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Bonaire - how bad are the cruise ships?
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dpsilver



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:01 am    Post subject: Bonaire Reply with quote

I was in Bonaire for a week in mid Feb this year with my family. It is a terrific place in all respects. There were cruise ships most days we were there, but only a for few hours on one day were there substantial numbers of cruisers invading Lac Bay, the windsurfing site. This was a day when there was a ship from S. America, and for some reason the S. American tourists don't seem to understand that it is not such a good idea to wade into prime windsurfing areas when beginners are planing! This only lasted an hour or two, and was more of a minor annoyance than a major problem. (I believe "tiburon" is Spanish for shark- remember that, might come in handy!) The ships dock on the other side of the island, so only a small minority of the cruisers make it over to the windsurfing site.

Ann Phelan, a regular at iWindsurf, helped us arrange the trip. She is full of great advice. You might want to contact her.

In short, there are many great places to go to windsurf, and Bonaire is certainly one of them. I would not hesitate to go there because of the cruise ships!
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d0uglass



Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 1084
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want the best chance of your daughter having a good time and improving her windsurfing, I think Bonaire is it.

Hatteras and Corpus Christi are nice enough places, but neither is a classic, blue-water paradise, and the weather can be unpredictable, too windy, too cold, etc., especially in April.

I think busy-beaches sort-of come with the territory at tropical windsurfing destinations, and there may not be much you can do to avoid it. I know when I was in Margarita there were always droves of swimmers and bathers right in the beach-starting / jibing area, oblivious to the danger. I think it's part of latin / caribbean culture to gravitate to where the crowds and the action are and not to worry about personal safety and privacy as much as gringos do.

Anyway, I hope you have a great time wherever you decide to go.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14322

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jfeehan wrote:
never thought about texas...

hatteras is still too cold in early april - this is a family spring break vacation, not a windsurfing trip for dad.


Hee, heee ... cold won't be a problem in Corpus in April. Heat will. Not that a Blue Norther CAN'T crash through, but it's not likely. But idyllic Caribbean blue-water resort it ain't.

Mike \m/
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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1221

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:57 am    Post subject: Re: Bonaire - how bad are the cruise ships? Reply with quote

Jeff, when the cruise ship crowd does show up the people are there for about an hour. It's an inconvenience, nothing more.

Bonaire is wonderful...the cruise crowds (when they show) are just a few gnats to be ignored. There is no easier place for someone to learn windsurfing or have flatwater fun.

And if you haven't already, get in touch with Ann Phelan.



jfeehan wrote:
my 12 yr old daughter windsurfs a bit, and says she wants to go somewhere where she can improve.

i naturally thought of bonaire - although i have never been there.

reading some of the posts here, it seems that the windsurfing launch, and the associated restaurants, beach etc. get so inundated when the cruise ships are in, that some people said you need to stay away then.

well, i checked the cruise ship schedule for the week i would be there, and it seems there is a big ship in at least every other day!

is that going to ruin the trip?

thanks.

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http://www.peconicpuffin.com
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for referrals...10% repeater discounts to all newbies to express my thanks...seriously...

I am going to go out out a limb here and speak my peace. If you have not been to Bonaire this year, then there are indeed changes pertaining to the cruise ships. Simply put we have a whole lot more.

I started traveling to ANU in 2001. I became a resident and moved full time in 2003. I chose the island due to the tranquility it offered and the windsurf culture. I have lived on another island and could have easily gone back there but chose Bonaire. Things have changed dramatically. The building boom is evident. We are now a municipality of North Holland and are no longer part of the Netherland Antilles. I cannot comment on this as it's too new. The previous admin. and current tourism director support mass cruise ship tourism. It is a BIG debate on island. For me, I love small boutique lines. They tend to cater to an eco concious clientel who seeks to immerse themselves in the island culture. We have a few of these lines which I love to see. The Club Med II was in this past weekend. BEAUTIFUL.

Sadly many of our ships are mega lines. On certain days when two boats are in port we have over 5500 passengers not including crew. Our island is about 14k people. Do the math and try to envision what happens on those days.

Fridays is a busy day at Lac Bay. There is a weekly calling of a particuliar ship. Since we are not a beach destination the passengers crowd into any spit of sand they can find. One is Lac Bay. I just left and in 5 min. I saw 8 full taxis dropping off passengers. The empty ones RACE back to the ship to get more. Traffic is not nice and the safety of these speeding vans concern me. Getting into the water, well imagine 100 people at Lac Bay and trying to get out..I call it a pin ball game. I defer to Mike Hammock and others to comment further. I realize that everyone needs to make a buck and I have many friends who cater to the cruise ship clientel. I do not and do not like the mass cruise ship tourism that has made it's home on Bonaire.

Will it impact your windsurf experience? Probably not. Contact me and I will ind out the schedule. The masses come on Friday between 11 and 12 and stay 2-3 hours. Remember, they have to get back to eat. (smile)Our cruise ship season is Nov. - April. It is NOWHERE near like St. Thomas or Antigua but it's definitely visible. We call it Coney Island on Fridays...

Respect and follow your www.bonairebliss.com

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Ann Phelan
www.bonairecaribbean.com
www.bonairebliss.com

Twitter: bonairebliss
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jfeehan



Joined: 27 Jul 1998
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

from the link i gave above, here is the schedule:

April 6, 2009 Aidavita 1260 P&O Germany

April 6, 2009 AidaAura 1260 P&O Germany

April 8, 2009 Caribbean Princess 3100 Princess Cruises

April 8, 2009 Delphin 400 Hansa Kreuzfahrten

April 10, 2009 Enchantment of the Seas 2446 Celebrity/RCCL

ships are monday, wednesday, and friday


the number is the number of passengers so basically 2500-3500 pax each day.

i haven't given up..., i think it is the best place for a kid to learn, but...

oh..., i forgot to mention..., i also heard that i might need to check the tides - apparently some weeks, the tide is really low, and that this can affect the sailing.
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For sure do not give up..it's the perfect place. The Aida ship has lovely guests and typically does not take over Lac Bay. It is the Friday boat.
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Ann Phelan
www.bonairecaribbean.com
www.bonairebliss.com

Twitter: bonairebliss
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further to my post I still believe despite the Fridays on Lac Bay, out gin clear, shallow water is perfect for beginners. The Hang Out Bar at Jibe City just had a lovely party for Caesar Finies. The winds were incredible into dark. I sat with some clients from Canada. Jen and Carl find Bonaire to be windsurf heaven for their family. The couple managed a short sesh together and came to shore to find their 3 kids on the windsurf simulator. How cool is that? Living here we notice change easily. For most tourists cruise ship tourism is not an issue.
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Ann Phelan
www.bonairecaribbean.com
www.bonairebliss.com

Twitter: bonairebliss
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