I am just beside myself!! I just booked a cruise (Navigator) for January. I was thinking about Dunn River Falls and/or River Tubing. I'd hate to not get off the ship......but.........you guys have me terrified!!!
I think some people over-react in Jamaica and it really is not that bad! I have
been there 3 times and yes, a few of the Jamaicans can be intimidating, but
most are of the "no problem, mon!" kind. I suspect that some of the more
extreme and negative reactions visitors have had has to do with the shock
of seeing poverty and unexpected agressive peddling. If you prepare yourself
for the sight of poverty and agressive peddling in just about any Caribbean
country, you will be in good shape to handle most unexpected incidents.
Don't panic, just be calm and very FIRM and polite! It's not just Jamaica,
but you will find most of the Caribbean is third world- some countries handle
tourism better than others. Don't let this spoil your sense of adventure and
seeing the world. Keep your wits about you, eyes open, ears attuned, and
smile- you'll be ok!
I am going to Jamaica in January. What do you all thinik about Peat Taylor Tours? Im thinking about doing it. Martinique is the biggest hole in my opinion. If you take a boat across the water there is a nice area though.
Trinidad is my choice... The Dawn stop there during Carnival.. It was very dirty and the streets had a odor. Got my point.. We got back on the ship within an hour.. We have no desire to go back. . We cruise the Western, Southern and Eastern Caribbean,, had no complaints.. Each island had it good and bad points, mostly good.
Hey Matt in Iowa.... we are planning to do an excursion with Peat Taylor in Ocho Rios in 2 weeks. I was pretty psyched about it after reading about him via this board. BUT after viewing this thread, I'm re-considering. I'd really like to see the "Falls", and visit Margarittaville, but............................. I'm hoping someone will respond to our posts, and tell us "No problem, mon!".
Okay, here it is....NO PROBLEM MON!!!!!!!!
Just got back from Explorer of the Seas 3 days ago and we reserved the Dunn's River Falls tour with Peat Taylor and we LOVED IT..... in fact, we did not even see the famous (or infamous!) market! We exited the falls and when right back to where the lockers are at and dried off. Peat's companion tour guide, Melvin, was waiting there for us and shortly after we left the park.
Peat is AWESOME, kind, funny, sings the whole way, stops wherever you want to stop, shows you the "unseen" Jamaica and you will be assured a great time. If you don't care to go to the market, he will drop you back on the pier and you can go to your ship or enter margaritaville which is right of the pier. Just tell him what you want to do and he'll be happy to do it!
Tell him Virginia from Texas says hi! We HIGHLY recommend him.
Vivi....THANK YOU!! You made my day. Your experience was what I am expecting, but this thread was scaring me away! Great, I'm psyched again!!!!! One more question, did you tip Peat and/or his companion??
Thanks again, Lynn
My least favorite is Jamaica. I'm sorry, but I agree with many who have posted about that island. When we first stopped there, in 1995, our cruise ship even had divers down and under the ship during our entire stop. They announced that it was to prevent drugs from being attached to the ship...........we were harassed by many vendors to buy drugs, and take their tours. We were a couple in our late 40s, not youngsters. People were not friendly, but very pushy......the vendors at the top of Duns River Falls were even scarey......we thought they would break the bus windows. Anyway, the next time we cruised to Jamaica, we stayed on the ship, and would do so again.
My second least favorite was Puerto Rico. Actually my husband had a job there, we knew many people there, and had visited before, and all was well. When we were there as part of a cruise, it was awful. That was the only time, and place, that I was personally robbed. My purse was closed and zipped, and close to my body, but somehow, someone managed to get into it, without my knowing it, and took my wallet and all my money. Luckily there wasn't much, and my I.D. was not in the wallet.......but it didn't feel very good. Vendors we dealt with, as ship tourists, were quite rude. One taxi driver was very rude, and made nasty comments about Americans as we drove. We will not sail from there again.
I am so sorry to hear that many of you didn't love Jamaica. Wow! My husband and I have been there 10 times and loved each time. Negril is ,by far ,our favorite. I didn't like Guadelope. I call it Rudealope. Those french natives are so rude, but how fast they want the American dollar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree with the idea that there is good and bad with every place. Spent time in Haiti and Jamaica working with the people and the experience was GREAT! Had no problems at the falls in Jamaica, I guess it depends on how strong your NO is. I have also traveled throughout the world and understand what street venders have to do.
