First in St. Marteen we rented a car and visited Gallion Beach, near Orient Bach, past the butterfly farm. It is more protected, less windy with a nice little restaurant. It is NOT resortish, but cute. The restaurant rents chairs and umbrellas inexpensively. More a local place, but it had some tourists too. You can get a taxi there, but getting on back could be more of a challenge, we had another couple from our cruise who's taxi didn't return to pick them up, hop back in our jeep.
On Antigua (Port of St. John) we've visited a nice resort, like Galley Bay previously, which I think was about $100/person all inclusive except for the taxi. I know someone on the island, so we tried something different this time and got a taxi for $12 each way headed Fort James, chairs were again, very inexpensive and we had a palm tree, but they had some permanent umbrellas as well. Again, not a resort, but there was a restaurant which we didn't try).
We did a tour on St. Lucia with Spencer Ambrose (not a ship tour), it was ok, but only saw the island by water. They have other mixed water and land tours. The beach had some snorkeling, but the area the tour was allowed use chairs was very, very small, and not very sandy. We didn't want to fight for a prime spot, so we paid some more for chairs from the resort on the beach. You could lay anywhere on the beach you wanted, just not have a chair. The food they served was ok, local food which was nice. I did get to see a bit of the town as I went for a run before we left port though I was the last tourist in town and I am not sure how safe that run was as it was Friday evening and the town was turning into a block party.
Our original plan in Barbados was to visit the Colony (resort), but it was about $100 a person and didn't include a meal and we were having good success "winging it"' so we rented a car and drove up the west side of the island, almost all the way. We hit a nice beach, one of the only ones we could find parking at, north of Holetown and got two chairs under a big tree for $5 I think. All of the beaches are public, so parking was the issue, not access. In this way a cab might be easier. in Holetown there were high end designer shops, but also a cute little "village" of more local looking shops just to the south. After 2-3 hours on the beach, we did some shopping here. Some were more boutiques and some were more souvenirish I like shiny things so I made a few purchases at iCandy but a number of the stores had things I liked. We then headed to a late lunch at the Beach Club (I think that is what it was called, right
It rained hard in Grenada in the morning and the locals were VERY push about selling things once you left the cruise terminal. We did hire a private taxi in the afternoon for a 2 hour tour as we had never been there and wanted to see the island. We were glad we did and thought it was money well spent (negotiated to about $40). We did buy some spices for gift at the outdoor market.
In Bonaire I went diving, which was amazing. If you dive, Bonaire is a place to dive. We used VIP and they were great. My partner visited the Donkey Sanctuary. We were both back on the ship early so walked around the little flea market and town before heading to the ship. In my opinion it is much nicer than the homogenized larger ports. After returning to the ship, I headed out for another run. Again, not sure how safe this was for a woman to be out running on her own after most ship passengers were gone off the island.
In Aruba we went horseback riding for a couple of hours with Rancho Notorious. We were the only guests on this group tour. It was a good trail ride in an area of the island that is a desert (I guess the entire island really is) and looks like it could be in the southwestern US. We rode through this park (LARGE park) and down to the ocean, but not really on a beach, though the views were great, the ocean here was VERY rough. We did get a chance to trot and even gallop on the horses on a few sandy stretches. The trip included transfers to and from the ship, but we had them drop us off at the Marriott as we wanted to see it. We were going to have lunch, but thought it was ridiculous to pay nearly $20 for a roll-up. We took a taxi back to town, and between downpours (in this desert!) walked around the shops, and found a place to eat to the side of the marina in a "market" area.