St Martin - We booked independently with Bernard’s tours and were delighted with our day. We were picked up promptly by the lovely driver and taken to Orient Beach for a few hours. We stopped at an Iguana farm and to see sea urchins on the way that was interesting. Orient beach was great fun. We decided to sit at La Playa bar as one of our group knew the beach quite well and it was a great choice. Highly recommended. We took some beds and umbrellas right by the surf, which were about 10 Euros each - we had Euros on us but you can pay in dollars the same amount. Got a jet ski for 60 Euros, drinks were pretty cheap. It was great fun in the sea jumping over the waves. The sea was a bit rough but not too much. After Orient Beach we went to the capital Marigot and had lunch for an hour and then headed off to Maho beach in time for the big planes to land. Stand at the Smugger’s Bar watching the planes. There is a great atmosphere even without the planes. We then headed back to Phillipsburg and some of us went back to the ship and some looked around Marigot. Great day & highly recommend Bernard’s Tours.
St Kitts - Again we booked independently this time with Thenford Grey of Grey’s Tours. What a find! This was such a lovely day. We had the most unbelievable tour guide. He was a Pastor on the island a true gentleman. He was so enthusiastic about his island that you could not fall in love with it and his personality. He made the trip. We had the bus to ourselves so we could stay as long as we wanted. He showed us around the island enroute to Reggae Beach. Reggae Beach had a real authentic Caribbean feel. There were monkeys on the beach and there was a laid back beach vibe which we all loved. Beach shoes are a good idea though as there were lots of broken shells going into the sea. Some of us had wonderful massages as well. Reluctantly we headed back to the ship after about four hours of swimming, lounging and having a good time. Again we were shown some great spots on the way back and dropped off at the port. Another great day.
St Thomas – Two of us booked a ship excursion here and the other four headed off to Magen’s Beach by trolley bus picked up outside the ship. The ship excursion in truth was pretty rubbish. We booked the power snorkel to Turtle cove. We had to wait around some time before we headed to the catamaran and eventually got on board about and hour later. This was bit of a drag. The ride was nice and when we arrived those who were using the power snorkel were briefed and split into two groups – the deal being you only got about 15-20 minutes with the power snorkel and then had to hand them to the other six people as they only had six of them. The power snorkel isn’t really worth it to be honest. You don’t go much quicker than on your own steam and you waste so much time switching over that you could have seen snorkeling instead – which would have been a bigger deal if there actually had been any fish! There were NO fish so very disappointing. Would not recommend. Also there was no Caribbean vibe on the boat as the crew were not locals but youngsters on working holidays. They were lovely but lacked the personality of other boats. After the excursion we picked up a taxi and headed to Magen’s Beach. All rides are $8 each way, taxi or trolley bus. The beach was stunning. It is a public beach with lots of picnic benches and bathrooms, which were good. Hardly any bars so bring your own stuff. We had made a picnic that morning from the buffet and were glad we did. We loved it here and were the last to leave for the ship as we wanted to stay as long as possible.
Nassau – Three of us took a self-drive powerboat trip and three went Atlantis. I would highly recommend the powerboat as it was the highlight of the trip. It was just so much fun. We booked direct with the company, as it was less than half price than booking it with NCL. We paid $160 for three for one boat whereas it would have been $360 with NCL – bargain. It is exactly the same trip, you meet at Fat Tuesday’s in Nassau if you book direct or with the ship and you make your own way back to the ship whatever way you book. The boats are for two or three if kids or adults under a certain weight. We went in a convoy of four boats, two of us booked direct, two with the ship. It was amazing. The Atlantis trip was OK – they went to see the fish. Didn’t say too much about it but enjoyed it.