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About blue_water

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    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Finger Lakes & Mexico
  • Interests
    Travel, music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival, NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Southern & Western Caribbean

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  1. Yes I understand, many of the crews are really great and do spend time with guests who are hesitant to get in the water or just don’t want to be in the crowd. We were on a snorkel excursion in Aruba and one guest recently had a close friend drown, and had never been in the ocean before, at all, but had always dreamed of snorkeling. The staff was so caring and patient and that made all the difference. We much prefer private excursions for the more personal experience and you can often have more input on the itinerary. But many of the independents in STT - whether booked through the ship or privately - take small groups of 6 - 8 ppl which would is different from other big cruise ship ports...
  2. Lindquist is arguably the nicest beach on STT, and I believe the cruise line excursions include lounges and drinks. However it is a short day and more popular with folks also looking for shopping or exploring Charlotte Amalie. So for a nice beach day you could grab a lunch and drinks and just taxi there with no lounges. But not a very adventurous day for DH and the kids... For a water activity I think your first two choices are both very good and although we have not taken either I have read great reviews for both. Friends and other folks we’ve met on this forum consider the STJ Champagne Cat excursion one of their favorite excursions, especially for families. This daysail is an extremely popular excursion and I often see it is sold out. They say the cat is very nice with great reviews for the crew (at least pre-COVID-19). You sail to Caneel Bay and moor off the cays near Honeymoon Beach for the snorkeling. You can choose to snorkel in the deeper water there, or the crew will take you by dinghy in to the beach to relax there or snorkel closer to the shoreline. Depending on when you go and the sea conditions then, the current can be very swift, and when we were on a sailboat in the same place Honeymoon Beach was almost entirely covered in water. But this is when we were staying on STT in January, and there were very high swells that particular month. Normally it is a great spot for off-the-boat snorkeling, and Honeymoon Beach is a lovely, less crowded beach. I’m sure others who have taken the other excursion can give you their feedback. For St Kitts we would choose a cat sail there but you do want to plan different activities and STT is another great daysail port. Does the cruise you are considering include to Maarten or Tortola? I ask only because there are amazing cat sail excursions from Tortola to “Treasure Island” (Norman Island) and other snorkel spots with tales of the pirate history that kids would enjoy. And the Golden Eagle daysail on SXM is one of our favorites. Your time in port may allow for other more adventurous excursions, even including a powerboat excursion to the BVI! So if a 10 hr or longer port time be sure to check back - enjoy your research!
  3. You can find tons of info on these and other excursions just by entering the various terms in the Search field. And these posts make for great reading while waiting for your cruise to be scheduled... Lots of good info in “them thare” threads! 😃
  4. There are several popular “cookie-cutter” tours, many including a beach stop, as well as private drivers who provide a tour custom to your group who can accommodate your party (depending who is still operating as visitors return). The latter will cost a little more but is quite affordable if split between groups. Which are you interested in? Many of the public tours include a beach stop (folks usually choose Magens because it’s touted so much by the cruise director but no snorkeling there). With a private guide you can include off-the-beach snorkeling at beautiful Sapphire Beach if interested in that...
  5. Thanks Ian, love the island and the people of Tortola. The cruise pier area has been updated since your visit of course, and they have rebuilt most of the infrastructure since Irma and Maria in 2018. Now they just need to get through this pandemic, and it looks like they will slowly be opening for travel there. Thanks for a nice video!
