Cruising is a wonderful way to explore the islands. Sure, you don’t get to really saturate yourself in the culture, but even if you’re not big into the idea of cruising it’s a great way to visit a lot of places in a short amount of time to see where you might want to visit for a longer period of time!
We love it because it’s an easy way to travel multiple countries without having to put the kids through a dozen plane rides, taxis and hotels! They love the kids club that Royal Caribbean offers and they like having dinner together with the same waiters each evening and a “home” we come back to every night. Those simple consistencies during our travels mean so much to them and make the vacation less chaotic.
We heard that Magens Bay was one of the top 10 beaches and we were just in the mood to chillax that first day! We let the boys stay with grandma on the ship and Superman and I hit the beach. It was STUNNING!! SO blue - actually I think this beach was the bluest beach of our vacay.
I don’t usually get in the water for very long because I’m a sun bather. I usually get in to cool off and then lay out again but here I really enjoyed swimming! The waters were so clear blue and the waves were barely even noticeable. Also not a super busy beach so if you like your privacy (like me!) it’s extra awesome!
Our taxi ride was interesting. Our first experience with driving on the opposite side of the road! lol! So that messed with our head just a little at first. It was crazy because up close, most of the homes and buildings were really run down and it wasn’t a pretty sight. But when we got up on top of the mountain driving to Magen’s Bay, the view was breathtaking!! From a distance it looks like a dream and the water is gorgeous.
St. Johns, Antigua
We LOVED Antigua! Our taxi driver was great and he took us to a Sandals Resort area with a gorgeous beach and a few restaurants right on the water. We ordered pina coladas and the boys played in the calm waters for hours!! We ended up calling our taxi driver to tell him not to come back for us yet we were having too much fun! ;-)
My mom kept the boys while we went horseback riding down the beach, which was wonderful (another bucket list item checked off) and a great way to hear more about Antigua from the guide.
Something I loved about Antigua as soon as we started driving was how many flowers there were! It seemed like everything was in bloom everywhere - whether it was a field of nothing, the side of the road or a resort, there was so much life and color.
Definitely one of the more crowded islands! I heard several groups from the ship describing Barbados as busy and crowded - not their favorite destination. I have to agree, it wasn’t my favorite but a beach is a beach!! I'll take it!! We definitely enjoyed it and the boys had a blast playing in the water. The snorkeling was good and we actually just swam out to the boats that were close to the beach and saw sea turtles and lots of fish without paying for a tour or anything.
Sad to say we didn’t take many photos in Barbados! I actually wore the dress I made on this island and then realized I didn’t even take photos of it lol! Oops! We were so busy working and taking pictures everywhere else and I guess we took a day off for once :-)
I’ll just start by saying FAVORITE!! :-) We haven’t even been home a week yet and we started checking out flights and resorts in St. Lucia. We would totally take a week trip there just to explore the island more!
We stepped off the ship and walked through all the folks trying to sell us taxis, tours, etc. When you get outside to where the taxis are you can cross the street to the water taxi area. Everyone looked at us like we were a problem because we weren’t buying tours like 95% of the people but we kept going and I’m SO glad we did!
The lady under the small tent was setting up a group for a $60/person boat tour and needed 2 more people. This is the same kind of tour that everyone else was selling for $120/person only ours was more private, smaller boat and no crazy people on board!! lol! It was worth well it - would totally do that tour again.
They took us to the other side of the island, making stops along the way to see the Bat Cave (sooo many bats!), Superman’s Flight (where Superman 2 was filmed) and several other areas of the island. We went snorkeling between the pitons at Sugar Beach and then headed over to a second snorkeling area near Jade Mountain - a beautiful resort where the Bachelor was filmed.
I could go on and on about St. Lucia but I’ll stop there! lol! If we were to go back I would explore the Sulphur Springs and take a mud bath for sure! ;-)
Usually on a cruise you end up having a couple "days at sea" but on this 7 night cruise, we visited 5 different islands so there was only one sea day! That was also the evening we had formal night so here are a few photos of the day we got to play dress up! ;-)
We started out by doing an underwater sea trek. It’s basically a walk about 20 feet underwater while you’re hooked up to above water oxygen. Crazy thing is the helmet isn’t just your oxygen, it’s also the weight that holds you down so you can walk underwater! The helmet is 70 pounds but only feels like 10-15 lbs when you’re in the water.
The sea trek was a surreal experience!! I was first in line for our group so I may have gotten a better experience than everyone else since the guide was right in front of me showing me cool sea creatures, putting fish food in my hand and feeding the fish right in front of me. All different color fish were swarming around us - it was insane. We saw lots of ruins underwater too… a helicopter and a sunken ship that the fish hid under. It really is another whole world under there. Brandon and I both came up with a new interest in scuba diving! Sadly their underwater camera got water in it and wasn't working - so no photos of that!
By the time we finished our sea trek my mom and sister had just boarded the ferry to take the boys to the beach! So we met them there and had a great rest of the afternoon. The water in St. Maarten is incredible! If we went back I would check out some other parts of the island. It seems like there’s so much to explore but our time was limited.
Well, there we have it! If you haven't read about our time in San Juan, Puerto Rico before and after the cruise and you CLICK HERE to read that!
Next I'll be sharing some things I learned about navigating all these places with kids! We had a couple scary moments :-/ so sharing details on that soon!
Thanks for reading!