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Old 01-01-2006, 08:06 PM
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I am a first time cruiser Jan 2006. Does anyone hava a preference to use a "private tour" company or the recommended Shore excursions sponsored by Royal Carribean. We would like to visit the Tulom ruins on Cozimal and Dunn's Falls/Dolhin Cove in Ochos Rios. We're confused because we felt the smaller private shore excursions would be more intimate and informative. Please advise.........
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:24 PM
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It would depend on your comfort level at being in a port without the support of the cruise line. As a first time cruiser, I would tend to suggest a ship's shore excursion to eliminate the stress of missing the ship and other unknowns. If you are a seasoned traveler, but a first time cruiser, then you might want to look beyond the ship's shore excursions, especially if you are focused on what you want to do.

I hope that helps.

Tom
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Old 01-02-2006, 05:11 AM
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I agree with Tom. As a first time cruiser I wouldn't recommend going off on your own. With the cruise lines tours if something happens (flat tire, mechanical problem etc.) then they will notify the ship you are late. Be sure to carry your daily bulletin with you. It has the contact information if something should happen while your in port.
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Old 01-02-2006, 06:52 AM
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Given the distance between Tulum and Cozumel, I highly recommend sticking with a ship's tour in this port of call. It may cost a bit extra, but think of it as insurance that you will not miss the ship.
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Old 01-02-2006, 08:22 AM
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Hi jennifergail,

In many cases the private tours are not much different from those offered by the ship. In both cases local tour companies are used. It's just that one has a contract with the cruise line and the other doesn't.

Tulum is a fairly long trek from Cozumel, and not something I would recommend doing on your own with a private tour. As the others have said, you have "insurance" when booking with the ship. They will wait for you if your tour is late returning - and I have seen this happen more than once. I have also seen passengers who missed the ship in Cozumel waiting on the pier when we docked at our next port. They did not have a pleasant time during the night and previous evening.

Now when it comes to Dunn's River, I think you would be okay doing it on your own. The falls are just a couple miles from the piers in Ocho Rios. But you must exercise caution in dealing with the tour operators in Jamaica. If you want to do it on your own, stick with those offering tours who are inside the fenced off area at the pier. You can encounter some less than scrupulous people if you wait until you get to the main street outside the pier area.
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