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Old 11-19-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
novazx3
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Ports to Skip Eastern Caribbean Fantasy Cruise

Hi,

I am sailing the Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy in September 2013. I was wondering which ports were a must see and which ones I could skip. We enjoy beach time, but love the ship too!! The shore excursions are pricey, I want to make sure if I do leave the ship it's worth it. I sailed the Pacific Coast Cruise recently and I could have did without all the ports really.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:08 PM   #2
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None. It's your first time going to these places. YOU need to see if you will like them or not.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novazx3
Hi,

I am sailing the Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy in September 2013. I was wondering which ports were a must see and which ones I could skip. We enjoy beach time, but love the ship too!! The shore excursions are pricey, I want to make sure if I do leave the ship it's worth it. I sailed the Pacific Coast Cruise recently and I could have did without all the ports really.
We did eastern in August and opted to get off in both ports for the reason the pp mentioned. Loved St John but found St Maarten to be really lacking. I'm glad we did something there though to make our own decision.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:27 AM   #4
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None. It's your first time going to these places. YOU need to see if you will like them or not.
Agreed!
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:19 AM   #5
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You don't have to do an expensive shore excursion. You can go to the beach and do other things on your own.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:39 AM   #6
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If I hadn't been somewhere I wouldn't skip it. Most of DCL's beach type excursions are fairly inexpensive I've found.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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I would not skip either St Maarten or St Thomas/St John; all are beautiful islands with much to offer.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Just get off the boat and walk around - grab a cab and go to a beach! You can do a port on zero $$ if you really want to! We rarely use ship excursions.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:14 PM   #9
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You can spend nothing, nearly nothing, or a ton of money on excursions. Each of the islands has a lot of the same/similar shopping and tourist trap qualities, but each also has beautiful and unique things. Others said that St. Maarten was "lacking," but it has at least one unique shop and some gorgeous beaches. St. John is beautiful. St. Thomas is easy to do on your own (well, so is St. Maarten.) You have to decide what works for you.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcashner
You can spend nothing, nearly nothing, or a ton of money on excursions. Each of the islands has a lot of the same/similar shopping and tourist trap qualities, but each also has beautiful and unique things. Others said that St. Maarten was "lacking," but it has at least one unique shop and some gorgeous beaches. St. John is beautiful. St. Thomas is easy to do on your own (well, so is St. Maarten.) You have to decide what works for you.
I agree. Since I said "lacking," I'll expand... It just wasn't for us! We had my elderly inlaws with us, none of us are beach people (except somewhere like CC or resort beaches with free chairs, safe, easy bathroom access, etc) and we found the French side of the island really sad and closed up. If we went back, we'd probably stay on the ship. We did have yummy macaroons in Marigot!
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shburks View Post
I agree. Since I said "lacking," I'll expand... It just wasn't for us! We had my elderly inlaws with us, none of us are beach people (except somewhere like CC or resort beaches with free chairs, safe, easy bathroom access, etc) and we found the French side of the island really sad and closed up. If we went back, we'd probably stay on the ship. We did have yummy macaroons in Marigot!
St Maarten is one of our fav ports

Sarafina's in Marigot has amazing pastries and oh-so friendly!

Maho beach is another fav for us for a stop before heading back to the ship, can't get over the planes overhead
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:00 AM   #12
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We got off the ship at both St. Maarten and St. Thomas...it was our first time there. I wouldn't mind shopping around the complex at the St. Thomas port again, but we have decided as a family not to leave the ship at St. Maarten. It's just our opinion, but we found the shops/streets chaotic.

But my biggest issue at St. Maarten is the solicitors when leave the boat shuttle (sorry can't remember what it's called) and they swarm you. They were very aggressive and I was asked too many times if I want my daughter's hair braided.

And my family, especially my daughter was quite overwhelmed and frightened by the aggressiveness. However, there was one lady who approached us with a sweet smile and asked and if I was going to get it done, I would definitely go with her. She was not at all intimidating. I know it's what they need to do, but if you're not used to it then it becomes very overwhelming.

To be honest, I was thinking of not getting of at St. Thomas for fear of the same thing. But I was glad we got off since it was a far better experience. We actually did some shopping. Unlike St. Maarten where we literally just ran back to the ship.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:50 PM   #13
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I have to agree... you have to get off in a new place! I was a little horrified after speaking with cruisers who said they just didn't get off the ship. We teach our kids there are so many wonderful places in the world, and no, they aren't all clean and pretty like Disneyland. Many are poor. Many are dirty. And the people who live there are still people, with families, and they need a job to feed their family. That's how we explained the "aggressive" vendors.

We have never done a paid excursion, and have enjoyed wonderful days in Key West, St Thomas, St Maarten and Nassau. Our Nassau day was a little rainy and our teen wanted to stay on the ship. He got an earful about not taking opportunities to see new places.

The only time I would not get off the ship is if I have done a port at least once, but likely more. I love the idea as cruising as the vacation, but also realize it is transportation to wonderful new places to see.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:23 PM   #14
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St. Thomas was far too beautiful to stay on the ship.
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