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Shore Excursion Questions Windspirit Caribbean Cruise

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We are first time cruisers headed out of St. Martin on the Windspirit on March 6th to St. Kitts, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, and St. Barts. I notice they don't go to the usual cruise ship ports. What is it like when in port if you don't go ashore and instead hang out on the ship and enjoy their water sports? Are there better ports of call on which to do that vs. where we'd definitely want to go ashore with a ship shore excursion or on our own? We love to snorkel and aren't sure how much opportunity we will have to do that without going on shore excursions. Also we were wondering about the quality and value of the ship's shore excursions vs. doing your own thing locally vs. staying with the ship. Also, would like your feedback on non-snorkeling shore excursions. What excursions do you consider "must do's" vs. don't spend the money? Thanks in advance for your help.

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    We took a similar cruise a few years ago on the Windstar, which is a sister ship. The ship is a fun place to 'hang out' if you don't want to go ashore, but why not? and about tours, we usually take the tours that the Ship offers, as they are a predictable quality and the best part is, they will get you back to the ship IN TIME to sail. And gong to some of the unusual ports is a good thing..they go places the large cruise ships can not go, and thus, you get a better experience...no huge crowds. They have all the equipment you can check out, and have attendants and supervision if you ask/schedule it. Hope you have a wonderful time...will it be 7 days or more.

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    Hi clarasong, thanks for your response. It will be a 7 day cruise and we are going to stay on St. Martin for a few days after the cruise. What kind of shore excursions did you do, and were you satisfied with them?

    Any special tips for us as first-time cruisers?

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    I see you are back from your cruise and hope you enjoyed it. I am replying in hopes that my answer will be of help to future Windstar cruisers. My family has taken three cruises with this line. We just returned from a seven day cruise out of Barbados on the Windsurf. Two years ago, we took a Christmas cruise on the Windspirit with very similar ports of call.

    If it is your first time in any of the ports, by all means use the ship's shore excursions. They are generally very good, if a bit on the expensive side. If you enjoy snorkeling, the excursions are very good as they will take you to good spots to see a variety of fish. The catamaran snorkeling tour on St. Martin was excellent as well as one we took to Trunk Bay on St. John. On this last cruise, we only took one excursion offered by the ship and it was the catamaran tour to the Pitons on St. Lucia. It was fun but we could have skipped it as the ship sailed to the Pitons on the way out of St. Lucia and we actually got a better view of them at that time. People who took the zipline tour in St. Lucia raved about it. I wanted to go to a picturesque, remote beach on St. Barts this second time and the ship offered a hike to Colombier Beach for $99 per person. Since we were four people, I thought that nearly $400 for a 90 minute excursion was a bit steep, especially since we still had to hike to the beach (about a 20 minute walk each way, difficult at several points for non hikers). So we talked to a taxi driver at the Gustavia port and he agreed to a round trip fare of $70. He dropped us off at the start of the trail and picked us up three hours later. The beach was well worth the hike by the way!

    On Virgin Gorda, if you want to visit the Baths, you really need to take the ship's excursion as they are fairly distant from where the ship anchors. On St. Martin, we did the same thing as St. Barts and just took a taxi to one of the secluded beaches rather than take the ship's excursion to the crowded Orient Beach. Two years ago when we were on Jost Van Dyke, we just walked to the beach where the Soggy Dollar Bar is located and Foxy's is also just a short walk from the tender dock.

    Water sports from the ship can be hit and miss. The weather/water conditions can prevent the marina from opening and on our last cruise, the St. Kitts authorities prevented the marina from opening for several hours for some unknown reason.

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