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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Florida
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    Default Caribbean Cruises

    Help! I'm outside my comfort level!

    I need any information folks can provide on a Southern Caribbean cruise including shore excursions and general trips on cruising.
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    Huntsville, AL
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    Default

    Is there a specific reason you want to visit the Southern Caribbean, i.e. is there a specific island you want to visit?

    Do you want a cruise the sails round trip from Puerto Rico or Florida? Sailing from Puerto Rico means more days in port and more native Spanish speakers. Sailing from Florida means more days at sea (which some people prefer to add a bit of relaxation compared with being in a new port each day).

    What length cruise are you looking for? 7 days would be the minimum for this type of cruise. Holland America has 7 night trips out of Ft. Lauderdale, and Carnival has 8 night cruises. Princess and Holland America have 10-11 night cruises from Florida with a visit to the Panama Canal.

    Carnival and Royal Caribbean have 6-8 night trips out of San Juan Puerto Rico.

    Other lines geared towards Europeans have trips from other islands, such as Barbados.

    The cruise line provided shore excursions are the most convenient, but the prices are marked way up so you pay for that convenience. What are you looking to do? SCUBA diving? Beach days? Casinos?

    Also, on most islands the USA Dollar is happily accepted. I think the French islands are the major exception, but often you can convert dollars to Euros there.

  4. #3
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    Aug 2004
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    Linda, do you have a cruise line picked out or are you just getting the "what am I going to do?" process started?
    If you have absolutely no plans made I would go to the different cruiseline websites and request brochures. I know NCL, Carnival and Royal Caribbean have a huge presence in the Caribbean.
    If you're a AAA member stop by their office and get what info they have.
    Google Cruise Critic and check out their website (beware they are NOT as family friendly as Intercot). Ship Parade and Beyond Ships are great sites for some really good pictures of the different ships from various lines.
    Itineraries are also listed as Western and Eastern as well as Northern and Southern.
    We are going on a 7 night Royal Caribbean cruise leaving from Port Canaveral next April on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Ports of call will be St. Thomas, Cococay (RC's private island) and St. Maarten. Other than going out of Port Canaveral, we have ever done any of these things before.
    KAY

    DVC MEMBER - OKW & HHI
    First trip to WDW - Dec, 2005
    Last visit to Disneyland - 2014

    First trip to Disneyland - 1955

  5. #4
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    Jul 2001
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    We have actually already picked a cruise. We are sailing from San Juan and will be visiting Barbados, St. Lucia, Anitgua, St. Maarten, and St. Croix.

    We cruised once before that that was a number of years ago (Hawaiian Islands cruise) so we are a bit familiar with how shore excursions and on-ship dining works though I know many things have changed since we last cruised.

    We're not big on bus tours and from our past experience they always seem to bring you to some huge shop selling touristy knick knacks that we have no interest in.

    What would be most helpful is to find out which ports have enough to do right off the ship so that we don't need an shore excursion and which shore excursions are the most worthwhile.

    Any assistance with the islands I named would be great!

    Thanks!
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    At the Edge of Reason
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    OUr first cruise was Southern Caribbean a number of years ago.

    Of your stops, we did Antigua, Barbados and St. Maarten. We were'nt familiar with the islands, so we played it safe and did cruise shore excursions. If I went to Barbados again, I'd probably pass and stay on the ship. It was nice, but I don't need to see it again. Antigua was quaint from what I remember. St. Maarten looks to be your shopping island.

    7 night cruise? 5 islands in that time is A LOT! You'll be exhausted if you try to do something every day. I'd turn one or two of those islands into "At Sea" days. Easy for me to say having been there, but I now pick cruises that have more at sea days because of that first cruise. And we do pass on islands regularly.

    Islands/Ports I'd pass on:

    Martinique
    Barbados
    Puerto Rico
    Haiti
    Dominican Republic
    Bahamas

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