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Old 05-01-2012, 10:07 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Default Labadee/ Falmouth/ George Town/ Cozumel
There are 4 of us (two couples) doing the RC western caribbean at the end of this month and we are trying to figure out the best use of our time at each port. Any experience and guidance would be greatly appreciated!

These are our stops, in order:
- Labadee, Haiti
- Falmouth, Jamaica
- George Town, Grand Cayman
- Cozumel, Mexico

We are not very fond of taking part of the cruise line excursions. We would like to snorkel at at least one stop, but want to make sure it is the right one. The group likes hiking, beach days, little shopping and as mentioned snorkeling. Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:45 AM
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I've never been to Grand Cayman, but Cozumel is a great place to snorkel. Cab's are plentiful, and will take you anywhere you want to go.
Labadee isn't great for snorkeling, but obviously not a shopping spot either.
I would advise against going outside the port area in Jamaica on your own. Parts of the island are fine on your own, but the town of Falmout itself is pretty run down. The port area is very spacious, but is really just an extension of the ship and has all the standard-issue cruise port stores. There are also some local vendors allowed inside with crafts.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poormom View Post
I've never been to Grand Cayman
I am stunned! You've never taken a cruise that did the western Caribbean 'big 3' of Cozumel, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman? Those were the only stops for most western runs for ages, for all the main lines!
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:41 PM
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I had never done a western unil last January...did a southern, an Alaska, a couple Bermuda...but lots of my trips were from the Northeast and just never went that far.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:07 PM
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Well, you didn't miss much at least in my opinion. Grand Cayman is pleasant, safe, clean, nice people, but it has no character. The Wonder Bread island of the Caribbean. We used to at least go ashore for some new t-shirts and lunch but now don't even bother with that given that the place is STILL a tender port where virtually every other port has a pier now. After you do Stingray City and see the turtle farm the romance is gone unless you are a devoted snorkeler or diver - and we are neither of those.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:35 AM
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Labadee is really beautiful and lots to do. They have really fixed up the port very nice and you can spend your whole time there if you choose to do so. Definitely at least allow an hour or two to walk around, see Dragon's Point and grab the lunch buffet (really delish jerk chicken!). We did the "island rum rendezvous" through RC and it was lovely. We boarded an open top boat that took us to 2 sandbars while providing beautiful views, lots of flowing rum punch, rafts and noodles at the stops. We did not want to go back! Great excursion. We had enough time to spend a couple hours on the port before leaving. Friends of ours did a snorkeling adventure where they were taken to 2 beaches. They really enjoyed this. Sorry I cannot remember the name of it. The 2 other couples in our group chose to hang out at the beach that day, one of the guys did the zip lining over the ocean and enjoyed it, but did say it was pretty expensive for how short it was.

Cozumel, there is so much to do. Our first time there we took a booze cruise, booked through Carnival, to Playa Del Carmen. It was a blast.. our first booze cruise and we loved every bit of it. Beautiful beach, free snorkeling, paddleboats, canoes, rock climbing wall blow up thing.. then it even had a pool and other water sports. We did the banana boat right off the beach and it was fun. The second time we were was with the group mentioned above.. we had a LONG time in Cozumel, 12 hours.. so we took our time getting off the ship after breakfast, then got in a cab and haggled for a deal to a good beach. Ended up paying around $15 a person, I think, to go to Planacar Place beach. Very nice, very quiet, free snorkeling gear. They also had some food there, drinks and even a place to get massages if you wanted. We just hung out while the guys did some snorkeling. Came back, headed back to the ship for lunch and to change, and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing tequlia shots, conga lines and dancing on the bar at Senor Frogs right in the port.

Never been to Falmouth, but if it's close enough to Ochos Rios.. definitely recommend doing Dunns River Falls. Wear good water shoes and bring a water camera.

Grand Cayman had a tropical depression storm while we were there, so we only got to see the shopping located right off the pier (this is a tendering stop). We wanted to check out the infamous beach, but the weather prevented it.

Have a great time!
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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Thank you so much for all the great tips! This is very helpful as we are trying to make the most of our stops! Do you recommend getting a boat to take you to snorkeling in Cozumel or is there plenty to see right off the beach? Anybody have a good "resort for a day" that they found worth it?
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:48 AM
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I definitely recommend doing an excursion for any real snorkeling. The "free snorkeling" at a beach, will get you free gear, but not much in the way of seeing any cool reefs or schools of fish you'd see on a real snorkeling adventure.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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ACROSS, If you have never done the Grand Caymen Stingray Snorkel, that would be my choice and if you take a cat through a non RCI tour you will pay less and you may get in a second dive and see some fish other than the stingrays. You can also get some beach time in after at Seven Mile Beach just by taking a cab or bus and hang out for a while and then stop for some drinks and food at Margueritaville near the tender area prior to getting back on board the tender. Enjoy your ports, they are all fun..

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Old 05-03-2012, 03:06 PM
 
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I agree with Peter. Swimming with the stingrays is awesome. It's an unusual, rare experience that I think you would really enjoy.

We have been to Labadee several times and find it a relaxing, fun beach day. There are so many different activities offered that you shouldn't have any trouble finding something that each person will enjoy.

Nadine
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