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In barbados we swam with turtles, and in st kitts we went on a 'tangerine bus tour' in a big orange truck, it was absolutely fantastic. The driver Christopher really knew his stuff and took us all over the island. 20 dollars each was a real bargain. Others on our ship said they paid double for other tours and didnt see half we did.
On all these islands you will find local taxis on the quayside. Reasonably cheap, certainly cheaper than the organised ship excusions, but make sure you can get back to the ship on time!! If you befriend fellow passengers, you can share a taxi.
It's a short way to town in Granada, otherwise a taxi will take you on a tour of the island. In St Lucia most would opt to see the pitons; in St Kitts the beaches on the southern shore overlooking Nevis are idyllic, and on Tortola, Cane Garden Bay is a splendid beach and good scenery on the way. You can also walk around Road Town, the island's "capital" since the harbour is very close to the town. But you may want to see places such as Virgin Gorda, very difficult to arrange yourslf.
We swam with the dophins in tortola and explored the island in st lucia witha local taxi you get to see more than on a tour and its cheaper.
Yes it is cheaper to do your own thing, however, we have usually gone on P&O trips, partly because we think they are ususally very good and partly because we like the security of knowing you will be back at the ship in time for sailing, and if there is a problem the ship will wait. The ship will not wait for independent passengers.
On St. Lucia we thought the Land and Sea whole day trip was very good value for money. We were taken by minibus to various points on the island, Anse la Raye, a lovely fishing village, Marigot Bay and a couple of other places. Then we went to the Volcano and had a local guide who took us to see the sulphur bubbling and told us all about the volcano. Then it was off to some beautiful Botanical Gardens and after that lunch in a Plantation Hotel restaurant which was lovely.
After lunch we were taken to meet the Catamaran which was to take us back to the ship. We stopped on the way near Marigot Bay for about an hour so people could swim and snorkel. There was steel band music playing and rum or fruit punch on offer. We thought it a great trip.
On St. Kitts it's really worth doing the Sugar Train trip. You can't do this one independently. You get taken to join the old train. It travels about 8mph and has two sections. Downstairs you can travel in air conditioned carriage if you wish but you also have a seat on the top section which has open sides. The journey takes about an hour and a half. There is a commentary and a local choir group which goes from carriage to carriage. Free drinks are served - try the banana daquaris! You can see the ocean on one side and the inside of the island on the other. You also get given a free DVD of the St. Kitts Railway Tour. At the end you get taken back to the ship. It was great.
We are going on the same cruise and there seem to be better options than the organised P&O excursions - particularly on St Lucia where a company called Jungle Tours runs trips around the island. If you're interested drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! We've booked with them and they're willing to pick up from the ship.There are also good suggestions on www.caribbeanportreviews.co.