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Home > Member Reviews > MaggieMay1001's Port Reviews of St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten

MaggieMay1001's Port Reviews of St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten
Carnival Victory cruise in April 2012
Member Name: MaggieMay1001
Cruise Date: April 2012
Embarkation: San Juan
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Member Review: MaggieMay1001's Carnival Victory Review
St. Thomas
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We did not have an excursion booked and chose to take a ferry over to St. John for the day. I was worried that it would be too much of a hassle for one day, but it was worth it! We got off the ship early and took a cab to Red Hook. Took the ferry over to Cruz Bay, St. John and took another cab to Trunk Bay. (Taxi rates are posted on vinow.com) BEAUTIFUL beach (soft, white sand, crystal clear water, rustic setting) and there were very few people there when we arrived. The guys rented snorkel gear, but the skies were clouding up quickly so the snorkeling wasn't the greatest. Unfortunately, the sky opened up and we were caught on the beach in a downpour! (Luckily, I had some ponchos and an umbrella to keep our stuff relatively dry). We made the best of it swimming and taking pictures in the rain. It lasted maybe 45 minutes and then finally started clearing up. We took a cab to Cinnamon Bay next and found another BEAUTIFUL beach there, still relatively uncrowded. This beach is a little longer, and there is a campground next to it. Wished we had grabbed something to eat at Trunk Bay (I think there was a restaurant up by the campground at Cinnamon Bay but nothing down by the water). We just grabbed a beer down by the beach and relaxed for a bit. Headed back to Cruz Bay to catch the ferry at 3. Then took the cab back from Red Hook to Charlotte Amalie. We definitely plan on going back to St. John. I wouldn't mind exploring St. Thomas as well, but we love the quieter, untouched feel of the national park on St. John.

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Barbados
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We booked a 24-passenger exclusive lunch cruise through Silver Moon catamaran cruises (silvermoonbarbados.com). From the time I booked this through the end of the cruise, we were extremely impressed. I received a prompt and professional response to my inquiry on the website, and received confirmation of our booking almost immediately after faxing in the form. We were met by the representative the morning of the cruise and bussed 5 minutes to the catamaran. We were greeted by Ben, Luke and Tone, our hosts for the day. We were immediately offered drinks! We were encouraged to make the boat our own, and my husband and I had fun riding out on the front by the netting (I want my own catamaran now! So fun and relaxing!). We made it to our first snorkeling stop, put on the snorkel gear and dove in with the sea turtles!! SOOO COOL!! I have some great pictures of the turtles, such beautiful and graceful creatures! And they were so close we could reach our a touch their shells. The water was very clear too. Got back on the boat and were served banana bread and more drinks. After that we cruised over to the shipwreck. There was a coral reef in that area too. Not as impressive as the turtles, but still very cool. We then got back on the boat and were served an AMAZING lunch. I wish we could have eaten like that every day! We relaxed a bit before heading back. Toward the end of the cruise, Luke made us pina coladas (to die for!), and we were given carrot cake and a cool towel. I would do this again in a heartbeat. There were a lot of other catamaran cruises that followed the same itinerary, but they didn't look nearly as nice and many of them had 50-60 people packed on board. We were treated like family (and like royalty!) all day long!
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St. Lucia
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
This was the island that I was really excited to see, but turned out to be our least favorite of the ports we visited. We booked the Land & Sea Adventure with Spencer Ambrose, because we wanted to get a comprehensive tour of the island and I had read some good reviews. Overall, we got what we expected. It was a packed day and we saw a lot of the island. We drove down the west side of the island in a van with 10 people and our driver, Lawrence. He was a very good tour guide. We stopped at a banana plantation and a few scenic areas to take pictures. We sat in the back of the van though, and started feeling sick after all of the quick turns, and bumps in the road (I wished I had taken the motion sickness medication I had brought for the cruise - but of course, I left it on the ship!). There was a cooler in the van, but we didn't feel like drinking anything but water. We stopped at the sulfur springs (the smell did not help the nausea! ha!). It was cool, but probably could have done without it. I realized later that we never went to the waterfalls (one of the things my mom had really wanted to do). We got on a speedboat and headed to Jalousie Beach with Spencer (boat was a little packed, but it was a short ride). I was really looking forward to seeing this beach. The pictures make it look like the perfect Caribbean paradise. It really is a picturesque setting, but the beach itself isn't that impressive. The sand is really rocky and the water isn't nearly as blue-green as other beaches. There were limited places to sit in the shade. We got a small boxed lunch (not exactly sure what we were eating) but it was pretty good. Stayed for about 2 hours, then got back on a speed boat to head up to Castries. Spencer was on his cell phone a lot and was getting very upset with someone on the phone (I had heard that he has a bit of a temper). I had read a review that he had been yelling before, so I wasn't really surprised. He was never rude to us, but it was a bit uncomfortable. The ride back was cool (although we were in a water taxi and the benches were not very comfortable). We saw Marigot Bay (prettiest part of the island in my opinion) and the rock formation from Pirates of the Caribbean. Made it back to the ship just as it started raining. Overall, probably wouldn't do this again but was a nice overview of the island.

