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Old 07-07-2012, 08:33 PM   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear3412 View Post
1. 8:15
2. 1:30 Perhaps earlier time(s) booked?

HTH
Thanks!! We wanted something later (around that time) so we could do some shopping ahead of time, and plan on spending the whole day at the beach at St. Thomas. That sounds perfect!
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:15 PM   #137
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Golden Eagle Catamaran - 03 July 2012

We signed up for this excursion because we couldn't find anything else that appealed to us. Overall, the St. Maarten excursions looked less interesting than the St. Thomas excursions, but we wanted to do something on the island. We picked this one since we like snorkeling, but our expectations were low.

We loved this excursion. The crew were very nice and the entire process of the excursion was well handled. We walked from the ship (Disney Fantasy in our case) directly to the catamaran. The walk is not long, but if someone has trouble walking then it might be considered far -- about 3 lengths of the ship. They had us take off our shoes and board the catamaran barefoot. The catamaran was full but not crowded, though I don't think this excursion sold out, so it may be more crowded on a sold out excursion.

They made a bit of a production about getting passengers to help hoist the sail. It was a bit of fun and overall just for show since we motored all the way to our destination by engine. We passed by the area with the airplanes and we could see several planes land as we made our way to our snorkeling destination.

The destination: Long Bay or Bay Long or something like that was beautiful. The water was clear, blue and just perfect for snorkeling or enjoying time on the beach. We focused on snorkeling and it was pretty good. They had life vests, but said they were optional. We opted out since the life vests hinder ones ability to dive down and get a close look at the fish and we are adequate swimmers. The crew were also admirably conscientious about safety, both in words and actions. They have a small inflated boat with a motor that they use in conjunction with the catamaran to keep and eye on all the snorkelers. If someone needed help they would be able to get to the person in need fairly quickly.

Fish were plentiful and of a wide variety. Quite beautiful.
The time was just about right. Long enough that I didn't feel rushed. Short enough that I left wanting more, but not feeling deprived.

On the way back they didn't even bother with the sail at all. But that was okay, the main spectacle was the splashing of water as the catamaran made its way back to the ship. The waves were bigger than in the morning and occasionally along the way there would be a big splash. The kids (not ours, we don't have any) loved it. It was pretty amusing for everyone.

We really enjoyed our time. The excursion exceeded our expectations.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:00 PM   #138
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:01 PM   #139
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For our trip in April it will be me, DH, and DD4. We would appreciate advice/reviews of the following:

St. John Island Tour
St. Thomas Island Tour & Shopping
Kon Tiki Sightseeing & Beach cruise

or anything else to do in St. Thomas/St. John

thanks
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:24 PM   #140
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We're taking our cruise in September and have booked the Under Two Flags Tour in St. Maarten and the Best of St. Thomas Island Tour and Shopping excursions. I saw a brief post about the Two Flags tour, but I would like to know more about it. And I haven't seen anything about the St. Thomas tour--just the St. John one. Has anyone out there done the St. Thomas tour?
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:39 PM   #141
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subbing -

we will be doing this cruise in March 2013, but will be going to Puerto Rico instead of St. Maarten..
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:17 PM   #142
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Question about Dawn Beach

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Originally Posted by Ayeegit View Post
We did an Eastern Caribbean on the Magic last year, and here's some info from our trip report (saw some people asking about Trunk Bay, so here's our two cents...)

On St. Maarten, we did "our own thing" and after some research on a good beach, decided to go check out Dawn Beach.

The trip from the port to the beach was fairly quick - once there, we were greeted by "The Guy", who quickly mentioned he would be happy to rent us lounge chairs and an umbrella - but we politely said "thanks, but no thanks" and headed a bit further down the beach and found a nice spot to throw down our towels. The water was, just as you see in some pictures/postcards, crystal clear blue - and very warm (St. Maarten had the warmest water out of all three of our Port days). We all spent a lot of time swimming, playing on the beach, and snorkeling - I think we were there at Dawn Beach until about 2 in the afternoon. Saw lots of fish and coral right off the beach - it was definitely a great spot for snorkeling. There were some other folks on the beach, but it never felt "crowded" and we had plenty of space to ourselves. Once everyone felt like they had had enough sun (being our first day off the ship, we knew we didn't want to start off the trip with any sunburns), we grabbed a taxi back to the port.

At St. Thomas, we booked the Trunk Bay excursion...

This was perhaps the only disappointing thing about our whole cruise - even though we were prepared and knew about it in advance, we hadn't appreciated the travel time to and from Trunk Bay, and the amount of our "ashore" time it was going to eat up. It took just about an hour (each way) for the boat to get us from St. Thomas to St. John, and then some waiting around to get on the buses, and then another ~15 minutes to reach the bay. So we only had just over an hour and a half to actually snorkel. The water, while just as clear and beautiful as St. Maarten, was a bit colder, and Gillian toughed it out as long as she could, but eventually needed to take a break from being in the water. So while she and Kayleigh played on the beach, Ginger and I got some more snorkeling in. One of the things we had heard about in Trunk Bay was the "snorkel trail", which really wasn't all it was made out to be - some underwater plaques that talked about the various fish in the area, but I'd have a hard time calling it a "trail". But we still did enjoy our (brief) amount of swimming/snorkeling - it was just over too quickly, and we were rushed back on the buses to get back on the boat to St. Thomas.

For the second day in a row, it did rain a bit - although much heavier than the day before in St. Maarten. Luckily it waited until we were done swimming, but we had to wait to board our boat due to them unloading another set of travellers - so while some people were able to take shelter under the covered portions of the line, there were a lot of other folks standing in the rain getting soaked. Luckily, once on board, just about everyone was able to seek shelter in the portions of the boat that weren't open to the rain.

