Can someone give me some websites where I can book excursions for Ocho Rios? Is it better to do your excursions with a private company or book them through your cruise line? We are sailing Carnival Imagination in March 2008.
In Jamaica I would advise anyone to book excursions through the cruise line.
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We went on the "Dunn River Falls" tour through our ship, Carnival's tour. The price was reasonable and we had a very good time. If you do decide to go to walk in up the falls, be prepaired to pay $10.00 to rent special shoes. They won't let you go in the water without the shoes. Also try the "Jerk Chicken", it's outstanding!, and don't forget the "Red Stripe Beer".
You might want to be careful going on your own downtown Ocho Rios. It's not a safe area, a lot of pick-pocketing, hassling and drugs. You don't want to end up in a Jamican jail.
That's why we always go with the ships tours or a very reccomended tour group. They only take you to good safe areas.
Dave USN, RET.
We booked a private tour that includes Dunns River Falls and River Tubing through Island Marketing. We heard good reviews about them but can't give our opinion on them until after our tour with them in July. They were reasonably priced and offered a tour combo that was not available through the cruise ship. Also they avoid the cruise ship crowd by getting you to the Falls before the rest of the cruise ship passengers arrive.
If you have done so, cancell it. Let go the 25%. Your well being is much important.
I have booked with these guys for a Dunns RIver fall and highlights of OCho RIos. The first surprise we had was that the tour group included just 2 of us in a mini bus. My wife was scared to step in due to the non-popular news about Jamaica. However, we went to Dunns river and finished the climb. We came back to the bus and had to wait for the guide, TREVOR for 20 minutes. We were approched by several sales guys (my wife already nervous). At last he showed up because somebody saw waiting and called him.
Then he took us to the rainforest and a shopping tour. At the top od the rainforest drive, we stopped for a coconut water. We got the coconut water OK. Now the guy at the roadside bar wanted us to go inside and pay. There was a rundown shed and we were the only 2 tour members. I didn't want to leave my wife there alone while I go inside. So I took her also. There inside was drug sale going on and we were in the middle of druggies. I came out immediately and insisted that I will pay here at the raodside only. Then one guy came out and took $4 for the coconut and we boarded the bus. Then TREVOR said he is taking us for shopping and took us to some "huts" on the top of a mountain and introduced one girl and said I should buy from her. We just bought a t-shirt because we just want to finish the trip. Altogether we took only 2.5 hours and I asked him to drop us back to ship. He was asking why don't want to finish the tour. Then, probably he realized about our feelings and started explaining about the pot trees and how it is common in Jamaica and all.
Book with the SHIP only. I am not a high roller who do not care about money. I know the ship cost is almost doule than these guys. But choose the ship excursion in Jamaica.
We just returned from our cruise. We used Island Marketing in Ocho Rios for the Dunns River Falls and River Tubing tour. We had a marvelous time. Our driver was Paul and we felt very safe with him and all throughout the tour.
The only complication was that the tour was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Jamaican time, rather than 8:00 ships time. We came to the pier at 8:00 a.m., which is 7:00 in Jamaica. Someone called Mr. Prendergast, the guy incharged of Island Marketing in Jamaica and he arrived around 20 minutes later. They apologized for the confusion and concluded that our ship came in early as it was only 7:20 there time! Our family of 5 as well as another family of 4 from the ship where all on the tour together. Denton Prendergast drove us to a larger mini van just behind the pier, where we changed drivers and got Paul. Paul took us directly to Dunns Falls. Paul already had the tickets for us and we were able to proceed directly to the Falls entrance. There was already one large group there, probably from the ship, but our tour group of 9, was able to pass by this group and go up the falls without the crowds of people. We could keep our belongings (clothes, towels) on the bus. Paul assured us that our belongings would be safe as he will keep the bus locked. Paul was waiting for us at the van when we were ready to go.
Paul then took us to the River Tubing excursion and was waiting for us at the end.
After our tour, we asked Paul, if he could drive us up Fern Gully. He was willing to do so, but could not take us up far as he was scheduled to pick up another tour group. He was conscious of our safety and reminded us to be careful crossing the road to take pictures. He even crossed the road with us and took a photo with us in it.
After that he dropped us off at Island Village where we spent some time at Margarittaville before heading back to the ship.
Overall we found everyone to be friendly and helpful and our visit to Jamaica was one of the highlights of our trip. Our only complaint is that Island Marketing should schedule the tour for 8:00 ships time--not 8:00 Jamaican time in order to avoid the large crowds of people climbing the Falls.
My husband and I booked an ATV adventure through Princess and it was the highlight of out cruise. There are too many sketchy people there to book anything that hasn't been investigated and sanctioned by the cruiselines.
Peat Taylor. Loved it. Very knowledgable. Tour very much a more authentic experience. Great prices!!! Nice people. Peat Jr. such a gentlemen. Don't 4 get waterproof cameras, watershoes and lockers $8 with $ refunded when done. Bon Voyage!!!
Sailed Imagination also. Great ship. Older of fleet, but well cared for.
"Life is a journey, not a race"