We are travelling on the Mariner Dec 31-western caribbbean. We're travelling with a 15,14 &11 year old. We are on a budget so shore excursions will be limited. Please help recommend tours that are good for your $$. Also, the names of reputable independant tour companies. If there's another family out there, maybe we could get together to charter a small boat...or something.
Labadee is their private island, so there will be free beaches there. The water toys will cost extra, but no need for them. In Ocho Rios, you can do Dunns River falls on your own for less. You can take a cab or bus, and pay admission once there. The last time we were there, there was no charge for walking up the side of the fall and not in it. There is a beach area there as well. However, in Jamaica, please make sure you stick with the tourist areas or go in a group. It's a pretty island, but a very poor island. The locals will approach tourists more there than any of the other ports you are visiting. In Grand Cayman, take a cab to 7 mile beach. The beach is free and the water is great. There is also a shopping district where the tenders dock, so you can do window shopping. There are a couple of dives on wrecks near the dock area as well, not sure if they charge. In Cozumel I would recommend Xel-ha or Chankanaab Park, however, I've seen lots of posts stating that although the Park is open, it is still reeling from hurricane damage. Xel-ha is a great place for water sports and excellent for snorkeling. I've seen some posts on this board that state that Paradise Beach is still nice. The Tulhum ruins are really intresting as well, and in a beautiful setting. These excursions are not going to be very inexpensive, but you could google to see the price range. We haven't been there since the hurricane roared through, so hopefully others with more recent experience will post as well. You can have a great time without spending tons of money if you love the ocean. If you have your own snorkeling equipment, there's lots to see as well. The locals can help out with cost savings as long as you make sure of the deal before giving them any money. The big thing is to make sure you're back to the ship on time. If you don't book an excursion, they wont wait for you, and when they say they're sailing at 5, they're sailing at 5. Another quick tip, if you can take some soda pop with you and talk the kids into drinking the free beverages, you can save a bunch. Best wishes and have a marvelous cruise!!
Snuba is a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. You wear a helmet that allows you breath underwater. It looks like a lot of fun and you don't have a bunch of equipment to lug around. I prefer snorkeling because there is no hassle at all. Stingray City is an awesome experience, however, the trip for 5 could get a little expensive, even doing it through local vendors. For me, and it's only my opinion, the swim with the dolphins was even more extraordinary than the rays. No matter what you choose, you will remember the experience forever. I was trying to give you some less expensive tour ideas. There really is a lot to experience for little $$, just the different cultures are a wonderful experience. You can use the search option on this board to find all kinds of suggestions and tips as well. Have a wonderful time!!
We plan on doing one excursion that will cost $$$.I think the kids would love the dolphins-my daughters would probably be afraid of the stingrays. We live on a dairy farm and they don't care for little creatures like mice. Do you usually book with the ship or online independantly? Thanks again Darlene
We just booked with shoreexcursions.com. We paid 140.00 for the excursion per person. You also must pay for the transportation to the park and the entrance fee to the park. I LOVE dolphins and would not leave the cruise without doing this excursion. Of all the posts that I have read the Dolphin Swim is far better if you go with someone other than the cruise line itself. Apparently you get to do more. GOOD LUCK!
FIRST CRUISE-Jan. 20, 2007 Rhapsody of the Seas-RCCL
Hey My sister took her 11 and 15 year old on that same cruise and ship and Her kids never wanted to leave the ship because of all of the extra activities for kids on the Mariner. If you can't talk the kids into the free drinks at least get a soda card for them and see if they will share or split the sodas. There are alot of activities for kids on the ship and like Penny3333 the places she mentioned are great. Do be careful in Jamaica though the hurricanes of late have econmically devastated the island so stay with groups.