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Grinch99

Excursions in the Caribbean

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Hi

On a 2 week cruise out of Barbados with P&O, would you book your excursions through them or are there plenty of safe & cheaper options when you go ashore on most of the islands?

 

Many Thanks

Grinch

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Grinch99 said:

Hi

On a 2 week cruise out of Barbados with P&O, would you book your excursions through them or are there plenty of safe & cheaper options when you go ashore on most of the islands?

 

Many Thanks

Grinch

 

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have been to just about every Caribbean island where a cruise ship can dock.  We are Yanks, so the Caribbean is a convenient way to avoid some winter weather.  That being said, we have taken ship's excursions (the ship will wait on you if the excursion is late) excursions through our U.S.-based big box warehouse club's travel department (they also offer a return-to-the-ship guarantee) and totally independent walking tours of some of the safer ports (we do not do this in Jamaica).  After a while, all of the islands start to look alike, so nowadays we opt to either stay on the ship or book an excursion to a nice resort with a beach and lunch.  Much more relaxing.

 

If this is your first time in the Caribbean, I would stick with the ship's excursions just for the convenience and the safety factor.  There is no guarantee of a safe vehicle with the independent tours that hang around the port gate and you will be on your own should an accident happen. Some of those multi-passenger vans are a bit dodgy and may not be equipped with seat belts and often have flip-down seats that then block the aisle.

 

Have a wonderful time in the Caribbean.

 

 

 

Edited by SargassoPirate

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We've always used one of the taxis at the port and either told them where we want to go or let them give us a tour. Much cheaper and more personal than organised tours. Look through the Ports of Call posts on this forum for ideas and recommendations. 

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Yes, we have always done trips with local companies rather than the ships ones.  Cosol Tours in St Lucia get great reviews on here and we used them.  We also did a private one in Barbados.

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would always use the organised trips from p and o in the caribbean from a safety point of view and reliabilty biggest factor though is they will get you back to the ship in time enjoy your cruise

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1 hour ago, philred said:

would always use the organised trips from p and o in the caribbean from a safety point of view and reliabilty biggest factor though is they will get you back to the ship in time enjoy your cruise

The chances of being late back to the ship on a small Caribbean island are extremely small. The vendors, taxi drivers etc are all well versed in timings. The fear of missing the ship is talked up by the cruise lines so as to persuade people to take their over priced excursions.  Given the choice of a private tour in a taxi, or a bus trip with 40 other people at twice the price, the private tour is the obvious choice.

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Posted (edited)

I look at the ship's excursions.  If they are offering horse riding or ATV driving and this is what you like, book it. You can book independent excursions through people like www.viator.com but it is only worth doing either of these systems if they offer something unique.  You can get a taxi to the beach which is always the other side of the island where shallow water exists.  My favourite is to look for a water taxi but see the craft first and get an idea of how soon it is departing, this option gives you a free boat trip two ways and may be same price as a motor car taxi. Taxi and water taxi run a return service giving out tickets in some cases  this could be a lanyard and token or whatever or they may just guarantee coming back.  I have found them reliable and it best to agree and confirm a price upfront together with a pickup time. Taxi/water taxi guys know the area and will drop you off at a beach often where the hotel next to it has a bar with toilet facilities, changing room and you just have to buy one drink to be on-side with their management  In each case independent excursions you must return t the ship in good time or it leaves without you.  So aiming to return to quayside two hours before sailing is prudent.  If you book with viator or another local using online remember you need to be able to get to rendezvous point in good time and that the excursion is not too tight timewise if it runs a bit late.  If the ship fails to dock at an island altogether where you have pre-paid independently you will likely lose your money unless your travel insurance covers. Ships excursions refund under these circumstances.  As a first time traveller I should recommend only considering one independent via internet maximum and see how face to face taxis work and look for a water taxi at each port as they only run from some locations.  Last time I got a Caribbean water taxi all the sprookers were black guys dressed as pirates and the owner operator of the craft was a white guy from Croydon.

