Check out last weeks post about our Carnival Cruise! I’ll be posting details about each of our shore excursions & cruise adventures over the next several weeks, be sure to stop back!
The first port of call on our 7 day Carnival Cruise, aboard the Carnival Fascination was in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. As newbies to the cruise world, my husband and I decided to take advantage of the shore excursions offered through the cruise line. Even though we’ve heard you can find packages or taxi’s for cheaper on your own, we wanted to make things easy, and have no doubts we’d make it back to the ship before it left! Carnival also has a “lowest price guarantee” which is nice, and the excursions seemed to be reasonably priced for what was included (and the convenience) in my opinion.
We started our trip in St. Thomas with a kayak/hike/snorkel tour! Hearing the word “hike” I wasn’t sure what type of shoes to bring, so I wore my Merrells, and brought a pair of flip-flops. When we got there, they said the hike was pretty mild, so I’d want to leave the shoes on shore (they had a locked cabinet to leave belongings in during our trip), and wear the flip-flops.
Some of the hike was on rocky shoreline, and my flip-flops were fine, but actual water shoes would be better. My husband wore shoes like these and said they were pretty comfortable.
Knowing that we’d be snorkeling, I’ve been looking into purchasing a new waterproof camera for a while. (my favorite old one had to be retired after a leak… it got a lot of great use though, prior to that incident) Unfortunately, by the time I went to order a new camera, all the ones I’d narrowed my search down to were either back ordered or out of stock so I couldn’t get one of those in time. I ended up ordering a different one, quickly, just to have something. The pictures turned out alright, but I may still invest in one of the other cameras for our next trip.
Enough of the back story, here’s the scoop!
Virgin Islands ECOTOURS –> Kayak, Hike, & Snorkel multi-eco adventure
Time: about 4 hours
Kayaking was a blast! We used 2 seat ocean kayaks, so you sit on top of them, and they are pretty stable. Not only did we kayak, we also gathered in our kayaks in a small cove, where the guides talked about the mangroves, wildlife, and ecosystem.
We landed the kayaks on the beach where we’d be snorkeling. But before we went in the water, we had a chance to refill our water bottles, have a hermit crab race, and then walk along the shore to view more wildlife, and sea creatures. The guides pointed out a lot of sea creatures along the shore (crabs, urchins, starfish, etc.) and pointed out which ones were safe to touch or hold. We also saw a large sting ray swimming along the shore!
After our little hike, we got into the water for some snorkeling! One of our guides stayed in a kayak, to try to spot larger fish to point out while we snorkeled. He saw a nurse shark, but it swam away from us, so we didn’t see it. Pretty cool though! Another guide was snorkeling and taking photos of the fish and of us all. We saw quite a few cool fish, a really large puffer fish, several schools of fish, and a lobster. After snorkeling, we kayaked back to shore via the same route we came from.
WHAT TO BRING:
Suntan lotion, water shoes, sunglasses, towel. Consider: change of clothes, water bottle, hat
*They provided a bottle of water for each of us, and we were able to refill them along the way. Even when I know water is provided, I still usually bring my own, just in case something has changed. It’s better to have too much water, than not enough :) They also provided sunglasses straps when we went. They have a bunch of items for sale too, if you forget anything, as well as some t-shirts etc. with their logos.
Before we started the trip, the guides told us they’d be taking our pictures and that we could purchase them at the end of the excursion if we wanted. In addition to the photos they took during our tour, they include a link to tons of amazing photos of fish, etc. that are labeled. We ended up buying the photos, some turned out really cute, but honestly the fact that they included all those other pictures that were labeled was what sold me on getting the package. It was $30 to buy the package when we were there, and they e-mailed us a link that afternoon with all of the pictures.
Overview: We had an incredible time on this tour! Shout out to our guides – Troy & Lee – they were very knowledgeable, and awesome!
This post may include some affiliate links. All opinions are my own.