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Cruisechic2005

Best things to do in...

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What are some of the best excursions to do in these ports??

Labadee, Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Caymon

I'm looking into Para Sailing in Cozumel, but other then that i'm not sure what to do, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! This is for my family and I (mom dad and twin sis) we set sail 3-5-05 on the Navigator of the Seas.

Thanks!

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Grand Cayman is the only island you listed that I have done something other than shopping. There's a snorkling site called Eden Rock that's about 10 minutes walking distance from the pier (to the right). Great snorkling spot with lots of nice fish. Once we even saw a small octopus swimming past us. If the hurricane didn't knock them down, there should be several pirate flag posts at Eden Rock. I highly recommend!!

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CruiseChic...

I have been to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Ocho Rios, but it was quite a few years ago. In Grand Cayman, we did a little shopping and then just went to seven-mile beach and vegged for awhile. It's a nice beach area by a hotel...can't remember which one.

In Ocho Rios, we took a tour of the island that also stopped at Dunn's River Falls, and we watched some people climb the falls. No...we weren't brave enough to climb ourselves. :grin:

Be careful on this island! You may be approached to buy drugs. I would recommend a ship's tour on this island if it's your first time.

In Cozumel, we just walked around the ocean front area and did some shopping, and then later in the evening, we stopped at a popular disco there. I can't remember the name, but DH thinks it was Senor Frog's.

Sorry that I can't help you more, maybe someone here has been to these ports more recently than I. Hope you have a great cruise!

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In Grand Cayman we have done several things, but all have been beach trips. There is of course the Stingray City tour. If you have never done it, I highly recommend it. You go out into the bay and anchor just off a sandbar and get in the water with dozens of stingrays. It's quite a unique experience and very enjoyable. We have spent the day at Rum Point. It's a beautiful beach, very quiet and fairly good snorkeling. We have also spent time on Seven Mile Beach. Again, it's a beautiful beach and it's so big, it's difficult for it to get too crowded. There's not too much to see on GC, but you can visit Hell and mail your postcards from there. I think that shopping is over

rated on GC. Prices are high and usually quoted in GC dollars. I'm not sure what the exchange rate is now, but last time I checked it was 1.35 US$ to one GC$.

We love Cozumel. I think they have the best catamaran trip in the Caribbean, the Fury Cats. Great fun, we've done it three times. We have also been to Passion Island, a beautiful, clean, quiet, private beach. First time in Cozumel we visited Tulum. It's a great trip, a little on the warm side ( we were there in April ), but very impressive. Of course Cozumel is a party town and no trip to Coz would be complete without a trip to Carlos and Charlies, Fat Tuesdays or Senor Frogs, or maybe all three. I think Cozumel has pretty good shopping, you have to haggle, but there are still good buys out there. Remember that there are no copyright laws in Mexico, so if that Gucci bag or Rolex watch look to good tobe true, beware.

Jamaica is one of my favourite islands. If it's your first time to Ocho, you should see, and hopefully climb, Dunns River Falls. Last time there we went to Rose Hall Plantation House, a long drive, but a very enjoyable trip. A tour around the island will show you what a beautiful island it is away from the tourist hotspots. As Sari2 stated, be careful, around the port area you will probably get hassled a bit, but the people have always been friendly with us and a simple "No thanks" has always been sufficient. I think that shopping in Ocho is better than GC. Checkout the coffee, lots of samples around.

In Labadee, we have always just lay on the beach and relaxed. Snorkeling is below average. Our grandkids enjoyed the banana boats. They have parasailing and waverunners available. At our age, a Coco Loco or two and a beach chair is our idea of a great day on Labadee. One piece of advice about Labadee, make sure that you go ashore with some one dollar bills. While RCI says that you don't need to tip, beach chairs are free, the local help fall over themselves to help you and tipping is greatly appreciated. We've been to Labadee three times and we have never felt unsafe, regardless of what you might read on other boards. They have a local market new the tender dock that sells local products. We have a great walking stick.

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If you are going to Grand Cayman and have never been to Stingray City, I'd say that is a MUST SEE kind of thing. I don't think there is anyplace else in the world you could have that experience. My daughter and I were there last summer and truly that was the highlight of our whole vacation. And the tours are very reasonably priced as well. We scheduled in advance via internet with a local guide through Nativeway and had a wonderful time, .....it was the BEST tour of the cruise for the LEAST money!

In Cozumel, we wanted to swim with the dolphins and were too late trying to make that reservation. If you want to do that, i'd recommend scheduling well ahead via the internet through dolphindiscovery.com. We opted instead for a swim with the sea lions program which was disappointing. I'm sure younger children might have enjoyed it, but it is not much for adults, especially if you ever have the chance to go to Sea World in USA. It was the most expensive thing we did on our trip and the least memorable. The park where the dolphin swim is located is awesome.... the next time we went to Cozumel we just took a cab to the park (about $10), rented snorkel equipment there for about $6 and enjoyed the afternoon on their beautiful beach. Shopping is good in Cozumel... i have bought jewelry of some type each time. I keep saying i'm going to make it to Carlos and Charlie's or Senor Frogs, but I can't seem to get out of the shops early enough before I have to get back to the ship! Many passengers did return to the ship pretty drunk though.

