Part of the excitement about taking a cruise is visiting different ports, experiencing different cultures and cuisines. In St Thomas I took a beach break and island tour thru Princess Cruise line. We visited Megan’s Beach, which is absolutely gorgeous with its white sand beach. We also got a bird’s eye view of this beautiful island from its highest point. St. Thomas is the mecca for Duty Free shopping, and you can really find some great bargains. For those last-minutes shoppers, the pier in St. Thomas has lots of stores selling souvenirs. I highly recommend booking excursions in advance because they do sell out and there could be 3 cruise ships in port at the same time bringing 10,000 passengers ashore. Our cruise agency can also arrange customized shore excursions for those that prefer VIP treatment.
St. Maarten is a very small island that's half French and half Dutch. The ship arrives on the Dutch side of the island. As it was a cloudy day with the possibility of rain, I took an excursion with the cruise line as I did not want to venture on my own. There were three ships in port, and traffic was pretty bad. Well, it started raining shortly after we left for our tour. Soon our fun little tour bus started leaking! Our tour guide did all possible to get another bus, but unfortunately, with three large cruise ships in port, chances of a replacement was not possible. The best rule for Travelers: just take things all in stride and enjoy yourself.
At Turks & Caicos the ship docks at the pier and the beach is incredible. I found myself floating in the Caribbean and enjoying Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Grand Turk! One can also take a quick trolley tour of town, or you can just relax on the beach and get some last minute souvenirs.
Princess Cays is a great port of a beach day getaway. You can also rent a private little beach bungalow while the ship is in port and they have various souvenir stores that you can charge the purchase to your onboard account. If the ship's tours are not suited to you, your cruise travel agent can always arrange private tours for you.