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jpark052 01-26-2011 09:42 AM

Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel

We are going on Freedom of the Seas with Royal Caribbean on March 6. We have cruised before, but have never been to any of these areas.

With Cozumel, we are planning to go to Passion Island. Has anyone been before?

In Grand Cayman, we definitely want to go to the beach, so we were thinking of Seven Mile Beach. I know it is probably tourist-y and possibly crowded. We were planning to just take a taxi from the pier. Any thoughts? We were also thinking about doing snorkeling for a couple hours somewhere else or maybe the Stingray City excursion through the ship.

Jamaica is the one place we're not sure what we want to do. The plan is to go to the new pier in Falmouth. Hopefully it will be ready by then. I've been told to stick with excursions in Jamaica. Right now we're thinking about Dunn's River Falls, but it's along with a trip to Shaw Park Beach. I've heard mixed reviews about Shaw Park and would really like to go to Doctors Cave or a different beach. It seems there wouldn't be enough time for both. So which is a better option: Dunn's River Falls or a nice beach? Is there anything else in Jamaica we should definitely consider?

Thanks in advance for any input you may have. :)

peter l 01-26-2011 01:25 PM

Hi jpark052 and welcome to cruise chat. I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions on these islands from members. We have been to Dunn's River Falls and we enjoyed it with our friends on two occassions. Beware, merchants can be very in your face here. On our cruise tour we went by boat and did the climb..It is usually assisted if you need it to make your way up the rocks. They can be slippery so water socks are great to have. In Grand Caymen we have done the Sting Ray trip and the last time we were there just grabbed a cab to Seven Mile Beach and spent a few hours and then did some browsing back in town; it was very enjoyable and we could see our ship in the distance..Many, many great spots to grab a lounge chair for a few bucks and you can easily find a beach side restaurant/bar for snacks and drinks. In Cozlumel we generally do some shopping and hang out in town for a couple of hours.We will be in both Grand Caymen and Cozumel next month and with some new cruisers have opted to do a cat snorkel and also a visit to Sting Rays again. In Cozumel we may take a taxi ride to Mr. Sanches and hang at the beach part of the day. Lots of beaches to choose from if that is what you enjoy. Good luck


MCPayne 01-31-2011 06:33 PM

Hi jpark.

I did this itinerary back in October, only we docked in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and not Falmouth. I would highly recommend a ship tour if you did Dunns River, or any tour in Jamaica for that matter. If not a ship tour, then maybe look at to see what excursions are offered there. I definitely wouldn't wander off on your own in Jamaica. As stated, merchants can hound you at Dunn's River. Water shoes are a must for Dunn's River, and they do sell them onboard the shops on the Freedom if I remember correctly. Dunn's River is supposedly the "must see / must do" type attraction if you're in that area.

I can't say much about Passion Island in Cozumel. When I was there, I just went to Paradise Beach my last time there, and Mr. Sancho's Beach Club the time before that.

A taxi to Seven Mile Beach should be fine in Grand Cayman. Be advised, this is a tender port, and not a docking port because of the shallow waters close to shore. Because of this, people with excursions booked through the ship will get priority in boarding the tenders.

Also, not to dampen your spirits, but there may be a chance if the seas are rough, that the tenders may not run in Grand Cayman. This happened to me the last time, and the port fees for that port just got refunded by means of an on board credit, and the excursion I had booked also got refunded. For me personally, it was going to take a lot more than a missed port due to weather to ruin my cruise vacation! Hopefully that won't happen to you.

pink845 02-08-2011 06:55 PM

Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel
Hey Jpark

In Cayman Islands, grab a cab (or mini van taxi) to Seven Mile Beach. We always ask to get off closer to mile one rather than mile seven (cheaper too). Long beach - seven miles. Ha ha. Secondly, make sure you give yourself good time to come back because really only one road that leads back to pier and it gets busy prior to ships departing plus you have to line up to tender back. Lot of hotels on the beach where you can grab a snack, beer and a chair for a fee. Beautiful soft sand and great views of the ships.

