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Old 02-27-2008, 01:00 PM
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On another web site, I've been reading some horror stories about people who have gone out on excursions, not sponsored by Carnival.
I have done this many times in the Bahamas and Mexico, with never a problem. I have never done a Southern Caribbean cruise before and I am a little concerned as to weather I should stay with Carnivals excursions or not pay attention to the negatives I'm reading.
On our last cruise, we rented a car at Calica and went off on our own excursion,had a blast and didn't have any problems.
What people are saying on the other site is that it's not "safe" to go out on your own and that the So Carib islands areas are more secluded. Also, stories of cabs taken people to places with a promise of returning to pick you up,but don't...which would make you miss you boat.
I'm not one for believing all the hype..I'm just seeing if anyone who has done the SO Carib/Destiny cruise to give some input on the excursion situation. PLUS, I respect the peoples opinon on C/C, more than any other site.
Everyone on here seems to be down to earth compared to other review sites...theres some wierd people out there.
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:07 PM
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Hi, we went on the Destiny to the Southern Caribbean 2 years ago and enjoyed it so much that we are leaving again on March 2. This will be our 5th Carnival cruise. When we were newbies to cruising, we heard all the horror stories and heeded the advice of the travel agent and only booked excursions thru Carnival. We stood around waiting in lines, waiting to have our credentials checked, blah blah blah, watching other travelers dash past us and get into taxis. Lo and behold, we saw these same travelers on the same excursions. So we caught on and we haven't booked via Carnival since. Now, when I say "we", I am referring to myself and my husband and 2 other couples. I guess I believe there is safety in numbers. Having said that, my husband and I went on a Southern Caribbean tour on Carnival by ourselves in 2004 and did the tour thing on our own. We have found the "locals" to be friendly and helpful. We live in Baltimore and we are used to thugs and crime so we were amazed at the pride the locals took in showing off their country and I believe most people would not do anything to disrespect themselves or their country. We went to Jamaica, which is supposedly "high risk" for this type of thing and we actually met the nicest cab driver. We asked him to take us on a tour of some off the beaten track places. He drove us past his house, his children's schools, stopped by the side of the road to pick us fresh fruit and spices, took us to local artisans who sold more than shot glasses and it was such a wonderful experience--something Carnival excursions can't offer. So I would say go for it. The only caveat I have is that when we were in Dominica, we wandered off the main streets, just having a look around, and a local man warned us that it was best not to stray too far from where the ship was docked. There wasn't much to see there anyway, so the 2 other couples went back onto the ship and my husband and I got into a van with about 8 other people and we went to a place I believe called Emerald Falls where we hiked to the top of a waterfall and jumped off into the water below. So my advice would be to ignore the warnings you've been hearing about and just use common sense. A good compromise would be to share a cab with another couple or get into a van with others going to the same destination. Who knows, some of those people might be us!!!! Happy crusing and I hope this helps.
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:09 PM
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When we were in the Bahamas, we booked our own tour. It turned out fine. We seen the sites, and we learned a lot about the Bohemian culture. It was nice and very educational. There was a little part of me that could not relax, knowing that the ship could leave without us, if we got a flat tire of such.
While we were at Cozumel, we decided to book at Carnival excursion. We seen the sites, and we learned a lot about the Mayan and the Spanish cultures. It was very educational and tons of fun. I have to admit it was nice knowing that if anything happened, the ship would wait for us.
So, I think it is just up to you. If want that extra sense of security, book on the ship. If not, wing it! Just have fun!
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:04 AM
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When we did the southern it had Curacao, St. Lucia, Dominica, and Aruba for the itinerary. It really will depend on the island. There is a world of difference between them all.

For a link to the US Dept. of State's info click here.

Dwayne
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:41 AM
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I always book from carnival because of one condition, Convenience...

I can't tell you to book using carnival
My sister last week use the Local tours, not from celebrity, and did not have any problems.

I can tell you this;

Most of those experiences you find on other sites are exagerated and out of real context.
I had read some crazy stuff over the years even from my Puerto Rico stuff about half prices on excursions, WARNINGS about do not embark here ect. and I can tell you a few other things I have read about the other ports of call and everytime I check it out are mostly false
Maybe the best way to know about your ports of call is using

"Frommers Caribbean ports of call"
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:06 AM
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As IslandCruz stated, it does depend on the islands you are visiting. Another thing to consider, if you haven't been there before you won't know where to go or what to do. If you definitely want to wing it on your own, at least get a local cab driver. Best wishes.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:07 AM
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My guess as to why so many people warn about only booking with the ship, and why I book with the ship (for now, at least), is not that there is a great possibility of something going wrong. It is more of a worry that if something DOES go wrong, there are very large consequences. I'm sure that 99.9% of the time you will meet a friendly cab driver that will return you safely, you will not get mugged, and there will not be any other random bit of misfortune that prevents you from getting on the ship in time. But imagine if it did happen just one time - for me, it would be worth every extra penny I ever spent on ship excursions to not be in a situation like that. Also, almost every time I've been on a cruise, or talk to someone who recently cruised, you will hear a story about a group of people who didn't make it back in time, or who had to chase the ship down the pier.

In the end, I think you see all these "horror" stories not because they are common, but because on the rare occasions that they do occur, they really are a "horror" for those people.

Of course, to each his own, and whatever someone wants to do is their choice.
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