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Old 12-28-2004, 07:07 PM
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My husband and I sailed on Mariner of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean in June and had a great time. We now have an opportunity to sail once again, between mid-January to mid-February, or wait until early May (limited time frame with kids schedules). Our first thought is to go to Western Caribbean since we have never been there; however, we wonder about the current status of Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Ochos Rios, after the hurricanes. Has anyone been in November/December that can give a recommendation to see Eastern Caribbean in Jan/February instead, or wait until May to see Western Caribbean? Also, concerns with all I see and hear about pressure sales, begging, etc. in Ochos Rios.
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Old 12-28-2004, 07:07 PM
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My husband and I sailed on Mariner of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean in June and had a great time. We now have an opportunity to sail once again, between mid-January to mid-February, or wait until early May (limited time frame with kids schedules). Our first thought is to go to Western Caribbean since we have never been there; however, we wonder about the current status of Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Ochos Rios, after the hurricanes. Has anyone been in November/December that can give a recommendation to see Eastern Caribbean in Jan/February instead, or wait until May to see Western Caribbean? Also, concerns with all I see and hear about pressure sales, begging, etc. in Ochos Rios.
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:37 AM
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We did the western caribbean on the mariner over thanksgiving. It was only the second week going back to Grand Cayman. The damage was quite evident.

We wanted a beach day there. We had no problem getting a cab to take us to seven mile beach. While the huricane's impact was very noticable on the ride, it was not evident at the beach. We thoroughly enjoyed it and have no hesitation going to this port if the beach is what you want.

We did not see evidence of the huricane at Ocho Rios. We loved the trek up Dunn's River Fall - it was really impressive and lots of fun. We walked around a shopping area close to the ship and had no problem with begging, etc. but I've also heard you need to be a little careful there. Our excursion included the raggae museum - not something I'd recommend unless you're a big Bob Marley fan.

All in all, we were very happy with the western cruise.
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:11 AM
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I've never witnessed begging in Ocho Rios but you will encounter high pressure sale pitches. A smile, no thanks Mon, and a fist bump (touching fists together is a sign of respect in Jamaica) thrown in for good measure should see you through nicely. If you are really worried about it and you happen to visit Dunn's River Falls, don't exit through the market place!! It's not for the faint of heart To us, the pressure from Vendors in Jamaica was no greater than Playa Del Carmen for instance. The Kingston area of Jamaica was hardest hit by the hurricane. Ocho Rios will be fine (we were an hour away last week, on the same coast).
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:36 AM
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Tatlyn and KennyK:
Thanks so much for your responses and information. I am back to leaning towards the Western Caribbean and am more at peace with that decision. This web-site and comments such as yours, and several others who have been there recently, help a lot!

Thanks for all the tips, including the fist bump. It is nice to know something about their culture, and to know how we can be hospitable and communicate with them.
Take care,
Linda
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:46 AM
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I was just at these Islands December 4th
I have always went to the Eastern Caribbean and wanted to go to Western side... glad I did..as one of the other posters said about Grand Caymans..you can certainly see where the Hurricane had been and it did a lot of deviastation but nothing to keep you from wanting to go there.. I am glad I went...
I would not have missed the straw market at Dunnes Falls for anything... it is ran by local Islanders and they are there trying to make a living... I did not feel pressured..whatever they ask for an item you can get it for half the cost...never pay what they ask...but when you get to the Main part of town it is ran by people from India...... I liked giving my money to the locals....
In Mexico go on the Mayons Tour if you are taking a tour...my husband and grandson loved it.. my mother-inlaw and I went on the Highlights and Shopping Tour and it was disappointing... Dunne's Falls at Jamaica is a challenge and I loved it..but wear a swimsuit..i didn't and you will get wet..
The town Hell in Grand Caymen is something to see... the rock formations there are unreal
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:09 AM
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cj22carcar:
Thanks for the information. I decided to book with the Western Caribbean for Jan 30. Great feedback from those posting at this site will help me feel more at ease. I even toyed with the thought of checking out Southern Caribbean. Thanks a lot for the information.
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:56 PM
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Hi kandl!

We just did the Western Caribbean Dec 5, 2004 on the Mariner. It was awesome!
The only apparent hurricane damage that you could see was in Grand Cayman. Even though they got hit real hard, it was one of my favorite stops! If you like to snorkel or dive, a trip offshore is NOT to be missed. I snorkeled the reef and the aquarium and then went to Stingray city with Soto’s cruises. It was beautiful!

Jamaica was my favorite stop. It also got hit hard but I could see no major damage on the island. I booked a private tour with Orville Taylor and he took us all over, wherever we wanted to go for only $15 per person for the entire day. I DID feel that the vendors were quite pushy (pushy enough to make me a little uncomfortable) at the village at Dunns Falls. I suggest avoiding them if you can (we tried and were directed by security to go through, good luck). Dunns Falls was the only place where I (we) felt like that. Orville took us to some real local shopping stops on the sides of Fern Gully and at the top of the Jamaica mountains where the folks were real nice and accommodating. I enjoyed my time there and am pleased with my purchases.
Orville's tour was awesome and he is probably why Jamaica was the highlight of our trip. He was very knowledgeable and allowed us to pick and choose what we wanted to do as we went along. You can get more info about Orville by emailing him at orvilletay@yahoo.com
Also, feel free to ask me any questions you like, as I am happy to help.
Only 10 more days to go...

Have fun!
Tracey
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:50 AM
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Thanks for the recommendation, I will try Orville the next time I am in Ocho Rios.

Tom
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:39 PM
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Tracey:
Thanks for the information. Glad you had a great time, and very interesting you enjoyed Jamaica the best. Yes, 8 days and counting!!! We're down to the wire and so excited.
 
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caribbean, carribbean, cayman, concerns, cozumel, cruise, eastern, grand, ochios, ocho, ochos, orville, ports, rios, taylorjamica, western

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