Port and Shore Excursions
Like a Mexican border town: "Van," "I give you a tour," "Taxi," "You like my sister?" Ok, no one offered his sister, but otherwise we were hounded. Even a thin sun-tanned blonde American accosted us outside a casino, trying to get us inside.
We walked to St. John's (touted as a "must see") only to find that it's closed for renovations. Returning to the port area, we were uncomfortable with some of the locals.
Had cold drinks in a bar (very good rum punch) and then immediately returned to the ship.
Dirty, crowded, and humid.
The pool is hardly "emerald" in color.
Many people, including my husband and myself, chose not to walk to the emerald pool but to view it from afar due to the difficulty in getting there. If you are not entirely able-bodied, do not attempt.
Read my review of Oceania Cruise Lines for details. Basically, most of the buses for "Dominica's Favorites" appeared to be fairly new nice and clean. But too many guests, I guess, so they pulled a filthy old bus that was probably designed for children and put it into use. The seats are metal benches. Our bench seat was too small -- for our feet (we needed to have our toes amputated in order to fit); for our shoulders; and for our legs. (Neither of us is tall; I'm 5'4 and hubby is 5'9 or 5'10.)
You must be able to walk on a slippery, uneven uphill path.
Falls are lovely.
We put in at a man-made village which I believe was built by Ocean and Crystal cruise lines. As such, it is pristine. Lots of shops but I couldn't find several of the souvenirs I wanted!
Ocean is nice. Gotta get there early to get a chaise in the shade. Lots of chaise lounge chairs, rental equipment (floatation devices), beautiful clear water. But the beach itself is uneven, so we relocated to the pool at Margaritaville -- WOW!
Great pina coladas. Great pools with lots of beach chairs. Swim up bar. Good service at the bars. Great music. Great fun.
Couldn't get served in the restaurant, though, so we went back to the ship for lunch. (There were plenty of empty tables; lost revenue; money in my pocket.)
We took a horse-drawn carriage ride which gave us a tour of Old Town. It's $25 a person and worth it.
We toured Don Q which makes the most delicious rums! Tour is free and you get to sample one rum of your chosing. I had the Passion Fruit and added pineapple juice -- yum! Hubby had the coconut rum and added orange juice. Delicious.
We found a lot of souvenirs (as more sunscreen) at the CVS Pharmacy.
I've visited San Juan before, back in the 1980's. Toured the Bacardi rum factory and went to dinner and watched flamenco dancers. Recommend both.
Take the time to see San Juan. My nephew recently took the "Flavors of San Juan" tour and highly recommended it.
Shops are closed on Sunday.
We found a bar (Bucanneer's Route?) that served the most wonderful Rum Punch --topped with nutmeg. (It's very near the church.)
We regret that we didn't rent an open-aired vehicle and drive the island ourselves; or rent a cab. If you want to do that, do it pronto! Availability is limited.
But we walked for quite a while. It's a nice and seemingly safe and clean place to walk.
I went ashore alone and felt perfectly safe. Took the water taxi ($5 round trip, although our cruise line personnel told guests that it's $3). Had a yummy rum punch. While enjoying the weather and the punch, I was approached by a friendly man peddling his wares. I did buy a necklace from him, but beware that this is a risk. Enjoyed some calypso music in the square. Your typical (although clean and pleasant) tourist stop.
Cleaner than most ports of call.
We should have taken one of the open-aired "bus" tours. Talked to guests who did; it's well praised.
Instead, we walked and did some souvenir shopping.
Everyone seemed to speak English, although with melodious accents.
Because we didn't take one of the open-aired tour buses, we came along a lot of people offering us tours. Had to wade past them to get to the shopping.
Found Pusser's Rum here; wish we'd bought a large bottle. It's really good.
Give the old man a couple of bucks and have your picture taken of you with him and his burro.
I recommend the Sailaway to Savannah excursion IF you are able to snorkel AND if you are able to swim to shore and back AND if you don't mind leaving your personal belongings unattended and unsecured aboard the catamaran. The Guides make a kick-ass rum punch!
Had a couple of PainKillers at a local bar. I had been in a royally bad mood all day. Drank two PainKillers and my mood made a 180 degree turn! Woo-hoo!
The public restroom we found was beyond disgusting. Lunch was overpriced and we kept our fingers crossed we didn't get sick. (We didn't.) Suggest you try a PainKiller, but return to your ship to eat lunch. (Pack a breakfast or protein bar to tide you over.)