We will be leaving on June 12 from New Orleans on the Conquest. We will stop at Cozmel, Grand Caymans, and Montego Bay. We have 2 girls 18 and 11. We don't want to do the expensive excursions and want to spend as little money as possible while in port but still have a good time. In Montego Bay we plan to go to Margaritaville but other than that we haven't decided. Can anyone give me any ideas on all inclusive beaches, the cost and what it covers. I'm thinking this might be the least expensive way to go. Thanx in advance for your help!
You can have a blast without spending much. In Grand Cayman, I would suggest going to Seven Mile Beach. It's a beautiful stretch of beach. It's not too far from the port and you can either take a bus or a cab there. I'm not sure of the fares, but maybe a quick search on this site will have that info. As for Cozumel, we really like going to Chankanaab National Park. We love the snorkeling there (although I've seen posts that indicate there is better snorkeling elsewhere). The taxi fare is around $20-30 roundtrip for all of you. Cabs make the loop there continually, so you won't have to worry about calling for one. Tom Ogg posted a review of Chankanaab -- here
We were on the Conquest in Feb and had a blast at the ports. Montego Bay was my absolute favorite and that would be a surprise to most as most reviews are negative towards Montego Bay but it is all where you go. No one hassled us to buy drugs or anything else. Do this and you will have a fantastic time! When you get off the ship you will take a taxi to Sunset Beach resort. Take only a taxi with red licence plates. These are the only taxis that are governed. The cost will be $2.00 a person each way. It is only about a mile from the ship but I do not recommend walking. We had 14 in our group and they arranged a beautiful bus for us. It cost us $28.00 to get there and we gave the driver a $14.00 tip. (Not bad to go a mile) He was so nice and even picked us up at the time we chose. We came out of the resort and there he was! The resort is absolutely beautiful. The cost to use the facilities is $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children. This cost covers free use of the beach, paddle boats, cayacs and snorkling. All food, drinks and achohol are included. They have soda machines set up all around. I suggest bringing a 32 oz cup with you as they only use about 6oz cups and you are constently going for a soda. As for alchohol my favorite was the Blue Lagoon.....yummie!!! The snack bar serves hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, cheesedogs, grilled cheese, french fries and Jerk Chicken (very spicy but good). All food was hot and excellent! They have a nice restaurant on the beach but signs post no bathing suites. You must have shoes and shirts with sleeves. We only came in swimsuites and flip flops. There is a nude beach also and no looky loos allowed. Leave it to our 24 and 27 yo (boys) to find it. They have 2 swimming pools with one swim up bar. I returned from this place with only wonderful memories of Jamaica. We wanted to go to Margaritaville but why spend $10.00 for one drink when you can have the whole thing for $20.00. Others said it was not worth it because of the drive through town and the peddlers. If you want the party atmosphere wait till Cozumel and go to Senor Frogs and Carlos and Charlies.
In Grand Caymen we went through www.Captain Marvins.com If you have never swam with stingrays this is an absolute must see! Spend your money here. You will not be disssapointed. A man on our boat about 70 got back in after snorkling and swimming with the stingrays and told his wife that this day had been the most awsome day. Don't forget to sample the rumcakes.
In Cosumel you can have a blast just shopping in the duty free stores and then hanging out around the port. There is a beach club right there called Fat Tuesday. They have a sign hanging there that says swingers club because all the bar stools are Swings. They also have a small beach with tiki hut style umbrellas and hammocks. In our group we ranged from 5 to 55. We all split up in this port. Some went to Carlos and Charlies for partying. My 25yo daughter said Cozumel was her favorite port (for this reason). Some went to swim with the dolphins which was amazing and some who did not want to spend money, just hung out at port and on the ship. These 3 ports are my favorite so far. No matter what you choose you will have a blast.
