We chose a private tour: Bahama Boat tours. The boat met us at the pier and we were taken on a fast, fun boat ride around Nassau Harbor--into the Atlantis area and up the coast. Then we went on a long ride to a couple of different snorkeling sites. We swam into a beach where we were the only ones there. It was beautiful. Then, the boys had the opportunity to try tubing behind the boat. Their reactions were mixed--ranging from "terrifying" to "really fun" It was a great day. We got back just in time for boarding so didn't get to see much on land.
LOVED IT!! If your ship comes into Curacao, be sure to be up on deck. We had our own "private deck" right at the bow of the ship and it was incredible. We could see the people swimming in an infinity pool right on the edge of the ocean. The colorful buildings are beautiful. We booked a private tour with Curacao Actief--a off road Jeep tour which was really fun and we got to see so much of the island--a gorgeous beach, and the off road--the ocean. Great day!
We were very disappointed when visiting Aruba. One of the things that we were most looking forward to was going snorkeling to the Antilla shipwreck--my son is a WWII fanatic. I booked the tour months in advance and was assured, in writing, by Jethro Gestercamp of the OCTOPUS,that we would get to snorkel there. The Valor arrived in port 1/2 late. We disembarked as quickly as possible and jumped into a taxi. When we arrived at the boat, Mr. Gestercamp was speaking quite rudely to another couple from our ship. He was yelling that the Valor had messed up his schedule--his anger turned to us on our arrival. It turns out that he was on local time, we were on ship time. Every other tour took ship time into acct--this is HIS BUSINESS--he should have known this. He refused to take us to the wreck--my son was very disappointed...I was quite upset that he did not do as promised. We ended up spending the day on the beach and saved the day.
We chose to stay on board in this port. We had concerns about health risks.(you can't give blood for 6 mos after visiting this country :-( The tour offerings weren't great. Some people from our Cruise Critic forum arranged a great tour and most really enjoyed it. Several people reported intestinal illness for several days after the tour ?? related to the food served on the tour.
We really enjoyed having the ship to ourselves and, even did a couple of quick loads of laundry--had the machines to ourselves!!