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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2004, 04:11 PM
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Default Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

Help!

I am looking for some advice. My DH and I are planning to go to Dunn's River Falls when we stop at Montego Bay on our 8/1 Conquest cruise.

We've heard great things about Peat Taylor, and want to do the tour with his company. We've contacted him, and he responded (very promptly and nicely) that although he himself cannot do the tour, his assistant, Keith, can help us out. The tour will be $40 pp, but we need a minimum of four people, otherwise, my DH and I have to pay $160 to have the tour to ourselves.

The Carnival Dunn's River Falls tour is very similar to the one offered by Peat Taylor, and is priced at $59.

So, here's where I need help:

First, does anyone have any advice on Peat Taylor tours where Peat himself does not do the tour? Good idea? Bad idea?

Second, is there any chance I'll meet people on the message boards willing to go on this excursion with us? While $40/pp seems reasonable, we really don't want to pay $160 just for the two of us!

I'd really prefer to take the Peat Taylor tour rather than the Carnival excursion, because it will save us $38, and I've heard that these smaller, private tours are generally better, anyway. However, having never cruised before, my opinions are based solely on the vibe I'm getting from the boards--all thoughts are welcome on the subject!

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

-Christine

p.s. I did post this same question on another message board--sorry for the repeat, just looking for advice from all sources
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Old June 8th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

We were there a couple of years ago.. You can walk there from the ship in about 30 minutes, it's only about a mile. Go out the gate, turn right, stay on the road, you can't miss it. It cost about $7.00 to get in. Once in, you don't need a guide, just follow all the others. You can get a cab for about $7.00 a car load, each way, if you don't enjoy walking,as we do...
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Old June 9th, 2004, 09:43 AM
FodorsPeter
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

Be a little careful about walking to Dunn's River Falls. In the first place, there are two ports for cruise ships in Jamaica - Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and the distance to Dunn's is very different. Second, Jamaica (my opinion only) is one of the most dangerous places in the caribbean.

I would take a taxi (the ship's information will tell you which cabs are safe and which aren't so safe - red verses others or something like that). Between taxi fares and the cost to get in, you'll save a bundle compared to the ship's and Peat Taylor. The park actually provided the guides that take you up the falls. Also be aware that it takes about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the crowd and it is somewhat difficult because of the footing and the elevation. Wear some of those cheap water shoes with rubber soles.

It's a great excursion and they'll offer you a video that's shot by someone following your group up the falls. It's worth the money.

Peter
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Old June 9th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

We just got back from the Conquest. DRF are about 1.5 hours from MB in Ocho Rios. They have combined the Falls with another excursion,like DRF and Dolphin Encounter. They also have others.Go to Carnival's website and look up the trips. A lot of them don't tell you the length of travel time. Several that we did we wouldn't have done had we known the time to get to and from them.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 02:27 PM
NYERIC
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

The trip from Mobay to Dunns river falls is a fairly long one. We stayed in Montego bay and made the trip - it was a full day roundtrip (8am - 5pm) with a stop for lunch and shopping.

Jamaica is a beautiful country, crime is not a problem in the tourist areas- Jamaica just seems to get abad rap.

Like anywhere - dont venture to far off the beaten path without a guide - and use common sense. Irie!
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Old June 9th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

Thanks for all the responses.

Yes, we are arriving at Montego Bay--I certainly didn't plan on walking to DRF! Peat Taylor claims that our tour with his company will last about 5 hours, including a stop at Fern Gully and shopping and lunch in Ocho Rios. Still, given that this is a non-Carnival excursion, I am a little leery of time. (Don't want to miss our boat!)

I agree that Jamaica gets a bad rap for crime and general harassment. Fortunately, I've also heard that if you're with a reputable tour guide, you encounter less problems with aggressive sales people.

Thanks again for all the advice/encouragement! The more thoughts, the merrier!


Christine
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Old June 9th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

Bombero states you don't need a guide, however they look pretty slippery if you try to climb the falls. They manage to plan themselves on the rocks and give you a hand up, which most people really seemed to appreciate!

Enjoy!

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Old June 9th, 2004, 10:14 PM
Wade
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

My family and I are considering this tour, but we're not very fit. Can you just go view the falls without having to climb? Thanks!
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Old June 9th, 2004, 10:30 PM
EAP
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Default Re: I'm booked 8/1 Conquest

If you need 2 people to join you on your tour to DRF, I'll be glad to. I'm booked on the rivera deck but might get a up grade. This is actually my second carnival cruise trip. I hope we have a good time, on the biggggggg ship. Maybe if were lucky we might meet. We're from New York, enjoy your trip.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

We sailed on Conquest last September. The catalogue showed Montego Bay, but we were docked in Ocho Rios. We took a Peat Taylor tour, and were quite pleased. We did not have Peat, but the guide was very sure to get us back in time (30 min to spare). The trip from Ochos Rios to DRF was LONG, the roads are horrible, the narrow,unpaved or gravel roads and the traffic upon return had us worried we may not make it back. I would not recommend taking a Taxi. I would stick with a guided tour as Jamaica is not a place you want to be "left unattended "in. The DRF climb is not that difficult, but you may walk the stairs that run along the falls if you wish. All tours are guided, and you must stay with your group. I am not sure if this is just so the guides can earn money from tips or what. After the tour you must walk a "gauntlet" of vendors. They are very aggresive and are offended if you do not buy from them, and they will verbally let you know of their displeasure. The vendors will try to hand you something, then tell you that you owe them $5.00. If you take it you bought it!
The Falls are quite beautiful, but the vendors there stressed me out. I left feeling guilty for not buying, but I did not feel safe or comfortable stopping to shop. The tour guide took us to a shop downtown to get souvenirs, it had an armed guard standing at the door, and the prices were OK, but no real bargains. IF we ever have another stop in a Jamaican Port, I will probobly take advantage of the Spa specials on the ship.
Dunn's River Falls is worth a look, and Peat Taylor is a reputable guide, if I had to tour again I would use his company.

Have Fun
Lesley

Conquest 9/03
Glory 9/04
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Old June 9th, 2004, 10:52 PM
FodorsPeter
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

To Wade - you don't have to climb the falls. There are steps running alongside the falls that give you pretty much the same view as those in the water with less effort and risk.

Peter
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Old June 10th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

EAP--

We would love it if you could come along on the tour! We were really hoping to meet people on the message board who would be willing to go along. We're on the Empress Deck, yeah, it sure is a BIG ship, but I'm sure we can make arrangements to meet sometime before the tour. This is our first cruise, we're so excited!

Anyway, my e-mail is clrobekNOSPAM@yahoo.com (take out the "NO SPAM"). If you drop me an e-mail, I can forward you the confirmation Peat Taylor sent to me regarding the tour.

Thanks so much!

Christine
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Old June 10th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

Everyone--

Thanks for all the advice and stories about DRF and Jamaica, it is all getting me so excited about the cruise--these 52 days cannot go by fast enough!

--Christine
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Old June 10th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

I took the tour with Keith last summer. Biggest problem is the drive to Ocho Rios. Two hours on bad roads. Keith was OK. Nothing spectacular but be prepared for a long and hang on to your seat drive. Really enjoyed the falls but wouldn't do it again from Montego Bay.
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Old June 11th, 2004, 12:57 PM
cantw82cruz
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

Our family took the Peat Taylor tour in February from Montego Bay. Keith was our driver and was there waiting when we got off the ship. It is quite a long drive to the falls but Keith was very talkative and informative. The roads are very rough and they drive like maniacs but we still somehow felt safe with Keith. He did not take us up the falls but if you are reasonably physically fit you can manage it yourself. There are guides there and they will give you a hand even if you don't actually hire them to take you up the falls. Be aware that even if they just help you over one rock they will be waiting for you with hand out at the end. Also be prepared to get very wet. Great fun though!
After the falls, Keith took us shopping at a place where he said nobody would harrass us. I don't know how he defines harrassment but we definitely wanted to get out of there. Everyone was very nice there but they follow you around and you don't dare stop and look at anything because they won't let up until you agree to buy it. Very uncomfortable shopping in Jamaica. I don't think they realize that we would buy more if we could just look around in peace.
He then took us to Fern Gully which had a few nice views but really isn't worth it with the time constraint. I would skip it in order to have more time to travel back to the ship.
I don't know the name of the place that he took us for lunch in Ochos Rios but it was very expensive and the jerk chicken was really not that good. The plate that we ended up ordering because it was the cheapest was $11 each for a piece of chicken and some red beans and rice. I have always heard how fantastic jerk chicken is but we were not really impressed. The red stripe beer was, however, good and cold and only $2 each!
We were very short of time on the return trip and I have never seen such crazy driving but Keith did get us back with a little time to spare. For the most part we were pleased with our tour but would skip Fern Gully so as not to have the wild drive back. Have fun on your cruise!
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Old June 12th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Need Advice on Dunn's River Falls Tour on Conquest 8/1

KEITH THE ASSISTANCE TO PEAT IS AN AWESOME GUY AND VERY HELP TOO THEY DO REQUIRE A MIN (4 PEOPLE)THOUGH.
OH!! BY THE WAY PEAT IS ONLY A PUSH BUTTON WAY FROM KEITH... THEY HAVE A TWO WAY
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