Cruises and Excursions

Dec 3rd, 2003, 06:34 AM
  #1  
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Cruises and Excursions

Taking our very first Southern Caribbean cruise on the Constellation in April with Celebrity Cruises and our island stops will be Barbados, Antigua, Grenada, Dominican Republic, and St John, USVI. I don't want to get ripped off with paying for too many of those cruise excursions if we can do some stuff on our own. My husband would like to do some snorkeling 1 day, but confused on which island is best for that on our own. Which islands are best for sightseeing tours through the cruise excursions? Any recommedations of memorable places in any of these islands?
Like to browse a bit in ports, but don't want to spend entire trip shopping... Thanks!
GailLK is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2003, 09:46 AM
  #2  
 
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Try posting and researching here - lots of info re cruise line and ports of call.
http://messages.cruisecritic.com/2/OpenTopic
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2003, 02:41 PM
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We usually avoid the ship's tours and go out on our own. The only island I might stick with the ship's excurion is the Dominican Republic. It might be safer there to stick with the planned tour. On the other islands you will see plenty taxis when you leave the ship. The drivers will take you for an island tour or to a beach . Decide on a price BEFORE you get in the taxi. St. John has some great snorkeling spots.
schmerl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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Hi Gail,

My husband and I just returned from a Southern Caribbean cruise on the Constellation, but our itineray was different. We had St. Lucia and St. Martin instead of Grenada or Dominican Republic and we stopped at St. Thomas instead of St. John. Copnsequently, I can only comment on Barbados and Antigua, and of course, on San Juan, your departure port.

As for shore excursions, not one person had a good thing to say about a shore excursion in Barbados. Moreover, half the people we spoke to, ourselves included, got totally ripped off by local taxis for 2 - 4 hour tours of the island. We will NEVER return to Barbados and we don't care who touts that this is a nice island. We've seen a lot nicer and more beautiful islands such as the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. There were a few people we met who said they had a wonderful experience with their taxi drivers, but unfortunately, these people were the exception to the rule.

Antigua did not impress us at all either, although I have heard that going to Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights is nice. I've heard the beaches can be nice. But it wasn't a beach day the day we docked in Antigua and our general impression was tacky touristy, not at all sophisticated. You'd be better off staying on the boat!

As for Old San Juan, this is a hidden jewel and was the absolute highlight of our cruise experience. We stayed for one night before our departure at the El Convento in Old San Juan. Old San Juan is beautiful and clean, the people are incredibly nice and friendly and helpful and the architecture and streets in Old San Juan are simply beautiful. On our return, we had several hours before our flight and we took a taxi to the Ritz Carlton in San Juan and had lunch by the beach and the pool. If you can, I would recommend staying at this hotel. We have done so in the past and it is just wonderful with outstanding service and beautiful comfortable rooms even in the lowest priced categories. It is also situated adjacent to the airport.

This was our first cruise and we were actually going more for R&R, rather than going off the ship for shore excursions. So more of my time was spent in the AquaSpa with a personal trainer or in the spa itself. The ship was fantastic.

If you have any specific questions pertaining to the Constellation, ask away. We highly recommend you eat at the specialty restaurant at least once during your cruise. It was just wonderful.

Have a great trip!

redwolf is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 03:39 PM
  #5  
 
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I agree with cruisin_tigger, cruisecritic.com has great information. I can also recommend snorkeling at Trunk Bay in St. John and Sunsation Tours in Grenada. We used them for a private tour and it was very inexpensive, especially compared to ships excursions. If you choose them, ask for Carl, he's fabulous! Enjoy your cruise!
Caribbean_Rez is offline  
Dec 9th, 2003, 04:01 PM
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Gail, for wonderful shore snorkeling on your own, rent a car in Cruz Bay on St. John and pick up some snorkeling gear at one of the local shops. Find Waterlemon Cay (do a google search - it's near the Annaberg ruins on StJ). It's a fun adventure, wear old sneakers or water shoes for the 20 minute hike, and then swim counterclockwise around the tiny cay. When you return you can stop at one of the great little rum shops before reboarding! Enjoy!

Also, there are 7 waterfalls on Grenada...you could rent a jeep there and drive to one or two for a swim...there are always friendly local "guides" waiting while you park your car, and for a small tip they'll "guide you" to the nearby falls. They are nice people, and love to tell about their island. Have a great cruise.
joan is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 04:58 PM
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GailLK, we are also going on the Constellation late Jan. on this itinerary. (With the exception of St Johns, ours is St. Thomas.) We went last year on a similar one with RCCL. We went to Barabos and I thought it was a wonderful Island myself. We went to the beach all day and it was great. Took a cab, very safe, and drinks could be had on the beach. Shopping in Bridgetown, or a jeep tour, on a 4X4 seemed to be enjoyed by our table mates. Antigua, went to Dickensons Bay a wonderful beach most relaxing. For snorkelling I would opt for St. Johns as all ready suggested. Grenada I have been to also for a day. It is the best Island so I think. The people are beautiful, and so warm and friendly.
Caribbean Rez, which tour with Sunsation did you take? I would be interested in a tour this time. Last time I just shopped, and again went to the beach. I am glad to hear Constellation is a nice ship. I hope I enjoy this cruise as much as I did last year on RCCL.
diann is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 04:44 AM
  #8  
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Thanks all for your responses. Our stop is in (oops!) St Thomas, not St John, but will probably plan to spend the time mostly in St John. I'm wondering about Dominican Republic, how safe it is, etc.
GailLK is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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Gail,

Our experience in the Domincan Republic was NOT a good one. (We were there on a cruise stop.) I would never go there again, but if i had to I would book something inclusive like a day at the beach at a private resort.
crowisland is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 02:22 PM
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GailLK, I did spend a week in Punta Cana DR.several years ago. This particular stop in Dominican Republic I am not familiar with and it sounds like it may be new. I was also on a cruise many years ago that went to the Dominican and it seemed to dock in Santo Domingo the city. We took a tour of the city as a day trip. I see there are very dew excursions even offered for this port. We are not there till late in the day, so I am not very concerned about it a few hours at the beach would be fine for us. I see some sort of whitewater rafting was offered as an excursion. I am hoping someone will come back and tell us what to do there.
diann is offline  

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