I have been reading alot of posts on here and I have heard alot of bad (mostly bad) and good about Jamaca. I will be going on the Inspiration on Nov 17. I was curious what would be the best thing to do in Montego Bay. Stay on the ship or go on an exursion and which one.
At least go to Margaritaville, they have a really neat water slide there. My wife and I were on the Inspiration in March and we took a shopping and sightseeing tour which wasn't too bad but wasn't great either, not worth the $27 apiece. Shopping was okay if you like that kind of stuff, be sure and work them down on prices. My wife is not good at this so after she bought her first item for the asked price, I helped her after that. The shopkeepers can be a little pushy trying to get you in their store and they all have the same stuff. You can do the shopping and Margaritaville on your own and save a little money. Overall I didn't care for Montego Bay at all. The people who took the Ocho Rios excursion said it was a long bus trip and didn't spend a lot of time there. I would at least get off the ship and do something though.
We did Mountain Valley Rafting. We really enjoyed floating down the river on our own little boat with our own guide. The guides are very knowledgable and try hard to please, hoping for a bigger tip. It was a lazy excursion, but we enjoyed it. The shopping was a bad experience. Too much come-on for cheap merchandise at inflated prices. Couldn't find anything I wanted to buy.
Do NOT do the Dunns River Falls tour. The falls are gorgeous, but you are herded up them like a bunch of cattle. I had a tour guide for the next group right behind me, and he kept blowing his whistle and yelling in my ear. I had a terrific headache afterwards. Also, you spend 2.5 hours on a tour bus each way. You do get to see a lot of Jamaica (mostly desperate poverty), though. And the drivers in Jamaica are absolutely crazy!! I was glad I was sitting in the back of the bus so that I couldn't see how many close calls we had.
Contact Carolyn Barrett at Barrett Adventures (www.barrettadventures.com). She has a bunch of tours available, plus she will work with you to plan your own tour. She will meet you at the pier, and you get a driver in a comfortable van. We are taking a tour with her on Christmas Day. She sent a very interesting slide show, illustrating how terribly crowded Dunns River Falls is on holidays (there will be many ships in port on Christmas Day). We are going to a different set of falls (sorry, can't remember the name right now), then to lunch, then swimming, then shopping, then whatever we want. You pay a flat fee buy the hour per person, which varies with the total number of poeple. For us, it is $5/hour per person for 6 people (plus admission to the Falls). Our tour will last about 6 hours. We do not know the other two couples that are going with us. Carolyn asked if it would be OK to book others who had expressed interest. We had no problem with this, it will be a small group and it keeps the cost down. Yes, it will be expensive day, but I feel we will see more of the island than possible on a ship tour, and will not have to deal with the thousands of people at the Falls. Email Carolyn, she will get back to you quickly and plan whatever type of tour that fits your interest and schedule.
My son and his wife were on the Aug 11 sailing of the Inspiration. They hired an independant taxi on the pier , however they felt quite uncomfortable during the ride- he took them through areas that were quite intimidating and tried to pressure them into going into areas that they were not interested in; their tablemates had similar experiences and they heard many negative comments from other passengers on their experiences in port. This might be the port to choose a Carnival shore excursion for the sake of safety.
I agree with the above ref. poster that suggested barrett adventures! Carolyn was great- extremely interesting and one of the best days of cruise memories that we have. If you do book with her, please tell her bill and amy from Texas say hello! (the name of the falls we went to is YS Falls) Gorgeous!!!ehogan wrote: