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Home > Member Reviews > gr8times4us's Port Reviews of St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada

gr8times4us's Port Reviews of St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada
Celebrity Eclipse cruise in January 2013
Member Name: gr8times4us
Cruise Date: January 2013
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Member Review: gr8times4us's Celebrity Eclipse Review
St. Thomas
Port Rating: Not Rated
Had been here several times before and we decided to stay on board. Also there were 6 or 7 cruise ships in port that day (22,000 tourists)and the Celebrity Eclipse had to tender into port. I did hear that passengers were tendered directly into the shoppping district.

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St. Maarten
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
St. Maarten/St. Martin we booked the "Tiki Beach Island Tour" tour through Island Marketing Ltd. for Wednesday January 30th, 2013. Tour was $69 per person for a 6 1/2 hour tour that included: an air-conditioned van, a stop at Simpson Bay to see the mega yachts, a half hour shopping stop at a colorful street market in Margot, a stop at Maho beach to see planes take off, ferry ride to & from Isle Pinel. Reserved lounge chairs, umbrella, snorkel gear and lunch with reserved tables were included at Yellow Beach.

Our tour started exactly at 9 AM with only 4 passengers, so it was almost a private tour! Makesia was our driver and she showed us the whole Island. St Maarten has very few traffic lights, but instead uses traffic circles. Shopping at the Margot street market was interesting, lots of local crafts and clothing.

By 11:30 we were on the ferry to Isle Pinel, Our lunch was a large portion of ribs with French fries. The other two people in our van ordered a lobster lunch which they got to hand pick from a lobster trap in the water on the beach.

Just a short walk on a sandy path and we were at a protected marine park Nature Reserve to snorkel. After a total of 3 1/2 glorious hours on the beach we boarded the ferry back to our van and we were returned to the cruise pier by 3:30 PM.

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Antigua
Port Rating: Not Rated
We were in Antigua on Thursday January 31, 2013. We booked this tour independently based on positive reviews for $58 each. We were not disappointed! We had lovely weather for our day with Antigua Paddles Eco Adventure Tour. We were punctually met at the appointed meeting place & drove 11 of us to Conrad & Jennie's beautiful house. Bus was not air-conditioned, but not a problem, as it was only a 1/2 hour drive each way.

Tour started on a 24 foot flat-bottomed Carolina skiff with 115 horse powered Yamaha motor to the waiting 13 foot kayaks. We paddled through mangroves for about 50 minutes, stopped while our guide found a sea cucumber and a sea urchin in the shallow waters, which he then put back into the water. As we approached the dock to return the kayaks, we all lined up and had a short race back.

Saw nesting Pelicans on an island on the way to Bird Island. Climbed to the top of Bird Island (about 5-8 minute walk that was steep and rocky at times) Terrific view from this vantage point and well worth the climb. Then we went snorkeling for 30-40 minutes.

When we returned, Conrad greeted us with chilled aromatherapy face towels. We were able to change out of our wet bathing suits and had time for refreshing Rum or fruit punch and Jennie's homemade banana bread, while we strolled through their beautiful gardens. They had a parrot (Sweet Pea) that would sit on your shoulder and loved having her photo taken. We arrived back at the cruise pier by 1:15 PM with enough time to shop a bit.

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St. Lucia
Port Rating: Not Rated
I had heard that the roads in St. Lucia are a little rough and most tours to Jalousie beach were by bumpy 2 hour bus rides. So instead, we booked the St. Lucia Jalousie Beach Break Tour with Spencer Ambrose for Friday February 1, 2013 based on his high ratings. So glad we did! Spencer's tour takes you by speedboat equipped with two 300 horse powered outboard motors. We meet Spencer at 9:45 and by 10:30 we were at Jalousie beach with a beer in hand!

Did I mention how impressive the Pitons are? Well, Spencer's tour is the best way to see them. Spencer even made a special stop on the way back so we could get the perfect photo-op of the Pitons from the water. Not to mention that you get to spend a lot more time on the beach.

