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No need to do any ship excursions if all you want is an island tour followed by a beach visit, or just the beach. On the islands I mention, it is all so easy. Aruba has a beautiful beach, Palm beach. Most of the beach loungers belong to the hotels, who have stopped the day tourist from using them by dropping the attendant a few $$$s, but there are a few places that you can hire out loungers under some natural shade. All the posh hotels are here & you can use their beachside bars & restaurants. While the island tour is not exciting, it is interesting enough to while away 4 hours or so, seeing the oldest Catholic church, Santa Anna, & the California Lighthouse. Dominica is a classic undisturbed tropical island, do a tour that covers the usual rainforest & inland waterfall. Do a tour around Barbados that covers a visit to the church of St. John, a beautiful church on a hillside overlooking the wild & rugged bay @ Bathsheba. Alternativly, the town beach, just across the Careenage is very good, clean, soft sand. All the tours congregate around the town square, but you can get a shuttle-bus from just off the quayside into town. St. Lucia, include in an island tour a visit to the sulphur springs. Antigua is wonderful. A delightful town, and great tours that cover Nelson's Dockyard, Shirley Heights & English Harbour. They have a rainforest too (Who has not!) & a trip through it can bring you out by Darkwood beach, a pink sand creation, on the way back to the ship. There is a dramatic side as well, at Devils Bridge. At Tortola, we got the ferry over to Virgin Gorda, & while it is slightly difficult downward path to the beach, it is like no other. Great experience. Ignore the diamond bling shops in St.Thomas town & either get a shuttle-bus to Megans Bay - some say it's brash - we don't think so, it is busy but a beautiful curved beach with lots going on. You will pay a small $ entrance fee. Any shuttle-bus will take you & there are plenty of buses back; or a ferry to Trunk Bay on St. Johns, (listed a s one of the top 10 beaches in the world), easy to do. A St. Kitts around-the-island tour is mildly interesting & the town is nice to wander around. San Juan town is fantastic, just wandering around the town & up the narrow streets around the cathedral & the El Morro fort. Free 'tramcar' around the town. It also has a great rainforest, El Yunque which you may feel is the only tour worth a ship's one.
Thanks very much for taking the time to respond , your tips are noted.
My wife and i went on a similar itinerary in November 2007 on the Crown Princess (which we love). Our #1 favourite was Tortola, where we took the Land and Sea tour. This was a 2-hour boat trip around the islands from Road Town to Frenchman's Cay? followed by a 2-hour bus trip back to Road Town. It was excellent and I would recommend.