cruise ship paddling excursions

my wife once posted two pictures side by side on facebook: one of her with a cruise ship in the background and one of me in a short ww kayak on a river. I’m headed on a cruise again in Dec. I’d be interested to know of any paddling day trips folks have done that they felt were worthwhile. So far I’ve mostly stuck to snorkeling, and beach time- I like to hear recommendations about paddling excursions near cruise ports in the carribean or gulf of mexico.


– Last Updated: Sep-13-14 1:28 PM EST –

What's your itinerary? I haven't done any kayaking down there (other than FL Keys) but I have done Caribbean cruises several times so might be able to give you some type of insight depending on your ports of call.

Unfortunately the only time I did a kayak excursion from a cruise was in Alaska.

this time the bahamas, grand turk
in the past bahamas, st. martin, st kitt, st. john,St. Lucia, barbados, puerto rico

I’m thinkin’ not just about this upcoming trip but in general -for upcoming trips. It zeems like I’m cruising almost once a year now.

my wife wants to cruise to alaska so what was your kayaking excursion like?

Ahhh okay. I’m actually not familiar with any of the places in the Bahamas - when we went we did just do a “sit on the beach and drink” excursion for that one. I bet Grand Turk would have some pretty kayaking but I’m not familiar with where exactly they’d have you going.

When I was researching excursions in general for our Alaska cruise, the cruise line’s website had guest reviews for each excursion as well as pictures taken by guests on the excursion, which is far more telling than their website photos. Whoever you’re traveling with, I’d read those.

The Alaska cruise that I did last year was by far one of my favorite vacations ever. We traveled through Holland America Line and did the inside passage trip. We did our kayaking in Ketchikan but I think all the stops (Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan) all had kayaking, we just had other activities we wanted to do in those other places. It did end up raining the entire time but they give you foul-weather gear (I brought my own rain jacket anyway just in case). Be aware that for any of these kayaking excursions with the cruises, at least for the sit-ins, you do have to do a tandem - you can’t be in your own. Other than that, it was fun. We saw at least 50 bald eagles, a humpback whale, a few harbor porpoise, and some harbor seals on our paddle. It’s gorgeous up there!

St. Thomas Eco Tours
A few years back I did a paddle/hike/snorkel excursion. I believe it was on St. Thomas. Overall it was pretty good. fairly easy paddle across a lagoon, then a hike around a beach area to another lagoon to snorkel (which was really cool), then back. I’m very glad I did it and feel it was worth it. Although it was watered down tourist stuff, I really enjoyed it, so did my family.

Virgin Islands
I’ve been to the US and British Virgin Islands, both of which offer wonderful kayaking locations. Virgin Kayak Tours on St. Croix is a good outfitter for the USVI.

Arawak Expeditions has day and overnight trips in the BVI.

Both St. Croix and Virgin Gorda (BVI) would offer plenty of amenities for your wife’s less adventurous tastes.

I’m not a fan of cruises and tours, to be honest. I prefer to settle in a place for a week at least and explore at leisure, not be hustled off to the next destination. Two places I would recommend for accommodations would be the Carambola resort on St. Croix and the Hunter Homes on Virgin Gorda (two private, well-equipped villas with cars and caretakers, minutes from everything.) Hiking, diving and snorkeling are outstanding in both locations.

thanks for the replys
yeah time is definately short on a cruise ship schedule- i don’t know what the airport taxes are like in the virgin island but in the bahamas it does shoot the cost up quite a bit- flights are relatively cheap but the bahamian govt makes it more expensive. My wife likes the cruiseship- spa, etc, I like the excursions- but I’ve thought about going on my own to freeport - paradise cove is a a nice spot, or cottaging in the natl park on st. john island but I’d like to have a little bit more time off of work to do that. In the mean time shore excursions will have to suffice.


– Last Updated: Sep-15-14 12:26 PM EST –

Carambola has a lovely spa - i got excellent massages and facials rhere. The rooms are more like condos, plush and semi private duplex cottages with kitchenettes and screened in porches overlooking private tropical grounds (with wild mongooses in the gardens) and gorgeous private beach. Three restaurants and concierge service to arrange outings. There are hiking trails to tidal pools from the resort and a small dive shop. I can't think of anything a cruise offers that is not also available at Carambola, with the bonus of being able to do activities at leisure. I'm not even a resort-loving person, but I stayed there with a friend back in 2009 and was really impressed with the stay as a combination of luxury plus options for active sports. We kayaked, hiked and snorkeled. Only reason we did not dive was that the surf and wind were unusually strong during the time we were there. We got a deal at $140/night (it was the post 9/11 travel recession), but I think you can still book rooms for around $200 a night. We felt like millionaires, the place was so nice. (golf course, too, if that is you or your wife's thing.)

Just thinking something like that could be a compromise that makes you both happy.

BTW, St. Croix is a US territory so there are not a lot of fees and you technically do not need a passport to go there, though I always take mine when I travel.

The Grand Caymans
Not sure what make/model of yaks they were but they were recreational SOT tandems (there was one solo kayak occupied by the solo member of the group) it was a tank of a boat but worked well enough. It was hardly what I would call a strenuous trip maybe 2 to 3 miles of paddling in total. We were given a nice tour of the mangroves lining the coasts and then headed out to a reef where we spent an hour or two snorkeling. It was a nice paddle and got to see all kinds of fish / coral and even a small shark.

There was another excursion that was kayaking and diving that a couple went on. They Kayaked out to a platform by the reef and then spent several hours diving, then kayaked back. Sounded like fun, but I wasn’t dive certified at the time…

Anyway, it was a good time, I would recommend it and at least you feel like you’re working off some of the massive quantities of food and drink consumed on the boat…

I did this with Carnival, but I’m sure the other lines have similar, if not identical trips.

Hope you have a great time!

thanks for the info
I’m researching a bit online from the tips suggested- virgin island air fares are as cheap or cheaper than the bahamas for me, will check out the resort option as well