I've not been to the other two ports you mention.

I'm sure whatever you choose, it will be a wonderful trip!

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OchoRios is an easy port to navigate on foot. Yes you will be approached by many people, most of them friendly, most of them offering you taxi rides etc. If you want to see and / or climb Dunns River Falls, you absolutely do NOT need to pay cruise line prices: For you see, the falls are basically free. It is always suggested that you use a "guide" at the falls - they are everywhere - but you don't NEED to - it's not the law, nor is it particularly dangerous to climb without one. If you are in reasonably good shape, you can just use common sense and do it yourself. To get to the falls, just let one of the cab drivers who stand outside the pier take you there - for about a third of the price (or less if you have several people) of a cruise line excursion. The falls are pretty close, but you can't easily walk there. Other things to do in Ochi include exploring the two straw / artisan markets in town - an easy walk from the pier. The in town beach that is next to the pier is not particularly thrilling or picturesque. It is a locals beach, and that's where you will most likely be offered drugs.

In Cozumel, I actually did an excursion (NCL) - one of those party boats to a "private (not really) beach" area. We played volleyball - what a great beach - pure sand, not rocky at all. It was loads of fun and there were lots of beers. Bad sunburn though. Had a great time.

best

th

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One of my favorite stops, on Cozumel, is Chankanaab Park, just a short, ten-dollar (U.S.) taxi cab ride from the dock.

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The park was completely rebuilt in 1996, and has something for everyone. Admission is $10.00 (U.S.), for adults, and children are admitted free.

The beach is less than spectacular, but more than adequate. There are palapas, on the beach, if you want shade. It’s appeal lies in the fact that the reef is just a few hundred feet offshore, and you can rent snorkeling equipment ($6.00 - U.S.) and scuba gear ($20.00 - U.S.) right on the beach. The snorkeling and diving is truly spectacular, with visibility 250 feet, on a “bad day,†and “Unlimited†on a “Good†one!

Within Chankanaab Park is an Archeological Park, which used to be on another part of the island, and was moved to its present site during the 1996 renovation. A winding, jungle-like, trail winds through the Archeological Park, past replicas of Maya, Inca, Olmec, etc; structures and carvings, and leads to a recreated Mayan village.

The park, also, contains a beautiful Botanical Garden, with hundreds of species of plants, and a large population of Iguanas.

But, the centerpiece of the park is Chankanaab Lagoon, a gigantic sinkhole which connect to the sea through a number of underground tunnels. A large assortment of tropical reef fish also make their way into the lagoon, through the tunnels, and can be viewed from the path, and lookout points, which circle the lagoon.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, but really nice souvenir, or gift, check out Roberto’s Black Coral jewelry, in Sam Miguel, on 5th Street South. Go to the top of the main square, the Plaza del Sol, and turn right. Roberto’s is about three blocks south of the square, on the northeast corner.

His work is, truly, extraordinary and his prices are ridiculously low. By the way, it IS legal to bring black coral into the U.S., if it’s considered “artwork,†and Roberto’s work fits the description.

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The Mayan ruin at San Gervasio has not undergone the major restoration that the Mexican government had done at many of the other sites, such as Chichen Itza, Tulum, Uxmal, etc; and is of interest only to those who are truly interested in Mayan history. It was an important site, historically, since it held the temple of the fertility goddess, Ixchel, but a relatively small one.

GRAND CAYMAN

The usual "tourist" things to do, such as a trip to Hell, swimming with the rays, the Atlantis Submarine, and such,cost the same through the ship's Shore Excursion programs as they do elsewhere, and you have someone to complain to if something goes wrong.

As for me, I just take the tender into town, walk to the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory, order a slice of Rum cake and a cup of coffee, and "people watch."

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When I'm done, I hop the tender back to the ship, and have it all to myself...

OCHO RIOS

There are several shore excursions which are a little “offbeat,†but among my favorites.

One is the river rafting on the Martha Brae, or Rio Grande, River.

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Your “raft Captian†guides your two-person bamboo raft down the slow, winding, waterway, through lush tropical foliage. A stop along the way, fo a red Stripe or a Ting, and you’re in heaven…

Another is the trip to Nine Mile, Bob Marley’s birth, and final resting, place. If you’re a Merley fan, this is a must! Only one bus, with 24 passengers, is allowed to visit daily. The bus is a 1960’s vintage, completely restored and outfitted with a state of the art sound system. It is topped with artificial produce, for effect.

The bus makes a stop, along the way, so you can admire the gorgeous mountains. They serve complimentary rum punch, and soft drinks, during the stop. On the return trip, they stop at a different overlook, and sevre drinks, again, and then go on to a local Jamaican Pattie shop, where each passenger can have a beef, chicken of veggie pattie. The fuinal stop is an outdoor restaurant, where they serve jerk chicken and pork, peas and rice and plantains.

Of course, if this is your first trip to Jamaca, you MUST walk up Dunn’s River Falls. It’s a law! LOL

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