The Island that I liked least was Barbados --- but I am returning next month and excited about the opportunity of giving it another chance.
I had heard about the cruise bus being hijacked, so I was hesitant to go to Jamaica. When we did finally book a cruise w/Ochos Rios on the itinerary, we booked our excursion thru Carnival. We visited Dunns River Falls and had a great time on the Cool Runnings catamaran. Later we ventured out to the shops near the pier - we were only approached once by a street vendor, but there was nothing good natured about his approach and I'd just rather not have to deal with those kinds of confrontations. I can handle the pushy vendors in Mexico; I like to haggle and they always seem good natured, but Jamaica is something else. We go on vacations to have fun, not to feel threatened. I have no interest in going back to Jamaica.
Personally, I loved Jamaica and can't wait to get back. I also enjoyed Puerto Rico and Martinque, which also seem to be unliked by many. I've never had any problem with the "locals" wherever we go.
The two places I would avoid are St. Maarten and St Barts. I won't do Eastern Carib cruises, because I disliked St Maarten so much. Except for the beaches and shopping, I can't figure out anything else nice about the island. Personally, I didn't just pay lots of money to take a cruise to lay on a beach (I can do that in the States) or to shop (which I can also do here). And I can't remember anything that St Barts had going for it!
Grand Cayman has been our least favorite so far. We actually enjoy Jamaica and find that most of the people are wonderful (we have stayed in Negril three different trips in the past 6 years). Didn't care for Cancun either.
My husband votes for Jamaica. Pretty, but the vendors are way too pushy (and we are veterans of Mexico markets, so it has to be EXTREME to bother us) Dunn's Falls were pretty, but not all that special, I didn't think.
I was bothered by the crowds in Nassau the last time we were there. The island itself is fine, but there were six ships in port, and people were shoulder to shoulder. I don't go on trips to fight my way through crowds.
I was surprised by some of the answers. We loved Progresso--beautiful, quiet, deserted beaches, not touristy at all. I like the history in San Juan. I think the hotels are a little expensive, but the one where we stayed was friendly and helpful. And we loved Santo Domingo; again very historical, and the beach in Boca Chica was great. Someone was bored in Grand Cayman, but the Turtle Farm is one of our favorites, and the place with all the rays is touristy and crowded, but fun. My favorites are Aruba: ugly island with the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, and Barbados--beautiful. The ship people warned us about Dominica, but we had no problems there. St. Thomas and St. Martin are fine; we've been to each several times with no problems. The beaches are nice. I thought Martinique was interesting; not a lot to do, but nothing I disliked. Same with Curacao. And I loved Labadee although it is very cut off from the rest of Haiti. I like Cozumel, but the last time we were there, five ships were in--I'm afraid it is about to become another Nassau.
As you can see, we are not very picky. So I was surprised that so many people felt so strongly...
We're going to Ocho Rios on Voyager 12/7. I didn't want to do any tours..maybe just visit Margaritaville since I hear it's within walking distance from the pier & I got coupons off their website for free margaritas ( $7.00 each).
Well we're taking a boat tour to the falls because I heard that if you arrive by boat you bypass the vendors at the top of the falls. I'm not even planning to climb the falls but the others in my group will. I wonder if there will be "vendors" when we goet off the boat or maybe on the way back....I hope not but I have my fears. Has anyone out there
done a tour like this arriving by boat instead of bus?
Not the Caribbean but the most beautiful place I have ever been is the Seychelles.........if you ever get the chance go visit!!
I can understand the feelings on Jamaica....when I was there we did the waterfall and a lady sat down next to me to take her sneakers off and when she turned around less than a minute later they were gone! and of course there is a lot of pot but I was expecting that. I would go back to Jamaica beacause I know that I haven't seen a lot of the island but I wouldn't take my son there until i had explored it myself....not really a place for kids.
I have to vote for Roatan and then Jamaica. Roatan was pretty scaring to me. A lot of poverty and then it seemed they just opened their front door (if they were lucky enough to have one) and threw the trash in the yard. Gross!!!! I can understand bring poor but nasty I can't. Jamaica seemed to also be very poor in areas. No running water in alot of places but we did enjoy going to Nowell Cowards house on the mountain. It was very beautiful up there. And it seemed that the jewelery was cheaper in Jamaica than in Cozemel. Loved Grand Cayman and Key West.