Antigua, Tortola, St. Thomas, and Nassau

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#1
Mebane, NC
2,077 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Wondering if anyone else has done this itinerary? Can you recommend any excursions, and give any tips you might have? Thanks. We are going to be sailing this in December.
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#2
IA
8,916 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
We have this booked, and have been to a few of the ports previously.

St. Thomas- I'd HIGHLY recommend Sunny Liston tour. He's so fun and informative, a true ambassador of his country. 2 hours of shopping, short guided tour, 2 hours of beach time. LOVE him and we had a group of 30 people, ages 5-65, and everyone agreed his tour was the highlight of our 7 day cruise last January. This time we're going to head over to St. John and Sunny is helping us out with transportation and a guide over on St. John.

Nassau- we're booking a catamaran snorkel tour through Seahorse. We were here on our first cruise and made the mistake of booking the Yellowbird excursion throuhgh the ship. All I can say is...don't do it, LOL.

Antigua- we're just cabbing it to one of the beaches. Cheap and easy beach day. Don't know if you're into snorkeling, but all reports point to the fact that snorkeling off the beach is most often pointless.

Tortola- Sunny recommended one of his friends as a guide for the day. $30 pp. Let me know if you'd like his contact info.
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#3
Mebane, NC
2,077 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
yes...thanks for the reply....please send Sunny's contact info, and his friend in Tortola...do you mean the snorkeling in Antigua is disappointing? Sorry to hear that....we love to snorkel...
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#4
IA
8,916 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
We're big snorkelers as well. As far as Antigua, I think because of where the island is situated, maybe the current has something to do with it? Water clarity is a problem I see over and over mentioned when I see the subject come up over on the ports boards.

http://sunnylistonfuntours.com/ Tell Sunny Stacey Welsh sent you. He's like everyone's fun, favorite uncle. We just love him.

His guide on Tortola is Liston Willems. He has no website, but his cell #1-284-544-2948 and 1-284-494-3083. When I called, he said he wanted to wait until this summer to start booking for this fall, so you may want to wait before calling. Be sure to tell him Sunny Liston referred you.
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#5
1,986 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
We did this itinerary in Jan. 2010 and loved it. We also did the Sunny Liston tour and it was fabulous! If you're not into the shopping though, you can delete that from the itinerary and add more beach time. That's what we did. Most of the shopping in St. Thomas can be done right from the port area and can be walked to anyway. Antigua we caught a bus and went to Dickenson Beach. It was postcard perfect. Really beautiful. We went horseback riding on the beach for $25pp and also went on a bananaboat ride there. In Tortola, we went to Brewer's Bay which was supposed to have excellent snorkeling but there was a storm brewing and the waves were very high so we couldn't snorkel, after we left there we swam with the dolphins in the afternoon (booked independently). In Nassau, some went to Atlantis aquarium and others went shopping and to the beach at the British Colonial Hilton which you can walk to from the pier. Great itinerary...enjoy!
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#7
Cocoa, Florida
1,316 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by sonicbuffalo
yes...thanks for the reply....please send Sunny's contact info, and his friend in Tortola...do you mean the snorkeling in Antigua is disappointing? Sorry to hear that....we love to snorkel...
Ahh, if you love to snorkel, you'll be pleased to know the snorkeling in Tortola is AWESOME. My favorite, by far.

Actually, the Carnival excursion to snorkel at the Norman Islands is really good. (I have a new personal policy of never, ever, hiring a boat excursion locally while on a cruise.)

I describe this snorkel experience as better than swimming through the Discovery Channel
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#8
Katy, Texas
711 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I highly recommend Lawrence of Antigua. It was a wonderful tour.
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#9
1,156 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I agree with balcony bound here. The snorkeling at Norman's Island was the best we have ever done. It is a solid sheet of coral--so much to see, plus three caves to go in. I just am unsure of what the water temp would be like in december. But if possible--don't miss this!! we are looking forward to going again one day. enjoy your cruise!
#11
IA
8,916 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by bamboozel
How was the temperature in St. Thomas in Jan. when you went???
Honestly, the water was chillier than we like it, and since we're big snorkelers and beach-goers, it was a bit of an issue. Not that it RUINED our vacation, but I don't know that we'll cruise again in January. We've cruised April, May, November and January. And have decided that we prefer November. It's chlly enough here in the midwest that the sun and warmth still feel good, but down there it isn't oppressively hot or humid. The water temp is comfortable. Flying out of the midwest in January was a "cross your fingers" kind of thing, even WITH trip insurance and flying in a day early...I'm not going to voluntarily sign up for that kind of headache again. Plus getting acclimated back to the bitter, bitter cold that's normal where we are for January REALLY sucked.
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#12
Cape Coral, FL
3,972 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
We loved this itinerary! I also recommend going over to the Baths in Tortola! Our Roll Call was so large that we chartered a catamaran over there. We snorkeled over to the actual Baths and the coral was unbelievable! We used Patouche, but I'm sure they take individual reservations. http://www.patouche.com/

We went to Darkwood Beach in Antigua and found a "boat load" of sea glass while walking up the beach.

