This was the highlight of our cruise. Antigua is a beautiful island and our excursion allowed us to experience it all. Our tour consisted of a land/historical tour during the bus ride to the launching point of our excursion. We boarded boats and headed to the kayak portion where we kayaked through the mangroves and got to see a variety of sea life. The kayak portion was much longer than expected and although tiring was well worth it. We then hiked to the top of one of the islands points where we were blessed with breathtaking views of the island. It wrapped up with some snorkeling which was nice. Overall, this was our favorite island and excursion for the trip.
Barbados was a lot of fun and were it not for the crowds at a couple of the snorkel stops, I would have scored this higher. We took the catamaran and snorkel tour which apparently there are a ton of companies offering the same tour with the same stops at the same time as part of their offering. We snorkeled at the shipwrecks where we got to see a wide variety of fish as well as several of the wrecks in the area. We then moved over to snorkel with the sea turtles and while there were not as many as I had hoped, it was a great treat to swim with these animals in such close proximity. We wrapped up as we anchored about 100 yards off shore for lunch and then you could stay on board and drink, swim to the beach or just swim around the catamaran. Whichever you chose you were sure to have a good time. Our crew was great and went out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time.
Due to the limited number of excursions available non of which appealed to us, we decided to make this a beach day. We walked off the cruise pier and turned left and just went to the beach right there by the pier. The beach chairs were $7 each. There were restrooms available as were several bar areas. The beach was nice but once in the water it was very rocky until you got out too deep to matter. We had a great time but this is a port the cruise lines should either avoid or poor some money into it as they have done elsewhere to make it more appealing.
St. Lucia is another beautiful and picturesque island with the Pitons as its most prominent feature. The Pitons are majestic and can be seen from just about anywhere on the island. Our tour took us through the banana plantations where we got to sample the local bananas, toured the fishing villages, visited the volcano, enjoyed the sulfur mud baths, swam in the a waterfall and dined at a postcard worthy resort overlooking the Pitons. It finished off with a short stroll on one of the beaches. Arguably the most picturesque of the islands we visited.
Having previously been to St. Maarten we decided to go to Maho Beach to experience the planes as they land and take off at the nearby airport. Originally we were only going to stay at Maho for a little while and then venture over to Orient Beach. Partly due to cab fare and partly due to our pleasant surprise at the quality of beach at Maho we decided to spend the majority of our day there and then go back to the cruise ship. This was a lot of fun and a great experience. Just note if you are anywhere in proximity to the beach area behind the runway when one of the big jets is set for takeoff, you will be sand blasted as the jet exhaust shoots the sand around at high rates of speed.