Last week, my family went on a 7-night Caribbean Cruise on board the Freedom of the Seas.
Prior to leaving, I got a little concerned by all of the reports about a growing Caribbean Seaweed Problem or as Yahoo! Travel called it a ‘Caribbean Seaweed Invasion’
This cruise was my nieces first cruise and I did not want it to be ruined by Seaweed. So, I wrote a blog post prior to departing asking cruisers if they’d seen a lot of seaweed on their recent cruises.
I got a lot of response on Facebook where I learned that Mexico is having the most issues. I did get a few responses that a couple of beaches on St Maarten & Tortola were having seaweed issues.
My First Hand Caribbean Seaweed Report
I said I would report back on whether or not the Caribbean Seaweed was a real issue or just media hype.
Our 7-nt cruise departed from Port Canaveral with stops in St Thomas, St. Maarten, and Coco Cay, Bahamas.
We arrived a day early to Port Canaveral before departing on our cruise. The Port Canaveral, FL beach was beautiful. Here is my sunrise Instagram Video from Port Canaveral.
No Seaweed in Port Canaveral.
Is there Seaweed on Coco Cay, Bahamas?
Our first stop was Royal Caribbean’s Private Island, Coco Cay. The beaches on Coco Cay were even more beautiful than Port Canaveral.
No Seaweed on Coco Cay, Bahamas.
Is there Seaweed in St Thomas?
Our second stop was St Thomas. We made a last minute decision to go to Kochi Beach instead of Meghan’s Bay because several in our group wanted to snorkel.
When we arrived at Coki Beach, the first beach we saw was covered in seaweed. Fortunately, it was the beach across the road from Coki Beach.
The van driver walked us over to Coki Beach which was hidden from the road. Once we got over to Coki Beach, we could see that it did have some seaweed on it. It was not enough seaweed to ruin our experience, but there were areas that were more seaweed than sand.
And as reported on other sites, the seaweed did have an unpleasant odor.
Fortunately, the seaweed did not have any impact on the snorkeling. At Coki Beach, we were given dog bones to feed the fish. Without having to go our very far, we saw tons of colorful fish in the clear blue water.
In St Thomas, if your number one goal is snorkeling with fish then I still recommend going to Kochi Beach. But, if you just want to relax on a pretty beach then I recommend Meghan’s Bay.
Yes, there is seaweed on the beach on Coki Beach, St Thomas – but it is not overwhelming.
Is there Seaweed in St. Maarten?
Our last stop was St. Maarten.
In St Maarten, half of our group did a swimming with the dolphins excursion in Anguilla. They said the beaches were covered in the Sargassum Seaweed and guys with wheelbarrows were trying to move the seaweed. My family was there to swim with the dolphins, so they said it did not have a huge impact on their excursion.
The other half of us stayed at the beach across from Great Bay from the St Maarten cruise port. It is a $7 roundtrip boat taxi to the beach from the cruise ship terminal.
Both the water and the beach were pristine and seaweed-free. I did hear reports back on the ship of some seaweed in Orient Beach, but I did not see it for myself.
No Seaweed at the St Maarten beach closest to the cruise ship terminal. Anguilla beaches did have seaweed.
Seaweed while at Sea in the Caribbean
On our sea days, I did see loads of seaweed floating in the ocean. This did not have much impact on my cruise, but it will most likely end up somewhere in the Caribbean, Mexico, or Florida.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS to avoid Seaweed in the Caribbean:
Work with a Travel Agent: From my experience this past week, I do recommend you working with a Travel Agent prior to booking your next vacation and let them use their knowledge and research to help you pick out the best destination.
I recommend cruising: On a 7-night Caribbean Cruise, you will visit 3 – 5 ports. If one island has a Seaweed problem, then hopefully the other 2 – 4 ports on your itinerary will not have a seaweed problem. If you do a land based vacation to the Caribbean and that island gets hit with the seaweed then it will have a much bigger impact on your vacation.
Talk with the Shore Excursion Desk: If you are like my family and choose to go to the beaches at each port, then I recommend asking the shore excursion desk for recommendations for beaches that have not been impacted from seaweed. They should have the most up to date info for each port once you are on your cruise.