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jpcruiser

shore excursions

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My borfriend and I are going on the 7 day western carribean RCI on Feb 4. We stop in Ochos Rios, Gran Cayman, and Cozumel. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for shore excursions, or (prefferably) things we can do on our own by taking cabs of whatever. I don't mind doing the excursions if they are well worth it, but if we can do the same things without the crowds and not spending as much money I would appreciate the suggestions.

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Grand Cayman is very expensive but we took the submarine ride. You'll get a better bargain if you purchase your tickets directly from the the shop that organizes the rides. You'll have a chance to see several species of fish and other objects on the sea bottom. I believe the submarine ride is called "The Nautilaus" but don't hold me to it.

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If you want to visit the ruins at Tulum on the mainland when you are in Cozumel, I highly recommend going with a ship's tour. The distance is far too great, so if anything should happen to delay your return trip, the ship will wait for you if you are on a cruise line excursion. They won't wait for you if you are on your own.

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We haven't been to Jamaica; however, people on other cruise boards recommend getting together a group, and going to Dunn's Falls.

In Grand Cayman, we suggest a private trip to Stingray City. It costs half what the ship's tour cousts. We used Nativeway and loved it; others have used Captain Marvin and a few other providers. You might want to avoid all tours, and take a cab to seven mile beach, or around the island. George Town is small, but it has some shopping, and may be one of the few "developed country", instead of third world, ports on your trip.

I would check carefully with your cruise line regarding Cozumel. As of a few days ago, the piers were not yet open following sevire hurricane damage. Some lines are tendering people to shore, but it's slow. Others are going to a port called Costa Maya. Make sure you know what Royal Carib. will do, then get back to this thread. For certain, if you go to Cozumel and not Costa Maya, look carefully at what RCCL offers. You may want to take a cab to a beach, arrange your own diving, or just shop in the only town on the island, San Miguel. If you're a diver, Cozumel is exceptional.

Tell us what you like, and we on this board can give you more advice. In Cozumel and Grand Cayman it certainly is possible to take cabs to where you'd like to go.

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A few years ago we snorkled in Grand Cayman, and really loved it. We booked thru the ship, I think it was $25 pp. w/ all equip and also included a drink at some hotel where we snorkled.

Cab was extra, can't remember price.

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Chankanaab Park in Cozumel was one of the prettiest places I have ever seen - I hope it gets back to the way it was one day. We are doing the Stingray City thing in Grand Cayman.

JP Cruiser - be sure to post a review when you get back - and let us know how it all went. Have a great time!!!!

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Yes, there are lots of things to do n Cozumel, if you get there at all (and not to Costa Maya). By the time we reached there, we were "excursioned out". We took a cab into town, then walked inland a few blocks so we could get away from the tourist area and see a bit of the real Mexico. Lovely town square, nice local market, and lots of tourist shops on the way back to the waterfront. We played a round of miniature golf, had a great meal at a Mexican restaurant, and went shopping. Oy, did we go shopping!

Joe bought a guayabara shirt at a low price, after we walked out of the store and the owner followed us out into the street, dropping the price as he followed us. Joan bought two necklaces after TWO visits to the same shop: the final price for both was, of course, less than the origonal price for one. Fun, without any excursion.

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Hi JPCRUISER,

You did not mention if this is your first cruise or not? If this is your first cruise then I suggest you stay with the cruise ships excursions until you learn the lay of the land. I know it may sound silly but you are not in the USA and each of these countries have different laws.

You have already received lots of great suggestions. Here are my thoughts.

Cozumel, <]the cruise ship will have a list of "approved" shops in each port. Thats fine but as Joanandjoe suggested you can get lots of bargains in the town if you are a little adventurous. If you speak Spanish you will get even better deals. Because of the hurricanes they are really looking for money. Tulum is nice but the ruins are pretty worn down. CHICHEN ITZA is much better but you may have to take a charter flight to make it. It is a little more expense than your regular tours but WELL worth it. If they stop in Costa Maya you may be closer than you would have been from Cozumel. It all depends where they stop. If you are staying in Cozumel past 7 pm this one is very do-able. Chankanaab Park is also very nice if you want to snorkel for the day. I speak Spanish but with a "Gringo" accent, my wife is Cuban. While I was trying to deal with one of the local vendors for a pair of sunglasses my wife came up and started talking to me in Spanish. The local vendor apologized for not realizing my wife was a Mexican gave me a better price than I had been bargaining for. We have bought several different Chess Sets and Silver jewelry from the local town shops.

Jamaica, <] Many people are turned off by the poverty of this island. Yes you will see lots of beggars. The dock area is fenced off and patrolled very well. Rather than taking a taxi to the falls why not try something a lot more fun. I would recommend taking an excursion from the ship called "Cool Runnings". It is a catamaran ride from the cruise ship to Dunn River Falls. Take your cameras with you. The guides on the falls will take your cameras and will take your picture at several different points along the falls and they will keep your cameras dry. On the way back you will be treated to a dance session and drinks on board the catamaran. They also have two different shopping centers that are guarded and fenced in. They have lots of interesting shops and deals if you know what you are looking for. You will take a short Taxi ride to get to the shopping centers. Relax and enjoy Jamaica it is a lovely place. You will have lots of time to do two different things here in Jamaica.

Grand Cayman,<] I have used several different dive operators here. But the best I have found and the most reliable is Bob Soto's. They have very knowledgeable dive masters and first rate boats. Their prices are about half of what they charge on the ship and they last longer. Their Stingray City tour will also include two other snorkel locations. The also do seven mile beach with is very pretty. I was never impressed with the turtle farm but it has been redone after the hurricanes. The center of town has several different jewelry stores that have black coral. And don't forget your Rum Cake. If you are really into the snorkeling you can get two trips into this port. Do Stingray city early and then seven mile beach.

Hope this helps

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