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Old 03-15-2006, 10:32 AM
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I'm hitting San Juan, Nassau, St. Maarten and St. Thomas and was wondering if it's safe (and more economical) for me to head off to the beach, shops and sights on my own rather than booking from the RCI ship that I'll be on.
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Old 03-15-2006, 11:33 AM
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All of those ports are relatively safe. We've had good luck in asking waiting cab drivers how much they would charge for a tour around the island we're visiting and most of the time it has been quite reasonable. They know the locals and make sure you are taken care of. We do book a great deal through the ship, however, because it can be done on-line and we are sure we get the snorkeling trips we want. The only advantage of booking through the ship is they will wait for you if your tour is late. All of the ports you are visiting have shopping and some interesting spots to visit in walking distance from the pier. Enjoy your cruise!!
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:03 PM
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We sadly just returned from a 10 day cruise to Panama with stops in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. With the exception of Panama we did our own excursions. We had no problems finding safe and reliable guides within minutes of getting off the ship. In most cases our excursions were more comprehensive than the ones offered by the CL and in all cases cheaper. The other advantage is that the ratio between tour guide and client(you) is a lot smaller therefore you can get much more attention and tailored service. I hope you have as much fun as we did.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:22 AM
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My boyfriend and I went on our first cruise last year, and we bought a BUNCH of books beforehand, and planned our own things to do. We compared the prices of excursions to the prices offered in the books if you choose to do it yourself, and they are WAY cheaper. We went to the Butterfly Farm in St. Maarten, and it cost us only like, $5...the boat wanted $30. We leave for Cozumel, Georgetown Grand Cayman, and Aruba on April 29th, and we bought another book, and have our book from last year, and we're ready to do things on our own again.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:52 AM
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We booked a deep sea fishing excursion on our own in St. Maarten. It was about 1/2 the price vs.the ship. I'll let you know how it goes when it gets back.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:03 AM
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When doing your cost comparison of ship verses on your own. Don't forget the ships almost always includes transportation to/from. Don't forget to figure in your taxi cost when comparing.
 
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