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wklcpa
10-13-2001, 11:51 PM
I went on the seven day cruise and received so many great tips that I wanted to help others with their trip.

I stayed at the Radisson at the Port the night before after renting at Avis at the airport. Staying the night before prevented me from worrying about flying the same day. That was a great suggestion by the forum members. As many stated on the forum, this is a great way to go. We were able to turn in the car at the Avis next to the hotel and take the shuttle to the port. The hotel is pretty nice - great pool for kids and pretty nice rooms. On tip coming back - we took the Avis shuttle instead of the Radisson shuttle because it was at the port first. I didn't know Avis had a shuttle until it pulled up.

As everyone stated on these boards make your Palo ressies as soon as possible. They go fast. If you don't like getting dressed up too much you might want to try to coordinate your Palo night the same night as formal night. I didn't think about this until afterwards.

The ESPN sportsbar is pretty dead. I don't think I ever saw more than five people in there. In theory it is a good idea but without more sporting events available for broadcast (I saw a lot of soccer) it doesn't work.

St.Maarten:
I did not enjoy Great Bay Beach. Sand was rough to walk on and when you walked into the water you eventually sank like you were walking in quicksand. The buildings directly behind are awful and with my family there I just didn't get a good feeling. I left and went to Dawn Beach. Dawn Beach was beautiful. The waves were great for the kids and the beach wasn't crowded. They had toys for the kids to play with the sand but the chairs and umbrellas will cost you. Hair braids were tortorous at both places. Also, don't rent a 4 cylinder car as I did. I encountered hills going to Dawn Beach were I felt I wasn't going to make it up. The roads to Dawn Beach were a mess - potholes and narrow roads with no signs - I got lucky that the only turn I took lead to the beach.

St.Thomas:
We went to Coki Beach after visiting the many shops close to the docking of the ship. We paid $21 for two adults 2 kids each way. We paid for the aquarium but after going through it thought it was overpriced for what it offered. I forget exactly how much it was but it was about $45 for four of us. The beach was great,especially for kids and snorkelers. The fish come close to the shore and will come right up if you have something like the dog biscuits people were feeding them. The beaches can be expensive once you pay for chairs and lunch so bring a decent amount of cash.

The service throughout the cruise is great. They were very friendly.

The Kids Club is a Godsend. The beeper was very helpful since my daughter was a little cranky.

Me and my family loved the cruise and thought it was the best vacation we ever took. We probably will take Disney again on the Western Carribean. If you have kids I couldn't see any cruise being better.

For first timers have a great cruise. Thanks to those who helped me in preparation for the cruise.

Bill

wklcpa@aol.com

KAB13
10-15-2001, 09:16 AM
Where did you rent the car from in St. Maarten? How much was it? Would you do it again? Thanks.

wklcpa
10-15-2001, 11:03 AM
I paid $37.80 at Budget. There are numerous car rental agencies within walking distance of the ship. Some bigger names like Hertz and Budget as well as some other agencies. I believe I saw Avis a little bit further out.

The $37.80 got me a Toyota Corrolla which like I said was not really suited for the hills or the tough roads. When I went up to rent I was offered a Jeep from a couple of the agencies for around $55. You might be able to bargain since it seems competitive. The Hertz representative approached me as I was walking in the direction of the agencies (which are all lined up next to one another). That being said, I felt better going with a name I was familiar with. One other thing while I'm thinking of it, the car I got was banged up and I made them note that on the rental documents so they didn't try to pin it on me.

I actually decided to rent because the taxi/shuttles for a family of four would have cost $40-50 and you have more flexibility to go to the various beaches. Since the boat doesn't leave until 11 pm you do have some time to travel around if so inclined.

Good luck,

Bill
wklcpa@aol.com

wklcpa
10-15-2001, 11:08 AM
I forgot to answer your question "Would I do it again?"

Probably, but with a 4x4 and a map. It gives you more flexibility, especially with kids. Some people say the island isn't that big so you don't have to worry about getting lost but I am the type that hates getting lost, especially in a foreign place where some of the areas don't look to good. Plus the cost is comparable to a taxi.

KAB13
10-15-2001, 08:42 PM
Thanks for your advice! I'll look at some of the car companies. I too, like to know where I'm going - I've only gotten lost once in my life. I try to be prepared and feel more comfortable if I have an idea where I am going. I'd really like to get out and explore and see both sides of the island.

One more question - did you feel safe?

wklcpa
10-16-2001, 04:21 PM
Since I limited my travels I can only speak to the route to Dawn Beach. I did not feel totally safe. The areas I drove through were somewhat run down and I was a little concerned driving a horrible car with no map and no signs to follow. The few homes/ buildings that were in somewhat good shape were far from the road and/or gated. I did stop for gas and did not have any problems. There weren't many people that I noticed as I drove to the beach. I did feel safe at the beach (it is beautiful).

You might want to search the boards for other people's opinion on driving, particularly on the French side of the island since I did not make it over there. One couple we spoke to afterwards said they drove all over the island, particularly the French side and loved it.

Have a great time.

cheekygrrl
10-27-2001, 03:39 AM
what a great idea.... hmmm.. would you do it again? or would you stick with taxis?
:bounce:
cheeky