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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-22-2002, 06:01 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Charlotte
Posts: 2
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We'll be sailing out of New Orleans on the Inspiration July 21st. My husband and I have taken 10 cruises previously - but will be taking our adult children & friends on this one (18, 20, 21, 23, 24). Our family has sailed before - but it will be a first cruise for the two boyfriends. Hopefully the 18 year old (son) will find new friends to hang out with on the ship.
We have always booked shore excursions through the ship - but after reading some of your reviews and suggestions - I think I'll try to do these on my own.
We love to snorkle - and plan to focus the shore excursions on trips involving that - plus a party atmosphere. We were going to book the pirate cruise ( Calico ) in Montego Bay, do a snorkle & stingray trip in Grand Caymen, and then another party/snorkle/beach trip in Cozmel - I think we took the Fury last time and enjoyed it.
I've never done a "posting " like this - but I would appreciate any comments/ suggestions/ tours to book on my own. Thanks for your help.
Sandy Martin
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-22-2002, 06:01 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Charlotte
Posts: 2
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We'll be sailing out of New Orleans on the Inspiration July 21st. My husband and I have taken 10 cruises previously - but will be taking our adult children & friends on this one (18, 20, 21, 23, 24). Our family has sailed before - but it will be a first cruise for the two boyfriends. Hopefully the 18 year old (son) will find new friends to hang out with on the ship.
We have always booked shore excursions through the ship - but after reading some of your reviews and suggestions - I think I'll try to do these on my own.
We love to snorkle - and plan to focus the shore excursions on trips involving that - plus a party atmosphere. We were going to book the pirate cruise ( Calico ) in Montego Bay, do a snorkle & stingray trip in Grand Caymen, and then another party/snorkle/beach trip in Cozmel - I think we took the Fury last time and enjoyed it.
I've never done a "posting " like this - but I would appreciate any comments/ suggestions/ tours to book on my own. Thanks for your help.
Sandy Martin
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2002, 06:51 AM
Deb Deb is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Overland Park KS
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I really enjoyed the Stingray City excursion at Cayman Islands with Captain Marvins. You can view it at www.captainmarvins.com
It is much better than going with the crowds from the ship!
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2002, 06:31 AM
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We did the inspiration cruise out of new orlands last year. My thoughts regarding the shore excursions include that attempting to scuba dive in ports is near impossible and not recommended. The jamacia port was the worst. I would recommend going to one of the beach resort excursions instead of the party boats as the boats were tiny, the pirate boat looked silly and like a kids ride that was packed to capacity, and the town has little to offer as well. The beaches are beautiful. This is the only reason most people visit as the views and waters are great at the resorts. In grand cayman, the string ray experience is a must. I had no issue with going to the ship arranged excursion. It was a wonderful and well organized experience. In coz, I again recommend a snorkel and beach experience. If you are going to scuba dive be extremely careful in picking your boat. In one resort trip we were left by the boat when we surfaced in a dangerous dift dive. They were not following appropriate safety proceedures and we were left adrift for two hours until a fishing boat discovered us. No more diving for us in Mexico...never....We were drifting to sea and out of air and the cruise ship did not respond or seem to care when we complained about it. They still list this excursions of one their offerings. Back to coz excursions... It is too hot and when you have seen the items in one shop you have seen pretty much all offerings. Your cruise ship director is paid by merchants to recommend their products so you do not really have to stick to it and better bargining ability will often be found in the not recommended shops that carry the exact same items. The inspiration is a lower type cruise. Effort is made to make it seem like a more expensive cruise but falls short in food and ship activities. Overall it is worth the money you pay,,,,but you do get what you paid for...cheap surroundings and offerings. The gym was not furnished appropriately for that many passagers and even getting an inexpensive treadmill at a morning time workout was next to impossible. The few aerobic classes were also a joke. The instructors were more interested in getting you to sign up for personal training on thier inadequate equipment at outrages prices. THe inspiration was full of nickel and diming you for every little thing worst than any other cruise ship i have been on. Hope this helps with the overall view.
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Los Alamos NM USA
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On the shore excursions - snorkling from Montego Bay was good. The raft excursion was fun but after we refused to buy a calabash from the "captain" he became very surly. Grand Cayman - Sting Ray excursion was great. Cozumel snorkling was a bust - would definitely do snorkling on your own there. We were taken by boat to a beach and then after all were outfitted were told to follow the flag. Everyone in a bunch bumping into each other; and I became very tired. Turned out -- nothing to see there, no one could figure out why were were following flag.

I think most tours would have been better if we would have done them ourselves. The Sting Ray one was very good, but much cheaper on shore. Carnival provides a list of beaches on cozemal to taxi to, and those people were happy.
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07-02-2002, 04:23 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
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I agree with most things above about the shore excursions. I recommend the following:
The snorkeling trip on Jamaica was O.K., albeit in water too deep to enjoy all of the beauty.
Grand Cayman: Eden Rock - Is a free site regarded as Cayman's best snorkeling. It is a short walk from the pier with steps into the water.
Cozumel: Chankanaab Lagoon National Park is a $3.00 taxi ride to a beautiful beach and good facilities. There is a $10.00 entrance fee. La Ceiba Hotel is a 5-10 minute walk from the pier and features excellent snorkeling for a $6.50 entrance fee.

I DO NOT recommend trying two shore excursions in one day. Besides being tiring the first will probably run late - we missed the second tour on Grand Cayman for this reason!

I do NOT recommend buying the snorkeling equipment on the ship. Every tour provides adequate gear. We had our own!

The sting rays at Grand Cayman are a must - albeit crowded. The cost of the tour on the ship was $39.00. The same tour on the dock was $30.00 until 15 minutes before departure when the cost was reduced to $15.00. However, it is worth it even for the $39.00!

I will not return to Jamaica - it isn't worth the hassle. In all honesty, however, others on the boat indicated that Jamaica was the high (shopping) point of their trip! The boat ride on the Martha Brae was great - until the raftman turned into a huckster half way down the river!

My only real disappointment was that the music and shows were TOO LOUD and most of the music wasn't danceable by my definition. These last comments may only reflect my age!
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2002, 01:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Charlotte
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Thanks so much for the great information - I've talked with Captain Marvin's and another snrokle/sail tour in GC - red baron I think - and we're going to go with one of those - appreciate the ideas for cozumel and will follow as well. Still unsure on MB - we've been there several times and do not care for the pushy folks - may just take a taxi to Dr's Beach - still open for ideas there.
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-23-2002, 10:50 PM
Joy Joy is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kent, WA, U.S.A.
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If you like a party atmosphere, you've got to go to Carlos 'n Charlies in Cozumel. Its a blast. You can eat and drink if you'ld like. Everyone with you will be allowed in...they don't card anyone and I think the drinking age is 18 anyways.

If you want to go snorkling in the Cayman's try going to www.baysidewatersports.com
They are helping us plan our wedding (we are doing it at Stingray City) and they have some great deals. A 1/2 day package takes you to Stingray City (which you can't miss) and two other snorkling sites. Its not very expensive either.

If you end up booking, send an email to Jacki and let her know that Joy Englund referred you there. They have the best deals that I've found online.

Good luck
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 08-11-2002, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 6
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In Grand Cayman, we took a morning tour, then a cab to the Hyatt where we had lunch and enjoyed the incredible white sand beach all afternoon. No one in your party likes Mexican ruins?? We really enjoyed the trip to Tulum in Cozumel.
 
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