ST. THOMAS: Toured around the island in an OPEN AIR sightseeing bus with a group of approx 25, where we were also able to spend time shopping and swimming, with flexibility of being able to return to the ship early, if desired. Our Queen, Bonnie, singlehandedly arranged this in advance and I felt it was excellent value: $25 pp. 9:30-3:00 approx. The water is so blue here and great for swimming and snorkeling . Shopping was great for jewelry and liquor.
Free Internet was available in a jewelry store close to the market.
Public washrooms also available across from the park.
CURACAO: Very pedestrian friendly. We walked 10 minutes from the pier, crossed the bridge and the waterfront market, enjoying the beautifully coloured picturesque buildings, sights & smells, and took a local bus for $1 pp to Jan Thiel Beach, which is about a 35 minute bus ride. Small entrance fee plus a minimal cost for cabana rental or palapas with loungers. Great small sandy beach ideal for swimming, snorkelling and relaxing. We met a couple from the cruise ship and spent a very enjoyable day on the beach with them.
ANTIGUA: We did a 4 hr. private island tour with another couple through Lawrence of Antigua. Excellent driver and guide. Antigua has so many beautiful sandy beaches, 365 in total, it's hard to pick a favorite. I had explored some of them in the past on a week long vacation there, so this time an excursion around the island was warranted; visited Shirley's Heights, for beautiful photo shots down to the lovely blue water, Betty's Hope, Devil's Bridge with blow hole (where our driver drove on the coral path so a disabled passenger wouldn't miss this magnificent view, Nelson's Dockyard, and English Harbour, We highly recommend this company. Our driver, Christopher, was very informative, spoke excellent English, and even stopped to get us some cut up fresh fruit from a street vendor. A+ service.
ARUBA: Taxi ride with another very delightful couple to Palm Beach dropping off at the Riu Beach Hotel; cost $14 USD for 4 people, and $35 for cabana rental and chairs for all. There were various prices down the beach. Great beach for swimming, relaxing & walking; the ocean was slightly dirty because there was a bad storm and rain the previous night. Lots of motorized water toys for rent e.g. seadoos, banana boats, wind surfing, plus kayaks.
COZUMEL: We were celebrating our leader and her husband's wedding anniversary, and the group had pre-arranged a BarHop Tour to the east side of the Island in a 45 seater modern air conditioned bus. We were met at Starbucks by our extremely knowledgeable guide who escorted us to the bus; we visited 4 great small bars, stopping for about 45 minutes at each location; unspoiled and private, and not developed as yet, however extremely scenic, and off the beaten path. Since we're always looking for a new experience in these ports, this was an extremely enjoyable group excursion. The first drink was free and others available for purchase. Great to relax in the many hammocks around the beach and listen to the surf. So very relaxing I almost fell asleep.
However, because of the large coral boulders and waves, swimming was a little difficult at a couple of the beaches. But the scenery sure made up for that. It was idyllic.
Cost $40 pp. We left pier at 9:30 and returned at 2:15, and had some time to enjoy some shopping at the pier also. It's a 10 minute walk from the pier to go to a megashop for water, etc, plus an outdoor market, however there are multiple booths closer to pier for shopping for the usual touristy things. I always purchase vanilla here. My favorite shop at the pier is Los Cincos Soles.