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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-14-2007, 08:40 AM
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We are cruising on the Freedom on 11/25/07 and had hoped to book the Mayan Trails and Hidden Temples excursion, but it is currently unavailable. Any idea why that would be? Would it be worth waiting another month to see if it becomes available?

I also noted that most of the excursions are currently booking early in the day; I assume the vendors want to book the early times first. Again, if we want a later time, should we wait to book them?
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:50 AM
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Hi there

We are on the same cruise, are you booking with RCCL? I've read so many reports about whether to book direct or with another tour company, I think for piece of mind we will book with RC but did not realise that things were selling out, must get on there and see whats available.
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:44 AM
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Hi There

Have you booked any shore excursions now? if so did you do it with RC or independantly?
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:56 AM
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I haven't booked any excursions yet. Last time we booked them all through RC and they were pretty pricey. I have been looking on-line and find that many people book privately and have wonderful things to say. We are considering doing that in Cozumel so that we can see the ruins and in Ocho Rios. There were a number of great reviews on www.portreviews.com that have given us the courage to try an outside excursion. I think we'll book the horseback riding in Grand Cayman through RC, and the waverunner in Labadee through them. What are you guys planning to do?
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:48 AM
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Hi

We are still trying to decide, we want to see Dunnes River Falls in Jamaica and I did see on someones website that you can go helmut diving in cozumel (I think, must sort this out). not sure if you've seen it but try www.thepreismans.com for some great photos and tips.
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:07 AM
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We just returned from our FOS cruise. We chose to book with shoretrips for all of our excursions except for Labadee (this is a RC private stop and you have to book through them).

We did the zip line in Labadee it was expensive, but really fun. After that we just hung out on the beach and relaxed. The area that you can purchase items was a little over whelming due to the pushiness of the vendors who didnít want to take no for an answer. We left after a few minutes. If you are willing to be aggressive and very decisive I guess you could do well purchasing some things, but we felt mean just saying no and you were given no time to even look before someone grabbed you and drug you over to what they wanted you to see. I didnít enjoy it at all.

We had a great experience with all of our excursions. We saved some money and didnít feel like we missed out not going through RC.

We booked Horseback Riding (with the ocean ride) in Jamaica. This was the first excursion and although it turned out fine we were a little confused at first because the ship stays an hour ahead of all port times. Due to this we were a little concerned about when our transportation would show up to take us to the plantation and ended up waiting longer than we really needed too since we didnít dare go anywhere in case we missed our bus. The bus and taxi area that you disembark from in Jamaica is fairly organized, but when you tell the people available to help what you need they just take you to an area and tell you to wait, they donít really have a lot of information regarding arrival times. Once the bus arrived and took us to the plantation we were well taken care of and the trip was fun (although it is a lengthy horseback ride and the ocean part requires quite a bit of strength since they are running the horses in the water while you are holding on) The guides are informative and friendly I am an experience rider, but I went with people who donít ride and didnít have any trouble. We were all a little sore the next day in our legs from gripping the horses. One thing that I had forgotten was the expectation that everyone along the way expects to be tipped at the end of their part of the excursion. (Be sure to bring bills in small denominations in order to not get stuck feeling like a cheapskate or tip a larger amount that you may feel comfortable with)

In Grand Cayman we booked the Snorkel and Sting Ray Island swim. This was very organized. We disembarked from our ship and were able to walk to the office a couple of blocks away by looking at the map that was provided when purchasing the excursion. We checked in for our trip and were told to return in an hour and a half to catch the bus. This allowed us plenty of time to shop and when we returned we were greeted by the owner of Marvinís tours and loaded onto a bus. The bus took us to our boat and we loaded up and got ready to leave. We had about 30 people on the boat for our excursion and felt that was plenty. They took us to two places to snorkel and then we went to Sting Ray Island and were able to get out of the boat and feed the sting rays and hold them for pictures. It was really fun and all of us felt very worth while. The crew was very informative and friendly.