 

Regards John

Edited by john watson

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Viator is owned by Trip Advisor, and is basically just a middle man. By all means look at their site to see what tours are available, but I prefer to then book direct with the tour operator.

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We normally look at the times the tours get back to the ship, all day ones we don't risk and do P&O if its a few hours or a morning we'll take a look at the local ones. We did a half day tour in St Kitts and it wasn't full so they asked if we wanted to stay on for the full tour which was great! even though it rained a lot we had such a good day and we tipped the guild the extra as it was well worth it. I do think the local ones are better.

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Many Thanks for all the replies, some of the P&O excursions look very expensive for what is actually on offer so I think we will stay flexible and at look at options when we get ashore. The one we are considering booking is the Pitons in St.Lucia with lunch included, viewing from the Tet Paul nature trail. However it is a 5 and  half hour excursion which seems quite long. Is this something we could do by taxi from the cruise port?

 

Regards

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@Grinch99 We did the forum recommended Cosol tour on St Lucia. It was an all day tour which got you back to the ship in plenty of time for about USD70 per person plus tips. For that you got a lot of tour. We visited a banana plantation, stopped at view points for photo opportunities, had a massive Caribbean buffet breakfast, a boat ride to a beach between the pitons, a volcanic mud bath at Souffriere, followed by a shower under a waterfall, some more photo ops and a bit of lunch on the way back. It was a fantastic day and good value.

Edited by Sussexboy
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On ‎1‎/‎1‎/‎2020 at 12:44 PM, SargassoPirate said:

 

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have been to just about every Caribbean island where a cruise ship can dock.  We are Yanks, so the Caribbean is a convenient way to avoid some winter weather.  That being said, we have taken ship's excursions (the ship will wait on you if the excursion is late) excursions through our U.S.-based big box warehouse club's travel department (they also offer a return-to-the-ship guarantee) and totally independent walking tours of some of the safer ports (we do not do this in Jamaica).  After a while, all of the islands start to look alike, so nowadays we opt to either stay on the ship or book an excursion to a nice resort with a beach and lunch.  Much more relaxing.

 

If this is your first time in the Caribbean, I would stick with the ship's excursions just for the convenience and the safety factor.  There is no guarantee of a safe vehicle with the independent tours that hang around the port gate and you will be on your own should an accident happen. Some of those multi-passenger vans are a bit dodgy and may not be equipped with seat belts and often have flip-down seats that then block the aisle.

 

Have a wonderful time in the Caribbean.

 

 

 

aggree with your "they all look the same". my wife and i just go to a beach and relax and make sure we leave to get  back on the ship with more than plenty time to spare

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On 1/10/2020 at 11:56 AM, Sussexboy said:

@Grinch99 We did the forum recommended Cosol tour on St Lucia. It was an all day tour which got you back to the ship in plenty of time for about USD70 per person plus tips. For that you got a lot of tour. We visited a banana plantation, stopped at view points for photo opportunities, had a massive Caribbean buffet breakfast, a boat ride to a beach between the pitons, a volcanic mud bath at Souffriere, followed by a shower under a waterfall, some more photo ops and a bit of lunch on the way back. It was a fantastic day and good value.

We have just returned from Azura and we did the Cosol tour in St Lucia, we would recommend this tour and have done it before, but we paid $80 US each, we haven't done any P&O tours this time, mostly due to price, picked up a local taxi tour in St Kitts and had a arranged local tour in St Vincent, we were due to do an ATV tour in Granada but had to cancel last minute.

All the tour operators were very aware of all on board time and we had no problems. For us small groups are better than large tour buses, in some islands ALL buses are only the mini bus type due to the road network, but in some islands they have regular size buses

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Thank you!

 

We have booked with Cosol Tours for St.Lucia!

 

Grinch

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We have done countless trips in the Caribbean they only place I would make sure you have plenty of time to return to the ship is St Maarten. Twice  we have been caught up in a long tailback of traffic in the afternoon,  the second time we were delayed for approx 30 mins, just made it back before the all aboard time. 

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