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donswife

Which Caribbean ports do you recommend?

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I am starting to plan a 7 day Caribbean cruise for DH and myself for next winter, and am feeling overwhelmed by all the choices. Which ports are your favorites and why? I would like to narrow the itinerary a bit before choosing a ship or dates. I looked at the Caribbean board, but it is not very active.

 

Thank you!

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Bonaire for amazing snorkeling!!! Also, have to stop at Half Moon Caye. It's a great day to just enjoy a beautiful, white sand beach and clear blue water. Those are my top 2 pics.

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You'll be kind of limited on a 7 day itinerary. A lot of the best ports are usually hit on the 10+ day sailings. I would spend some time on Frommers, Fodors, and TripAdvisor. You can have an excellent time on "been there, done that" ports like St. Thomas & Cozumel if you do your homework.

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I am starting to plan a 7 day Caribbean cruise for DH and myself for next winter, and am feeling overwhelmed by all the choices. Which ports are your favorites and why? I would like to narrow the itinerary a bit before choosing a ship or dates. I looked at the Caribbean board, but it is not very active.

 

Thank you!

 

7 day ? --- I like the Eastern Caribbean over the Western,

 

i like beaches and Eastern usually includes:

Half moon cay, grand turk, st thomas (or St. Martin)... and also San Juan..

 

all these ports have great beaches (although the times i've been to San Juan, the we didn't go to the beach becuase it was windy and hte water was rough).

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We like the southern Caribbean with stops at Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Also had a fun time driving around Grand Turk in a golf cart and ending the day at Margaritaville.:)

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We also like the Southern ports -- Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba -- but it is hard for a cruise to hit them on a 7 day itinerary.

We like Eastern itineraries as our second choice. St Maarten, St Kitts

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We love the no hassle beachy ports like Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and the new one Amber Cove in D.R. looks promising. We also love Nassau for a day at Atlantis.

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We like the southern Caribbean with stops at Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Also had a fun time driving around Grand Turk in a golf cart and ending the day at Margaritaville.:)

 

Ditto, Southern Caribbean has my vote. You can swim with Sea Turtles:) Would have to fly to San Juan for a 7 day cruise......You can always got to eastern.western Caribbean, those are a dime a dozen

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Love Grenada for the diversity on the island, and Dominica for the lush rain forest that is mostly pristine as a fairly undeveloped island. Shopping for jewelry is the best in St. Maarten. Love the ocean-ward side of Cozumel (the much less commercial side) - even though the beach is rocky, it has wonderful tidal pools, plus you can swim with the sharks (in a shark cage). Curacao and Bonaire are 2 of our favorites as great snorkeling, wonderful people, more laid back. Can you tell we are not fans of the hustle and bustle of the more popular islands that are beginning to lose some of the individual uniqueness and seem to have too many ships docked in at the same time. Example - If we dock at St Thomas, we immediately grab the local ferry for St Johns as a magnificent island with about 2/3 of it being a US national park, great hiking, wonderful snorkeling with an underwater, marked trail in Cinnamon Bay.

 

You cannot go wrong but try to sail longer and go further south to add Bonaire and Curacao (and Aruba for windsurfing).

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For sightseeing, our two favorite Caribbean ports are Willemstad (Curacao) and San Juan (Puerto Rico) ... unfortunately, I am not aware of any 7-day itinerary that includes both - a good excuse to do more than 1 Caribbean cruise? For a relaxing day at the beach, our favorite is Half Moon Cay - it really is a gem, although we liked it much better when para-sailing was still offered as a shore excursion option ...

 

Smooth sailing,

 

Rod

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Thank you for all the input so far...some trends are starting to emerge! We live in Washington state, so we have to fly to embarkation port regardless, so starting in San Juan is a possibility. We are not big shoppers. Our top goal for the trip is to enjoy blue sky and warm sun for a week.

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We, too, loved our 10 day Southern Caribbean cruise but have been on many 7 day cruises. We prefer Eastern over Western but any Caribbean cruise is nice!

 

We don't do shopping and we are not BIG sun people but we do love to get off the ship and "get some sand in our shoes". We go on cruises to rest and relax and get away from everything.

 

Key West is one of our favorite ports - it's such a beautiful and interesting city to just walk around in and take the little hop on hop off shuttle around the city.

We like St. Maarten, San Juan, Half Moon Cay, & Grand Turk. Not a big fan of St. Thomas (we usually do not get off the ship there).

 

I'm sure you will love any cruise to the Caribbean, it is so beautiful (skip the Bahamas - Nassau) if possible. There is a lot of crime there and we don't get off the ship - been there done that.

