To excursion or not to excursion? That is the question.
I'll get right to it. Our family of 13, which includes 9 adults and 4 kids age 6, 4, 3, and 1 (year old) leave Sunday on RC Voyager. It docks in Cozumel, Georgetown and Falmouth (Jamaica). Some in the family think excursions are the way to go. But for a lot less money, can't we basically do the same things? Anybody know what is good for kids? All the adults like to snorkel. I was thinking we could rotate watching the kids and snorkeling. Anybody done the Martha Brae River raft in Jamaica? Was thinking that would be good for all of us, ages 60 down to 1 year old. Help! (And thanks.)
The only port where I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND a ship's excursion is Falmouth, Jamaica. The reason being, Jamaica is a poor country. If you don't want to do a ship's excursion there, then maybe check out shoretrips.com for excursions that you could book through them. I definitely wouldn't wander off on my own in Jamaica. The other ports are fine. If you don't want to book an excursion in Jamaica, then I would recommend staying onboard the ship.
In Cozumel, I went to Paradise Beach. It's about a $10-15 USD cab ride from the pier. Cabs take US Dollars, so there's no need to exchange your money. There's no entry fee, as the impression is you'll spend money while you're there. Lounge chair use is $2.00, and I think for $12, you can have unlimited use of their water park, floating beach mats, and snorkel equipment.
I've heard good reviews about Chankanaab Park (sorry if I spelled that wrong), which I haven't tried yet, but maybe I will next time to Cozumel.
In Grand Cayman, provided you are able to tender into the port, you can again just get a cab and go to Seven Mile Beach. I've heard good things about that, but again, haven't done it yet. Maybe on the to do list for a future cruise to Grand Cayman. Not to get you down, but if there's bad weather or rough seas, the port of Grand Cayman may deem it too dangerous to run the tenders, and the port will be canceled. This happened to me on my last cruise. I booked one excursion, which was refunded, as well as the port fees for Grand Cayman.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
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Cas, welcome to Cruise Chat ! I'll bet you are getting anxious for your cruise; thats a very diverse age group of cruisers..Not knowing what you all would be interested in it is hard to say..also, depending on how much your individual group wants to shell out for outside tours.
We were in Grand Caymen in February and did a stingray and snorkle tour with an outside group on a catamarand for $45. each. Met them at the pier and they took us to the marina where we boarded and sailed out to swim with the stingrays in approx 4 feet of water. It was a little windy and waters a little rough but there were plenty rays to feel and interact with. Then we did a snorkle on a reef nearby and saw lots of fish..
Also, for nearly 0 dollars you can catch a bus to 7 mile beach and pick a spot near a beach side restaurant, rent some loungers and hang out; the beach is beautiful..
I agree with Jamaica and want to have a planned tour their if you decide to do something.
Cozumel has a national park that we have not been to but hear lots of good things about it. Would be good for all your age groups. We have done a river rafting a few years ago and they are enjoyable; as you sit back on a raft and they pole you down the river and narrate some of the fauna and flora along the way...
Im sure you'll get lots of help from this site.
One thing as many will mention is to select a reputable outside tour group if you do not use the cruise line as the line will not wait for you if you miss the departure time.
We have been using outside tour groups for a while now and have had no issues and usually end up with a smaller group which makes for a more enjoyable day.
In MY opinion, and ONLY mine, as far as I'm concerned, RCL would loose NOTHING if it never went to Jamica again. Any time I have to be EXTRA careful while visiting a place that should bend over backwards to continue having such an income sorce as cruise ships, of any cruise line; well, I don't need to go there. I have been on three cruises which have gone to Jamica, and after the first time, we don't even get off the ship. In Cozumel, the Cankanab park is very nice, with a wadding area, and a small pool for the young children, and various dolphin encounters excursions. You do have to pay to get in ($20 I seem to remember), but the cab ride there and back is reliable and cheap ($14 comes to mind). At Grand Cayman, if you can, try sting ray city; it's great and a must by almost everyone standards.
Hi Clas and welcome to CruiseReviews! As everyone has stated, Jamaica is the only port where I do not recommend doing anything on your own. However, with 13, you have your own group Seriously, though, if you wanted to do something like an all-inclusive resort day pass, that might be more affordable. I've not ported in Falmouth but have in Ocho Rios, Kingston, and Montego Bay. The majority of the Jamaican citizens are wonderful, kind people. However, in all the ports I've been to, there are the few that ruin it for the many.
Grand Cayman and Cozumel are ports that you really don't have much to worry about doing on your own. StingRay City is the main attraction in Grand Cayman and is really a very unique experience. You need a boat to get there. I'm not sure how much can be saved by booking independently, since I've only done ship excursions there. Shoretrips.com has been highly recommended by many people on this board. My favorite non-expensive thing to do in Grand Cayman is take the bus down to 7 mile beach. It's absolutely gorgeous there. Abanks used to let you use their platform to snorkel from. They're to the left hand side of the tender area (facing the shore).
Cozumel, Paradise is free to get in. I prefer Chankanaab because there is a lot more to do. They have the dolphins, snorkeling, zoo, gardens, shops, water toy rentals, and really clean beaches. Paradise is nice, but the snorkeling isn't good and to me, the beach isn't as pretty.
We just got back from the Voyager's Roatan-Belize-Cozumel cruise.
In Cozumel, we took the ferry over to Playa de Carmen (mainland). The beach and water there was terrific! It seems to be a little bit slower paced than Cozumel. We enjoyed it very much and would go back there to stay for vacation all on its own...
Thank you all for your help. I'm taking everything you all said into consideration. I'm still very "iffy" on the Jamaica excursion, but I feel better about the other two because you all validated what I was thinking of doing. I've been to Jamaica once. I did the Dunns River. Fun and terrifying. I wish I could watch my family do it, but we have too many babies in tow. I bet the crowds are bad, too. Still trying to figure out what to do, but we might just wait until we get on the ship and get help from the staff there. I agree about the danger of Jamaica. My son is wondering if he can hook up a Wii to the old analog TV in his cabin. Anybody know? He's really good at figuring out how to do all that, but I don't want to get in trouble with RC. Thanks again, everybody.
You will really like the ship...lots of nice things to do on it.....
As far as excursions....I always use the ship's excursions...they cost more, but you have the guarantee that if something happens, and you don't get back on time, the ship will wait for you...otherwise...you are left behind...and with a large group as you will have, people have a way of wandering away and you have to go looking for them....
I don't do beaches, so can't help you there...I do the Mayan Ruins.....in Grand Cayman, there is a Turtle farm the kids might like....It's a research and turtle rearing station...You are getting good information about the beaches already:-)...Happy Sailing and enjoy the ship...
clas......Rafting down the Martha Brae is a beautiful and relaxing experience for the adults but not necessarily great for little ones. The rafts will only carry two adults as passengers. Jamaica is a beautiful country filled with wonderful and friendly people but there are more than a fair share of panhandlers......With children....cruise tours are your best bet!!