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Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Philadelphia...
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Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Hello!

We are going on a 13-day Caribbean cruise Jan 20-Feb1, 2013. Like many people, we don't want to pay for the unreasonably overpriced cruise ship excursions and would much rather prefer paying straight to the local tour companies or just rent a car and see the island ourselves (we KNOW the risks involved!).

So here come the questions:

*Could you give us suggestions for the best local companies on each island?

*Do we need to book in advance or we can just look for them at the port once docked?

*Maybe the island is simple enough to just rent a car ourselves? *Also, is there something special / different that we shouldn't miss, e.g., gorgeous rainforest / huge waterfall / best snorkeling / white sand beaches / palm lined waterfronts etc?

We are both active people and put emphasis on nature instead of historic buildings or shopping.

Here are the ports:

Wed Jan 23 3pm - 10pm San Juan, Puerto Rico

Thu Jan 24 8am - 6pm St Thomas, USVI

Fri Jan 25 8am - 6pm Philipsburg, St Maarten

Sat Jan 26 8am - 6pm St Lucia

Sun Jan 27 8am - 4pm Bridgetown, Barbados

Mon Jan 28 9am - 6pm St John's, Antigua.

THANKS!!!!

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Barbados
Burlington, Canada
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1. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Have you posted this on the cruise forum?

If not it would be helpful.

For Barbados just put your question in the search box as it's frequently asked and answered question.

In fact on this very page is a similar question with answers.

For things to do take a look on the left side of the page, great information there.

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Thanks Canby. I am actually having a pretty hard time with our Barbados and Antigua stops. Doesn't seem like many people have been there or know what to suggest... :-/

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Antigua
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Antigua and Barbuda
Barbados
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3. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Traveler_Liene

For Barbados I would suggest visiting Harrison's Cave, Hunte's Gardens and perhaps Bathsheba.

Regards

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Would you say Barbados is easy enough (to navigate and not get lost) for us to just rent a car and make the drive around ourselves? That way we can stop whenever, wherever and for however long we want... That said, are there any car rental places near the cruise docks?

Henley on Thames
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5. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Why not just get a taxi to show you around your places of interest. We have a list link below of recommended drivers. Number 6 taxicabby, comments on here sometimes and has been used by many people who seem more than happy with his tours. There is an email address for him on the list. Why not email a few and get some costs. By hiring a driver you can run to your own times and stop when you wish.

My suggested tour would be: From cruise ship drive up the west coast past Sandy Lane and then cut to the wild east coast drive down Cherry tree Hill, take in St Nicholas Abbey (Rum tour & Jacobean House & History of Barbados) lunch at Atlantis hotel, trip to Huntes Gardens if time a trip to Bottom Bay and then back to the ship.

tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g147262-s304/Barbad…

Edited: 04 September 2012, 10:37
Boynton Beach...
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6. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Personal taxi is best. You can do the research and pick where you want to go. For a good overview of the island, sights, history, take a loop which includes St. John Parish church (very old, beautiful, interesting burial grounds), Andromeda Gardens, Bathsheba and east coast road, St. Nicholas Abbey/rum factory. After that hauling around, stop for lunch at Coral Reef Club on the west coast in Holetown. It is one of the class hotels in the Caribbean--very charming on 12 beachfront acres.

Restaurant is at water's edge, and you can use the beach. 20 min taxi back to the ship.

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Philadelphia...
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7. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

The taxi would be nice but if we want to wander around for half a day, paying to a taxi driver for this tour would not come out much cheaper then booking a cruise excursion. So for us it is also the final "cost" of the activity that matters a bit. That's why we were just thinking of a rental car. But I will definitely explore the taxi idea and get some more information and quotes.

How about Barbados beaches? Any scenic ones worth visiting for a photo? I like the palm tree ones. :)

Boynton Beach...
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8. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

Rental cars are a good way to go if you have time. But when you only have less than 8 hours on the island, you lose time doing the paperwork and checkout of the car rental. Also, road signs are sorely lacking, and you are guaranteed to miss turns and have to backtrack, even with the best of maps.

I am really good with maps, and have no trouble driving on the left side, and still stumble around after renting a car on 6 trips to the island. Taxi driver will take you exactly where you want to go. Tours will not.

UK
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9. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

We sailed with royal Caribbean and they did a great trip, like a pub crawl, can't remember exact name. Met us from the ship took us to a couple of lovely beaches and bars. Paid up front as an extra to our cruise and got vouchers on the coach. Might have been a bit more than doing it under your own steam but great and you didn't need to clock watch as you are in there hands so up to them to get you back to the ship on time.

Hope this helps.

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Philadelphia...
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10. Re: Shore Excursion Suggestions for Cruise Passengers

I know it's been a while but I just wanted to post an update on what we ended up doing in Barbados. As mentioned here by someone, we booked a taxi tour through tripadvisor. The guy's screen name here is ''taxicabby'' and though we were unsure of how this would play out, it ended up being the nicest tour out of all 6 islands that we visited. Taxicabby promptly met us outside the cruise terminal, did a short tour through Bridgetown, went down to Bottom Bay (absolutely beautiful!), visited Bathsheba, Barbados Wildlife Reserve and Flower Forest, with many short stops along the way. Taxicabby is very knowledgeable, has a lot to tell about the island, knows best spots for photos, places to eat, and respects our wishes. It was a totally private tour and we enjoyed every minute of it! And he 100% accommodated all my sudden requests for photo stops at weirdest places! :D

I would absolutely use him again over any commercial organized tour! So yes, we had a lot of fun in Barbados! :)