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Old 12-10-2018, 09:56 AM
 
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I would check the excursions listed on Royal's site to get some ideas of what is available at each destination. Book via the ship or independently.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Canada
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We went on a four hour tour with this company https://www.captainalan.com/ (very good reviews)

We had a blast. FAST boats! They take you slowly through the narrows to see some of the most expensive yachts in the world (lifestyles of the rich for sure!) watch a plane right above you coming down to land onto St Martin's short runway, and land on a sandy island and snorkle with sea turtles. I'd do it again for sure!
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza61nyc View Post
ouch. lol tell us how you really feel.

Op we did Oasis of the Seas two years back. loved it. didn't have long lines at all and the only time I really got a sense of the big crowds was around the pools, other wise it didn't seemed wall to wall people at all.

one other advice is to book reservations for the shows, they have many and it can be hard to get them last minute.
IDK...I mean, if you like Cruises, you like Cruises. If you don't, you don't. My wife and her family love them. To me it was miserable. It had nothing to do with kids, lines, or crowds.
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Proxima Centauri
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Try to see the French side of St. Martin if time allows. The Dutch side is over developed and too American. The French side has a real French flavor.
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
IDK...I mean, if you like Cruises, you like Cruises. If you don't, you don't. My wife and her family love them. To me it was miserable. It had nothing to do with kids, lines, or crowds.
For me, some of it was the crowds and kids, but it had more to do with that it seemed to be too much generic travel, every port in the Caribbean seemed the same - same T-shirt shops, same Margarativille decor, they became tired old stale caricatures of themselves. Some of the ports now are so used to cruises and build up the facilities for that one sole purpose, they lost their identity to what made them unique in the first place; it doesn't even seem like you are visiting a foreign country, but maybe a tikki bar at the local beach.

As I get older I find I like the no worries pace of cruises however more and more - to Asia, to the Med, to Norway. I enjoyed them all and will be on some in the future no doubt. But, no Caribbean cruises thank you.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
For me, some of it was the crowds and kids, but it had more to do with that it seemed to be too much generic travel, every port in the Caribbean seemed the same - same T-shirt shops, same Margarativille decor, they became tired old stale caricatures of themselves. Some of the ports now are so used to cruises and build up the facilities for that one sole purpose, they lost their identity to what made them unique in the first place; it doesn't even seem like you are visiting a foreign country, but maybe a tikki bar at the local beach.

As I get older I find I like the no worries pace of cruises however more and more - to Asia, to the Med, to Norway. I enjoyed them all and will be on some in the future no doubt. But, no Caribbean cruises thank you.
To avoid that touristy feel in the Caribbean, you have to go beyond the beach and do stuff related to the local culture and history.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
For me, some of it was the crowds and kids, but it had more to do with that it seemed to be too much generic travel, every port in the Caribbean seemed the same - same T-shirt shops, same Margarativille decor, they became tired old stale caricatures of themselves. Some of the ports now are so used to cruises and build up the facilities for that one sole purpose, they lost their identity to what made them unique in the first place; it doesn't even seem like you are visiting a foreign country, but maybe a tikki bar at the local beach.

As I get older I find I like the no worries pace of cruises however more and more - to Asia, to the Med, to Norway. I enjoyed them all and will be on some in the future no doubt. But, no Caribbean cruises thank you.
This. I think San Juan is the real exception to this, but it's too big to have cruise ship traffic drastically change it.

I think Key West is a great example of what you're talking about. We live within driving distance, so we used to go down there every other year. When the cruise ship terminal was built, though, everything started to change. Much of the grit is now gone, and it feels like most other gentrified Caribbean port cities.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
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After quite a few Caribbean cruises, we always consider just staying on the ship. We enjoy the less crowded pool, free alcohol on our package deal, free food and ice cream, not having to lug stuff and beach towels, not having to mess with inflated prices of big tours, buses, taxis, avoiding crappy tourist trinket shops, the ridiculous number of jewelry shops, etc etc etc.

There are a couple of islands that we haven't visited where we would absolutely get off the ship - St Marten and Curacao. We might get off to go swim with the stingrays or turtles again. If the water temps are high enough, I insist we visit a beach so I can swim in salt water at least once or twice.

Otherwise, we're on the ship feeling like we're in an all inclusive resort with changing scenery and excellent service.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
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If you are interested in the guided excursions (some of which can be fun), make sure you book them as soon as you board the boat! The good ones can fill up quickly.
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Old 12-23-2018, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
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Both St. Maarteen and San Juan got hit hard this past year with Hurricanes and were destroyed. Not sure if I'd want to cruise there. Might want to speak with RC about that!


Besides that.....RC is fabulous! Don't listen to Dd714!
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