thank you so much for your reply. Sunset Beach in Montego Bay sounds perfect. and so does the shopping in Cozumel. I'm wondering about the swim with the stingrays. Do you think I could sign up to do this when we get off the ship in Grand Caymen? Since you've been on this cruise I have another question for you. I'm confused about what to pack. I know there are 2 formal nights and I read that you can never wear shorts into the dining room. But is there somewhere else you can eat if you just want to wear your shorts at night. It seems I read somwhere that the last night is a formal wear party and the other dining areas are closed, is this right? When they say formal can my husband wear slacks and a tropicl pring button up shirt or does he have to have a jacket/tie. Can I wear a capri outfit and can my daughters wear mini skirts with tank tops? I know these are a lot of questions, just answer what you can. Thanks so much, Darlene
Darlene, if you want to dress casually, you can eat in the buffet area on formal nights. If you want to eat in the dining room then (where the food is better) I don't suggest a tropical print shirt for formal night for your husband . He should wear at least a jacket or blazer & slacks. If your capri outfit is somewhat dressy, it may be acceptable on formal night, but if it's rather casual, save it for the casual or "informal" nights. Slacks for women are ok on formal night with a dressy top, though. They aren't quite so fussy about kids, but I'd switch out the tank tops for tops with sleeves - not only because tank tops are quite casual, but also because it can get cool in there, with the air conditioning.
Formal night is almost never the last night of a cruise, especially the 7-night cruises. Whenever possible, the formal nights will be on days at sea, but generally the second formal night is held the second-last night of a 7-night cruise. I have never noticed that all options to the dining room are closed. They will most likely not deny you entrance to the dining room for dinner (unless you are wearing shorts or possibly jeans) but you will definitely feel out of place if you are not at least in "Sunday best" on formal night.
Sorry, forgot to finish the last post! Anyway, we tend to like being casual, and on our last cruise decided to eat in the buffet on first formal night. Although the food was fine, I found I missed being waited on and also the visual "presentation" of the food - it just doesn't look the same when you put it on the plate yourself! So we went to the dining room on 2nd formal night - no tux or suit, but my husband had a sport coat & tie, and I had a dressy top with slacks, and we weren't too underdressed.
Basically, it's your vacation - whatever you will feel comfortable with, you should do. Do eat in the dining room on the non-formal nights at least, to get the full benefit from the experience, but if you and your family will be happier in the buffet area in casual clothes on formal night, so be it.
If I remember right formal nights on the Conquest were Monday and Thursday. This was very improtant to me. I had all my children and grandchildren together. This was my chance to get formal pictures of the entire family. (Once in a lifetime!) For Christmas I bought my granddaughters long gowns and my grandsons tuxedos. Bought my husband and son-in-law one too! My 27 yo son bought a nice suit. I was lucky to get that as he is not a dress up person. If your husband would wear a nice pair of dress pants with a shirt a tie that would be good enough (no jacket). A lot of the 30 and younger men seemed to go this route. I saw women wearing anything from a nice dress to evening gowns. If this just is not your thing I would suggest room service, the buffet or the snackbar for dinner. Many people change into casual clothes after dinner. No diningrooms were ever closed.
As for Grand Caymen you can wait to book when you get there but of course it will be based on space availability. Don't forget to buy an underwater camera. Do not book your excursion through the cruiseline though. You will pay double and be with 200 other people. On Captain Marvins it was just 30 of us and 14 were my group. Make sure you read all of the reviews for the Conquest. You will get valuable information from people who have already been there. If you have not already booked your hotel or made transportation arrangements for New Orleans email me and I can give you some tips. firstname.lastname@example.org
We also went swimming with the stingrays with Captain Marvin's. I can't say enough good things about Captain Marvin's. They made the entire experience special for my whole family (including my 68 yr old mother and my 7 yr old daughter). If you're able to do it, I highly recommend it as well.
My wife and I with 2 yr old did a couple excursions, on very low budget, Chunkanaab is a must, booked off ship 1/3 price on excursions. did shops in Cozumel and then park , with a quick and fun pop stop at Senior Frogs bar, a must for fun. did stringrays in Caymen, walked off and paid 25 p/p 2yr old free with nativeways tours, only 8 in our van and small boat versus 30 plus in some others. easy to find cheap when you walk off , just have a couple of the more credible tour names in your pocket for each stop. ships make a pile on that .
I have to agree, all three ports are easy to do on your own. I would second the vote for Sunset Beach Resort in Montego Bay, Stiongray City in Grand Cayman, followed by a beach visit at SeaGrape on 7-Mile Beach and then A visit to downtown Cozumel and possible Chankanaab Park or Mr. Sanchos beach break.