I had never been to St. Croix before so it was a new port for me. It was a challenge to find something that my wheelchair-using mom could do. We ended up renting a car from Budget, which is located in the corner of a rum shop not far from the pier. We missed seeing the Budget table the first couple of times we walked down the road and had to ask for directions. They drive on the left in St. Croix so I had to adjust my brain to that. We visited the St. George Garden which isn't really accessible. I was able to get my mom around most of the grounds, but it involved a lot of work. The paths were packed dirt but there were roots and pot holes to get over and around. We drove to Christiansted next. The sidewalks are pretty typical for Caribbean islands -- narrow, cracked, and no curb cuts. There are some lovely older buildings from the Colonial period to look at near the harbor. We drove to Point Udell after that, which is the easternmost point in the US. Unfortunately someone has vandalized the sign so you cannot read it anymore. We returned to Fredericksted where the ship had docked after that to return the rental car. The others got back onboard but I wandered through town for a while. There wasn't much in Fredericksted.
NOTE -- We did not find an accessible bathroom on St. Croix.
There were 5 ships docked in St. Maarten so the island was packed. We decided to use Joyce Prince for a tour. She met us on time as planned with a car so my mom could get in. She took us to an overlook to see the port, then north towards Orient Bay. She made a few stops that are normally scenic, but it was raining so the scenery wasn't as nice as usual. We went to the butterfly farm, which is reasonably accessible once you get inside. Getting inside is a challenge that involves a muddy drive with pot holes and a couple steps. The butterflies were plentiful and we spent a while looking around. Next we drove along the north and west coast to Marigot. It was still cloudy but the rain had stopped. A couple of us climbed up to the fort while the other two wandered around Marigot. We had some conch for lunch then continued south to Maho Beach. It was horribly crowded so we couldn't stop to watch the planes go by. We saw one start to land but the view was blocked by a bus. We made a stop at the overlook for Simpson Bay then returned to Philipsburg.
NOTE -- There is an accessible bathroom in Marigot along the waterfront. The bathrooms are public but they keep the unisex HC stall locked. The attendant will open it as needed -- a tip is expected. There is also an accessible bathroom in the shopping area right off the dock in Philipsburg.
I had booked a tour with Gordon's because of the good reviews on Cruise Critic. I had verified a couple times that they could provide a car or low minivan because my mom cannot climb steps. I was told that it would not be a problem. Gordon arrived with a full-sized van requiring a person to climb up two steps to get in. When I reminded him that I was supposed to have a low vehicle, he actually looked surprised and said, "You were serious about that." Needless to say, I will not book another tour with Gordon.
We ended up finding a minivan taxi and went to Devil's Bridge and Nelson's Dockyard. Devil's Bridge is not accessible but the driver was able to park so that my mom could see the waves coming up over the cliffs. Nelson's Dockyard is mostly accessible although there are a few buildings with steps to get inside. It was disappointing because we ended up with a driver rather than an actual guide but at least we got to see a little of the island.
NOTE -- There is an accessible bathroom at the Interpretive Center for Nelson's Dockyard. The stall and getting around the corner is very tight but has bars. A scooter will not fit there. I had to lift and push my mom's wheelchair around the corner to get in the stall because the turn radius was so tight.
We booked a private island tour with Serenity Tours. I have used them in the past with excellent results. Our guide John met us on time as planned with a low minivan so my mom could get in. It was really pouring that day so the scenery wasn't very good. We stopped at the cathedral in Castries for a look inside then went up to Morne Fortune overlook to see the port and original British/French bunkers. Next we headed towards the Pitons, making stops for coconuts, bananas, and hot bread along the way. John's wife, Carol, made fruit punch and fish balls with banana ketchup to taste along with some coconut candies. We stopped at Diamond Falls to see the garden and waterfall. There were a few areas with rough patches but the paths were mostly paved. We stopped by the volcano after that then on to Morne Coubaril Plantation. The paths were gravel and a bit difficult to drag the wheelchair over. The plantation once grew sugar cane and cocoa and had displays about the process used. Some areas were completely inaccessible. We had a late lunch then headed back to the ship.
NOTE -- There is a semi-accessible bathroom at Diamond Falls. The stall is big enough for a wheelchair to get inside but there are no bars.
Adventure docked as far from the terminal as possible. It was pouring when we got off the ship. The ship provided free buses to those who could climb the steps. However, they didn't have a single vehicle for wheelchair users. When we asked, the RC person directing the buses was very rude and said that was our problem and we should have planned better. The last time I was in Barbados we were docked right next to the terminal so I didn't realize we would be that far away this time.
We booked a tour with Johnson's Tours. I had requested a car but the driver who initially showed up had a van. That wouldn't work so we waited a while and eventually got a car. We stopped at St. Nicholas Abbey. The abbey was once a sugar plantation but is now a distillery. I was told that some areas of the house were not accessible but the grounds were. It turned out that none of the house was accessible and the only area of the grounds that was accessible was a sidewalk around the house. It is not a place for a wheelchair user. My mom was able to watch a film about life on the plantation that was filmed in 1935. It was narrated by the filmmaker's grandson, who has a great sense of humor. We went to the Flower Forest next. The paths in the Flower Forest are paved but are very rough and steep. I had a hard time getting the wheelchair back up the hill because the path was wet and I was slipping. Our final stop was St. John's church. Our driver took us along the west coast so we were able to see the ocean and waves. My mom was able to go inside St. John's to look around the church and also the graveyard outside.
NOTE -- There is an accessible bathroom at the Flower Forest. The stall is tight but has bars. Also, St. Nicholas Abbey refunded my mom's admission fee when we explained that we were misinformed about the conditions. Flower Forest did not charge an admission fee for her.