Going to Grand Cayman aboard the Carnival Liberty Wed. Feb. 28th. One of 7 ships in port that day. We are having trouble choosing between a SRC tour w/ Soto's and the Swim The Horses excursion with Pampered Ponies. Suggestions anyone? PLEASE HELP!
I also would reccommend Stingray City. It was a memorable trip swimming among the Stingrays. We took a tour with Moby Dick Tours and found them very accomodating and encouraged us all to feed and get up close to the sting rays. Our 3 sons, ages 15, 13, and 8 still speak fondly of the trip. We spent a week on the island and that was definitely the highlight of our week.
Definitely go to Stingray City it is a real hoot. It won't be too crowded because people haven't been going since Steve Irwin died of the stinray barb in his heart. I have written an article about why it is safe, here is a link:
I have been on two Stingray City tours. One before Steve Irwin's accident and one after. I am so glad I went back. Keep in mind that you are the intelligent human and the stingrays are animals and you will have a great experience. With fewer tours the rays seem to be hungrier. If you take the tours which arrive later in the day, they will be less aggressive - you will also see fewer rays. If you aren't comfortable around the higher concentrations of rays or the more aggressive ones, MOVE AWAY FROM THE CHUM BUCKET! While I enjoyed being in the thick of things and was the last one back on the boat, others interacted only minimally or watched without getting into the water -- they still enjoyed the trip immensely!
My first trip was on the typical S.S. Minnow style boat. My second was aboard the Cockatoo catamaran. What a difference! Instead of sitting in a stuffy cabin on the way to and from the sandbar, our party reclined on the catamaran's web decking (think trampoline mesh) which allows the sea breeze to circulate over your body while you lay on the deck and gaze into the Caribbean sky or into the clear, turquoise water as it passes below you. Even without the rays, this alone would be worth the price of the tour. The only other thing that I really needed was a nice steak on a grill. The crew of the Cockatoo was friendly with the guests, and yet respectful of the wildlife. The catamaran tend to carry fewer passengers so the interaction with the crew is more personal. Kate did a great job on the video and we came back with lots more footage on the second tour than we did on the first one and nothing was pre-recorded or "canned."
If you decide on stingray city, be sure that you will be taken to the shallow/sandbar Stingray city, and not where the water is around 12-15 feet. We have done both, and the last one was at 12-15 fee, and I had no idea. I assumed that they were all the same. I don't recommend it at all, only the true Stingray City where you are in shallow water.
We also did horseback riding but in Ocho Rios, and I also recommend that.
I've been on both summer of 2006. We stayed at a timeshare for a week. Book with Sotos and you will be with a lot less people than on a cruise tour. Go to the cayman activity guide web site and they have coupons for both Sotos and Pampered Ponies. Sotos will pick you up and it will only be about $30 US. But.. you are in port with 7 other ships so it will be busy at stingray City. We actually decided to do the Pampered Ponies on a day when a lot of ships were in port because it is a distance to get there. It will cost a taxi ride and with the coupon it costs $90 a person. It was a lot of fun, riding along the beach and then going in the water. It is very hard to stay on the horses when they swim because you start floating away, but was a cool experience. If I may suggest- Are you a water lover(sealife) or a horse lover. I prefered the stingrays and it was a lot cheaper! Plus you get to snorkel at the Coral Gardens. P.S. We are going on your cruise April 8. Happy cruisin'
LOL! Steve Irwin's death seemed to have no impact on the tours whatsover. I was in Grand Cayman, at Stingray City a week ago. Many, many people and boats. Not to be rude, but Christopher Reeve fell of a horse and was paralyzed, yet I'm sure the horse tours didn't suffer that year. Seriously though, you can ride a horse anywhere. Choose the shallow stingray tour and you'll have a blast!
We booked through Island Marketing, and loved it. Our tour was supposed to be at 9:30 am. The lady in the booth started telling us this lame story about the boat being broken and needing a part that they wouldn't be able to get until later that day... long story short, our 9:30 was underbooked so they wanted us to take an 11:00 trip. As if we had a choice? We took it, and we stopped 2 more times on the way back to snorkel for about 20 mins each time. Great value.
Everyone should see Stingray City SHALLOW WATER SITE once. We went on a ship's tour twice (once to the deep "original" site by accident--fun but nowhere near as interesting) and once through Shoretrips.com --Captain Ron's Cat. There were 150 people on the cruise ship tour--13 on Captain Ron's, his "depot" where you meet the shuttle is easy walking distance from the tender docks. Another fun thing at Cayman is the Atlantis Sub--book directly for added savings over the ships price--Atlantis is also a couple blocks from the tender docks. Do the horse ride in Jamaica (Shoretrips.com, "hooves") it wasn't that expensive if memory serves and we had a guide to our family of four--very private, beautiful and nobody trying to sell us anything, but our picture! the horses are rescued from neglect and race tracks and such and each has a story. We will do that again if we port in Ocho ever again. You may be able to Google "Hooves" directly and save even more, not sure. Laurie
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