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St. Kitts
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We had a really great time on St. Kitts! My husband and I booked the Mt. Liamuga Volcano Hike through Poinciana Tours. We really enjoyed this! We were greeted by David and Al (our guide) in the port before Al drove us to the trail. (Back in the port, we were blindsided by one of the guys with monkeys who tossed 3 monkeys on me, started taking pictures, then expected $20! The pictures were great, the monkeys were cute, but negotiate a price beforehand! ha!) Al told us a lot about all of the towns we were passing through on our way to the trail. He was very nice and seemed to know a lot about the island. I was really surprised to see several university buildings (a med school, nursing school, and a veterinary school overlooking the ocean!). We were the only 2 people doing the hike with Al that day, which was great because we could go at our own pace. We were given walking sticks (a lifesaver!) and started up the trail. I was a little apprehensive because I'm not a hiker and not exactly an athlete, but we did just fine. The first part was really easy (think make-shift steps built in to the dirt) and it wasn't real steep. We would stop every so often to drink some water (brought our own water bottles) and Al would tell us about the trees we were seeing. Then things stated getting steeper (and rockier, and muddier, and more difficult). We were moving at a pretty good clip and there were a couple points where I needed to stop for a minute and take a breath, but we made it up in about 1hr 45min and boy was it worth it! The views are incredible! My pictures don't do it justice. We were given some bread and homemade guava juice (yum!) before heading back down. The way down went faster but I fell a couple times (my legs were tired, and it was muddy). Passed some other groups heading up. They did not have walking sticks, and I felt kind of bad for them. It was so nice to have them and it was really nice to go at our own pace (being just the two of us). We were back in the port at 2pm, dropped off our stuff on the ship, changed clothes, then walked around the port. Went to a couple of bars before getting back on the ship. Overall, I would highly recommend Poinciana Tours! Both David and Al were very friendly and knowledgeable! I received a prompt confirmation email after booking, which really impressed me. We loved St. Kitts and plan to go back sometime!

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St. Maarten
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We did not book an excursion on St. Maarten and decided to just tour around ourselves. When we got off the ship, we took a taxi to Marigot because I wanted to check out the French side of the island. Marigot is a very cool town. There was a craft market and farmers market going on and we stopped at Seraphina's (a really good French bakery!). We then took a taxi over to Orient Beach. BEAUTIFUL beach! The whole thing isn't a nude beach, there were plenty of people in swimsuits where we were. We rented a couple of chairs at Bikini Beach and enjoyed the sunshine, crystal clear water and smooth white sand. We then took a taxi over to Maho Bay because we wanted to see the airplanes land. We got there about 12:30 because we had heard that most of the big planes arrive between 12 and 2. We had lunch at Sunset Bar and had fun watching all of the planes land. Unfortunately, it was very cloudy and rainy on this side of the island, which made us question why we left Orient Beach. But I got a lot of cool videos of the planes! Not sure if I would sit on this beach. It is very small and not exactly peaceful. At one point, an InselAir Jet that was about to take off in the other direction parked in the corner nearest the beach and revved it engine (or something). It got REALLY loud and created somewhat of a sandstorm on the beach, forcing people to grab all their stuff and run toward the water! It sounded like the pilot did it on purpose (and not going to lie, it was kind of funny to watch!), but I was really glad I wasn't on the beach!! Overall, we loved St. Maarten/St. Martin and will definitely go back! I was really impressed that everyone on the island is multi-lingual! Our cab driver spoke 6 languages fluently! The island was very pretty and very clean.

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