We decided to take a cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary, and we sent out a giant email to family and friends to see if anyone else was interested in joining us; six friends were able to. We were particularly interested in making a stop in Puerto Rico to see friends who had moved back there for job-related reasons a number of years ago. San Juan was our first stop, and we had just enough time on shore to meet them for dinner. Wished we could have had a longer visit, but a short one was better than nothing. Walked around Old San Juan & had dinner in a very nice restaurant called "Mojito's".
Next port was St. Maarten. Did a shore excursion called "See and Sea", which took us on a little tour and for a ride on a boat that had windows all around the lower level so we could see the sea life. That was really cool! We saw sea turtles, a small shark, a barracuda, a baby octopus, and tons of other fish. We weren't crazy about the shopping end of things. There wasn't much of interest and some of the areas were pretty seedy-looking; we didn't really want to wander around.
St. Thomas was beautiful! We did a shore excursion that included a 2-hour visit to Magen's Bay Beach, followed by a 2-hour shopping trip. The weather was perfect and the beach was magnificent!! Our guide first took us up in the hills to see the view from up top and to take some breathtaking pictures. The shopping was much more satisfying this time around. The main street was nice, we felt safe, and we bought some really nice gifts.
The final port of call was Semana in the Dominican Republic. The scenery was lovely, but it IS a true Third World country. There is no port to dock at; the ship just dropped anchor and tenders took us to our shore excursion to a small island off the mainland called Cayo Levantado. It was worth it; we could have stayed on that island forever! The beach was beautiful, the water was so clean and clear, and we had the conveniences of flushing potties and a reasonably-priced barbecue lunch on the beach. There were plenty of chairs available for free, and our group of 8 had no problem finding a couple of lovely palm trees to park under. The one drawback was the the vendors who had set up their wares along a shaded path. They were ALL OVER US with the sales pitch, practically pulling us into their little "tents" before we even had a chance to look at anything. Bought a couple of things from vendors who weren't quite so pushy. The excursion to Cayo was sold out by the time we boarded the ship in New York, so book it online ahead of time. Actually, that is a good idea for any of the shore excursions if you don't want to be shut out.
Our time on board the ship was equally enjoyable. Don't think we've ever laughed so much on a vacation in our lives!