Robin and Randy Kinsel
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Imagination
Sailing Date: March 14th, 2005
Itinerary: Grand Cayman, Jamaica
March 14, 2005. My Family of four, husband age 46, wife age 45, daughter age 18, son age 15, boarded our seconds cruise, on the Carnival Cruise ship Imagination. The ship was wonderful with excellent food and service.
The only complaint would be the exiting and entry at ports. Grand Cayman was very difficult. It appeared that there were not enough crew on the gang plank (only 1 open) and not enough tender boats.
Once on Grand Cayman, we took a taxi to 7 mile beach. Cost was $4 each. We were dropped off at the Marriot beach, who was renting chairs and umbrellas. We walked a few yards down the beach to a local restaurant that had FREE chairs and umbrellas. There was a small sign in front of a blue “tent” for shade on the beach. The sign advertised Para-sailing. My teen-aged children participated for $110, and we were able to ride in the boat along with them. This company had all brand new equipment and the young men operating it were very honest and helpful. It was great! Due to the short stay in port, we then took a taxi back to Eden Rock, near the port. There we used our own snorkeling equipment (they have it there for rent too) and enjoyed the wonders beneath the sea. It’s a short swim to an incredible reef. The restaurant also had lockers, showers, and changing rooms. It was a short walk back to the LONG line to get back onto the boat. (At least a 45 minute wait. There were 6 cruise ships in port that day)
In Jamaica we had no problem getting off of the boat. We again hired at taxi. We intended to visit Dunn’s River Falls. Since we were out at 8am, and the Falls were not open, the taxi driver offered a private tour of the island for $25 each. He took us on an hour long drive into the mountains. It was the perfect day. He stopped along the way at friends shops. The first stop wanted us to walk in the rain forest. We said NO. (Use wisdom and stay with the group at all times in Jamaica.) We purchased a beautiful hand carving, in a dirt floor & tin roofed shop. The next stop was an open aired shop in the mountains that over looked a valley. The prices were great, and we were again on a private family adventure with our taxi driver. He also drove us by the “Fire Man”, who did tricks with fire, and the Fern man who lives in the ferns. These guys wanted tips, so we did tip the Fire man, but asked to keep driving when he started to pull up to Fern man. At that point it was time for the Falls. I highly recommend this! It was $10 each to get in. WE walked to the bottom of the falls by stair case, to the ocean. Since my husband & I are mid 40’s and slightly overweight, we didn’t think we could do the climb. We had no problem with it. Again, we were doing it on our own. We saw the “human chain” of people who bought the tours, and were glad to have our private group. Although it looks difficult with the rapid flow of water, the rocks have natural grooves for stairs. If I can make it up the falls, most anyone can! We were able to take pictures and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in peace. Our day was ended with an hour long wait to get back onto the boat. The crew had one gang way open, and only one single lane to get in. Since were within 30 minutes from leaving, I feel the crew should have opened the second lane for us to board.
All in all we had an outstanding time. We feel we save money by venturing out on our own, instead of purchasing the trips offered on the boat. Each city always has vendors that meet you on the dock with the same day trips the boat offers at half of the price. The fun days at sea were so relaxing. We enjoyed watching our teenagers hang out with their new friends, eat endless pizza & ice cream, and stay out till the wee hours of the morning. We are blessed with responsible teens. With the boat as their boundaries we felt comfortable letting them enjoy it.
I am now trying to get back to Jamaica Mawn!