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Home > Member Reviews > Time2SetSail's Port Reviews of St. Thomas, St. Martin, Nassau

Time2SetSail's Port Reviews of St. Thomas, St. Martin, Nassau
Oasis of the Seas cruise in August 2012
Member Name: Time2SetSail
Cruise Date: August 2012
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Member Review: Time2SetSail's Oasis of the Seas Review
St. Thomas
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
St. Thomas- Still in America! After a 10-15 minute "taxi" ride, we were dropped off in the main shopping area. The taxi was a converted pick-up truck with about four or five rows, five passengers per row (and they pack them in). We paid $10 each for the ride; I didn't tip the driver because as we got on he said "you got cash right?" I said "you've got change right?" He said "you need for tip?" I said "No!" None the less...downtown was downtown...row after row of shops and jewelry... jewelry, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry! After looking at it and upsetting those trying to sell it without a sale, we took some great photos of very old buildings that had seen better days. The island is struggling, that's for sure; the promises of the politicians running for office (HUGE photo signs all over) are much welcomed! We stopped at Bones Rum Shop on Waterfront Drive for a delicious frozen rum drink. The gal there pours the frozen concoction (many flavors) and YOU poor the rum...there's no end of pouring unless you overflow! I highly recommend you stop by! We wanted to send a few postcards, so we got them, filled them out and mailed them from the US Post Office; they arrived in California two days later...Lucy (RCCL Shopping Expert) said it was the fastest post office on any island...and it was; it's located at the end of the shopping strip on Estate street. We took a $6 taxi ride to Emerald Beach (aka Linburg Beach), near the airport; it was just the two of us and the driver was great; I tipped him! The entrance is near the Best Western and there is no fee to enter; someone will try and sell you a beach chair...we passed and found a spot at the end of the beach and used two beach chairs...no one said they cost a thing! We same in the beautiful water for a while, then we ate at the Beachcomber Bar & Grille...an avid Jimmy Buffett fan, I finally had a Cheeseburger in Paradise! I would highly recommend it for a nice, quiet, oceanfront lunch! You CAN walk back to the cruise port, BUT it's a good hike...take a $4 cab back...you don't want to walk the walk! Don't forget to check out the iguanas sunbathing on the rocks near the ship entrance!

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St. Martin
Island Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
St. Maarten- We're not in America anymore! After waiting thirty minutes for our tour of the island, we were on a packed van ready to tour the French & Dutch sides. We booked a tour with Jo Junie Tours (web site is not available now). The site promised a tour personally by Jo in his Jo Junie Tour bus. This was not the case. After asking the information booth where Jo was, we were pointed to a big guy standing on the steps...I asked if he was Jo and he said yes...asked my name and then asked for the $40 each. It all felt so shady...he was not at all the nice, outgoing man in the video. He said we were his only tour so he'd put us on another bus; his site said no matter how many people make a reservation, he'd personally tour them around. We had to follow a man that speed walked away from us. He was escorting others on busses like cattle, forgetting us. I spoke up "What about Jo Juni Tours?" He literally said "WHO?" Please. Jo came over and I said "hey Jo...what about us." They talked in Dutch or French and then Jo said "get on this bus." The driver, Sexy (who was awesome) had room for one...I said I wanted my money back, I wasn't going on a separate bus from my girlfriend. It must of appeared to be a scene when a Security Guard came over...the tour folks quickly made it right (maybe the guards enforce a standard). We were at the back of the bus and had to rub up against other passengers (sorry again)...I soon made a joke of it "Do you want the wedding tackle or the exit?" The group was great, we all had fun...Sexy, our driver, knew the island like no other...and the rum punch did that...punch you in the face! The island has seen better days, that's for sure. We toured an iguana "farm," or someone's property with an overload of them, caged chickens and chained up dogs (I felt so bad for the dogs). We headed to a few other spots, after touring the run down island. We landed at Orient Beach; once you walk on the sand, you will be "welcomed" by men and women selling towels, chairs, jewelry and anything else they have. Beach chairs are $20 each...unless you say no thanks...then it becomes $5 each. We played in the water; you can rent jet ski's or parasail -- we did neither. The beach bar was fun, the food was overpriced microwavable chicken or fish; pass on it. After about an hour and a half, we headed to "Airport Beach" to see the big jets land. There is no beach under the airplane path; don't believe the pictures...its all giant rocks. There is a beach near, but its to the left of the flight path. You CAN stand close by or at the bar and take pictures & video. I stood behind the jet as it took off...great experience...take your hat off; mine flew off and some man caught it! We saw an American Airlines jet land, but missed the giant jets. We stopped in Marigot for a quick snack at Sarafina's...and a few minutes later had to be back on the bus. We sat in traffic for about 45 minutes passing up an opportunity to shop for souvenirs; we didn't want to miss the ship and everyone was hot and tired. All in all, St. Maarten is beautiful at times, other times it's a typical third world banana republic. Be cautious of time as traffic can get bad in the afternoon.

(Booking excursions on your own is available and much cheaper; the cruise companies say availability is limited, but there is ALWAYS room and more than one excursion operator.)


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Nassau
Port Rating: 1.0 out of 5+
Bahamas- The comedian made a joke about it being a "s**thole island." He was spot-on. We spent about one and a half hours here; we've been to Atlantis before...a waste of time and money. After exiting the marketplace, which is near the port, we were asked (I counted) nine times if we wanted to take a horse buggy ride. I felt so bad for the horses, breathing heavily, no water in site...it was HOT! We passed on every offer and on the last I said "ASK THE EIGHT OTHER GUYS IF I WANT TO!" I was asked if I wanted to buy weed (marijuana) twice while walking the busy streets. We strolled down the main drag, got some ice cream, and two bottles of Bahamian made rum (all other islands had "Caribbean rum" bottled and available in the states), which was inexpensive. The nice lady who sold it to me wrapped it up and boxed it for $1 extra; I put it in our checked luggage surrounded by dirty clothes and the airline marked it FRAGILE...got home and the rum TASTE GREAT! This was a short stop; it was extra hot and humid this day. The souvenir shops sell the same stuff and the island people rarely let you bring the price down...they don't seem to care because someone else will pay it. In my opinion, a lot of the island folks are pushy, rude and ignorant. I asked one lady why she was selling Obama 2012 stickers if they weren't in the U.S.? Her response was, "because Obama is gonna' bring tourism here and Romney is a racists!" I asked if tourism has increased, she said no...enough said. That was my favorite thing all day...anything for a buck!

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