Even though one could easily spend the entirety of a weeklong cruise exploring all that Royal Caribbean has to offer aboard the Oasis of the Seas, it would be a shame to miss out on the shore excursions.
The Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten that are long enough for visitors to sample the adventure that best suits them.
With so many choices, it can be a little overwhelming to pick one. Royal Caribbean’s Shore Excursion Planning Form lists best bets for families: Atlantis Dolphin Cay (shallow water interaction) in the Bahamas; Turtle Cove Sail and Snorkel in St. Thomas; and Family Fun, Beach & Nature Walk in St. Maarten.
First time visitors are advised to consider the Discover Atlantis Tour or Naussau Sightseeing & Ardastra Gardens in the Bahamas; Driving Tour & Shopping or Caribbean Sea Safari with Power Snorkel on St. Thomas; and Sea and Sea Tour or Golden Eagle Island Sailaway in St. Maarten.
Royal Caribbean’s best bets for beach tours include Atlantis Beach in the Bahamas, Sapphire Beach on St. Thomas, and St. Martin Beach Rendezvous on St. Maarten.
Having spent a considerable time at Atlantis on a previous visit, I decided to try a different shore excursion from the recommended options. And since I’m still recovering from foot surgery, I had to avoid unnecessary walking. The Seahorse Sailing and Snorkeling Tour fit the bill nicely.
We met our tour guide at 9am who led us on a short walk across the port to where we boarded our catamaran, which was supposed to take us on a 45 sail to the Sea Gardens of Athol Island. But with high winds and choppy seas, motors replaced sails. Not that that made any appreciable difference. We were still able to lounge in the sun until we arrived at the colorful reefs.
Then we had an hour to snorkel – which was plenty – before returning to the catamaran. The return sail seemed to pass even quicker than the outbound trip, but that might have had something to do with the complimentary rum punch.
What I especially appreciated about the shore excursion was how easy it was. I didn’t have to worry about getting back in time for the ship’s sailing. Equipment was provided (although I had my own gear.) Best of all, the boat wasn’t crowded and we were able to relax and enjoy a day in the sun.
For more travel ideas in the Bahamas, see Bahamas with Kids.
Sandra Foyt | Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @SandraFoyt.