If you're taking the kids, why not do the tour of Prospect Plantation that also visits the Dunns River Falls? The tour probably won't cost any more than a taxi or whatever to the falls and back, and the jitney tour of the plantation really is both fascinating and educational -- definitely fun for the whole family! Also, the tours from the ship allow you to leave valuables and personal belongings in the minibus (which is attended the whole time) while you climb the falls.
Don't get your tickets on the ship.....once you get off in Jamaica...you will find lots and lots of drivers that will take you around and to the falls for fraction of the price. Don't forget to wear your bathing suits...and have some old tennis shoes or those other shoes they wear in the water.
Trust me Ocho Rios was a big disappointment to us.....the only thing worth seeing are Dunn Falls......you can get your own cab ride to those. Don't buy excursion tickets onboard ship.....just get your own driver.....alot less expensive.
On the tour of Prospect Plantation, you ride through the plantation grounds on a tractor-drawn jitney while a guide explains what you are seeing. The Jamaican plantations are unique in that they occupy whole mountains that extend from sea level up to altitudes in excess of 6000 feet (Jamaica's Blue Ridge is roughly 6300 feet). To put that in perspective, it's higher than New Hampshire's Mount Washington. Anyway, there's quite a science to the way in which the plantations plant their crops at various altitudes -- and the variation in altitude allows them to grow a considerably more diverse variety of crops than what was typical of plantations here in the States. The result was that Jamaica's plantations were totally self-sufficient and they sold their excess produce for export. In addition, you'll see some fascinating demonstrations of the methods that they use to grow and to harvest their crops and some intriguing artifacts of the lifestyle of the gentry who owned the plantations.
I could say more, but I really don't want to spoil the surprise. If you have not toured any of Jamaica's plantations, the tour of Prospect Plantation definitely is worth your while!
To get a personalized tour try Peat Taylor-we used him last week in Ocho Rios. He Charges $25/pp inc. admission to the Falls.& will take you wherever you want to go.He took us to the falls, Furn Gully, shopping a countryside tour,lunch at Bibibips on the beach.We were with him about 5 1/2 hrs. & he is very reliable. He'll meet you at the ship.I forget his email address,but if you search online under Jamaican tours you should be able to find it.
there were 7 of us last year and we talked to our waiter and he advised us to take taxi to falls and we did and then after approx 2 hours there he came back and picked us up and took us back to pier area where we walked to hotel nearby and used their facilities,pool and beach, for remainder of day...a lot cheaper than the excursion price on the ship.. i think we save about $20 per doing it this way...I do not recommend walking thru town...it was quite scary..walk along the beach as there is a sidewalk...
Ocho Rios was a HUGE joke. The town looks so dirty. I would advise anyone not to do a tour that involves riding in a mini-bus. The drivers are crazy out there! The shopping areas are very scary and someone will offer you pot about every minute(usually only if you are a guy). My wife was scared beyond belief. Also, watch out at Dunn's River Falls for teenagers who pose as employees at Dunn's River Falls. They will offer to take a picture of you and your family, and they do not give you your camera back unless you give them a tip. Sorry to burst anyones bubble about Ocho Rios, but the cruise lines need to give serious consideration to eliminating this port and maybe docking in another part of Jamaica. Maybe Montego Bay? I know that many other cruisers share my opinion about this horrible port.