On my first visit to Antigua, I had to break one of my cardinal rules “NEVER take a ship excursion” in this port.I initially booked a yacht racing excursion online but shortly thereafter I was told that the cruise ship had the monopoly on this tour and I would have to book it through NCL.I happen to LOVE Yacht racing, so at this port I had to do it. I booked it online via NCL’s shore excursion website.No problems with booking it online and receiving the necessary documents once on board – NCL handled it all professionally.The excursion was very private and interactive (only a party of 6 was allowed on a boat) and our crew was a delight.You learn to race and perform a multitude of sailing duties under the watchful eye of a professional crew. From hoisting the main, grinding, and even taking a turn at the helm – it is all about yacht racing. Note: This excursion IS physically demanding and be warned if you are prone to motion sickness this might not be your cup of tea.Read more about this excursion in my “NCL Jewel review”. The cost was about $115 per person (one person books the entire excursion and we split the cost amongst the 6 of us; expensive but worth it.
My second Antigua visit I joined a group that I met through Cruise Critic (www.cruisecritic.com) and booked an excursion with South Horizons http://www.southcoasthorizons.com/. I had very little information about this company and my research did not reveal much, however, they where very response to emails and you can contact them via telephone with easy. They met us at the dock and then took us on an hour and half island tour, our first stop was at an area where the two oceans meet, it was simply breathtaking, but after that we rode around and it was a WASTE OF TIME. The entire group voiced there displeasure to our booking lady once we got to the resort, we where under the impression that our tour island tour would be very short and on the way to the resort. However, all was not lost when we got to the resort we where surprised and there where smiles on our face, a lovely private beach where we had to Kayak to from the cove, everything was lovely, this more than made up for the earlier disappointment. We spent a few hours at a private beach with none in sight, we where even taken out to a ocean snorkel area which was fair at best. It was just a great day had it not been for all the driving. I would highly recommend this outfit to anyone, just avoid all the touring be very clear where and what you want to do, the beach is isolated and a lunch was include right on the beach. The excursion outfit is not heavy advertised and I was told by their marketing person who was at the beach getting out feedback informed us that the resort owner wants to keep this place low key, mark it as a much stop.