Choosing between St Maarten/PR or Tortola/St. Thomas in January

KodakFigment

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
We want a Jnauary Star Wars at Sea cruise. Can do either St. Maarten/PR (1/15-1/22) or Tortola/St. Thomas (1/22-1/29). Suggestions? What would help you decide?
 

Cheburashka

Registered
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
We want a Jnauary Star Wars at Sea cruise. Can do either St. Maarten/PR (1/15-1/22) or Tortola/St. Thomas (1/22-1/29). Suggestions? What would help you decide?
Assuming it's the same ship and length of sailing, and both itineraries include Castaway Cay, I would choose St. Maarten and Puerto Rico, because those are less common destinations for DCL. They sail to Tortola & St. Thomas every other week throughout the year, year after year, but St. Maarten in particular is pretty rare for DCL.

If they are different ships but both going to Castaway Cay, I would care more about which ship it was than which Caribbean port it was sailing to. If the length of sailing is different, I would pick the longer sailing. If Castaway Cay was only available on one of them, I would definitely pick the one that stopped at Castaway Cay. The latter would be my top priority, actually.
 

KodakFigment

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Both trips on the Fantasy. Both 7 nights. Both include Castaway Cay. Never been to any of the ports listed so all new for us. We are not shoppers or strollers. We like water activities and maybe local tours.
 

trinitys4

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 21, 2013
Tortola/St. Thomas are our two favorite spots. It depends on whether you are looking for exploring (Tortola) with beautiful beaches (St Thomas) or historic sight seeing (PR) with the one-and-done view of airplanes landing (St. Marteen). It would also depend on the ages of your kiddos. Mine were both preteens and both would hands-down choose a day at St Thomas over any other spot in the Caribbean.
 

trinitys4

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 21, 2013
Both trips on the Fantasy. Both 7 nights. Both include Castaway Cay. Never been to any of the ports listed so all new for us. We are not shoppers or strollers. We like water activities and maybe local tours.
As I hit send to my first note, your new post leads me to say, the St. Thomas stop is the right one for your family. Both islands had water excursions that we will do again when we do the same itinerary in October on the Fantasy. The turquoise water of St Thomas is surreal and something I will never grow old of.
 

yowcruiser

Registered
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Well, I am currently booked on the 1/22 to Tortola/St.Thomas but agree that the less typical St.Marteen/PR would be interesting. We did sail out of San Juan twice on the Wonder, and did visit St. Marteen on those cruises and they are both nice place to visits
 

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  • Cheburashka

    Registered
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    The turquoise water of St Thomas is surreal and something I will never grow old of.
    The shade of the water is pretty weather dependent, in my experience. I've been to St. Thomas, and when we went (late December), the water wasn't turquoise at all. It was a darker blue. We visited Cozumel once and it had turquoise waters, but it was at a different time of year (spring). I saw turquoise water in the Bahamas last month, but that was the first time out of 6 cruises there that I saw turquoise water- it had always been a darker blue before. We usually sail in winter, so that might have something to do with it.
     
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    lklgoodman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2016
    We've cruised to all 4 ports and enjoyed them all. As pp mentioned Disney doesn't go to St Marteen and San Juan as often as St. Thomas and Tortolla. If you just want to go to a beach and don't care about anything else, then choose St. Thomas and Tortolla. They have nice beaches, but nothing really special about either island(except for the Baths at Tortolla). St Marteen allows top less beaches, so that may be something you may or may not care about. I would look at the excursions for each place and see which ones are more interesting to you. The beach excursion we did at San Juan was over $100 pp. The ones we did at St Thomas and Tortolla were around $50 or $60, same amount of time at all 3. All 3 beaches were about the same.
     
  • _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    I'd argue that kayaking the mangroves in St. Thomas, or Virgin Islands National Park are both pretty cool.

    Given the January timeframe, snorkeling at the Indians off BVI on a non-DCL charter could be great. I think that's good season for sea turtles. (I am obsessed with sea turtles, don't mind me.)
     

    _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    Also note: If you're into topless beaches, that is the French side.

    I don't think the Dutch do topless.

    The closest beach to port is Dutch and it tends to be where DCL send families. Probably because the Dutch don't do topless.
     
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    jujubiee4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2013
    How is the weather in January for these ports? I looked it up it said 80. Has anyone sailed in January
    to comment? What about Castaway? One cruise we went Castaway was too cold and windy. Unfortunately
    I don't remember which month it was.
     

    lklgoodman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2016
    They are all farther south than CC, so they will be warmer. We were at St Thomas and Tortolla in early Jan and it was nice and warm at each. We went to beaches at each and the water was nice. We've been at CC 3 times in early March and 3 times in Jan. I didn't notice much of a difference between Jan and March there. The air temps were nice, but the water was too cool for me. We live in Ohio and in Jan it is usually below freezing. So when we cruise in Jan, anything is warm to us.
     

    Cheburashka

    Registered
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    How is the weather in January for these ports? I looked it up it said 80. Has anyone sailed in January
    to comment? What about Castaway? One cruise we went Castaway was too cold and windy. Unfortunately
    I don't remember which month it was.
    I have sailed in January multiple times and it was warm each time. Castaway being cold would be the result of an odd weather event, not normal winter weather. It's in in the tropics & typically warm all year. Castaway's water is chilly in January, but once you immerse yourself completely into the water, your body adjusts. And the air is warm, so getting out is no problem.

    The Caribbean waters are warmer. The pool deck onboard the ship can be cool in the late evening as it sails through the night wind, but that still isn't what most people call cold. I've had no problem riding the Aqua Duck after 9pm in January, though I would want a towel to dry off pretty quickly afterwards. And I'm a Southerner who hates being cold.
     
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