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librarygal

Any truly exotic and interesting cruise ports in the Caribbean?

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We have been on six cruises in the Caribbean so far and they are all looking the same now.  The standard ports of call all seem to get the most interest (Such as San Juan, Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Saint Thomas, The Bahamas, etc.) We have seen them all and don't plan on returning.

 

On our next cruise, I want to move to a more deluxe ship with better food and service.  But perhaps more important is I want to visit the Caribbean islands that have a unique beauty, are green and mountainous with rain forest, have a unique thought-provoking culture, that would leave me with wonder.  Maybe the Southern Caribbean islands would be more genuine and less of a tourist trap.  I am wondering about places like Martinique, Grenada, Saint Lucia, or Saba. I have not seen these places and don't know much about them.

 

I have not been to the less commercial touristy Caribbean Islands on a cruise.  Which islands are the most awe-inspiring where I could experience both local culture, beautiful scenery and a feeling I am off the beaten path?

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We cruised to Martinique in 1994 and to me it was paradise.We were back a few years ago and it was no different than any other caribbean island.We are going to Grenada in October for the first time. St.Lucia to me is like every other island as well.

Have you been to Domenica ?You might enjoy that.

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Grenada and Dominica are perhaps the lushest isles on a Southern itinerary.  St Lucia and Martinique would be distant third and fourth.  JMO, YMMV.

 

Of course, you'll need to get away from the immediate port areas to experience the greenery.

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St Barts, Guadeloupe,  Grenada  Dominica

all different   but similar in many ways

 

 

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39 minutes ago, librarygal said:

We have been on six cruises in the Caribbean so far and they are all looking the same now.  The standard ports of call all seem to get the most interest (Such as San Juan, Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Saint Thomas, The Bahamas, etc.) We have seen them all and don't plan on returning.

 

On our next cruise, I want to move to a more deluxe ship with better food and service.  But perhaps more important is I want to visit the Caribbean islands that have a unique beauty, are green and mountainous with rain forest, have a unique thought-provoking culture, that would leave me with wonder.  Maybe the Southern Caribbean islands would be more genuine and less of a tourist trap.  I am wondering about places like Martinique, Grenada, Saint Lucia, or Saba. I have not seen these places and don't know much about them.

 

I have not been to the less commercial touristy Caribbean Islands on a cruise.  Which islands are the most awe-inspiring where I could experience both local culture, beautiful scenery and a feeling I am off the beaten path?

Might I suggest that you consider Polynesia (and/or other Pacific Islands) instead? 

From a short round trip Papeete to a partial/full transpacific (e.g., Australia/US), the choices for culture, natural beauty, etc are almost endless.

 

One of my favorite cruises was Valpo to Papeete with stops including Easter Island and Bora Bora. 

 

As for the better cruise ship experience, how about Oceania? Smaller ships, Finest Cuisine At Sea™, no "nickel-diming" and airfare/air credit included.

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Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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We were getting a bit tired of Caribbean cruising and were looking for alternative ports. Our last trip down that way, many years ago, was on Windstar. They had a good itinerary that included Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke that we’d never been to.   Or, maybe it’s time to venture out.  Alaska?

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51 minutes ago, librarygal said:

Green and scenic are important but seeing a unique and local culture and way of life is key!

 

I spend a lot of time in the Caribbean (though rarely on cruises) and will say that, if you're just stopping in an island for a few hours, you're not going to see much of a cultural difference between many of the nations...especially those with similar history (British, Dutch, French, whatever). If you spend more time there, you could start scratching the surface and seeing the uniqueness of each one, but for a one-day cruise stop you won't see much unique between them, unfortunately.

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You cannot be serious.

You started, and got slammed for, about 6 different threads complaining about each and every little thing on your recent cruise. 

It went from funny, to ridiculous, to you being blocked by many.

 

Cruising is not for you. 

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When I think of truly unique and exotic Caribbean islands, I think of places not on the big cruise line’s itineraries. So I’d start by looking at more upscale cruise lines that have smaller ships and which visit off the beaten path destinations. 

 

Iles de Saintes, Jost Van Dyke, St. Barthelemy, Bequia, are some of those unique places in the Caribbean. Enjoy!

Edited by Tapi

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Our one word answer to the OP's question is, "No!"  While there are differences between various islands (and we have vacationed on quite a few) but none of the islands fit my definition of exotic.  There are certainly some islands better then others, but we are not talking about anything like the Seychelles (Indian Ocean) or some of the exotic islands of the South Pacific.   I do agree that islands like St Barts and Anguilla are somewhat special....some of that is related to the fact that they are not cruise ports (St Barts does host some ships...although most are smaller and high-end).

 

And then there are the Greek Islands of which there are over 1000 with about 200 inhabited.  Cruise ships go to a handful of those islands which has become a major problem on some islands like Santorini.  But some of the islands never visited by cruise ships are quite fantastic and can be accessed via ferry or on some small vessel companies such as Variety Cruises.

 

Hank

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Fourteen nights on Wind Surf. You will have a much more luxurious cruise line to gripe about with Windstar. Book soon.

