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Home > Member Reviews > carlacruz's Port Reviews of San Juan, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, Nassau

carlacruz's Port Reviews of San Juan, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, Nassau
MSC Poesia cruise in April 2010
Member Name: carlacruz
Cruise Date: April 2010
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Member Review: carlacruz's MSC Poesia Review
San Juan
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had never been to San Juan, so when we arrived around 2:00 p.m. we got off immediately and took the free trolley to the forts. Our 1st stop was El Morro, which was very majestic with its high walls and well-worn exterior. The ramps and stairways were very steep, and we weren't prepared for the strenuous walking involved. Our 2nd stop was San Cristobal, which is a little smaller than El Morrow, but just as interesting. We missed the stop on the way, so we took the trolley through Old San Juan until it looped back to San Cristobal. The trolley back to the ship took a bit longer than we expected (near 30 min.), but we were in port until 11:00 p.m. so we had plenty of time. We even stopped by the CVS near the dock to pick up a few snacks and soft drinks before re-boarding.

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St. Maarten
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We’ve toured St. Maarten before so we were laid-back and took the water taxi to Great Bay. We then rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $20, which included 5 beers or 2 frozen drinks. We ended up ordering a virgin Pina Colada, and a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri. My mom got her hair braided for $20. We frolicked in the sun and sand with my daughter for just over 3 hours, and then headed back to the ship.

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Virgin Gorda
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We had never been to Virgin Gorda before, so I booked the ship’s excursion to The Baths. If I had known we were definitely going to anchor and tender into Spanish Town, I would have saved $28 pp and took a taxi to The Baths for about $4 pp. Oh well, live and learn?. We had to meet the tour group at 7:30 a.m. in the theater, and just before 8:00 a.m., we were on a tender to Spanish Town. After a short wait for a taxi bus, we were headed for The Baths. Our tour escort gave us our free drink coupons and advised us on physical requirements for touring The Baths caves. Mom and I were a bit worried that we couldn’t handle the caves so we just headed for the beach area next to it. After frolicking in the sun and surf with my daughter for a couple of hours, we decided we would try the caves after all. So the 3 of us went in. It was challenging, but fun, so we kept going until we hit a huge bottleneck in the middle. Apparently, there was a RCCL tour group attempting to leave the caves at the same time people were entering. Since the caves aren’t really formed for 2-way traffic, it was a disaster. Tempers were short, and crowds were growing. After a while, we just gave up, and headed out the way we came in. We never did make it to Devil’s Bay due to crowded caves. Then to add insult to injury, we had to make steep the climb back to the “Top of The Baths” for our free drinks. By the time we hauled our out-of-shape bodies to the top, we were near fainting. After guzzling our 6 oz. fruit punch, we were exhausted and ready to head back to the ship. The taxi bus ride back was not very organized, and our tour escort was nowhere to be found. We finally were able to board a taxi, and make the bumpy ride back to town. We shopped in the marina area, and then got in a very long line in the hot sun to board a tender back to the ship. Note to self: Do not book a Baths excursion during Easter Week! If we ever get to Virgin Gorda again, I hope I will be more physically fit to handle the long walk and steep climbing.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Since we had toured Nassau on a prior cruise, we decided to try Atlantis for the day. There was a huge line to get off the ship, so we sat in the atrium seating until the crowd cleared. We took a taxi to Atlantis for $4 pp and went on a mission to find the casino to buy day passes. Unfortunately, by the time we found it, they were sold out already. So we went to The Dig (aquarium) and bought “Discover Atlantis” tour passes ($35 pp). The tour guide took us through the aquariums and marine habitats as well as the outside areas of the resort. The tour lasted about an hour. We explored a little more on our own, and then picked up some souvenirs before heading back to the ship.

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