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When it is -40 and we are getting very few hours of daylight, my whining is always "I want to be in Curacao". So that'd be my favorite Caribbean port :D

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When it is -40 and we are getting very few hours of daylight, my whining is always "I want to be in Curacao". So that'd be my favorite Caribbean port :D

 

We second that ! Curacao is a wonderful port !

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For a 7 day we're wanting to go to St Maarten again. We love the "Sunset Bar & Grill" in St Maarten where the planes land so low to the beach.

:)

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I'll buck the trend here and say Roatan, Honduras. The Honduran people were some of the kindest and most welcoming of any place I've been in the region. There are many private tour operators available that are safe & reputable, and the costs there are much less than in the Eastern ports [at least the ones I've been to]. Usually itineraries that include Honduras also include Belize which has a lot to offer for those interested in Mayan history/culture/ruins even if the actual port city itself is kinda dumpy.

 

I agree with others that if you decide on one with St Thomas, the trip to St John is definitely worth it. St John has BEAUTIFUL beaches if you are into sun and sand.

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What do you like to do? Shop, beach, golf, hike?

 

Given the feedback I have received so far, we are leaning toward Eastern Caribbean. I checked flight info, and trying to fly from Portland to San Juan is not really practical for now.

 

Given this info, which ports do you think are good for snorkeling or fishing? (Yes, we want to look at the fish (me) or catch the fish (DH)! :D

 

Thank you!

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Thank you for all the input so far...some trends are starting to emerge! We live in Washington state, so we have to fly to embarkation port regardless, so starting in San Juan is a possibility. We are not big shoppers. Our top goal for the trip is to enjoy blue sky and warm sun for a week.

 

Given your situation we think a Southern Caribbean itinerary out of San Juan makes the most sense. The odds of getting decent warm weather increases in the south and many of the islands are really interesting places. Since you have not been to any of the islands in the region, you might want to focus more on getting a good price and decent ship. Most of the 7 day cruises out of San Juan will visit 5 or 6 ports (known as "port intensive" cruise). When looking at itineraries you should also focus on the hours a ship is in each port. Ideally you want to be in most places for a full day (i.e. 8-5 or later). Some cruise lines have been reducing their time in certain ports in order to slow down their ships and save fuel. This is good for the cruise line but always so good for those wanting to visit ports.

 

Hank

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Given the feedback I have received so far, we are leaning toward Eastern Caribbean. I checked flight info, and trying to fly from Portland to San Juan is not really practical for now.

 

Given this info, which ports do you think are good for snorkeling or fishing? (Yes, we want to look at the fish (me) or catch the fish (DH)! :D

 

Thank you!

 

Snorkeling is great in Grand Turk and St. John USVI (can go if cruising to St Thomas), the Baths in Virgin Gorda BVI (again a trip over from Tortola) are fun too!

 

Great beaches for relaxing, not really snorkeling are Orient Beach in St Maarten, Jost Van Dyke BVI (very low key atmosphere) and Antigua has some great beaches also.

 

While Bermuda is not in the Caribbean if you are considering a summer cruise charter boat fishing and snorkeling are great!

 

I know more ships are going to the Dominican Republic, but I must say we spent a week at two different all inclusive resorts. It wasn't a place on our must go list but we were invited to a destination wedding. We really loved one of the resorts, the Iberostar Grand Bavaro. Everything was really top notch and it is a place we would go back to in a heartbeat. The beaches were clean and again it was very relaxing.

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Check http://www.cruisetimetables.com select destinations and your dates. This is where you can decide if you want to go to St. Thomas or not. There were only two ships there the last time we sailed in. Beaches and shopping probably were not crowded. If the behemoths are there at any port, try to avoid it. (allure type)

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Check www.cruisetimetables.com select destinations and your dates. This is where you can decide if you want to go to St. Thomas or not. There were only two ships there the last time we sailed in. Beaches and shopping probably were not crowded. If the behemoths are there at any port, try to avoid it. (allure type)

 

Excellent advice, Cat ... and IMO the cruisetimetables web site is the most accurate site for this information.

 

Rod

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St Thomas has been spoiled by too much tourism, but since you haven't been there go once and take a tour that will take you up on the mountain for the views. Or at least take the skyride tram at Havensite.

 

For favorite places I prefer the less spoiled islands like St Lucia and Dominica.

 

Edited by jtl513

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Just for the record - because some folks do need to stay in touch:

 

St Thomas (USVI) and San Juan have cell phone service just as in the continental US because they are US territories. No International charges with the major US cell service companies.:)

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