Cruise Excursion critique, please

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Mar 8th, 2008, 06:41 PM
  #1
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Cruise Excursion critique, please

We will be on the Jewel of the Seas later this month traveling to San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Tortola and Nassau. There is one senior, 3 older teenagers and 3 adults. The only port we have already been to is Phillipsburg. Here is our itinerary and would like some critique/advice on how it works:

San Juan - we will be in port for 6 hours, planning to explore the fort and Old San Juan on foot
St. Thomas - 8 hours - visit Coral World and either Koki Beach or Magens Bay - suggestions for a mini van & driver or will be able to book at cruise port?
St. Maarten: 8 hours - we have reserved a mini van and plan to drive to Orient Beach (we have been before - aware it is clothing optional), lunch in Marigot, and shopping in Phillipsburg
Tortola - want to go snorkeling at Cane Gardens Beach, any suggestions for driver or tour operator? will be able to get a mini van & driver at cruise port?
Nassau - shopping at Straw Market, sightseeing and Cable Beach. Is there public access at Cable Beach or will we need to go through one of the resorts?

Any guidance/advice will be helpful. The kids are 16,17, & 20 - is it safe to let them go off on their own in any of these places? They are very responsible, but want to practice caution. Thanks!
aliska is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2008, 07:26 PM
  #2
 
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We visited St. Thomas last summer for 8 nights and made a couple of day trips over to St. John. It's BEAUTIFUL there, with much nicer beaches and snorkeling. I'd take the ferry to St. John, if you have enough time.

We also went over to the BVI for 5 nights, but were on Virgin Gorda... didn't make it to Tortola.

I'd check out:
http://www.traveltalkonline.com/

Have fun!
cawhite is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2008, 07:31 PM
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Oh, also:
http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/travel-forums/
cawhite is offline  
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Mar 9th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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You will have fun on this trip!

St Thomas - Coki Beach is preferred to Magen's, quieter although becoming more well known. Sapphire Beach is also nice for the island views.
Have you taken the tram up to Paradise Point? A nice way to end the day with a bite to eat and a nice view.

St Marteen - We stayed in St Martin on Orient Beach for a week, north of the Orient Beach CO Club. A couple of great beach bars in frot of the Alamanda Hotel. Not a great beach being on the Atlantic but good beach bars. You will find much better beaches on Carib side. Marigot is a quaint place to enjoy lunch.
BUT -
I would recommend a different itinerary for St Marteen - take the Golden Eagle catamaran 1/2 day sail (just off your dock). This will give you time to tour Philipsburg in the AM and then take the sail to unwind. Can't have a better day! You go to Tintamarre Island (small, private) and enjoy a georgeous beach and the mud bath is famous for exfoliation. The crew is simply wonderful, and the service and quality of drinks and food is excellent. You are served drinks in the water as you float or on the beach. Or you can stay on the boat as many do and just enjoy the view. You don't have to do any snorkeling if you would prefer to just relax. Read reviews at tripadvisor or other sites mentioned.

Tortola - any driver will be fine. no snorkeling in CGB however. We stayed there for a week at Myett's, CGB is a good place to eat and drink but it gets crowded when the ships are in. I would head to one of the quieter, nicer beaches for snorkeling. Or if you're there long enough take a water taxi from CGB to Jost Van Dyke - that's an experience with the Soggy $ Bar and Foxy's and other drink joints. But CGB is a safer bet and is the popular destination for cruisers, just no snorkeling right there off the beach. Others head to Virgin Gorda to see the baths, if you go there make a point to have lunch at the Mineshaft. Some shopping in Road Town, not alot. The drive over the hill is an experience.

Nassau - be careful in the straw market, not dangerous but just crowded and easy to get separated. Cable Beach is a good choice and accessible.

So the only real change I would recommend is the Golden Eagle in SXM - they do take care of you. The senior and adults would enjoy the cruise, great views and you're given a tour of the coastline. Would the teenager enjoy it? This is one of the best in the Caribbean, the Excellence in Antigua and another in Barbados are also among the best.
blue_water is offline  
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Mar 13th, 2008, 02:36 PM
  #5
 
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We took a tour with Sunny Liston last year and it was fun. They took us shopping then a tour of the island then we went to Sapphire beach in St Thomas. His website is sunnylistontours.com.
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Mar 17th, 2008, 05:26 AM
  #6
 
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We went to St Maarten last year on RCCL and had the BEST time on the America's Cup Regatta! It is a race on the boats they use in America's Cup and it would be fine for all the ages in your group. And with so many people in your party, you would almost be the only guests on the boat. They have active and non-active roles depending on age and ability, and the staff that runs it is AMAZING!

We went to Orient Beach afterwards and had a nice time relaxing over there.

Enjoy your trip!
debrad149 is offline  
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Mar 20th, 2008, 02:40 PM
  #7
 
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I personally wouldn't let the kids go off on their own.
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