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traceylu
03-14-2009, 04:34 PM
Anybody do this excursion either on their own or through Disney? Just wondering what you thought about the snorkeling, and how you got there and back with the shorter time in port. After doing some research on another board it sounds like it is a day filled with busses, ferries, and taxis. It also sounds like we won't save much money going on our own instead of booking with DCL.

Any info or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!;)

Bracy
03-14-2009, 06:06 PM
Many people will say Trunk Bay because it is where all of the cruise line excursions go, but if you want untouched snorkeling, gorgeous beach and hardly anybody around then Cinnamon Bay is the best. It is our favorite beach in the caribbean and favorite place to snorkel from shore. Because it is also a national park campground there are facilities, a small food store, and a place to rent water toys. If you can swim far there is a cute island you can snorkel out to. We just love it because it is so peaceful and we saw some very large coral and schools of fish very close to shore.

We have been there twice and both times it took us two hours from the time we stepped off of the ship to the time we set down our towels. Other than the hair-raising drive to red hook, it is a pleasant trip with an open-air ferry ride and open-air taxi ride on st.johns. I believe it cost $50 for 2 of us. I found out exactly how much it would be on usvi.net.

The first time we went, we weren't sure which one to go to either. Our taxi driver told us Trunk Bay, but the other couple in the taxi told us Cinnamon Bay since we were experienced snorkelers. Then last time we went the couple in the taxi with us was having the same dilemma so we of course told them Cinnamon Bay. They loved it so much that on the ride back they peeked at our luggage tag for our cabin # and sent us a bottle of wine for telling them about our favorite beach. What a nice surprise.

Hope you love wherever you decide to go.

traceylu
03-14-2009, 06:53 PM
Bracy,

Was the $50 one way or round trip? We also have 2 kids in tow, DD 8yrs. old and DS 11yrs old. They are both experienced snorkelers and DH and I are scuba certified so we are looking for a peaceful beach day. (I know CC is a "beach day" but I didn't think the snorkeling would be too great there nor would the family beach be relaxing.)

I have looked at the vinow.com website but will checkout the one you posted too. I'm thinking it will be around $200 just for round trip transportation for the 4 of us!:eek:

What did you do in St. Maarten? Another snorkeling beach or tour the island?

What a nice surprise with the wine gift!!! It usually pays to give a random act of kindness.:thumbsup2

Bracy
03-14-2009, 07:56 PM
It has been 5 yrs since we were there last, but i really think it was 50 total. I will ask DH if he remembers. I remember 50 very well because on our last trip we got to st. Johns & realized we didn't have enough $ to get back.:lmao: Thought we would have to borrow $ from a total stranger on our ship, but luckily there was a bank on the island that gave us a cash advance on our cc. It seems like the taxis were 12 & 8 and the ferry was 6. Prices have probably gone up since then though.

Agree with you about CC snorkeling and crowds. We don't like crowded beaches either. I hear the further down the beach you walk the less crowded so that's what we will be doing. We're hoping to get away for a little while to serenity bay minus DS 9 & DS 5 too.:ssst: Our first DCL cruise is in 6 weeks.

When we were there last there was a nice guy from CA who rented us kayaks and told us about some other good spots to snorkel.

When you get off in st. maarten there are a ton of taxi drivers there offering the exact same excursion as on the ship for less $ of course. Ours did a tour of the island and stopped at 3 places, Orient Beach, Marigot, and somewhere else i can't remember now. I think Marigot was last and we just stayed there to explore and had a great snack in a little french bakery. It was very lovely. In our experience Orient Beach had a lot of full nudity, humorous to us as we were without kids and most sunbathers seemed to be retirees. :rolleyes1 It was also very crowded. The ship docked on the dutch side. There was an uncrowded beach there within walking distance. Not supposed to be nudity there, but there was. Don't know if that's an issue for you, but with kids i thought i should warn you.

Hope this helps.

PS I'm a Tracy too, minus the 'e'

Bracy
03-14-2009, 08:12 PM
DH says he thinks 50 too and i would trust his memory more than mine.

traceylu
03-15-2009, 10:31 AM
Nice to meet you Tracy! This is also our 1st DCL cruise. We leave on June 6th.

Thanks for all your input. We have only been on 2 other cruises in the last 13 years and we have never been to the Eastern Caribbean. I have read many posts about the nudity on the beaches in St. Maarten and haven't decided what to do about the kids. I know they would get a kick out of it and I think they would accept the fact about it being another culture and all. My worry is that they would laugh and point and let everybody know exactly what they thought!!!!:rotfl:

We usually do our excurisions on our own just to save a few bucks and to have a smaller crowd. I just didn't know if St. Johns was possible with the time constraint. Thanks again!

Let us know how your cruise turns out!
Tracey

Bracy
03-15-2009, 05:30 PM
Nice to meet you too. Our April 25 DCL cruise will be our first on DCL too, but 6th overall. You are going at a great time of year. Early June is our favorite time to cruise.

Hope you make it to st.johns. Our cruise also stops in st. thomas, but i think we have decided to go to a st. thomas beach for the day because our kids are only 9 & 5. I can't see a 5 yr. old enjoying the trip there and he doesn't really snorkel yet. We've been to st. thomas twice and never done anything on the island except take a taxi to red hook.

Our other stop is Tortola and will be hitting the beach there too. As you can tell we are beach people who also love to snorkel. Hope to learn to dive some day.

I agree with you about doing the excursions on your own. On our first cruise we did the ship's snorkeling excursion in Cozumel. The vendor took us about 100 yards from the ship, threw some dog food in the water to attract some small fish and that was it.:sad2: We said to ourselves, this isn't snorkeling it is swimming with aggressive, trained fish. Now we research, research, research.

Hope you have a great time on your cruise. I will write up a report when we get back. Happy sailing. :boat: