This will be my first cruise and my 11 year old daughter's also. I could use any advice available from all of you seasoned cruise veterans on what excursions to do in each of these ports. My daughter is a good swimmer, but I am worried that she will not be able to participate on some of the "children under 12" tours. How strictly do they enforce this age limit? My daughter could easily pass for 12 (don't tell that to your 13 year old son, please!) We are sailing with RCI on the Nordic Empress. Tell me, will we be impressed?
Grand Cayman; Stingray City
Belize; Cave tubing or River Wallace
Cozumel; Chankanaab Park, Horseback Riding, Tulum Ruins, shopping
All of these activities are fine and will welcome your 11 year old.
What about Shark Ray Alley in Belize? The info I have found on this excursion says that the participant must be 12yrs. old. (strictly enforced.) How strict are they?? And is this something we might enjoy doing?
We were on the Inspiration in Dec. 02 and loved Cozumel and Grand Caymen. We did the Dolphin Adventure in Cozumel through the ship, but you can also arrange it on your own via the internet (do a search on Google for Cozumel Chankanaab Park.
As far as Grand Caymen, we rented a car, went to the turtle farm, enjoyed the beach and toured the island. In hindsight, we should have swam with the stingrays at stingray city. Our ship left very early in the day (about 2:30 p.m.) and we were unable to arrange a trip to stingray city on our own. Either have it arranged prior to your trip, or take the ships excursion.
We have been to the Carribean many times and those are two of our favorite islands.
We did Shark Ray Alley (Belize)on the Norwegian Sun. We had small children probably 7 or 8 on our excursion. My kids 15 and 16 had a blast. I would do this excursion again, again and again. We went to Ambergris Caye for lunch. My daughter was able to find some Pringles for the small sum of 3.50. I almost choked. I think you would really enjoy this excursion. I looked in my brochure from 2002 and there was no age limit. My husband reserved this excursion and I did not realize until we stopped we would be snorkeling with Sand Sharks. I almost did not get in the water. It was amazing. I was able to touch the belly of the sharks.
Grand Cayman we did Jolly Rogers-DO NOT DO & Atlantis Submarine. The submarine was an ok excursion would not do again there.
Cozumel we Snuba was an experience. I am not a fan of Cozumel so really can't help you there.
If there is an age limit it generally is strictly enforced and it won't matter if your daughter looks older then she is because they have everyone's birthdate from their birth certificate or passport. That is also how they make sure the kids are in the right group at the kids program, there is a master list they get with all the birth dates.
The stingrays are great in grand cayman, make sure to bring an underwater camera. As long as your daughter is good at walking, some kids are very whiny about walking 30 minutes carrying a tube I think she would love the cave tubing check out www.regtour.com we went cave tubing with him tour instead of the ship's and had a great time for $20 less/person then the people on the ship did.
Our friends did the sub tour in Cozumel and said their kids would of loved it but it is expensive. The Fury Catamaran is fun for everyone in Cozumel. There is alcohol served on the boat but there were plenty of kids on our sailing and no one got out of control.
We have cruised dozen or more times - just rt'd from the same cruise on the Nordic Empress. Don't book the ship's tours . You can do things yourselves easier and cheaper than the ship and safely, too. Try to meet up w/some friends -new or old - its fun to do these w/a group.
Grand Cayman - snorkle right from the shore right near the tender docks at Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto. Bring your own snorkle stuff or rent there. EASY walk from the tender, great snorkling, no need to use a boat. In fact, we snorkled right past the snorkle boats that were anchored at Eden Rock! My sons are 19, 21 and took a semiprivate scuba lesson and 40 foot dive there for $70/person and had a terriffic experiece. My husband and I snorkled the same area - LOTS of beautiful fish. Or, Stingray City but rent from one of the tour operators on the shore - cheaper and easy.
Belize - Cave tubing with Reggie. Hands down winner. Go to www.regtours.com. $65/person and you'll have a great time. Nothing like you've ever done and perfectly safe for you daughter. Easy walk through the jungle, then float on an inner tube through caves and the jungle. Gentle ride and a blast. You may want to bring a life jacket if she is small, but if she is comfortable in the water, there is no need. Longer ride than with the ship and $30/person less money! Just get up early to get early tender tickets to get off the ship early in the day.
Cozumel- Cab ($10) to Chakanaab ($10/person entrance fee) to relax, beach, snorkle, swim w/dolphins (extra charge). Or, rent jeep from Budget at the pier ($65/day) and spend the day the way you like. SanFransciso Beach is beautiful and free, you can visit some Mayan ruins (marginally good), and go to Chakanaab or Palancaar reef. Other side of the island has huge waves for body surfing and just admiring.
Write me if you want more info. We had a great time at these ports.
I use a private guide in Belize to take us to see the ruins. His name is Mark McField his email is markmcf@BTL.net. He is a great guy picks us up at the tender port and is a very knowledgable guide. Email me if I can answer any of your questions?