A combination of your eco favorites -- kayaking, hiking and snorkeling -- and tour the inner mangroves, near historic islands, and in part of St. Thomas’ National Park while in port.
This was our first excursion on any cruise so we were very excited and arrived early to meet the tour. We needn't have bothered to rush! For others who haven't taken a tour before: I believe the guides want to be sure they have everyone before they leave, so don't stress if you are running a little late. We took a typical island taxi, which is a converted truck with covered, open air benches-quite comfortable, to the EcoTour kayak launch point. There we met our ecotour guides and the trip photographer, learned about kayaking technique, saw the merchandise, and were given snorkeling equipment. We had an opportunity to change and use the facilities before we headed to the kayaks. There is a little sheltered area where you can practice paddling before the group heads into the mangrove preserve. Kayaking against the wind is a little strenuous but there is a break about half way through to learn more about the mangroves. We arrived at the hiking spot, took a break for water and to race land snails (my son thought that was pretty fun) and then walked around a point to learn a little of the history of the cove. We spent the remainder of the time snorkeling before we had to kayak back and meet our bus. The guides pointed out interesting fish and areas we might want to explore. I thought the tour was very well organized and enjoyable!
Provider: Princess Cruises
We took a very bumpy boat ride from St. Thomas to St. John for the Eco hike and beach tour. If you get motion sick at all, take precautions before getting on one of these tour boats. Also sit inside if possible on the tour boat because you can get very wet and/or sun-baked if you sit on the outside area of the tour boat. Once on St. John, it is fairly well organized to find your tour and tour guide. Our tour involved a mile to mile and a half hike into the hills of the National Park with a very energetic tour guide who gave us good information. We hiked to Honeymoon beach which was gorgeous but only had 45 minutes there. Finally we walked to an old sugar mill ruin next to Caneel Bay Resort which was also very nice. Overall, I highly recommend this tour.
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
The ferry ride over to St John's was faster then normal due to the usual ferry being out of service, so that was a big plus. The eco hike was ok, but we had a few people that should not have taken the tour and they slowed us down. The guide didn't really pay much attention to them so some of us had to hang back and help them over the rough parts of the trail. Because of this we missed some of the Eco tour its self. They would stop and the guide would point something out, by the time we caught up to them they would start moving again and we would miss the tour. But the Beach part was great!!
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
I did the St John Eco hike and beach tour. We had to be at the pier at 8:15 so I had breakfast around 7ish. I got to the pier and they advised me the water taxi to St John would leave at 8:30, and it was right on time. The ferry operators were informative and funny and very entertaining, plus you can get a beverage onboard for cheap money (can of soda or a water was just a dollar). When we got to St John, the tour guide took us to a place to sign some waivers. I said the tour indicated it came with water and a snack, but she had no idea at all. She said only the Disney boats came with that. So, I had to go into the store and buy bottled water at $2 each. They did not sell snacks that I could see. The "hike" is really not one. It's just a walk. And you stop every 10 minutes to talk about the birds and the trees and bushes and bugs,etc... and you were not allowed to walk ahead of the group. I was hoping for an actual hike. Then we got to Honeymoon beach, which was beautiful!! But we had all of 40 mins and were rushed out again.. could have used more time there. The only snack shop on the beach was charging an obscene amount of money, so I passed. We walked to the taxi who took us to the ferry terminal, which was just starting to board. I could have stayed to get something to eat, but the ferry only comes once an hour so I hopped on and took the 45 min ride back to St Thomas. By the time I got to the ship, on this 90 degree day, I was hot, hungry and dehydrated and really wished I had chosen something else. I will mention this to NCL,but as a suggestion... keep in mind if you really want to try this one, bring plenty of water AND a snack, and don't expect to break a sweat on this "hike". I just went right back on the ship to eat and decided not to check out St Thomas any more.
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Great excursion. Kayaking can be a bit strenuous when into the wind. Hike is nice with great views. Snorkeling was fun and easy and good sealife-barracuda and a sting ray. Taxis are very expensive.
Provider: Independent Operator
Let me begin by saying this is the 2nd time we have done VI Ecotours kayak, hike and snorkel and we LOVE it! However, we originally planned to do the Mini-Boat Adventure. We left our cabin at 9:30 to get in line to get off. First we went to deck 0 and was told the line was forming on deck 1. When we got off the elevator, the line was already around the corner and down the hall. We weren't too far in line and thought we were in good shape to get off and make the 10:15 tour. Within about 15 min, we realized we weren't moving very quickly. When we finally made it around the corner, we saw what had happened. People were lining up in both stairways, and around EVERY corner! There were no Carnival employees to tell people where to get in line and we even saw people getting off the elevators and "blending" in the lines! I'm not saying just a few people were cutting in line, but DOZENS of them! When we finally got off the ship at 10:20, the planned excursion had already left. That's when we decided to do the eco tour again. After about a 20 min. truck ride, we arrived. The instruction talk took about 10 min. then we boarded our kayak. We kayaked about 30 min. thru the beautiful mangroves then took a short hike (it's actually a walk on a trail) to the edge of the island to an area called Red Point Cliff. We loved it there and didn't want to leave! After a walk back to our kayaks, we snorkeled about 20 min. or so. It is fair snorkeling. Then we kayaked back, rode back to the ship, went onboard to change clothes and grab a snack and still had time to do some shopping at the pier.
Provider: Carnival Cruise Lines