SC Native, make sure to book the swim and not the encounter for the dolphins. If you book the encounter, you don't interact/swim with them. The swim is one of the most awesome things I've done in my life.
Maurine, the rays would sting if they felt endangered. These rays know they're going to get fed everytime a boat pulls up. They're not aggresive by nature, but usually sting in a reaction, not an attack.
Most people stung by rays have stepped on one. Your guide will advise you to shuffle your feet to prevent that from happening first of all, and secondly these animals are not half covered with sand lying in wait for prey on the bottom (their typical "hunting" posture) because they expect to be fed, by hand, higher up in the water. They really are not threatened by people at all and not on high alert for defense at this location.
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They have stinger barbs. What killed Irwin was the barb penetrated his heart. As previously noted, the stinger barb is a defensive reaction - automatic really. They don't use it to hunt prey. Another thing of note - no aqua shoes allowed at the stingray sandbar. This bothered me a bit but they say the shoes could injure the stingrays. By sliding along the bottom any nearby rays will sense it and move away.
Steve Irwin was trying to hold on and swim with one. I assume it became annoyed or it may have been the camera men startled it. Had it hit him somewhere than through the heart, he probably would have survived. I have been hit in the foot and it's very painful. It was on Sanibel Island in Florida. I stepped on it walking out into the water. I thought a crab had nipped me, so I was trying to get the bleeding stopped. Had I not tried to close up the hole, the poison may have had a chance to get out of my body. When we went out to Stingray City, I was extremely skeptical, but got in the water anyway. It was a ball.
I agree doing the sting rays it something that is very unique. You don't have to book this on the ship because it will probably cost half of that in Grand Cayman when you get off the ship. After we did the sting rays we went to the beach & spent the rest of the day there & there's plenty of water sports to do.
Dunn's River Falls would be good too.
Cozmel did snorkeling & shopping. Love to shop here.
Labadee is probably has the prettiest beaches. If you do the zip line book in advance since we got on the ship & tried to book the first day & we weren't able to since it was already booked. We were so disappointed. Also the ship provides lunch here just to let you know.
In Labadee I did the walking tour (which wasn't really much), snorkeling, and the zip line. The zip line is a little pricey, but I figured where else am I going to get to do this? And I really enjoyed it.
I also walked about Labadee on my own and took pictures. They were doing construction so it will be different from when I went. Don't forget to go to Dragon's Breath. Oh, and I saw little hermit crabs just walking along the path. So cute!
I had so much fun in Labadee. After snorkeling I had lunch, then went to the zip line. After that I had time to chill. I just lay in a hammock and relaxed until the last tender left. That was a really great day.