Eastern Caribbean Cruise – Part 2: St. Kitts + St. Maarten
Today I am recapping the 2nd part of our trip to the Eastern Caribbean, which we took in December. If you missed the first post, covering Grand Turk and San Juan, you can find it here.
Day 6 – St. Kitts
After visiting Grand Turk and St. Kitts, our 3rd stop on our cruise was to St. Kitts. If you have followed any of our trips before, you know how much we love hiking! Well Colby did some research before our trip and decided we had to hike Mt. Liamuiga! So, once we arrived, we got of the ship and rented a car. We drove about 45 minutes to Mount Liamuiga.
The hike was a 7.6 mile round trip, basically straight up and then straight down trip. The trail was covered the whole way, which was really nice to be in the shade, otherwise it would have been very hot. The terrain changed quite a bit and the higher we got, the rockier the terrain became. At times, we were on our hands trying to navigate the trail. We saw very few people along the way, maybe a total of 15 or so, several of those which were guides. It was so nice to basically have the train to ourselves, or at least it felt that way.
We were so happy to reach the top and were surprised to find out that the summit area was very small. When we reached it, we wanted to keep going, so we had to do some tricky maneuvering to get to the top. The view was quite obstructed, but you can in the pictures below that one side was covered with clouds and the other we got a limited view of the beach.
Overall, this hike was easier than we thought it would be, only because some of the reviews we read made it seem impossible. I don’t recall exactly but I think it took us around 3.5 hours total, which includes stopping time. Overall, it was a fun and challenging hike and were glad we did it!
After the hike we hopped in the car and drove until we found a beach, which we also had to ourselves. We stayed for the sunset which was so beautiful before we headed back towards the ship.
Day 7 – St. Maarten
I am so excited to share about St. Maarten because it might have been my favorite port we visited on our cruise. We started the morning out by taking a taxi to Rainforest Adventures. I had read a ton of reviews on Rainforest Adventures before our trip and knew it was definitely a must when visiting St. Maarten.
Rainforest Adventures offers several adventures and we decided to do all three, which included the Flying Dutchman, The Schooner and the Sentry Hill Zipline. We started off with the Flying Dutchman. The Flying Dutchman is the steepest zipline in the world. In order to get to the top of the hill to reach the Flying Dutchman, we took the Sky Explorer chair lift. Once we got to the top, we were met by several employees. We were given helmets and then a few additional instructions. I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous as the drop looked steep and a few other people who were up there with us were nervous, however, the Flying Dutchman wasn’t scary at all! It was actually just a blast! And it was so cool to go down the steepest zip in the world! Also, you can’t beat the view we got of the island. It was absolutely stunning as you can see in pictures below.
Next we went on the Schooner which was a tube ride down the mountain. It was so fun and actually went much faster than I thought.
Last we did the Zipline. Colby and I have ziplined two or three other times, but never had views like these. Seriously, they were amazing! St. Maarten from up top is just so gorgeous and we were given a 360 degree view of the whole island. The zips were so fun and Colby and I got to go next to each other at the same time, which was a blast! All the employees were super friendly and that made it even more fun.
After the zips we went back down the mountain and explored the museum and the gift shop. They also had a full restaurant on site, but we didn’t end up eating there as we wanted to head towards the beach. The whole experience from start to finish was so much fun and even if you don’t do the adventures, I highly, highly, highly recommend heading to Rainforest Adventures for the lift to the top! You really can’t beat the views.
After leaving Rainforest Adventures, we took a taxi over to Maho Beach, which is famous for how low the aircrafts fly to the plane watchers on the beach. Over the past few years I have found it so fascinating to watch planes, and well, this definitely exceeded our expectations of just how amazing it is.
We probably saw 20 to 25 planes fly directly over us and of course the most interesting ones were the big jets! Just a little tip, the sand does turn into pellets when a jet is taking off on the runway and it does hurt! Ha! We had to learn that the hard way.
If you ever are in St. Maarten, I highly recommend starting the day off at the Rainforest Adventure and then enjoying the afternoon at Maho Beach. They were absolutely two of the highlights of our whole trip.
Day 8 + 9 – Sea Day
As mentioned in my last post, we love the sea days to just sit around, relax and read! We also got to enjoy the Sky course and the new Sky ride!
Day 10 – Key Biscane, Florida
When we arrived back in Florida we rented a car and drove to Key Biscane. We spent the majority of the day at the beach just relaxing and making the most of our vacation before heading to grab dinner and then to the airport.
If you need transportation from the airport to port, use Uber (much cheaper than taxi) or use a rental car. Use carolineh2699ue for $15 off your ride when booking with Uber. Make sure to download app and setup your account with credit card and enter info ahead of time so you can request a car right away.
Find the Facebook group for your specific cruise. It’s a great way to meet people and get ideas for excursions.
Book excursions through 3rd parties. You will save a lot of money by doing this.
Book your cruise using ebates. We booked through priceline and got $91 cash back.
Bring your own water bottle/cups. This way you will avoid having to refill their small ones. We brought two water bottles and two coffee cups and were so glad we had them.
Keep bathing suit + sunscreen in your carry on. The first day the lounge chairs and pools are empty, so you will have the area to yourself.
If you are on an older ship bring a plug extender for your room. Something like this.
Bring some towel clips. We were so glad we had these because it gets sooooo windy!
Bring googles. You will want these to see all the beautiful fish in the clear waters.
Make sure to do the ship activities (slides, ropes course, games, etc) during the start of the cruise. If it is too windy (or there is other bad weather) they will shut those things down and if you save them for last you won’t be able to do them at all. Thankfully this cruise we didn’t run into this problem, but we have in the past.
Download the Carnival app. This was so helpful, even more so than prior cruises. We could see the full schedule, weather, reserve our dinner table, etc.
Bring a jacket. I rarely used it on the ship, because thankfully the temperatures were perfect, but if you are on a ship that is cold, you will want it.
Bring a lanyard. This was helpful to have for our room keys.
Bring a beach blanket. It of course doesn’t have to be this one, but we were so glad we had this and used it at most ports. Yes, they give you beach towels, but it was nice to have this and several times to ourselves how glad we were we brought it.
Bring some cards or games. The library had a ton of games too, but it was nice to have our own.
We had to purchase a $24 drivers license in St. Kitts with the rental car. I am not sure about the other countries, but just a heads up.
On the last day, if able, carry off your own luggage. We walked right off the ship at 8:30 am and it was so simple.
Have questions? Leave a comment and I will answer!
I didn’t start sharing our traveling adventures on the blog until the end of 2013, but you can see some of our vacations below. You can also see our best tips for traveling on a budget here!
Western Caribbean Cruise
South America: Argentina
South America: Torres Del Paine
South America: Lake Region
South America: Santiago + Coast
Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica: Santa Teresa
Costa Rica: La Fortuna
Caribbean Cruise – Grand Turk + Dominican Republic
Caribbean Cruise – Aruba + Curacao
Colorado Ski Date #2
Europe: The Netherlands
Europe: Montenegro + Greece
Colorado Ski Trip #4
Northern California + Lake Tahoe
Yosemite + Napa
Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Grand Turk + San Juan
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