We got back to St. Thomas in time to spend a few minutes walking through the various tourist trap stores, but pretty soon we had to go get in line so we weren't left behind!


So I think in the future, we would for sure hit Dawn Beach again, but we'll find something else to do in St. Thomas...


I think our family may follow your lead and try to find Dawn Beach. Were you able to rent snorkeling equipment at the beach reasonably or did you take your own? Not sure if this is something worth purchasing at Target for CC and/or Dawn beach before our trip or if it's better to just rent?

Thanks for your help! This is our first cruise and we're very excited and want to have the best time possible!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:25 PM   #143
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Kayak, Hike and Snorkel at Cas Cay - 04 July 2012

We were very excited about this excursion when signing up. Overall it was okay, but the entire operation had a bit more of a sketchy feel. The excursion starts off a bit poorly, but finishes better.

You start on a taxi -- a big, not very well maintained 25 person taxi. This taxi is NOT owned by the excursion outfit, but are the public taxis for the island and tourists. I did not trust this taxi one bit. The bench we were on was broken on one side. The weld had snapped off and the support bar was merely sitting on top of a cross brace. Watching it as the taxi moved, I could see the bar shift and move as we hit bumps. I did not like this one bit.

Upon arrival at the excursion location we were asked to fill out forms (standard waivers). I'm not a lawyer, but I found it odd that they would drive us to a remote location and THEN have us fill out waivers. The waivers should have been filled out while we were waiting for the excursion to start on the ship. As it is, one really isn't the position to refuse the waiver. You're already there (and the most life threatening part has already happened). Anyway, it isn't a big deal, but I found it annoying since if someone wanted to refuse the waiver, they would be stuck.

Anyway, we had I think 42 people on this excursion and that is far too many. We got on the kayaks and there was much bumping and general confusion. Once we got started, we paddled ahead to keep away from the crowd, so I don't know how the crowd worked out, but I do feel that those in the slower kayaks missed out on much of the guided tour. The kayaking was fun for us and not too physically demanding; but as a warning I will note that several kayaks were significantly slower to getting to our destination. I don't know if it was too hard for them or not, but it is possible that an adult with a child (tandem kayaks) might not have enough upper body strength to make the trip easily.

We got out of the kayaks and they opted for us to do the snorkel part next instead of the "hike" since some kayakers hadn't made it to the destination yet. For snorkeling there are NO fins. This didn't bother me, as lack of fins is better for the coral (not just a line, I've heard this elsewhere too); however swimming to the viewing spot must be done without fins. So that would be another warning for less energetic travelers. Snorkeling was nice. It rained a teeny bit for us, but that didn't matter since we were swimming anyway.

After the snorkel there was a hermit crab race.

After the hermit crabs was the "hike." Ignore the word "hike" in the excursion title. It is more of a short walk to a viewing location. It's not a bad thing, but it should not be described as a "hike."

Then we kayaked back to the excursion location, got cleaned up, and got back on the death-trap taxis.

We found this excursion to be just okay. It isn't terrible, but certainly not a must do.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:28 PM   #144
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Anybody do the Random Wind on St. Maarten? It's not a Disney Excursion.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:30 PM   #145
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I just found this thread after I created a different one asking about beaches on St. Thomas.

Anyway, does anyone have any opinions of these beaches? Which one is closest to the Port?

1. Secret Harbour
2. Sapphire Beach
3. Coki Beach

It will be DH, myself and DD10. We want to snorkel, and the reviews on these were very good.

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:27 PM   #146
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We did the screaming eagle in St Thomas as a family (ages 13, 14, 33, and 35) and we had a blast. There were younger and older on board and it was a blast!!! You get "SOAKED"!!!
Next time we go, we will definately do this one again
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:53 AM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orsino View Post
We were very excited about this excursion when signing up. Overall it was okay, but the entire operation had a bit more of a sketchy feel. The excursion starts off a bit poorly, but finishes better.

We found this excursion to be just okay. It isn't terrible, but certainly not a must do.
Thank you for this review. We had seriously been considering it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:46 PM   #148
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Does anyone have any experiences travelling St Maarten (via taxi or otherwise) to visit both the Dutch and French sides? First on our list of things to do is a visit to Princess Juliana Airport (fingers crossed we see some big planes land and take off!) then we'd love to see more of the island, maybe grab a nice French croissant somewhere We're not really big beach people (a day at Castaway Cay will be our beach fix) so are more looking at shopping and exploring the scenery of the island. TIA!
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:40 PM   #149
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Does anyone have any experiences travelling St Maarten (via taxi or otherwise) to visit both the Dutch and French sides? First on our list of things to do is a visit to Princess Juliana Airport (fingers crossed we see some big planes land and take off!) then we'd love to see more of the island, maybe grab a nice French croissant somewhere We're not really big beach people (a day at Castaway Cay will be our beach fix) so are more looking at shopping and exploring the scenery of the island. TIA!
Us too...I was just going to ask this. We kind of just want to "check things out", wondered if we could walk around and still see things? Not so interested in beaches, as we will be satisfied with beach at CC. We've already taken one beach vacation this summer, so we would rather see the islands. None of the excursions seem to interest us. Is this possible?
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:51 PM   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisbryce View Post
We did the screaming eagle in St Thomas as a family (ages 13, 14, 33, and 35) and we had a blast. There were younger and older on board and it was a blast!!! You get "SOAKED"!!!
Next time we go, we will definately do this one again
My DH and family want to do this - I am a little afraid. I don't mind getting wet, but I have seen this thing in action and it looks like it will flip over (I know it doesn't) - anyway, did you feel safe, did they discuss this with you, and how jolting was it, my mom is adventurous and will be with us, and I know they say no back issues, but she wants to do it and has a back history? Thanks for your input!!!
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