Our first port was Bermuda. This was our first time here but definitely won’t be our last. It was awesome. We walked off the ship and straight ahead is the shuttle to horseshoe bay. Its a large mini van, $7pp each way. It was about a 20 minute ride. The drivers get right up on the bumper in front of them and beep a lot so it was a little nerve wracking. When we arrived we walking down a little driveway to the beach and it was beautiful! There were maybe 20 other people there when we arrived. It was $45 for 2 chairs and an umbrella. We never really even sat so next time I wouldn’t bother renting chairs or umbrella. There are two areas to this beach...the main beach has fun waves, and the alcove off to the right is like a little pool with nice snorkeling. We bounced between the two. The beach got really crowded but it wasn’t bad in the water, where we stayed all day. It was too hot to sit out. We went to the snack shack early to avoid crowds. Prices were as expected. I think it was $10 or $12 for chicken fingers, fries and a water. They had wings, dogs, burgers, salads. This was our favorite day of the cruise. We stayed all day, although time flew by. We were able to easily get on a mini shuttle back to the ship without waiting. It was a little bit of a walk to get to the shops near the pier and it was just too hot for us. We just got back on the ship. The line to get back on was about 10 minutes.
Second port was St. Marten. We had been here a few times before. I had done research about the storm damage and recovery. The french side was still in bad shape but from what I read the dutch side was 90% repaired. We had rented a jeep from Hertz months in advance, but cancelled a few days before the cruise (more on why later). When we got off we thought we would try to see if we could still get a jeep. We walked about 5 minutes from the ship to Hertz. The lady at the counter said she would give us a 4 door for the same price we had earlier booked for a 2 door. Awesome! We did the paperwork, paid $100 on our credit card. She walked us around back behind the building to a **** box jeep. Another worker came running over to get his personal belongings out. I really don’t know why we didn’t refuse this car. I think we were just shocked and in a rush to get to the beach. The windshield was cracked, both bumpers had cracks and dents, the inside was awful. There was tons of rust, even the overhead lights were rusted out without bulbs. The seats were dirty etc. I really think this hunk of junk belonged to the worker and wasn’t even a rental. Lol We took pics of the damage with the lady right there. We drove off without a map heading towards the dutch side. Driving was kinda depressing. They may have repaired damage but the missing/shredded trees were noticable. If this was my first time here I would just assume its a dumpy island but I know it used to be beautiful. At one point we were driving along on a curve and my sons door flew open! Thankfully he had his seatbelt on. We were in the right e=area but couldn’t find Mullet beach. We saw a woman at a bus stop so we pulled up and I opened my window and asked her for directions. She either misheard me or thought we were someone else but she went to the back door where my son was and tried to open it. I think she thought we were giving her a ride. We laughed about the door and the almost-hitchhiker for days. We drove for a few more minutes and eventually found our way to Mullet bay. The water here is beautiful. Calm waves. The beach area is ok. There is a hill down to the water, but even with my bad back I could do it. We rented two chairs and an unbrella for $15-very cheap! A lady came over very quickly to collect the money and inform us that she was serving lunch and drinks right behind us. She had a personal grill, and a few coolers. We spent a couple hours in the water, chatting with fellow cruise passengers. We were the only ship in port that day. A few catamaran tours pulled up for about an hour each but it didn’t bother us. It wasn’t crowded. We made our way over to the lunch area. There were about 5 adults and 5 kids hanging out under a tarp serving food. We stood there for a minute before they acknowledged us, even though we were the only customer there. The girl was very curt. I was looking around, seeing the containers of food sitting out in the hot sun and I opted for a can of coke and a bag of chips lol. My son ordered a burger before I could say anything to him. My husband followed my lead and stuck with chips and soda. After ordering we stood there waiting...she didn’t tell us the price, or where to get the food. It was super awkward. Finally an older woman came over and they spoke and she told us our total. We paid, she didn’t even speak. No thank you, or your food will be right out. We had to ask where to get the burger and she mumbled something in an annoyed tone. The group continued to chat while we stood there. We finally walked away and waited at a picnic table. My son did get his burger, he said it was good. I had read positive reviews about this snack lady but I found them rude. I wouldn’t buy from them again. We stayed in the water for another hour or so before getting out to dry off. We drove around a bit before heading towards front Street. We had hoped to find parking somewhat near there but we didn’t.
The third port was San Juan. We have been several times, and several times we haven’t loved it lol. Today was no different. We were in port early. They told us the shops in Old SJ won’t open till 9:00. We took our time getting off the ship and walked up to old SJ. Even at 9:15-9:30 half of the shops were still closed. We were the only ship in port, you would think the shops would want to take advantage of the 4000 people there. It was really hot. We spent some times exploring and found a starbucks. Wifi and AC were greatly appreciated! We headed back to the ship in time for lunch. I personally don’t care for this port. There wasn’t enough time to go to any beach (but I hear they do have gorgeous beaches).
The last port was Labadee. It was beautiful. I knew we wanted to head to columbus cove where the water is calmer and lots of shade. We got on the tram at the first stop. I knew there was a tram stop at columbus cove but the driver stopped at the tram stop before that and told us all we had to walk. Ugh...the sand was think and it was a bit of a hill. The worst part was we had to walk by the very aggressive vendors. I told my son to just keep walking. They were all calling to us “Hello boss lady….pretty lady come here….I have something...let me show you”. I found them so aggressive that I had zero desire to even look at any of their goods. I know they are desperate but honestly if they toned it down people might be more willing to check it out. Anyways...we made our way to columbus cove and had a man set up three chairs under a palm. We tipped him and he was very kind. We spent all morning in the water. It was so nice. We had the BBQ lunch which was also decent. By lunch time the beach was packed and the water was crowded and very warm (eeew). We decided for the last hour we would check out adreneline beach. We were able to get a tram at the columbus cove stop. I guess if the tram has two wagons it can’t go over there, but if it only has one wagon it can. I’ll remember that! Adreneline wasn’t as shady, and there were little waves. The water wasn’t as clear and there was some sea grass areas. I much preferred CC area. We ended the day by stopping in the building with items for sale. NO aggressive vendors in here but there were vendors around the building calling to use from outside. Jeeze!!! The building was packed while the outside vendor booths had no one. That confirms my point...people would stop at the booths to shop if they were so aggressive. It was a long hot day but we loved this port. I liked not having to deal with thinking….its easy to just walk off the ship to the beach and have lunch right there for you.