The cost of $85 (cash) per adult, $60 per child (5-12) includes: speedboat ride to & from beach, reserved beach chairs within feet of the Piton, a cooler with a choice of rum punch, water, diet/regular coke and local Piton beer and an authentic buffet style Creole lunch served on the beach. Lunch was fresh made by local women: jerk chicken, rice, pasta salad, potato salad, vegetable salad and plantains.

We were on the beach until 3:30. Then on the ride back to the cruise port we did a one hour tour of the coastline. We saw the bat cave, that is a cleft in the rocks that is 4 stories high, the natural "fish on the rocks" pictograph, went into Marigot Bay and saw Mick Jagger, George Foreman and Sofia Loren's homes, plus the UFO house! Also on the coastline we saw Howard Stern's house and Mick Jagger's private dock. Next we saw where "Pirates of the Caribbean" was filmed. It is called the Lady's Slipper and there were 5 local boys who jumped off and then swam to our boat for $. We were back in time to visit the shops at the port for an hour.

Spencer and his marvelous crew (Terry, Wayne and the "lunch ladies") are truly exceptional people and we are so glad we booked with him and will do so again when we return to St. Lucia.

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Barbados
Catamaran Tour Rating: 5+ out of 5+
In Barbados we independently booked the Elegance Catamaran luncheon tour for Saturday 2/2/13.

We were warmly greeted by Sarah, Cally and Ashley. We were offered warm banana bread with coffee at the outdoor table, in case we hadn't had time for breakfast. Then off to the snorkeling sites. First we snorkeled with sea turtles. What an experience! Then they repositioned over several shipwrecks - where myriads of fish were hanging out.

Cally was our captain & he was always smiling (who wouldn't like to have his job!) The cost, $100 per adult, included transportation to & from the catamaran, use of snorkel gear for the sea turtle & shipwreck sites, Bajan lunch consisting of chicken, flying fish, "cheesy" macaroni pie, rice casserole, a black bean salad and a tossed greens salad. If you had room, Sarah served a homemade moist carrot cake for dessert. Drinks (beer, wine, Rum punch, soda, water and a full bar setup for mixed drinks) served often by Mr. Ashley.

The best part of this catamaran tour is that they limit it to only 14 passengers. Plenty of room either in the shade or in the sun, we personally liked the front trampoline area with the warm sun on our faces while having a cold beer! They also had very convenient steps in the back on both sides where you could get into and out of the water easily.


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Grenada
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We contacted Clement Baptiste through his website & we booked his 4 hour Grenada North East tour for Sunday February 3, 2013 that went to Grand Etang Rainforest and Annandale Waterfall for $25 per person.

Clement met us and 6 other passenger in his new air-conditioned van. Clement was a terrific guide, very knowledgeable and well spoken. When it states that this is a historical tour that is exactly what you get! Clement gives you his personal account of Grenada's political history and you can tell he loves his country.

Clement was one of the safest drivers we have ever had on a tour, which was appreciated as the road up to the Grand Etang rainforest was very curvy with one tricky hairpin turn. We actually ascended to over 1900 feet above sea level. We stopped at a local spice stand to purchase nutmeg and also saw Mona monkeys. On the way down we stopped at Annandale Waterfalls (open Mon-Fri 8-5 and weekend 9-5), which had a $2.00 per person entrance fee to actually see the falls. There was a man at the entrance that was charging $2.00 to take your picture with a monkey that was on a leash.

On the way back to the cruise port, Clement stopped at an overlook - so we could take photos of our ship in the port from a high vantage point, we also got to see Grand Anse beach when several passengers asked to dropped off.

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Aruba
Port Rating: Not Rated
We had been to Aruba before and just got off & did a bit of jewelry shopping and had an iced cold beer at an opened-air bar while watching tourists at the stalls across the street.

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Curacao
Port Rating: Not Rated
We decided to just walk into town and see the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. Walked through the Rif Fort entrance and then past several tourist stalls. The bridge was longer than I thought it would be. It did not open while we were there, but when we returned to the ship we did see it open while we were in the Sky Observation Lounge. Very amazing!

While doing my research, I did read that if the Queen Emma Bridge opens and you need to get to the other side quickly, there is a free ferry next to the bridge.

We walked back to the cruise port and bought 3 Goudas -- plain, herb and pepper. We served them last night to commpany, they were delicious!

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