@Sara: Thanks for asking. Ziplines have been popping up all over the region. We're going to be trying a relatively new one in St. Thomas in a few weeks. St. Lucia also has a good one.
@Sara: There are a couple of options for seeking alternative shore excursions. We like Viator, which is a reputable provider of independent tours. You can also browse our Cruise Critic forums for recommendations for private operators that our members have used.
@vividarkbloom: The Eastern Caribbean is the classic "first timer" itinerary. It usually leaves from an easy-to-get-to Florida port and encompasses standby ports such as Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas in particular) and St. Maarten. It's a good way to see if Caribbean cruising is for you.
@Sara: St. Thomas is great for shopping or beaches, as it has plenty (as well as resort facilities where you buy a day pass. On St. Kitts, I've enjoyed an island tour (visiting the fort and other historical places), as well as beach days and snorkeling.
@laurajsummers: Hi Laura. October is the tail end of hurricane season, so it's definitely a good time to get cheaper deals in the Caribbean (just make sure you buy travel insurance!) Kids are also in school, which also factors into the lower prices.
@Sara: Magnets are a must. Since the walls of your cabin are metal, you can organize all the paper handouts they give you by sticking them on the wall like a giant bulletin board. A highlighter is also helpful for keeping track of activities you want to do onboard via the daily schedule.
@misskittyatl: While technically it's not "Caribbean," the Bahamas also have options for the whole family. Try a catamaran sail, a snorkeling excursion
or a day at Atlantis (although the latter can get pricey)
@laurajsummers: Laura, of the Caribbean itineraries, I like Southern best. You fly to San Juan and are able to get to the "ABCs" - Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao. Plus those islands are outside the hurricane zone so if you're looking for a fall cruise, you are less likely to have your itinerary changed.
@laurajsummers: That's a really good one. I just got back from a cruise yesterday, and I used a wristlet every single day -- onboard and in port.
@MimiA: Hi Mimi! I love Grenada, you're in for a treat. The island is known for its waterfalls and there are several that you can visit, if you're up for hiking. There's also a rum distillery there that makes a nice excursion for adults (be warned: the proof is so strong that you can't bring it back on airplanes), a nutmeg factory and some historic sites downtown. Plus, beaches!
@Anna: For the most part, yes, particularly in the most-touristed areas near the port. You do get a better rate, however, when you use local currency (St. Martin is an exception, as some stores and restaurants there offer 1 dollar:1 euro conversion!)
Keep in mind that some vendors won't accept dollars that aren't crisp and new.