

Jessica
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