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Home > Member Reviews > lovetocycle's Port Reviews of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay

lovetocycle's Port Reviews of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay
Nieuw Amsterdam cruise in February 2014
Member Name: lovetocycle
Cruise Date: February 2014
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Member Review: lovetocycle's Nieuw Amsterdam Review
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

The night before the cruise my friend and I stayed in the Villa Europa Hotel which is on Cleveland St. in Hollywood not far from the airport. I found the hotel on Trip Advisor. We chose this hotel as we like small and personal and it was right on the beach in Hollywood. Luis the owner was lovely and really kind... he waited for our late arrival as our plane was delayed by over 2 hours and we did not get to the hotel til almost 10pm. He gave us each a bottle of water and the password for the internet and showed us where the beach chairs were, how to unlock the bikes that were there for the patrons, and where to eat (really closeby a 100 metres or so down the beach "Broadwalk". He also booked our taxi for 11:30 am to get to the port. We had a small room with twin beds, bathroom, frig, table and chairs and our room opened out on the courtyard. Everything was lovely and we went for pizza that night and walked a bit further for breakfast, but it was nice on the beach and wonderful to be outdoors after the winter we were having in Ottawa, Canada!

Our taxi ride to Port Evergaldes was fine.... $15 each with tip, and the checkin time was relatively fast considering the lengths of the lines.. I think we arrived at the busiest time.
Disembarkation was easy and also quite fast. There was a long line for a taxi but it did not take long at all.

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Grand Turk
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Grand Turk is a small island only about 6 miles long I think. We did not venture far but liked it a lot and swam at the beach right near the boat (3 minutes walk out of the small cruise port) and rented snorkel, mask and snorkeling vest and swam to the rope surrounding the swimming area where there is a drop off with a lovely variety of fish. You need to be patient and swim along following the drop off parallel to the rope, as in some places there were lots of fish and in others very few. We also walked around the cruise port which is very pretty and as we were the only ship in, very quiet. We did not buy anything as it was the first stop we had been to and thought we might get more choice in San Juan.

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San Juan
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

San Juan was completely different than Grand Turk- we took the free bus around (I downloaded a map of the routes before leaving home which helped) and we went to El Morro ($3 entry), a historic fortification, which was interesting and had lovely views. We found a small market square near the Starbucks where we used the WiFi and bought some organic soaps (3 for $10, and carved dish for spices with a pestle for $15). It was easy to get on and off the ship and you are right in the old part of town so don't need a taxi.

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St. Thomas
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

In St. Thomas we took a taxi ($11 each each way) to Coki Beach. As it was early it was very quiet - we got there before 9 am and again we rented snorkeling gear and ejoyed completely different fish here, near the rocks on the side of the beach looking toward Coral World (a white domed building). The waves are pretty strong if you get too near where they are breaking on the rocks so watch out as I got washed into some rocks once. By the time we left the beach it was pretty full, though not crowded. The taxi driver on the way back stopped at a viewpoint so I could take some photos. We were back at the ship for lunch and went back out to use the port WiFi ($4 charge for the day) in the restaurant in the cruise port (well marked) as we did not take any valuables such as tablet or even good cameras to leave on the beach (only my underwater camera which I could take int he water with me)! The island itself is extremely hilly with lovely views and we drove through the town on the way back (Margaritville I think it was called) and it was all pretty and pleasant.

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Half Moon Cay
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

Half Moon Cay was pretty, but the snorkeling was disappointing. We rented snorkel equipment at the beach but it was $20 (twice what I paid the revious two days) and they give you fins, snorkel vest, mask and snorkel, ie, no choice as to what you get. There were only a few types of fish when were were there, and none colourful, and only really near the edge of the beach on the left side as you are facing the water. None of it is out of your depth (so you don't need fins or vest really) and if you go past the rope, someone whistles you in straight away. We had a bridge class to go to so only stayed an hour, and did not explore the island (you could walk a lot further than we did) so can't really give more info. The stalls are nice enough. The people who work there come in by boat each day from a nearby island and are all paid by the cruiseline, so there are only a few islanders there. I heard varying reviews about the lunch - a BBQ - but we ate in the ship as we wanted the salads from the Lido Buffet.

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