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Old 03-13-2014, 06:33 PM   #1
WhitGB
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Fantasy-Eastern excursions -Bernards tours

We are currently a group of 11 (possibly 16) looking into Eastern excursions in October. I see that Bernard's does a private tour. Has anyone done this a created their own "package"?

The ages of the group is vast ...68-7. Our family's main interest is a good beach to swim and a trip to see the planes fly over. Can they drop us all but the grandparents at the beach and then take the two of them on a tour of the island? I just don't know if 5 hours on a beach will be as exciting to grandparents as it is to the kids.

Is this the best way for me to do this? As the main (and only) planner of the bunch this is in my hands. Am I going at this wrong? Should we rent two vehicles.? Any ideas are recommended.

As well as any other great excursions we cannot live without.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:21 PM   #2
EcbLovesMickey
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We booked a private excursion with them and it was great. The beach where the airplanes fly over is ok but not for a super long time. They took us to a much nicer secluded beach where we hung out plus had a great tour of the island. We got the best if both worlds. Highly recommend them. They will work with you whatever you want to do!
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:10 PM   #3
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Thank you. Do you remember what beach they took you too and approx how long the entire "tour" was? Also, how far in advance do I need to book to secure a private tour.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:42 PM   #4
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I don't remember the name. It was pretty private, maybe three or four other groups. There were a few he said we could chose from to visit and we chose that one because it was not next to the nudist beach! lol

The beach by the airplanes is small and VERY busy. Totally worth stopping by. The kids loved watching the planes fly overhead.

They also took us to an iguana farm and to a man who brought out sea creatures like urchins and starfish for us to hold.

I would book as soon as you are certain you want to do it. The whole tour was pretty long, but we had them drop us back in town for a little last minute shopping before we headed back to the boat.
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:33 AM   #5
ScrappinGran
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Bernard's Tours was one of our biggest disappointments on our cruise. We were supposed to stop at Orient Beach, but our driver said if we skipped that stop, we would have more time to see the plane(s) at Maho Beach. There was a little boy on the bus just soooo excited to do this...us too! So, the majority on the bus okay'd this change, including us. We were looking forward to that. We toured both sides of the island. Some good quick stops for photo ops with pretty views. Loved the old sugar plantation stop, but were told when we got off the bus that we had 12 minutes there. Barely enough time to look around, as we had to allow time to trek back down the hill to where the driver had to park the bus. The iguana "farm" ? What a joke. It was a trash dump with iguanas crawling around. Broken glass and all. We enjoyed the stop near the wonderful Sarafina's, got a phenomenal pastry there. We couldn't wait to get to Maho Beach to see the planes. Yeah. JUST as we approached the bridge over the beach there, A plane landed. What we were all dying to see, happened before we even got off the bus, and we couldn't see anything, just heard it. Disappointing to say the least. So our driver parked the bus, directed us, sort of, to the local bar/restaurant there and said to be back at the bus in an hour and a half. We were thinking maybe we'd see more planes, but nope. None scheduled coming in or out while we were there. There was NOTHING to do there, except eat or drink, which we didn't feel like doing. We felt bad taking up seats at the deck of the bar/restaurant, so we ordered bottled water. I explored the beach..what there was of it...just rocks really. And we watched our driver meet his friends and have drinks with them. So we waited and waited, then thankfully time to get on the bus and get back to the ship. The long wait was partly our fault for agreeing for more time there, but we felt that our driver should have known the schedule of the planes that day, and A.) gotten us there on time to see the ONE plane, and- B.) Not misled us, saying we would see PLANES (plural) if we spent more time there by skipping Orient Beach. We really didn't care about missing Orient Beach, but that hour and a half of precious vacation time, sitting doing nothing, and watching our bus driver drink with his friends on our dime stunk. Lesson learned. Will NEVER do Bernard's Tours again. Not even one of their other itineraries.
Oh, and one other lesson...don't sail in Hurricane Season. We got to know Sandy very well!
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:48 AM   #6
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We did a private tour with Bernards for the 6 of us.

Now, the "quantity" of the tour was well worth the money. Our guide asked us what we wanted to see and what not and she really listened. We wanted lots of time at Maho Beach for the airplanes because we have 3 boys, we wanted to see Orient Beach to say we had but didn't want to spend a ton of time there, we wanted to see both sides of the island. She did exactly what we wanted and timed Maho Beach to when the big planes would be there. She also gave quite a bit of information about the things we passed. She had a cooler stocked with bottled water, sodas, rum punch etc and we could have unlimited amounts.

However, our "quality" wasn't that great. Our guide was a woman using her personal van. Her air conditioning was crap and she complained when we left Maho that we were getting sand in her van. It was very uncomfortable.

Whenever anyone ask me about Bernard I always feel bad I have to give them such mixed reviews. Had we had a different guide (and possible different vehicle) it would have been great. We always tour with Papa Bear in St Thomas and I guess we were just used to his over the top personality and how he tries to make everyone comfortable and happy.
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