In Cozumel we booked the dolphin swim. By this time we had figured out the time difference and planned to just go shopping for souvenirs first and then take a cab to the park. We arrived at the park and got checked in (we used taxiís for all transportation, the standard fee for the four of us seemed to be $10) and went and ate lunch at the beachside restaurant. The park is really nice and if you book the dolphin swim you have access to the entire park and can swim or just hang out. We got a little frustrated with our wait for the swim, because we were told a time to meet to be told what to do and it seemed like they decided to lump us into the larger group that was scheduled an hour later than us. This would have been fine except they didnít explain this, so we had to just sit and wait in the HOT sun until they finally showed up to start our swim (I donít think that this had anything to do with who we booked with, because once you were in the park you were just put on a list and split into groups of 12). The dolphin swim was fun, but didnít compare with the Sting Ray swim since it was much more controlled and we got a very limited amount of time with the dolphin. It was worth the money to do it once, but I donít think we would do it again. We would definitely do the Sting Ray swim again (less money and lots of fun).

All in all I would say that if you go with a reputable shore excursion company that has a guarantee if the ship has to reroute due to problems or weather you will have just as much fun and save some money. You also have more options to choose from. Good Luck with
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Old 09-26-2007, 07:23 PM
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Thanks for all the great info!! I think we will book with a private excursion company in Jamaica and Cozumel, and with RC in Labadee and Grand Cayman. Most of what I have read was pretty positive, so I'm feeling more comfortable with it.

I'm not the most adventurous person, but the zipline looked fun. I'm somewhat afraid of heights and am not sure I could do it. What do you think?
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:54 AM
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The zip line was really fun. They take you to a small one and have you do that first to give you an idea of what it is like. The brake that stops you in the first one is a little hard. I had my camera on my wrist and it flew up and hit me in the hand (it wasn't horrible, but I chose to not hold it for the large zip line since I thought it might be worse, I don't think it would have been the stop was a little smoother for that one).

We were with a friend that was very scared of heights. She did fine with the small zip line, but when we got to the large one, she was the first one that the guides had hooked up to stand on the platform and wait. After getting all five people in place he proceeded to talk for about 10 more minutes about safety procedures and what to expect. By the time he had finished she was totally freaked out looking down the zip line and decided not to go. They helped her back to the landing area and I stayed with her until the very end. While we were waiting for our turn two gentlemen came walking up and we asked if they were going down. They informed us that they were the engineers that had built the zip line and they were just in the area for a few days checking everything out. They talked to us about how fun it was to look down at the coral reef in the water as you zipped by. This had a pretty calming effect on my friend and then when it was about time for me to go, the guide that was helping everyone assured her that she would be able to go down and he had something that he was going to do that would help her. I left on my turn still not sure if she would go, but about 5 minutes later she came zipping down the line smiling. The ship photographer got a GREAT picture of her giving the thumbs up sign when she was coming in. (We made sure she bought that picture ).

She told us that the guide had stood in front of her while she was getting hooked in and settled so she couldnít see the drop off. Once she felt like she was comfortable she let him know and he step aside and sent her down, I had told her to keep her eyes closed until after the initial drop and she said that helped her. She was really happy that she did it, but doesnít think she would do it again. The people that they had running the excursion were great. They are very professional, but also as you can see from what happened above willing to adjust and go the extra mile when the need arises.

The other three of us thought it was really fun and definitely worth it. I wouldnít pay the money to do it again, because it was pretty pricey ($65), but I am glad that I had the opportunity. I guess they have a canopy zip line in Jamaica that some people on our excursion told us about. They said it was also really fun and recommended it as another option for us. This one goes through the jungle, so it isnít just a long scary drop if you are scared of heights, it might be easier to do.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:06 AM
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Mrs. C, you're the best!! Thanks for the great info. I think your friend and I must be twins, I could picture myself doing the same exact thing!! I had seen the canopy tour with the small ziplines in Jamaica and thought that looked fun too.

I had already booked horseback riding in Grand Cayman and am now second guessing myself since I don't think we'd have time for the Sting Ray trip, which everyone seems to have loved.
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:27 PM
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It is hard to sayÖif you are really into snorkeling and you think you would enjoy an opportunity to be in the water with the Sting Rays it is a really neat experience. If you donít think you would really enjoy it, I wouldnít change your plans just because of what you have heard. Our trip took most of the time that we were docked in Grand Cayman, so we were only able to look around the island for a little while before our excursion began. I donít regret spending our day in the Caymanís snorkeling and swimming with the Sting Rays, because everyone in our party had lots of fun doing it. Just make sure this is what your entire party would want to do as well before you decide to change your plans.
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