  6. We stay on Sapphire Beach when staying on STT (highly recommend the Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina over Secret Harbour or other condo properties for an oceanfront experience). SH is in a much more protected bay, but you cannot choose the condo you want, whereas you can rent directly through an owner at the SBRM, and Sapphire is a much nicer bay, IMHO. Sapphire is a gorgeous beach with stunning views and water colors. However any beach that offers snorkeling will have some iron shore - or will be rocky as you said, and Sapphire is no exception. With all beaches, whether in the eastern or western Carib, Mother Nature giveth and taketh, and you just need to be aware of that and pack water shoes when traveling. And there are days when Sapphire and Coki (pictured above) beaches are extremely rough as they are open and dependent on sea conditions. We’ve also seen Sapphire as smooth as glass...high season is safer than winter months if a calm beach is important. Magens is the most-touted STT beach and is gorgeous, especially from atop the hills. Also completely sandy and dead calm. But just a bit boring as compared to Sapphire and Coki, at least to us. Our experience is thatsome of the most gorgeous, sandy beaches are located throughout the Yucatan and Belize. And of course Grand Cayman (GCM) is famous for her powdered sugar sand in Seven Mile Beach, Rum Point, etc, and of course you must visit the stingray sandbar. Jamaica offers similarly gorgeous, sandy beaches like Seven Mile Beach in Negril, and our favorite, Doctors Cave Beach in MoBay. The southern Carib beaches are even nicer than those of STT, and are more like the nicest beaches on STJ, Virgin Gorda and Tortola. If you love cruising and you enjoyed a particular itinerary do that again, by all means. But after a few cruises to the same eastern Carib islands of STJ, STT, Tortola, Nassau, Cruise line private islands and SXM we longed to see other gorgeous beaches. And with the western itineraries you also get a chance to experience cultures and history that the eastern islands simply do not offer. For the nicest western Carib beaches I’d suggest an itinerary that includes GCM and Jamaica. When we stay on GCM we enjoy taking the jet ski excursion with Fatfish Adventures, hitting stingray sandbar when there are no crowds, the reef, Rum Point and the mangroves. They cater to cruisers as well. A more personalized experience than the boats going out, and then you can enjoy SMB for a few hours after. If I had to pick the top sandy beaches we’ve visited on cruises they would be on Barbados, Aruba, Tortola, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. So keep an open mind and plan to experience different areas as you continue to cruise.
  7. Post 4 for ship excursions (book early) or public option (you way want to hire a taxi for a larger group with your very limited time in port). You can find private charter options like Ocean Magic and others in past threads using the Search function. These are smaller powerboats for 6 - 10 ppl, for a large group you'll need a cat like Aristocat, Kuralu, Patouche or multiple boats...(book early)...
  8. No beaches close to the port. During this cruise hiatus you can research ideas from others who had the same questions by searching past threads (using the Search function). Lots of great info here (safari taxi vs private taxi, Child car seat, CGB vs Brewers Bay vs Long Bay, Beef Island...)
  9. Thanks! We are in Mexico for the winter, we'd planned on returning to NY state end of April but we are considering staying here longer...see how things are going in a few weeks, there and here... So sad in NYC... In the meantime Quito is helping us remember Tortola through his music, thankful to have that... You and your family stay safe, and hope to meet up in beautiful Tortola one day soon!!!
  10. We find some of the Western Carib beaches to be absolutely gorgeous and everyone who enjoys cruising should experience these different areas themselves. Each of us have our own opinions - based on our own individual experiences which can be affected by so many variables!) - and you really need to see the gorgeous beaches throughout the Carib yourselves. We love the BVI (BVI and USVI are in the Eastern Carib itineraries, by the way), and beaches like Grace Bay which are not in cruise ports (Providenciales is a nice land vacation). But to be honest, some of the nicest beaches we've enjoyed (and are now enjoying) are in the Western areas of the Carib and are accessible by cruise ship...
  11. Quito Rymer (of Quito's Gazebos in Cane Garden Bay) is a well known musician with several CD's and is streaming live min-concerts on his Facebook page, great to hear his muzak while all of us are staying at home. Makes us even more eager to get back to Tortola of course...There are videos you can enjoy now. https://m.facebook.com/QuitosGazebo/?tsid=0.5660496460706553&source=result
  12. Long Bay (West End) is further from the port than the other two and the only facility there is the Tropical Fusion restaurant which opens for lunch and dinner. For your time in port I’d suggest either CGB or Brewers. I’m not sure what time Nicole’s opens in Brewers but the taxi drivers will know, and if not early enough you can head to CGB... I see the cruise lines also now offer an excursion to Long Bay (Beef Island) which may be something you’d like on a short day too...
  13. Sure, it’s smart to research early! 😀 Most folks choose one of the ship excursions, either the Rebel Yell cat or the inflatable powerboat. The problem with any non-private charter is your time in White Bay is limited to 2 - 3 hours. The other reasonably priced option is the public ferry out of West End. The ferry leaves West End at 10AM and leaves Jost at 2PM giving you ~3 hours in White Bay. You would taxi 20 - 25 minutes to the New Horizon ferry terminal, ferry into Great Harbor and take a short taxi over to White Bay. Figure ~$68/pp for round trip using the taxi/ferry/taxi option...
  14. Yes, that is the big difference, most folks going on their own want more beach or snorkel time.
  15. Curious, how long are you at Sapphire with there excursion? That is usually the determining factor...
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