As you probably know by now, for over the past two months, I’ve been working on the Oasis of the Seas as part of the international ice cast. Living on the ship has been quite an adjustment, considering my home is a floating city in the middle of the ocean.
During these past few months, the ship has been on the same two routes around the Caribbean, one to the east and one to the west. This means that every two weeks, I visit the same six ports in the Caribbean. The ports on the Western week Caribbean cruise include Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. For the Eastern route, we visit Nassau, Bahamas; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (USVI).
Interestingly enough, my favorite ports are not the ones I originally expected before I got on board. However, after frequenting these stops every other week, my mind has changed. You’d think it would get monotonous visiting the same places every other week, however when there is so much to see in each port, you get to experience something new every time.
Everyone has their own opinion of each port, however my top three on these two weeks of travel in the Caribbean are Cozumel, Mexico; Philipsburg, St. Maartin; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (USVI). If you get any of these three in your Caribbean itinerary, get off the ship, get out early and go explore.
Western Caribbean: Cozumel, Mexico
What To Do: Cozumel, Mexico is the third stop on the Western Caribbean itinerary for the Oasis of the Seas. Just like the saying, “save the best for last”, this last day in port finishes off the cruise with a bang. Whether you’re one that enjoys delicious local food and drinks, beautiful views, exploring the underwater world, or a day full of thrilling adventure; there is something for you in Cozumel.
- Rent Jeeps and Scooters and explore Coastline beaches:
- Playa Mia
- Playa Corona
- Sunset Beach
- Punta Sur Eco Beach
- Playa Del San Martin
- Playa Chen Rio
- El Mirador
- Playa Bonita
- Tiger Tour Catamaran: Small personal day excursion with incredible snorkeling at several different stops where you can see turtles, reefs, and incredible underwater life. The tour takes you to beautiful white sandy beach and provides you with delicious guacamole, drinks, and fun-filled atmosphere. If you’ve got a big group to go with, even better, the boat will be entirely yours!
- Paradise Beach: Rent Jet Skis or soak up the sun on paradise beach.
- Scuba Dive: Cozumel is rated as one of the top ten places in the world for scuba diving. If you’ve got your scuba certificate, don’t miss out on what you can see down there!
- Hotel B: Relaxing day at Hotel B, with calm atmosphere, beautiful infinity pool overlooking the beach, and food and drinks included up to $32 with the entree fee.
- Snorkel Excursion: Rays and Sharks (Near Port)
- Coconuts Restaurant
- Town Shopping
- Senor Frogs: Be ready to drink and party if you go here. Just be aware of what you’re signing up for when you go. I went here because I wanted cheap chips and quac, without knowing what it was – I was in for an exciting surprise.
- Mayan Ruins: These ruins in Cozumel are the world famous Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza, one of the most important archeological sites in the world. On your way to Chichen-Itza you will see the beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula. Just bear in mind that the excursion to get to the site is a few hours each way, leaving you with only an hour at the site (that is, if you’re on a cruise and only have one day).
- Cenotes: During your stay on Cozumel, there’s a possibility for a day trip to the world’s best fresh water diving in the Akumal “cenotes,” or natural wells. These world-renowned underwater caverns are located across the channel from Cozumel, on the Yucatan mainland, and offer an underwater experience like no other. Just be sure to plan it out, remember you have to make it back on the ship in time!
Eastern Caribbean: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (USVI)
What To Do: This port is the second stop on the eastern route on the Oasis of the Seas. Surprisingly, this is probably my favorite port out of all the Caribbean stops that I have seen during this contract. There’s a unique vibe to the different parts of town that you can explore, or you can venture off to beautiful serene beaches across the island. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can take a water taxi a few minute walk from the port and head to a small island for the day, swim with turtles, and get some good local food.
- Water Island: Water Island is the fourth and most recent USVI . If you walk out of the port, you’ll find a small ferry that will take you to water island for the day for just $10 round trip. The taxi leaves every 30 minutes each way, so you have options of when you can leave and come back to the St. Thomas.
- Paradise Point – Take the gondola up and down to the beautiful view, or if you’re looking for a little hike, you can walk up to the peak for free!
- Haven Side – From the port, take a taxi or shuttle to Havenside, a cute little part of town with lots of different shopping and restaurants. One of my favorites, Tap and Still; a craft brewhouse with the most amazing spicy and sweat chili chicken wings. Definitely visit here if you’re headed to this side of the island.
- Some of my favorite serene beaches:
- Magens Bay – Drake’s Seat
- Coki Beach
- Sapphire Beach
- Lindquist Beach
- Honeymoon Beach
- Frenchtown: Frenchtown is a quant fishing village located on the south coast of St. Thomas, famous for its delicious unique local food with a caribbean twist. It is located in walking distance from downtown, making it an easily accessible place to visit during your day at St. Thomas
Eastern Caribbean: St. Maarten
What To Do: St. Maarten is another one of my top three favorite ports on this run because of its unique blend of Caribbean, French and Dutch cultures and influences. This duel-governed island gives you a taste of Europe while in the Caribbean. One of the most popular spots in St. Maarten is Maho Beach (or airport beach) on the Dutch side, famous for being a spot where visitors can lay on the beach and watch airplanes land right above their heads. If youre looking for more of a private, relaxing atmosphere, you will not be let down by the number of tranquil beaches spread across the island. Whether it’s a little taste of Europe, an adventure-filled day in the Caribbean sun, or a romantic day on a private beach, you can find it in St. Maarten.
- Maho Beach, or Airport Beach, as mentioned above, is famous for being the beach adjacent to the St. Maarten airport, where visitors can lay on the sand and watch the airplanes land just above their heads.
- Phillipsburg Beach: Restaurants, Jet Skis, Shops
- Taxi to French Side (Marigot) and explore the unique taste of Europe in the Caribbean.
- Rent Quads and bike around island, if you’re looking for a more thrilling day on the island.
- Little Bay Beach
- Orient Bay
- Mullet Bay
- Anguilla (ferry to another island)
If you find yourself on a Caribbean cruise with any of these ports as a destination, count yourself lucky. My advice, get out early and go see as much as you can during your day in these beautiful places. You won’t regret it.