Had an awesome time on this cruise with my sister and her husband. It was disappointing that we had requested to have cabins close to each other months prior to the cruise and yet we ended up on different levels and opposite ends of the ship! :( We didn't have any major issues with anything on the ship - food, service, shows, were all fine. Arrived in San Juan on the Sunday afternoon prior to the cruise. The usual hassle of waiting in line for a taxi to the port, which we shared with another group. At the port, there were lots of luggage porters waiting, but it is not a very long walk to where you leave your luggage, so you could save a few bucks here. Monday was St. Thomas - I didn't have an excursion booked (couldn't afford to do one at every port) so I walked off the boat and went to the taxi queue and asked for a ride to Magen's Bay - in no time I was on an open air taxi with other people all going to Megan's Bay. All of the taxi trips are based on a per person rate, not More
per trip rate, so expect to have to share!! There is a $4 fee to enter the beach area, and I think the taxi trip was $4 as well. On the beach, you can rent lounge chairs, but there are no umbrellas at this beach. There was however lots of shade. I watched 3 weddings on the beach during my 3 hours there. The bay is very lovely and there is a restaurant - however the meals weren't cheap - $10.50 for a burger! There were lots of taxis leaving back to town all the time, so getting back was no problem. Our driver stopped at a lookout point (called Drake (?)) on the way back which was spectacular!
Day 2 - at sea
Day 3 - Barbados - again no excursion booked, but did some research and went to Harbour Lights (a bar/restaurant)at Carlisle Bay- same taxi deal as the other islands - no entry fee to enter the beach here, but there was a fee at some of the other restaurants. Lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent, $5 for each. Once we arrived on the beach, we arranged a glass-bottom boat ride to take us snorkeling. We paid $30 per person, for an hour and it was just the 3 of us. The 'shipwreck' which has lots of nice fish around it is not very far from shore and we may have been able to just swim out, but live and learn. We also were taken to an area (again not very far away) to swim/snorkel with turtles. This was totally awesome and worth every penny! There were maybe half a dozen turtles hanging around which would eat out of your hand. Very cool. Spent the rest of the day on the beach then caught a taxi back to the ship. Always lots of taxis waiting.
Day 4 - St. Lucia - had booked the 4X4 Beach and Safari excursion and had Chris as our guide and Michael as the driver. This was another great day, as Chris was very knowledgeable and friendly and willing to answer lots of questions! The tour took us to a 'private' beach where there were no other people except those of us on the tour! We had an hour and a half to spend on this beautiful beach. We were given refreshments and even some fresh coconut!
Day 5 - St. Kitts - no plans, so did some research and got a taxi to Cockleshell Bay which dropped us off at Reggae Beach Bar. The immediate bar area was a little busy for us, so we walked a short walk to a little hut where Debbie rented us out an umbrella and 3 chairs for $15. My sister and I went snorkeling off the beach, and didn't really see much for fish, but tonnes of coral and all different types. Aloe vera massages where available and guys walking around with monkeys. The trip was $7 per person each way. Again, no trouble leaving as there were always taxis available.
Day 6 - St. Maarten - again went off the boat to see what was available. Found a snorkeling trip that was $55 per person, but because we all had our own gear, was able to get it for $45 per person. This is a 2 hour trip that leaves from a dive shop in town ($3 taxi ride) and goes to the "Tiki Hut Snorkel Park" at Little Bay. There were lots of beautiful fish and our guide brought food for the fish, so there were schools swimming all around us. However, it rained while we were in the water and we all got a little chilled. Refreshments were given. You can get dropped off at the cruise ship pier, or back at the dive shop.
Shopping - all of the ports have TONNES of shopping - which wasn't really are thing, but if you are looking for diamonds or other jewelry you will be very happy!
All in all - an awesome trip which I would gladly do again and have totally different experiences at all the ports! Less