This was the only port we had not visited before. The Enchantment of the Seas arrived early and we exited the ship by 8:15. We walked to the ferry dock and caught the 9AM Speedy's Ferry (30 minutes) to Virgin Gorda to visit the Baths (not to be missed). This was one of the highlights of the cruise and very easy to do on our own at half the cost of the ship's excursion. We took the 12:40PM ferry back. (the same time as the ship's excursion) We felt the 3:30 ferry was taking a chance.
We had visited Antigua before and did not want to take the standard island tour. We found a couple from Great Britain that felt the same way. We shared a cab and set off for the more rural, northwest section of the island. We visited an old sugar plantation (ruins and a restored windmill), an old Anglican church, and Devil’s Bridge (a natural formation).
After 2 busy days we were ready for a beach day. We spent the day at Dawn Beach. It is on the border between the French and Dutch side. It was a nice beach, but, we are not fans of the excessive seaweed in St. Maartin.
This was the only shore excursion we purchased aboard ship. (STL1-Destination St. John: Coastal Cruise of National Park Beaches, 6.5 hrs) It was $40/person and left from the cruise dock. It included the ferry ride to St. John (45 min), a cruise around the northern part of the island, 3.5 hrs of free time on St John, and a rum punch on the ferry ride back. They even came around with refills. ? This was a bargain.
We were in port from 7am to 1pm. Hundreds of cruisers disembarked between 7-8am, but, none of the businesses opened before 10 am. We took a city tour to pass the time and walked around the old city. We felt this port (with this schedule) was a waste of time.
We had a short day in Labadee. We have always liked the relaxed atmosphere of Labadee. Unfortunately, there was another ship in port with us. The lunch buffet line and the security line to get back on the ship were so long it took away from the whole experience. In the past we walked to the far beach (soft sand) but, we did not like walking through the aggressive vendors. So, we stopped at the main beach area. It lacked vendors, but, there were large pieces of rock and coral along the shoreline. (bring water shoes) We did not swim.