We also loved the Freedom! Going back on her this coming June and next January, too!
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#13
Hamden, CT
14,329 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
We just did this itin on the Freedom in Nov and loved it! In St Thomas we actually did a Carnival excursion because we wanted to snorkel with the sea turtles...think it was called the 2 Island snorkel or something like that. We took the Bimini Breeze out to one site where the snorkeling was very good...not alot of large fish, but definitely the largest variety I've seen in one place. Then we went to the area with the turtles and saw 3! If you're in the right place at the right time, they swim right by you to come up for air. The ride back was a blast...drinks and rum punch were flowing, music playing...the crew was great!

In Tortola, we used BVI360 to do a boat trip to Jost Van Dyke and the Soggy Dollar Bar...definitely my favorite day!!! Sam was excellent...very professional. He picked us up at the ship and drove us to the West End (about 20 mins) to get our boat (we had 10 of us). Usually they take you snorkeling first but we opted out because the water was rough...got to spend about 3.5 hrs on JVD...what a gorgeous spot! No crowds...good drinks...just perfect (even with the short rainstorm that blew through).

In Antigua, a bunch of us took a cab out to Valley Church beach. Despite all the wonderful things I read here about it, I wasn't bowled over by it. Had a pretty steep drop off to get into the water...made it a little tough to get out with the rough water we had. With 365 beaches on this island, I would try another if we went back.

In Nassau we stayed on the ship because we are kind of tired of it, but if you like to snorkel, check out Stuart's Cove...we used them a couple of years ago and had a good trip. They pick you up outside the port and drive you (about 25 mins) to their dock (I believe it's where they filmed Flipper, if you know about that show). Went to 2 different snorkeling stops and then at the 3rd, they feed sharks about 40 feet below and you can snorkel above and watch Unfortunately (or fortunately) the day we went, the sharks were nowhere to be found....phew! My daughter was disappointed...me, not so much!

Have a great cruise whatever you do!
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#14
1,440 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Highly recommend taking a day trip to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke -- one of my favorite places on earth - the BVI is our home away from home - we will be on 3 charters there this year - just LOVE it.

the Baths, by the way, are on Virgin Gorda, NOT Tortola - you would have to book a trip to get to them. They are beautiful, no doubt - but if want a perfect day of just limin' on the beach? Get thee to White Bay
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#15
Illinois
233 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We are doing this itinerary in 3 weeks. Here is what we have planned:

St. Thomas: Cab to Magens Bay, relaxing on the beach
Antigua: Zip Line Tour (through CCL)
Tortola: Going to Jost Van Dyke (CCL)
Nassau: Segway Tour on the beach (On our own)
#16
Alexandria, VA
288 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
balcony_bound: Which Tortola Snorkeling tour did you do? The Virgin Island Sailaway or the Tortola Snorkling Tour?

We are looking at maybe doing either the Sailaway or going in with some of our fellow Roll Call members for a Sail and Snorkel tour with Aristocrat Charters. We are trying to decide if it is worth the extra money to go with Aristocrat instead of the Carnival Sailaway tour.

--Janna
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#18
Tennessee
181 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by sonicbuffalo
Wondering if anyone else has done this itinerary? Can you recommend any excursions, and give any tips you might have? Thanks. We are going to be sailing this in December.
A must is going to the Baths in Tortola. The Baths are amazing and an all around great time. Our entire family loved this excursion.
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#19
Vancouver, B.C.
2,406 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Just came back from this itinerary and have been to most of these places before. Without question do the Jost Van Dyke excursion. It is an amazing place. Probably the nicest beach I've ever been to. Pure paradise. Skip St. Thomas and go to St. John. Far nicer.
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#20
Ohio
4,402 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by MamaParrotHead

St. Thomas- I'd HIGHLY recommend Sunny Liston tour. He's so fun and informative, a true ambassador of his country. 2 hours of shopping, short guided tour, 2 hours of beach time. LOVE him and we had a group of 30 people, ages 5-65, and everyone agreed his tour was the highlight of our 7 day cruise last January. This time we're going to head over to St. John and Sunny is helping us out with transportation and a guide over on St. John.
Hi, MamaParrotHead,

We just booked this cruise for Dec.8th and since we've been to St. Thomas twice, was considering taking the ferry to St. John. Can you share the guide over on St. John that Sunny is recommending?
If we don't ferry over, we are considering renting a Jeep again and beach hopping on St. Thomas...we had a blast doing that last time, too!

Thanks!
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