I've seen lots of postings about what not to miss, the must-do's of cruising, etc. I'm wondering what are the "don't waste your time" events??? What did you do in the past on a cruise that you wouldn't do again and why (not looking for personal stuff...I'm asking about Capers activities, shore excursion stuff, etc)?
Hi Kris, me again! There's not much onbard that I didn't enjoy - I've tried most activities and had alot of fun. We've only had one unfortunate shore excursion to the Baths in Virgin Gorda, where the jellyfish outnumbered the tourists, but despite that, it was still a beautiful place. Onboard, I've done the ship tour ( a good way to find your way around the ship the rest of the week), played trivia (I won a "ship on a stick"), played Bingo (won nothing), participated in a passenger variety show (I was a California Raisin!!), and watched, if not participated in, events such as the belly flop contest, hairiest chest contest, water balloon catching contest, etc... all fun to watch.
Less than 2 weeks, we'll be there to do all this stuff ourselves!!
On our first cruise, our first stop was at St. Thomas. We were with a group of 16 all together, almost all first cruise. Well, I had read up on alot of things, so I wanted to just take a taxi to Meagans bay, but they wanted to book the shore excursion from the ship, didn't want to be left on our first island! We did have a wonderful time, but paid way to much just to get to the beach. After our first cruise, we started booking shore excursions mostly on our own, I try to research as much as I can.
After all 5 of our cruises, I really can't think of much where I didn't enjoy them. I am just addicted to cruising! Like everyone else on these boards.
Looks like Kris and Donna will be sailing very soon!
NCL Dawn (Repo 14 nite) 11-1-09
RCCL Mariner of the Sea (Mexican Riviera) 4-18-10
That seems to be something I hear alot. "Should have just booked on our own." So, my question is this...what shore excursions should you definitely book through the ship? We are going to Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Martin. We are interested in water sports, sting ray city, snorkeling and active excursions. Also looking for advice for older people who would probably be more comfortable with planned tours so that they are not walking too much.
Paradise City and Sting Ray Snorkle...On own or through ship.
4 x 4 Adventure Safari...On own or through ship
Coki Beach and Coral World...On own or through ship
For Coki Beach and Coral World, I would take a taxi, and see if they have taxi's there for when you leave. If not, see if the taxi driver would come back at a specific time to pick you up. Or, be sure you have the taxi co phone # to call them. They probably have lots of taxi's at the entrance/exit later in the day to take people back to the cruise ships. I felt very safe on St. Thomas, it is part of the USA.
For the sting ray city, check out this web site, to see if it would help you out some:
I also have enjoyed all of my cruises. I would say in the Bahamas we did the glass bottom boat because we had a young child and she could participate it was o.k. They only let you down to the glass bottom portion for like 10 minutes. Two groups go separately. Kind of a waste but it happens. Definately stingray interactions are awesome!!! Stephanie
I wouldn't take the San Juan City Tour again. Spent 1/2 hr. at a Fort (on our own). Drove to the downtown core and were left (on our own) for an hour and 20 min. to walk around and explore. As we drove towards the ariport the driver pointed out significant buildings.
The only reason we did this tour was to kill time before our flight home.
The other thing I would no longer do is ship excursions. Private cabs is the way to go. In St. Thomas we paid $10 each for a 3 hour tour of the island. In St. Lucia my wife and I spent almost 3 hrs. at the beach while the cab driver waited for us in his car. Same thing in the Domenican the cab driver slept in the parking lot as we tanned at the beach.
The only thing to keep in mind when doing private tours is that most of them will discount you if there are 4 - 6 people. Which is usually not dificult to do as soon as you step off the ship.
I'm probably in the minority but Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman is something I hated. We booked through Carnival and our boat was the first one out there. The sting rays swarmed. I had a difficult time getting into the water because the were everywhere and then they kept knocking me over. I didn't like the slimey feeling of them either.