Jamaica. I would never go to Dunn Rivers with a tour from the ship. Beware of the locals when you reach the top and have to go through the shanty town to get to the parking lot again. Bring you own water shoes. Otherwise, five bucks each and well, whose feet were in them before you!!! Yes, they sanitize but this is Jamaica.

Cozumel -depends on where ship docks. One time we were right downtown across from the Mall and well, that was great. But every other time, we have to cab it to the shopping.

Have a great time.

pink845 02-08-2011 06:58 PM

Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel
Hey Jpark,

My typing is somewhat atrocious. I meant to say " I would never do Dunn Rivers falls without the benefit of a ship tour" Jamaica is not a place you want to test on your own. Crime, Crime, Crime. Drugs, Drugs, Drugs. Nagged by the locals up to your ying yang.

mac91360 02-15-2011 05:41 PM

We have been to Passion Island and had a great time. Water is shallow and has lots of sea grass growing. Snorkling is alot of fun. Place we were at had chairs, hammocks, and included lunch. It was a very relaxing day.


penny3333 02-18-2011 12:29 PM

Hi jpark, welcome to CruiseReviews! Seven mile is a beautiful beach, it can get crowded, but you have 7 miles to select your spot. We walked down about a mile from the drop-off point and had the beach practically to ourselves. There used to be a dive shop right where the boats tender, ABanks, that would let you use their ladder to go snorkeling. It's a good spot right there, wrecks, reefs, fish.

Cozumel, we haven't tried Passion Island. We've gone to Chankanaab Park, Paradise Beach, and stopped at just about all of the beaches along the road when we rented a scooter last year. Chankanaab is my favorite because you can snorkel as well as just hang out on the beach. It is a very clean area, but they do charge to get in. There are coupons on-line, however. It was $19/pp, but I believe they've raised the price again. The cab fare is about $10 to get there.

Falmouth is a new port in Jamaica. I'm hoping that it will erase the problems that Jamaica has had by a few of the locals wanting to make a quick buck. I don't know if it will be a secure area there or not, but they may have done what they did in Roatan with Mahogany Bay and made it secure. If not, please heed the advice of others and go on a ship's excursion or with a group through someone reliable like shoretrips. Jamaica is not an island to do on your own. Cozumel and Grand Cayman are fine. Just be aware of your surroundings in Jamaica (well, anywhere really), don't wear a bunch of jewelry or take expensive cameras or recorders with you. I buy some of the water proof cameras at WalMart. They're 35mm and take pretty good pictures. If one were to be stolen, I'm only out $10.

We're not trying to scare you off about Jamaica. It's a beautiful island, it's just that it is a very poor island. A lot of the locals would give you the shirt off their back to make you feel welcome, but there are those that are just greedy and pushy. Dunn's River Falls is a definite "Must".

Please let us know how Falmouth was when you return. Have a marvelous time!!

TruTrojan 02-20-2011 06:22 AM


Cozumel is nice. I don't know how much time you have there but the X-rails adventure was great and muddy. The Liberty docked at the newer pier with the shopping area...okay but really liked shopping outside the walls.

In Grand Caymen we walked to the area of 7-mile beach. We used the entrance area near Royal Palm beach (I think that was the name of it). If you choose to take a taxi it'll run you $8 one way. The walk was easy and pleasant just to stretch out the legs. The water was still a bit cold, compared to a previous trip in Oct. 07.

In Ocho Rios, we used Phil Lafayette of Lafayette Tours for a trip to Dunn's River Falls. My wife and I liked the "get wet" tour of the falls. There were so many people there it was hard to appreciate looking up at the Falls when there were so many butts and backsides up river of you at all times.

Phil was a great tour guide. He will give you history about the island, plants as well as other little snigglets of info. Then he takes you to Fern Gully and to a nice mom and pop place to eat. The tour was $35 pp and well worth it.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip. By the way the new docking area was not yet open as of 021711.

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