Saturday, February 9     St. Maarten         7:00pm
Sunday, February 10     Antigua     8:00am     10:00pm
Monday, February 11     At Sea         
Tuesday, February 12     Tortola, British Virgin Islands     8:00am     6:00pm
Tuesday, February 12     Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands     7:00pm     
Wednesday, February 13     Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands         3:00pm
Wednesday, February 13     Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands     6:00pm     
Thursday, February 14     Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands         5:00pm
Friday, February 15     St. Barts     8:00am     10:00pm
Saturday, February 16     St. Maarten     6:00am     11:59pm
Sunday, February 17     Barbuda     8:00am     3:00pm
Monday, February 18     Roseau, Dominica     8:00am     5:00pm
Tuesday, February 19     St. Lucia     8:00am     4:00pm
Wednesday, February 20     Guadeloupe     8:00am     6:00pm
Thursday, February 21     St. Kitts     8:00am     10:00pm
Friday, February 22     St. Barts     8:00am     10:00pm
Saturday, February 23     St. Maarten     6:00am    

 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
       

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I agree that the Polynesian culture is unique and totally different from what one can experience in the Caribbean, but I think that spending more time on the various isles than a cruise stop allows is the way to go.

 

Either way, one needs to get away from the cruise port or AI resort to experience the culture and beauty of the isle.

 

On our first trip to Bora Bora, we were chatting with some local women who made pareaus at their home.  When they found out that we lived in NY, they matter of factly asked if we knew "The Smiths" who visited them last week and were also from NY.  Of course, they knew most everyone on their isle, and it was inconceivable to them that we wouldn't know anyone else who came from NY!!

 

But the OP did ask about the Caribbean, so Grenada and Dominica stand out.  JMO, YMMV.

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If you want different, you have to think outside the mass market box.  Look at Ponant who do a lot of itineraries seasonally in the Caribbean, visiting islands you have never heard of.  And  Blount Small Ship Adventures https://www.blountsmallshipadventures.com/ who currently have Grande Mariner sailing around costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and will be transiting the Panama Canal in the next few days.  And there is Windstar, as mentioned previously.  Variety Voyages also have ships in this area in winter.  EM

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2 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

If you want different, you have to think outside the mass market box.  Look at Ponant who do a lot of itineraries seasonally in the Caribbean, visiting islands you have never heard of.  And  Blount Small Ship Adventures https://www.blountsmallshipadventures.com/ who currently have Grande Mariner sailing around costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and will be transiting the Panama Canal in the next few days.  And there is Windstar, as mentioned previously.  Variety Voyages also have ships in this area in winter.  EM

OR

consider a crewed yacht charter (e.g., 60' cat for group of 8). Check out yacht charter brokers like Ed Hamilton. Not as expensive as you may think.

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Hi

 

I don't know why you are bothering. It seems apparent, cruising isn't for you. You did seem to complain about everything. Maybe, try some land based vacations. Trip Advisor would be a good resource for your search.

 

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Find a yacht charter or catamaran from St.Thomas for a week.

They will take you to places that many ships do not go to and you have not heard of.

All inclusive and fabulous! 

Edited by janetz

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13 hours ago, Nic6318 said:

I will not allow the poster below decide what type of vacation I will take in the future.  If he or she followed my posts, they would see I have gone on 6 cruises and generally enjoyed them.  Yes, I had some problems but I like the idea of visiting a different port of call most days instead of sitting at a resort in one place for a week.  Next time I hope to upgrade to Viking or Crystal for a better experience and go to islands that are more interesting and less commercial.

 

I don't know why you are bothering. It seems apparent, cruising isn't for you. You did seem to complain about everything. Maybe, try some land based vacations. Trip Advisor would be a good resource for your search.

 

1
1

 

Edited by librarygal

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15 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

I And  Blount Small Ship Adventures https://www.blountsmallshipadventures.com/ who currently have Grande Mariner sailing around costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and will be transiting the Panama Canal in the next few days. 

Have you been on these  ships??

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I will not allow the poster below decide what type of vacation I will take in the future.  If he or she followed my posts, they would see I have gone on 6 cruises and generally enjoyed them.  Yes, I had some problems but I like the idea of visiting a different port of call most days instead of sitting at a resort in one place for a week.  Next time I hope to upgrade to Viking or Crystal for a better experience and go to islands that are more interesting and less commercial.

 

I could not quote you @librarygal because you added text into a quote that you started.  Question, though.  Just how many cruises HAVE you gone on? In 2012 you stated that your RC cruise was your sixth, but you were here bashing a Carnival cruise just last week.  By my count, that would be 7.  Just goes to credibility.

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53 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

Have you been on these  ships??

 They are not in my budget, but I have seen them docked in Savannah.  EM

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7 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

 They are not in my budget, but I have seen them docked in Savannah.  EM

a  totally different  experience from the dock

 

The ships ride like a cork in the ocean  fine in the Hudson river & such

 

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Unfortunately, there is no where truly that exotic any more.  

 

Too much TV, movies, internet, and the world is becoming more and more homogeneous.

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