I also hated stingray city (grand cayman). Because she rubbed her leg after touching the bait, my ten year old daughter got a giant suction bruise (hickey) that encompassed her entire upper thigh, and was in pain the rest of the cruise. Next time, we'd just do regular snorkling.
Home Lines Atlantic 7/88; Cunard Countess 6/89; Costa Riviera 5/90; Explorer of the Seas 8/02; Adventure of the Seas 8/03; Carnival Miracle 6/04
I wouldn't do Freeport on my own again! BORING tourist trap! Definately the place to book an excursion!
Also, I wouldn't pass up the shipboard activities for the art auction. Even though I won the auction raffle last time, I really feel like I missed out on some good fun elsewhere on the ship because I felt compelled to stay for the entire 4 hours! Don't get me wrong - the auction was nice, but next time, I'll leave after my pieces are on the auction block.
Up next: April 2011 Carnival Legend!
We watched an hour of the Art Auction our last trip and that was enough. - liked to see what it was about but didn't want to sit for 4 hours of my cruise in there. Bingo - too expensive for me. And I wouldn't do Roatan Honduras on my own again - didnt' like the people at all and got ripped off. Debbie
I no longer attend any of the shopping talks, shore excursion talks or the debarkation talk. Essentially, these are long-winded commercials peppered with corny jokes you are sure to have heard if you have cruised before. The debarkation talk heavily emphasizes rating everything as excellent, sort of a guilt trip!
However, I usually tune in to these talks while dressing for dinner in case there is something I did not know!
The DH and I decided not to book a tour- we'd adventure on our own! It just happened that we chose Belize City to do this in. First, we exited the gate of the port, to be swarmed by people trying to offer us tours, etc. We escaped and made it into the heart of Belize city- on foot. DH is 6'4" and glowing red from sunburn, I am 5'11" with blonde hair- hmmm, we stuck out like a sore thumb. The city was ghetto fabulous, with windows boarded up and cars on blocks, After being accosted by beggars, and almost getting pickpocketed by two rogue thugs, we practically ran back to the pier. "I trade you your boo-ti-ful wife for sheep!" one man yelled. The DH turned down his offer, as he well knows I am worth at least 300 cows. Once we got back to the pier, which is gated to keep the riff-raff out, we spent the remainder of our afternoon drinking the locally manufactured beer at a small outdoor bar, laughing at our mis-adventure. One of the locals told us that we were lucky we were not kidnapped. The next time we decide to trek out on our own in a strange country, we'll do a little research, first. Our dinner mates were raving about their Belize tours and excursions, and looked at us with horror when we told them about what we did.
I, on the other hand, am one who only books through ships excursions. I've heard too many horror stories of people booking through indepentent excursions. When our daughter was in Cozumel a couple went horse back riding (didn't book through the ship), he ended up falling off the horse, had to be taken to the hospital and missed the ship by a hour or so. Also, someone in Aruba rented a jeep "on their own" and got a flat tire and didn't have a good spare. They had no idea how to go about letting the ship know they were stranded. Fortunately a ship booked excursion came upon them and helped them fix their tire so they made it back safely. It's well worth the extra $$ for me to have peace of mind. The ship knows where you are if you are on one of their excursions and if you aren't back when the ship leaves, they find out where you are.
NOOOO Jamaica unless an excursion. the small bit of shopping you can do without, Cozumel has the bestl Jamaica is scarry, unless you're looking fr Hepatitis and some weed.
Do the stingrays AND 7 mile isle beach in Grand Caymen,
Do an excursion in Beleize... you can pay $20 american to have anyone killed, doesn't matter if they're standing next to you at the time of transaction... need I say more. We did paradise Island, a bit of a haul to get there but better than the alternative.
Belize ruins are an over rated excursion because the are just beginning to excavate and you only look from the outside in.
Cozumel is safe and excellent
Grand Caymen is too expensive to shop, you can take aright at the pier and walk a 1/2 mile for some ok deals but china made tourist crap where the harley store is.
