Is it true it's very hard to get signed up on the boat to get shore excursions? does anyone have any advice on when to sign up? I was thinking as soon as we get in our cabin the day we sail out. I have had some people tell me even then if your really lucky maybe we'll get signed up. Should we set these up on our own before we go? We want to do the Dolphin Swim & Dunns River in Ocho Rios and Stingray city in the Cayman Islands.
The really popular shore excursions do fill up quickly. In some cases you may be able to sign up prior to sailing, but I think that is only an option on some cruise lines; you'll have to check with your TA if it's available on your trip. If you already know what you want to do then you should sign up in advance. Otherwise, go straight to the purser's desk when you board, stand in line, and sign up for your excursions.
We've never been all that interested in particular shore excursions so we've reviewed the options and chosen one well into the sailing. On a few occasions we were told our selection was sold out but it didn't negatively affect us as we just chose another one. There are plenty of excursions and most of them are very interesting.
You sign up using the system on your TV in your cabin (that was the only way to sign up on the Triumph). It begins working about 30mins to 1 hr after departure. We did the dolphin swim and dunns river and it was enjoyable, but for the dolphin swim, I would suggest doing it at Dolphin Cove in Orlando - I have done both and Dolphin Cove is much, much better! So much so, that I am going back to do it again on June 12. I will suggest it to anyone who is doing a pre or post stay in Orlando prior to a cruise, but keep in mind that Dolphin Cove is an all day experience and gives you 7 free admission days to Sea World included in the cost. You also snorkel on a coral reef (man made, but everything is real and a lot of different fish), and swim with the stingrays in the stingray pool where if you are there at the right time, you can feed them - just ask Jason, the diver who is in the pool most of the day, what time they are going to feed - I think it was around 1:30-2:00.
The most popular excursions - party boats and snorkeling, do fill up fast, but we were able to find room the day prior on a couple of excursions where people had cancelled. Most people don't begin to seriously think about excursions the first day, so when you get to you cabin, look at the information sheets they leave and there is also a shore excursion book in the rooms with more details of excursions, and book as soon as you have made a decision.
Don't forget to visit Margaritaville Jamaica - it has a pool with large slide (like on ship), a hot tub, a swim up bar, and the most fun I have had in Jamaica. It is within walking distance of the ship (about 10 min walk).
We have always signed up for the excursions on the first day and always got our first choice.
Some ships have the Fun Vision where you sign up on your television and others have a form you have to drop off in a box outside the shore excursion desk. When you get to your cabin there will be a shore excursion brochure listing everything available and how to sign up for them. Just follow those instuctions on that first night and you should have no problems.
we were going to go to the Renaissance Grand Hotel in Jamaica I heard it was beautiful there and you can use their facilities. Which is better Margaritaville or the other. You have to take a cab to the Renaissance. We weren't going to do the excursion thing as this way we could enjoy the hotels and the beach without any time limit.