I have been reading the cruise post for the last couple of weeks. My wife and I leave on 12/31/2000 for our first cruise together ( this is her second, my first). We will be going to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel. I have read all I can find on these destinations but would like to hear from so seasoned cruisers about our ship and ports. The ship is the Carnival Inspiration. Our port is New Orleans. I have a purchased a nice suit but is a Tux better? Crime seems to be a big topic in Montego Bay whats the real scoop? Traveler Checks or Credit Cards. Is American Express accepted widely. Questions, Questions, Questions. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hope you enjoy your first cruise and I highly recommend going to Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman, its a gas. If you like to snorkel you can catch a cab to Chanakaab Park for some nice snorkeling. Its a nice clean beach and not too far from the pier. Haven't been to Montego Bay, but when we were in Jamaica we did the Dunns Rivers Falls and that was a log of fun. When in Jamaica its best to stick with a tour and play it save.
The dark suit for formal night would be just fine, and if you own a tux thats also nice to dress in. As for travelers checks, not a bad idea, you can cash them at the purcers desk if needed and I feel a little better having them instead of a lot of cash. You can use your credit card for your sign and sail card and at the end of the cruise all the charges will go on that card, just keep track of what your spending, it adds up fast :-)
Hope you have a great holiday and a Happy New Year while cruiseing.
American Express is accepted world wide but just in case, you may want to carry a Visa or Mastercard when in port. For onboard expenses, just leave your total on your ship's account (on your credit card which you give upon embarkation) and pay your bill when your next statement arrives once you are back home. For purchases in port, the US dollar is accepted on all of your ports with no problems. For most purchases, use your credit card where you can. If you only take one ship's tour, take the catamaran to Dunn's River Falls. You will love it and it is safe. Be prepared to tip the guides; $2 bills are great to have for miscellanous tips - taxi's, room service (should be tipped at time of service as you may not see the same server again). You may also wish to put aside your "tip" money in cash or you can cash your travelers checks on board (although there will be lines on the last evening at the pursur's desk). We usually budget $50 each for the room steward and waiter, and $25 for the busboy. Any beverage service tips are automatically included on each bar tab that you sign and tipping the Head Waiter or Maitre de is optional, if they have done something special for you like move you to another table or shown special attention to your needs. Spa services also denote tipping so check your bill to see if it is already included. My last cruise on Celebrity, my beauty salon service fee had the tip added automatically, which was a first for me.
I have not been to Montego Bay, but I agree with Donna's comments about Jamaica based on my experience in Ocho Rios. The climb up Dunn's River Falls is wonderfully refreshing, but I'm not sure what's offered from Montego Bay since the Dunn's River Falls are closer to Ocho Rios. If it's offered, you will need the mesh shoes with sturdy rubber soles, such as Surfwalkers (available at most sporting goods stores here in the States), to protect your feet. In any case, you might want to bring home some Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. It does make a great souvenir for your coffee-drinking friends.
Grand Cayman is one of the best ports in the Caribbean. I don't hear very many negative comments about any of the excursions or activities in that port. The "Cozumel See and Sea" tour is particularly noteworthy. This tour combines an outing in a "semisubmersible craft" (actually a boat with a compartment below the water line where you sit, two by two, and look out at the undersea world through windows in both sides of the hull) to see the wrecks of the SS Callie and the SS Balboa along with several reefs and quite a bit of marine life with a visit to the island's major attractions ashore, which include the rock formation at Hell (looks volcanic, but it's actually limestone that algae have eroded to razor sharpness and blackened), the world's only sea turtle farm, and a photo stop at Seven Mile Beach. If you are into water sports, seven mile beach is one of the best in the world (even though it really is only 5 1/2 miles long) and there's also great opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling -- or, if you prefer, you can go swim with the stingrays at Stingray City. Additionally, the capital city of George Town has some of the best shopping in the Caribbean, with a duty-free district right by the tender pier that offers a lot of quality merchandise at reasonable prices. Do be aware, though, that prices will sound better than they really are. The Cayman Islands dollar is worth $1.25 in U. S. currency, so you will pay 25% more than the quoted price if you pay in our greenbacks.
On Cozumel, you have to make a tough decision. The expedition to the Mayan ruins at Tulum is very worthwhile, but it does take a full day -- and be sure to bring a liter bottle of water for each person in the party and drink often to prevent dehydration, as it will be very hot at Tulum and you will be out in the sun for a while. I also have heard very positive comments about the ruins and ecological park at Ex Caret, which also is a full day adventure. I recommend taking the excursion from the ship if you wish to visit either of these points, as the ship will wait for a delayed excursion but it won't wait for you if you go on your own and miss a connection in the transportation (which involves both bus and ferry). If you don't want to spend a full day, there's plenty to do on the island of Cozumel. The Mexican cultural show in San Miguel de Cozumel is one of the best anywhere (or at least it was 2 1/2 years ago). There's also a excursion that takes in this cultural show and the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio, which is on the island itself. The ruins at San Gervasio are not as extensive as those at Tulum, but they probably are more significant because the island of Cozumel is a sacred place in the Mayan religion. Additionally, there are plenty of fine beaches and snorkeling areas on the island. Carlos 'n' Charlie's also is a pretty popular destination, from which many people do stagger back to the ship.
I don't carry an American Express card because I don't want anything to do with American Express, but MasterCard and Visa are accepted pretty universally in the legitimate shops.
my family and i went on the same cruise 2 years ago... cozumel was nice,
grand cayman was beautiful (we did the turtle farm) and the only thing nice
about montego bay was its name.... it was absolutely disgusting... poor, poor
families living on the streets... its an example of a country that does not take
care of its people, just the foreigners who enter with money, get to live like kings.
we had people begging for money on the "shopping excursion" we did... we saw people going to the bathroom at the side of the road... yuck!! i spoke with the
young lady conducting our tour who told us anyone may enter jamaica, but to
leave is very hard. basically, everything else was wonderful, just not montego
bay.... and nice suits are fine instead of a tux (as my husband just brings his
we are booked on a cruise leaving miami on the explorer of the seas 12.30.00
for the carribean.
> I have been reading the cruise post for the last couple of
> weeks. My wife and I leave on 12/31/2000 for our first cruise
> together ( this is her second, my first). We will be going to
> Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel. I have read all I can find
> on these destinations but would like to hear from so seasoned
> cruisers about our ship and ports. The ship is the Carnival
> Inspiration. Our port is New Orleans. I have a purchased a nice
> suit but is a Tux better? Crime seems to be a big topic in
> Montego Bay whats the real scoop? Traveler Checks or Credit
> Cards. Is American Express accepted widely. Questions,
> Questions, Questions. Any help is greatly appreciated.