Playa de sol or Mia is the best add on to a Cozumel shopping day, just take a taxi and designate your own time on this fabulous beach! frequently added on during excursions, but their time was too short and ours not long enough!
I just got back from a Bahamas cruise and I didn't enjoy the Yellowbird Party boat excursion. The free rum punch was awful, basically just stale-tasting water. Many people threw it straight into the garbage. The island we stopped on was nice but I paid $5 for a broken beach chair because I didn't get to the beach fast enough. I wish I had taken the Athol snorkeling tour instead because people said it was wonderful.
Carnival Fascination: June 2004
Carnival Triumph: Halloween 2003
We didn't do any of the cave tubing or snorkeling. Like a previous poster we decided to do a tour of the city. We did this tour in a taxi. The guide told us when we were in the drug area. My wife piped up, we are only on social security.
When we got back to the start of the tour we hopped on the tender and sped back to the ship. By the way the tenders were great. 3 - 200 HP engines got you to the dock really quick, fortunately they got you away just as quick.
Hair braiding! Definitely hair braiding! Looks really stupid on an old woman like me and the people doing it in Nassau were arguing and yelling at other people the whole time they were doing my hair. A very uncomfortable, ugly, and expensive mistake!
The only thing I would change is the flight in - we took the red eye and basically were zonked the whole first day of the cruise - next time the day before for this gal - that and navigating the ship layout - I'd try to figure out where the dining room is before the last night - the Glory was very confusing lol. TTFN Jennifer
As for port excursions, the only thing I would not do again, would be the "Ocean to Ocean" tour in the Panama canal. They seem to overbook this tour and jam pack the ship with people. It is a three level ship and my group and I decided to load up on sunblock and get in the front row of the top of the ship for the best view. We sat in the blazing hot sun only to have ALL of the people on the boat stand in front of us as we got closer to the locks/canal. The photographer actually lined them up through and around us and positioned them exactly in front of us. I have a whole roll of film of people in my way with only the towers to the locks in view. Very disappointed to say the least. I did use the photos to get reimbursed for the tour. As for transfers, My Hubby hates them, we pay for a taxi instead, and we stay only at hotels that will drive us to the port. Transfers are so frustrating because you have to wait for a whole bus to fill up before it takes off, AND/OR it will make several stops to load up/drop off before your stop. When we arrive, we want to get there as quick as possible, not wait in line, with your luggage in the hot humid fume filled air.-Not a good way to start-or end your vacation.
Carnival Destiny 8/99 Fantasy 5/00 Island Princess 4/04
We wasted too much time in St Maarten shopping, we should have just bought our booze( which is what we always end of buying there) and spent the rest of the day at Orient Beach ( which we LOVED) .
Also in Grand Cayman the tour sucked, Hell is nothing, the Turtle farm is gross( turtles in vats, nice , like visiting a "chicken farm") The only highlight was 7 mile Beach which we spent 2 hours at but SHOULD have spent 4!
Port talks are stupid rip offs they give you almost NO information about where you are visiting, just tell you " where to shop" . It's a money grab for the cruiselines since they get a cut of the sales from there "approved" stores!
Wouldn't walk into Ochios Rios again, had similar experience to an above poster( my hubby is also 6'4'' and big) scary!
We do take taxis to the beaches( which is what we are interested in primarily) and found it to be the way to go, on " beach tours" with the ships , only stop at beaches for an hour or two , and always seem to " stop for shopping" ! Waste of our time!
A couple of don'ts that I would recommend after arriving home yesterday. We wanted to see Cancun after we shopped and toured the area in Playa Del Carmen. My advice is to do some of the boat tours and events if in port here and do shopping in Cozumel or sight seeing there. Much more to see. As for braiding hair, its much cheaper in Mexico than the Bahamas. Our girls got both of their hair braided for $10 each. It was $25-30 each in Freeport. If you go into Freeport, avoid the sightseeing and just hang around Port Lucaya. The market area is a little intimidating and dirty.