This was my first visit to this island. My review covers what I did in detail. I basically took the sightseeing tour (Best Views of Tortola & Beach) that stopped at a beach resort. There is no hotel, just a private beach with facilities to spend the day. Since I had my DSLR with me I never intended to go anywhere near the saltwater. So after using the Internet Cafe (the Internet speed was okay, but the computers were very slow) I bought some souvenirs and for $5 spent the rest of the time on a lounge chair. Nonetheless, it looked like a nice beach and I would not mind repeating the tour and bringing my waterproof camera so I could go in the water. Since I bought my souvenirs at the beach, I never went into the town near the pier.
I have heard very good things about the Virgin Gorda Baths. However, because of the distance from the ship, I would recommend only doing this as part of a ship sponsored tour. Most likely the next time I visit Tortola I'll go to the baths.
I've been to Antigua once before. I love feeding the stingrays, so I booked the same Stingray City tour that I did last time. It was great. A family of five also took this tour, however, they arrived and left by taxi. That might save a few bucks, I don't know. Nonetheless, they were on the same boat out to Stingray City that I was on. This Stingray City is almost as good as the one in Grand Cayman.
Small kids do not do well on stingray tours. The name, the strange shape, the long tail and the warning about the stinger on that tail (these are wild stingrays even though they are used to human contact) lead to kids to do not want to be in the water with the stingrays, and most are not shy about making their feelings very clearly known.
We stayed late in this port, but basically everything closes around 5:00 to 6:00pm. So the only real advantage to staying late is not having to rush back to the ship if you take an independent tour.
I've been to St. Maarten twice before. I took a taxi to Orient Beach. For one person it is $18 each way. For two people it is $9/person each way. For three to five people it is $7/person each way. For six or more it is $6/person each way.
The taxi drops you off between the clothing optional beach and the top optional beach. The Dutch side (where the ship docks) uses US dollars. The French side (where the beach is) uses the Euro. The taxi just wanted US dollars.
I was there on a very windy day, so perhaps I did not see the beach at its finest. Perhaps the next time I am there, if it is not so windy I'll visit the beach again, as it is supposed to be a very beautiful beach.
Another popular beach (the one I went to last time I was there) is Maho Beach, which is at the end of the airport's runway. Big planes (737 size to 747 size) land by flying about 50 feet over the beach. When the jets take off anything or anyone not tied down will be blown into the water. Still, it is a lot of fun and the sight of the jets coming in just over your head is something else.
This is the third time I've been to this island. The tour offered everything I wanted. The only issue was haze, which made the view of the neighboring islands less than picture perfect. Nonetheless, the views of the harbor and Magens Bay were great. This is a good sightseeing tour for those who like to take pictures.
This is the second time I've cruised to the island. My Segway tour was cancelled do to lack of participation. Nothing else on the island really interested me, so I just walked around a bit, took some photographs and bought some souvenirs. I did walk to the fort but I toured it last time and wasn't interested in paying to walk around the fort again (it is not that much different from other old forts - it just offers a better view).