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Old 10-07-2011, 06:10 PM
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Question shore excursions haiti, jamaica, cozumel
Hey fellow cruisers! My husband, myself and our 3 kids age 18, 14, 10 will be on Allure of the Seas this coming Thanksgiving. We are so excited! We tried to go in January, but because we didn't have the right documentation they wouldn't let us on the ship, so my parents, who we were taking on their first cruise, went without us. Anyway...I am wondering what the best shore excursions are for the family. Definitely want to snorkel and see some beautiful fish and scenery. I believe Cozumel is the best for that. Not sure about Haiti and Jamaica though. Would really like to experience some new things, but nothing too physical that my daughter couldn't do. Any ideas would be appreciated! See you on the seas!
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:02 PM
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Hello dawnv8, welcome to our forum! Sorry to hear about your terrible experience not having the right documents. Did you ever get compensated for not being able to board the ship? I hope you did.

I think you're right about Cozumel being the best port for snorkeling. You might want to do a little research on Chankanaab park. Your going to be in AWE when you board the Allure. My wife and I were on board the Allure last February and were totally in awe. We've been on about 70 Royal Caribbean cruises and we felt almost as it was our first cruise. It took us 3 days to find our way around. We're going on the Oasis in a week and we're really looking forward to it. There will be a lot of members responding to your post - I'm sure all of your questions will be answered.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonny V View Post
Hello dawnv8, welcome to our forum! Sorry to hear about your terrible experience not having the right documents. Did you ever get compensated for not being able to board the ship? I hope you did.

I think you're right about Cozumel being the best port for snorkeling. You might want to do a little research on Chankanaab park. Your going to be in AWE when you board the Allure. My wife and I were on board the Allure last February and were totally in awe. We've been on about 70 Royal Caribbean cruises and we felt almost as it was our first cruise. It took us 3 days to find our way around. We're going on the Oasis in a week and we're really looking forward to it. There will be a lot of members responding to your post - I'm sure all of your questions will be answered.
Thanks for your reply Sonny. So far you are the only one I have heard from. I am hoping I get to hear from some others who have experience in these places. We did get a partial credit towards another cruise, so here we go. I am so excited about this trip. How in the world have you been on so many cruises? My daughter wants me to play the lottery so we can go on more trips.. Wouldn't that be nice! Anyway, happy cruising!
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:06 AM
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I can't help you with Haiti, I have not been there yet. I can help with the other 2. Cozumel is the easiest port in your list to "do you own thing". Meaning not spending the extra money to book a tour through the ship. And Sonny is correct, it IS the best choice for snorkeling. You can book through the ship if you want, but we normally just go to the taxi stand area and either ask a taxi to take us to a nice beach or negoiate with a taxi/tour guy for an all inclusive resort. The later can be had for $20 to $25 a person and normally includes transportation to and from, use of the beach chairs, snorkeling equipement, and some beach toys (trampoline ot sea kayak type stuff).

Although, taxi rides in Cozumel are cheap enough that you might be better off just asking one to take you to a beach and paying for the snorkel equipment rental when you get there. Places I have used - Hotel Cozumel Caribi, Money (might be Dollar) Bar beach, Playa Del Sol. You can also just do Chakanab (sp?) but that is where all the tourists go and it gets crowded. If you decide to do that, go online and find their website. They normally have coupons for admission and you can get in for less money than at the gate.

Jamaica- with a family, I would stick to a ship sponsored tour there. The "normal" ones are Dunns River Falls and one of a couple of river floats. There are a couple of plantation tours and there are also catamaran snorkel tours. These will generally pick you up right where the ship docks and take you out to snorkel a nearby reef. Some provide snacks and drinks. Be careful though as the ones they are called "party" tours typically involve a lot of rum punch drinking and may not be suitable for your kids.

Your other choice for Jamaica is to do an all inclusive hotel "beach break". Much like Cozumel, this is where a hotel allows you to use their beach/pool facilities for the day for a fee. These can be nice since the locals can't get in and pester you to buy stuff (and they will if you are out in public).
In the past I have given Jamaica a bad rap for being overly aggresive with their sales and in general for it not being a tourist friendly place. But the last time we were there we decided to venture off the ship and were pleasently surprised to find the locals to be very nice. Yes, they still asked you to come into the stores but a simple no thank you was enough for them to stop. Unlike before where they would not take "no" for an answer and would almost drag you into their shops. We discussed this with a taxi driver on the way back to the ship and he said the government is really trying to improve the tourist atmosphere lately. That doesn't mean I would not be very careful where I go there and I still would not recommend trying to organize your own tour (especially if its your first time there)


Hope all that helps. If you find some names of beaches on line and want opinions, post back and we will try to help.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:15 AM
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Dawn, I'm sure you and your kids will enjoy the stop in Labadee. It's basically a beach day, but Royal Caribbean has developed the site with lots of things to do, such as a zip line and a water slide. There's a big BBQ lunch on the island, lots of beach chairs, etc.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:55 AM
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One note: If you are going to negotiate with a taxi driver to take you to a nice beach, specify a "Public" beach. Not a private beach. Also, if you are asking the same taxi driver to pick you up at a specific time, never pay the return fare in advance. Pay at the end of the trip.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:58 AM
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Chankanaab is my favorite snorkel/beach spot in Cozumel. It's easy to get to, and there's a lot to do there besides snorkel. We did our swim with the dolphin there and it was fabulous!

Jamaica is a beautiful island, but I totally agree with Jim, stick with a ship's sponsored tour there. Dunns River Falls is fantastic and I think you all would be able to climb the falls. They've added a walk way beside the falls now, so if you don't feel comfortable climbing the rocks, you could walk up the side.

Labadee is really like a private island, so that will definitely be a beach day. They'll have a bar-b-que and the ship's crew will be there running the show. They have zip lining there, but it fills up fast, so I'd book that on-line if it interests you.

I'm so glad you're finally getting to go on your cruise! Just be warned, cruising is addictive
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