Labadee, Falmouth, Grand Cayman, & Cozumel
We are going on the Freedom of the Seas on July 10th. Do we need to book excursions before boarding? If so, is it best to book through the ship? Which excursions are the best?
I did a similar itinerary back in October of 2010, only we docked in Ocho Rios instead of Falmouth. The only port where I would highly recommend a ship excursion is Falmouth, Jamaica, as that is a port where you don't want to be wandering off on your own in. If you don't do a ship excursion, then maybe find an excursion you like through Shoretrips.com.
It is not necessary to book excursions before boarding, however, some of the more popular excursions sell out fast. One of them is the zipline at Labadee. This is the longest zipline over water, I think at 2600 feet if I recall correctly. In Labadee, you can either wait until you get onboard to book the excursions, or book them in advance. I wouldn't wait until the day of, but that's just me. Labadee is Royal Caribbean's private island, so aside from their excursions that they offer, there are no other excursions. It is a great beach day there if you just want to lay on the beach and watch people go down the zipline.
In Falmouth, do a ship excursion to Dunn's River Falls. This is the "can't miss" attraction in that area. There's several excursions to choose from, so just choose one that you think you might like.
In Grand Cayman, the "don't miss" attraction is Stingray City. Having only been there once, I can't recommend a certain tour vendor. If you haven't been there before, then I might recommend booking through the ship.
In Cozumel, that really depends on what you want to do. Cozumel is safe to do on your own, and not book a ship excursion. My last trip there, I just took a cab to Paradise Beach. I've heard Chankanaab (?) is nice also, but haven't been there. Maybe that will be on my list for the next time I go to Cozumel. Cabs are easy to get right after you exit the pier area, and if you go to a beach club, they are also lined up and waiting to take you back to the ship.
If you haven't been to a port before, then I would recommend sticking with the ship's excursions. Also bear in mind that if you book through the ship, if for whatever reason the excursion is late getting back, the ship will wait for you. However, if you go out on your own, the ship WILL NOT WAIT for you. Make sure you keep your watch on SHIP TIME, and not ISLAND TIME. It's at the Captain's discretion whether he decides to change the time or not.
Enjoy the Freedom! Like I said, I was on it in October, and my review of that is here.
Hi Stacedawg and congratulations on your cruise. I would echo what has been said about these islands. We enjoyed Dunn's River Falls climb several times sharing this new experience with 1st timers. We were in Grand Caymen last February and did a Stingray City snorkel on the Far Tortuga, a very nice cat. The name of the company is Stingraysailing.com and the contact person is Michelle Whitney. I think the price was $45 for adults and $35. for 12 and younger. They limit the number to only 28 if I remember correctly and because of this, we were not swimming over each other or in the masses of others..We did even have several people from other tours that swam over to us from a distance because they could see we had lots and lots of stingrays to feed and hold. After that we went a short distance and did a sand bar and barrier reef snorkel and saw lots of beautiful fish and I even spotted a Maurey Eel (sp). This company did a very nice job and also were at the tender terminal and ready to take us on our cruise tour. On Cozumel, we use that as a day to relax, head in town and do a little shopping and stop for drinks and munchies before going back to the ship. Enjoy !!
Hi Stacedawg, welcome to CruiseReviews! Congratulations on your up-coming cruise, just be warned cruising is addictive:) MCPayne and Peterl have given you some great tips. It really depends on what you enjoy doing. If you like snorkeling, Cozumel and Grand Cayman will be your better options. Jamaica, definitely Dunn's River Falls. Grand Cayman's Stingray City is the notable tour. If you enjoy snorkeling, Abanks would be a great place to check out. If you just want to go to the beach, 7 mile is beautiful. Labadee is their private island, so beach day if you're not into Zip-lines. Cozumel, Chankanaab Park is better for snorkeling than Paradise, but both places offer good beaches and ammenities. Paradise does not charge to get in, but does not have the zoo area, snorkeling area, shops, dolphins that Chankanaab does. We rented a scooter the last time we were there and went around the island, it was a ball. We stopped at every beach location we could find. Nachi CoCom was really pretty, it is an all-inclusive and they only allow 100 people in, you have to do advanced reservations. We're going to try the Money Bar in December. Cozumel is not hard to get around, taxis are all over the place.
If you let us know what you enjoy, we'll be able to offer some suggestions directed toward your interests.
Have a marvelous time!
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