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Old 08-28-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,854 posts, read 20,157,720 times
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I am considering doing a cruise either to the Eastern Caribbean, Hawaii or Spain/Canary Islands but need some advice from those who are familiar with the areas.

I'm not a beach person nor am I into outdoor sports. My ideal type of vacations involves sightseeing, exploring cultures and eating different types of foods. Aside from the canned score excursions offered by the cruise ships, are there things to do around the ports or conveniently located for someone who doesn't drive?

Note: This cruise will be planned during the month of December when I have three weeks off so I'm rather limited in locations.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
I am considering doing a cruise either to the Eastern Caribbean, Hawaii or Spain/Canary Islands but need some advice from those who are familiar with the areas.

I'm not a beach person nor am I into outdoor sports. My ideal type of vacations involves sightseeing, exploring cultures and eating different types of foods. Aside from the canned score excursions offered by the cruise ships, are there things to do around the ports or conveniently located for someone who doesn't drive?

Note: This cruise will be planned during the month of December when I have three weeks off so I'm rather limited in locations.
Yes .... but .... it depends entirely on your itinerary. We cruise a lot but we very rarely use the ship's excursions preferring to do our own thing. However, depending on the port, your options will be different. There are some good cruise books in your local bookshop and google is very helpful. If you do go to the Caribbean, you need to be mindful of your personal security on some islands; much less so on others. That will be a factor in your decision making process. Also, some islands are more touristy than others. Spain/Canaries will be very different. Hawaii too.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:15 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,854 posts, read 20,157,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Yes .... but .... it depends entirely on your itinerary. We cruise a lot but we very rarely use the ship's excursions preferring to do our own thing. However, depending on the port, your options will be different. There are some good cruise books in your local bookshop and google is very helpful. If you do go to the Caribbean, you need to be mindful of your personal security on some islands; much less so on others. That will be a factor in your decision making process. Also, some islands are more touristy than others. Spain/Canaries will be very different. Hawaii too.
Thanks for the response ... Which Caribbean islands would I need to be particularly cautious in?

(of course, you have to be cautious anywhere but given my unfamiliarity, I need to know what to be aware of)
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
Thanks for the response ... Which Caribbean islands would I need to be particularly cautious in?

(of course, you have to be cautious anywhere but given my unfamiliarity, I need to know what to be aware of)
Obviously Jamaica, Haiti, parts of the Dominican Republic. Others are a bit of a dump, like St. Johns, Antigua. For others, like Grand Cayman, there just isn't a lot to do. It would be easier if I knew your potential itinerary.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:40 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
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Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Obviously Jamaica, Haiti, parts of the Dominican Republic. Others are a bit of a dump, like St. Johns, Antigua. For others, like Grand Cayman, there just isn't a lot to do. It would be easier if I knew your potential itinerary.
Hmmm ... Maybe I should just look into doing Hawaii then ...

I think the Cruise goes to Nassau, Barbadoes, St. Maartens/St. Petersburg, San Juan (PR)? What about those areas?
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
Hmmm ... Maybe I should just look into doing Hawaii then ...

I think the Cruise goes to Nassau, Barbadoes, St. Maartens/St. Petersburg, San Juan (PR)? What about those areas?
Nassau I have not been to but, from reputation, I would be careful in. Not dangerous but you should be street smart.

Barbados. You can take public transport from the cruise port into the capital Bridgetown. Quite interesting, quite bustling and safe. Barbados is one of the "economic powers" in the Caribbean and Bridgetown reflects that. There is also a decent amount of history and maybe even a cricket match at the Oval.

I really liked St. Maartens but the French side of the island rather than the Dutch. Cruise ships dock in the Dutch side which is more touristy. Marigot, the capital of the French side has a great market, some excellent restaurants and, my favorite, French bakeries. It is like being in a small town in the south of France. You can probably just grab a taxi to go there. Take Euros, however.

I also really liked San Juan and it is also safe. The old town has a Spanish colonial feel and some great restaurants and bars. Also, the Moro fortress is well worth a visit. Nice just to walk around. You do not need a tour for this.

Hope this helps. Quite apart from my comments, research your ports in more detail.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:04 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,854 posts, read 20,157,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Nassau I have not been to but, from reputation, I would be careful in. Not dangerous but you should be street smart.

Barbados. You can take public transport from the cruise port into the capital Bridgetown. Quite interesting, quite bustling and safe. Barbados is one of the "economic powers" in the Caribbean and Bridgetown reflects that. There is also a decent amount of history and maybe even a cricket match at the Oval.

I really liked St. Maartens but the French side of the island rather than the Dutch. Cruise ships dock in the Dutch side which is more touristy. Marigot, the capital of the French side has a great market, some excellent restaurants and, my favorite, French bakeries. It is like being in a small town in the south of France. You can probably just grab a taxi to go there. Take Euros, however.

I also really liked San Juan and it is also safe. The old town has a Spanish colonial feel and some great restaurants and bars. Also, the Moro fortress is well worth a visit. Nice just to walk around. You do not need a tour for this.

Hope this helps. Quite apart from my comments, research your ports in more detail.
I will do some more research ... Thanks for the input
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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We have been on 9 cruises. 2 of them to the Carribean and 2 to Hawaii. The main thing about excursions is if you go with the cruise line tours you're pretty much assured of safe traveling and they are responsible of getting you back to the ship on time. Yes you see mostly touristy spots, but it's a safe bet. If you strike out on your own, that's it, you are on your own and if you miss the ship's departure you're stuck and need to make arrangements to catch the ship at the next port, or return home, at your expense. Safety is another issue in foreign ports.
In Hawaii it's a little different, and as far as safety goes you're in the US. In HI you can rent a car and go sightseeing on your own, as we have done, or take the cruise ship tours, as we have done also. Both were interesting though we found the cruise tours to be more informative and enjoyable. They know where the popular places to see are. But you can have fun on your own too there in HI and the people are helpful if you get lost or need information.
A travel agent can help you a lot with questions and and answers too.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:41 AM
 
Location: Out West
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Chatteress, I have worked for two cruise lines in the past, I have extensive knowledge if you wish to PM me.

For anyone traveling, I would highly suggest two things:

Check the local weather and customs before you go.

Get a separate credit card for the cruise from a second bank to take with you when you leave the ship. Leave your main card from your bank in a safety deposit box either in your stateroom or with the Concierge.

Consider that second card your "vacation" money. If that card is lost or stolen in some foreign port, you will not be wiped out of your entire life savings sitting in your bank account, you will only lose what was on that second card.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:36 AM
 
12,258 posts, read 18,393,933 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
I am considering doing a cruise either to the Eastern Caribbean, Hawaii or Spain/Canary Islands but need some advice from those who are familiar with the areas.

I'm not a beach person nor am I into outdoor sports. My ideal type of vacations involves sightseeing, exploring cultures and eating different types of foods. Aside from the canned score excursions offered by the cruise ships, are there things to do around the ports or conveniently located for someone who doesn't drive?.
In my opinion then - A cruise may not be for you. The sightseeing and cultural opurtunities are limited from a port stop due to time (8 to 12 hour port stops), and the immediate port stop itself are artificial sublocales of gift shops and bars that have no reflection on the culture of the country you are visiting. Foods good, but limited. Most of the carribean islands should not be really considered cultural stops anways, but "beach" type locales. Most of your time will be spent on board the ship regardless. Spain/Canary Island? I'll let you know in December, as I will be there!
A cruise does have it's place - it's a relaxing no-stress form of travel. But I wouldn't use "cruise" and "exploring cultures" in the same sentence.
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