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Southern Caribbean: Any recommended shore excursions?

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Are there any must do shore excursions? Do you get harassed by locals at any of the beach excursions?

Going to Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts, St Thomas 

 

Thanks

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I am doing a Thenford Grey tour in St. Kitt's. I haven't been there before but after much research, that seems to be a great tour.

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10 minutes ago, agibeault said:

I am doing a Thenford Grey tour in St. Kitt's. I haven't been there before but after much research, that seems to be a great tour.

Did his tour years ago. You will love it

 

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Barbados.  Silvermoon Catamaran.  Private Excursion.

St. Lucia.  A trip to see the Pitons is a must.  A land and sea tour would be my first choice.  Spencer Ambrose Tours as well.

Antigua.  Beautiful beaches.  Valley Church Beach and Jolly Beach we have done.

St. Kitts.  A tour with Thenford Grey or a trip over to Nevis.  

St. Thomas.  A trip to St. John.  Also recommended is a private charter.  The views of the virgin islands are breathtaking.

 

Also visit the port of call board here on CC.  Lots of information.

 

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Barbados:  Calabaza Catamarran...best excursion I have ever done.

St. Kitts:      first visit was a tour by Captain Sunshine followed by a beach massage.  Each visit after that has been to the Carambola Beach Club.  

St. Thomas:  Castaway Girl Catammaran...and shopping, of course!

Antigua:        worked with Sean Beazer to do a great tour...he is with Scenic Tours Antigua.  The tour ended at Turner Beach which was beautiful

St. Lucia:       haven't been for many years!

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St Lucia and St. Thomas DIVE!  Some of the best diving we have done! 

St. Kitts I think we just did a tour of the Island.  The spectacular diving was just so amazing I cannot remember the other ports!

Enjoy your trip!

Elizabeth

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2 hours ago, agibeault said:

I am doing a Thenford Grey tour in St. Kitt's. I haven't been there before but after much research, that seems to be a great tour.

Yes, a great tour indeed! Loved every minute of it, as I'm sure you will.

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We recently visited these places but did not take any excursions.

We did get off the ship and explored the area at the port.

Lots of vendors and shops, we did not get harassed by hawkers or vendors.

I would caution you about taking excursions with others than the cruise ship.

2 people on our cruise did not make it back in time to depart because of being late with one of these bootleg excursions.

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St. Lucia - Cosol Tours.  What I like about them over Spencer Ambrose is the included brunch they serve, which features tons of local delicacies. Highly recommend.

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5 minutes ago, m8zenblue said:

We recently visited these places but did not take any excursions.

We did get off the ship and explored the area at the port.

Lots of vendors and shops, we did not get harassed by hawkers or vendors.

I would caution you about taking excursions with others than the cruise ship.

2 people on our cruise did not make it back in time to depart because of being late with one of these bootleg excursions.

 

You definitely take more of a risk with unknown vendors at the port, but with proper precruise planning, you can find third party vendors that blow away the cruise line offerings and make the cruise line excursions look bootleg in the process.

 

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1 minute ago, kdawg954 said:

 

You definitely take more of a risk with unknown vendors at the port, but with proper precruise planning, you can find third party vendors that blow away the cruise line offerings and make the cruise line excursions look bootleg in the process.

 

Yes to this.  Some of the best excursions we've taken have been with private operators.  We've never once missed the ship.  

 

To the OP,  I'm not discouraging ship tours at all.  I've had some great ones.  Just noting that I wouldn't have any problems booking outside the ship.

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14 minutes ago, m8zenblue said:

We recently visited these places but did not take any excursions.

We did get off the ship and explored the area at the port.

Lots of vendors and shops, we did not get harassed by hawkers or vendors.

I would caution you about taking excursions with others than the cruise ship.

2 people on our cruise did not make it back in time to depart because of being late with one of these bootleg excursions.

It's a shame you didn't venture past the port area.  These southern islands are full of such beauty and are some of the best on the caribbean itineraries.

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15 minutes ago, kdawg954 said:

 

You definitely take more of a risk with unknown vendors at the port, but with proper precruise planning, you can find third party vendors that blow away the cruise line offerings and make the cruise line excursions look bootleg in the process.

 

I rarely take ship sponsored excursions.  Never had issues with private vendors but do my research beforehand.  There are many great ones at a fraction of what the ship will charge you. 

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When on Antigua, take the Bus to English Harbour there is a hotel that can be accessed by boat, fantastic beach, lunch and facilities.

 

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2 minutes ago, drakes2 said:

I rarely take ship sponsored excursions.  Never had issues with private vendors but do my research beforehand.  There are many great ones at a fraction of what the ship will charge you. 

 

Absolutely.  A proper 3rd party vendor will often be 20 to 40 percent cheaper, offer more bang for your buck, better local food opportunities and less people.  The two big pros for going the cruise line excursion route is guaranteed return to the ship (even if something major went wrong) and the use of OBC.

 

But the big time 3rd party vendors obviously are very in tune with the cruise ship schedule and are specialists at getting people back on time.  A big operation like Calabazza in Barbados or Cosol in St. Lucia, I wouldn’t worry at all about missing the ship . . .these places have been in business for many years and have 5 star ratings because of their dependability and service. 

 

The biggest risks come from the vendors at the port that you have not had a chance to properly research.  Now here you can easily save well over 50% of what the cruise line would charge but you lose a lot of the securities that you would have with the cruise line or major third party vendor.  If going this route always have some idea of the place you are visiting and keep an offline map of the island and have emergency numbers on you just in case things fall apart during the excursion.

 

Personally, I have only booked an excursion once through the cruise line (outside of private island stuff) and it was because we had $600 of OBC and were talked into it with some friends we met on the ship.  We had a great time but even that was basically using the cruise line as a middle man and they booked the service of a third party vendor to run the operation. We technically could of booked directly through them.

 

So yea I always encourage new cruisers and even seasoned ones to just do some research and you’ll find a quality option on any island you go to as they all depend on tourists and tourist word of mouth about the service they receive, so the good companies will go above and beyond almost always.

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In Antigua, we hired Antigua VIP Tours privately for our family of 3.  Our guide did an excellent job of showing us the highlights of the island.

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Barbados: We have done private excursion with Calabaza day sail several times and it was great.  We have also done the ship's excursions to Harrison's caves and George Washington house which were both enjoyable. 

 

St Lucia: We did the Segway ship excursion several times as it was a lot of fun and included more than just riding the Segways. Also have taken private island tour with Spencer Ambrose

 

St Kitts: Ship excursion swimming with dolphins involved quite a bit of one-on-one time in water with dolphins and was lots of fun. Have also done private tour with Thenford Gray. This port has a lot of shops within walking distance.

 

St Martin: Orient beach is gorgeous but is a bit of a ride to other side of island. We did the ship excursion Flavors of St Martin tour and it was just ok IMO, although is a good way to see the island if you have not been there before

 

St Thomas: Went to St John taking the ferry with ship excursion and also on our own (easy but more stressful with timing). It is one of the nicest beaches we have been to. If you don't want to spend a large part of the day getting there and back, the Secret Sands ship excursion also goes to a nice, uncrowded beach

 

We enjoyed doing the ship Behind the Scenes Access tour on sea day even though we have done several free galley, and bridge tours before. It was really interesting to see the laundry, recycling, provision room and crew areas.

 

FYI, there are occasional sales on ship excursions so keep checking prices even after you book

 

 

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