island vs. cruise?

Old Jan 7th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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island vs. cruise?

is the best way to see the caribbean by going to a specific island for a week? or is it better to go on a cruise and see a few, but for shorter time?

cruise line suggestions would be appreciated....few kids/old people please!

thanks!
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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No set answer - it depends on what you like. A cruise will let you visit many islands in a set period (usually a week or ten days). The thing is you really don't get a true "feel" for each island. If you stay on an island for the duration of your trip and you leave the resort to explore you'll get to learn alot about the island. Also, depending on the island you choose you might be able to take a day trip (or 2) to an adjacent island for a change of pace.

Like I said, there's no pat answer - thousands upon thousands of people enjoy cruises (it's a big business) and there's an equal number of people who prefer staying on land. Why not try both - doing a cruise for your first trip than on the following trip visit go back for a longerstay on one of the islands. Then you'll know what you prefer.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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My suggestion would be to take a cruise first then decide which island you think you might enjoy spending a full week or more exploring.

As for cruise line do you want a fancy all the amenities type of cruise, bareboat or charter or maybe something in between like a Windjammer? Rumour has it some people never bother to leave the large ships and see the islands. The ship is the destination instead. The larger ships also aren't able to visit many of the smaller less commercialized islands because of their size. Windjammers are sail/motoring vessels, small and basic accommodations. If you prefer a little more upscale Windstar might be your answer. Less basic more amenities and larger than the WJ ships yet much smaller than the large ones. I cannot speak personally for anything other than WJ but know that they are the closest you will get to a true island feel. The ship holds smaller #s of people, no herd mentality as in 100 or 1000 people trying to get to the islands at the same time. More leisurely pace and most of the crew are from the islands visited. This gives you the luxury of having someone with first hand knowledge guiding you instead of someone reading/posting a list of tours etc from the cruise line. Because of the more up close and personal style on a WJ I have visited many of the islands some have never heard of. It also helped me decide on my favorite group which is St. Vincent & the Grenadines. A place I visit and enjoy spending extra time. WJ itineraries are all different. One ship visits SVG, another the BVIs, and yet another the FWI/BWI. Certain times some repo to the ABCs and later this year will visit San Blas. I'm not suggesting WJ is the best way but it has certainly afforded me many an opportunity to learn and experience what I call the "real Caribbean"
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Hands down - do an island instead of a cruise.

You can't really get the feel of an island unless you are staying on it. Also, when the cruise ships land, there can be thousands and thousands of people debarking (often it is not just your ship but 4-5 ships). You will see or experience the easiest to get to sites but you will be doing it with lots of other people from the cruise.

If you do a cruise and like to shop and shop, do one that includes St. Thomas. Personally, St. Thomas is my least fav of islands I've been to.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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This is an extremely subjective question, and I am going to top a cruise review for you from a 2005 Celebrity cruise that we took.

I would say that if you have never been to the Caribbean that a cruise would be an excellent way for you to get a "taste" of the region, and to ID places that you would like to return to.

HOWEVER, if I based my opinion of islands on the 8 hours I had in port, there are some places I never would have gone back to.

I would highly suggest that you veer away from ship-sponsored tours in order to see the real personality of each island on a cruise.

A cruise was fun, but kind of frustrating for people who want to experience the culture of a locale.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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Di,
That cruise review you topped was very good -- very informative.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Thank you!

It was something (cruise)I had tossed around for a long time, and I figured others had too, so I wrote it soon after returning while everything was fresh in my mind.
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