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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:49 PM
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Default Ocho Rios - Stay On Board Or Get Off and Explore?

We are taking the Carnival Victory in the fall. One of our stops is Ocho Rios - Jamaica. I have talked to a number of people about this stop, and I usually am given two pieces of advice:
1. Ocho Rios and area is a wonderful area to explore
2. All of Jamaica is awful - stay on the ship

We love to explore areas, and we enjoy snorkeling, thus the question is as follows:

Those of you who actually visited Ocho Rios -

-Did you enjoy it?
-What did you enjoy the most?
-Did you go snorkeling with a tour?
-Any other sights that you would recomend?
-Can you take taxis to places such as Dunn's Falls with relative ease?
-What were the problems and hassles you encounted?
-You don't really suggest that we stay on board? If so - why?

There are no right or wrong answers, and all feedback is appreciated.
I thank you in advance for you insights

ESS
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Old May 25th, 2006, 10:55 PM
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Dunns Falls is awesome...worth the trip for that. They drive like mad, there way of letting you know they are coming is honking the horn.

GO TO DUNNS....
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Old May 25th, 2006, 11:09 PM
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I agree with Scott....Dunns River Falls was great. He is so right about the drivers.....I thought New York cabbies were bad! The Jamaicans certainly have them beat. Just watch out for the locals as you leave the falls, they will try to sell you everything! Have fun
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Old May 26th, 2006, 07:11 AM
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We have been to Ocho Rios twice, the first time we booked an excursion to Dunns River Falls thru Carnival and had a great time. We were taken there by catamaran, dropped off, and picked up later (complimentary rum punch on the return trip). We were advised to leave all our possessions on the catamaran, which we did. All you need to climb the falls is a bathing suit and water shoes. The second time we stopped in Ocho Rios we walked to the market adjacent to the pier and ended up at Margaritaville (yummy wings and Red Stripe) which has a big swimming pool in the middle of their restaurant with a slide. When you enter the restaurant, they will put a wristband on you which allows you access to their beach area. On our walk to the marketplace, we were approached a few times by people offering tours, etc., we just said no thanks.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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Jamaica is a beautiful, lush tropical island. We are doing the river tubing/Dunns River fall tour on our next cruise.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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I have been to OchoRios several times and have done dunns River twice AWESOME lots of fun and worth the trip. Lots of great shopping near the port. get off, explore and enjoy.

Laura
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Old May 26th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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I didn't get off the last time we cruised and I felt cheated. Get off the ship and enjoy. If you are worried about safety, book through the ship.

Most of all, have fun

Luanne
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Old May 26th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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when we went to ocho rios we enjoyed ourselfs we went to the coyaba
river gardens and dunn's fall the river garden was beautiful and the falls were great this is a carnival shore tour i would thake shore tour you don't get hassle i personal enjoy get off the ship at the ports of call and see different places
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Old May 26th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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I would eithor do a ship sponsored tour or arrange something with one of the more well known tour guides. Physicallly it is a beautiful place. We did the canopy tour last Nov and had a blast although the drive up the mountain was scarier than the tour itself!
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Old May 26th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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Get Off,and Have FUN!!
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Old May 29th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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Default Thanks Everone!

Thank you everyone for you insights and comments
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Old May 29th, 2006, 07:43 PM
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Take the DunnsRiver Falls tour with Peat Taylor. I don't have his email address but he's on the cruise boards. He was great, the tour is awesome and we were safe. Then go to Margaritaville for a drink. It was fun and we had a teenage daughter with us who felt completely safe with us.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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Default Peat Taylor

I agree with maynovmom, go with Peat Taylor. Google Peat Taylor and it should be the second link down.
He is awesome.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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I agree with what everyone has said: Get off the ship and explore the islands. You can do Dunn's River Falls either on your own via a taxi from the pier or via a tour. You can do a tour of the rainforrest or the island. Do some shopping; Most of the solicitors can be handled with a friendly but stern NO Thank you. Treat people with respect and they will do the same in return.

In any port that you haven't been to before always get off the ship and see it for yourself. Make your own opinion and don't rely on someone else's assessment. One person's junk is another's treasure.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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So true Mike, So true
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:27 PM
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I had read many bad reviews but I LOVED Jamaica

I booked the Cool Runnings cruise thru carnival

Got off ship and went to the Island village, enjoyed a cup of Blue Mountain coffee at Oceans 11..

yes, some cab drivers etc ask you if you need a cab etc..but I just told them I was booked on Cool Runnings and they were fine
I think that if you smile and talk to them and do not act annoyed that they are nice, they all told me to have fun on Cool Runnings

I met Audia Gayle who asked to braid my "short" hair > but she also does masages and I told her I would visit her for a massage after the boat trip to falls

then I got on Cool Runnings which was a blast..I did not climb the falls, just the steps, but that was fun to watch, I also played in the water under the falls
coming back was unlimited rum punch or rum and pepsi or diet pepsi, lots of dancing and fun...."electric slide", YMCA, shake your booty
the crew is a lot of fun and full of energy, bought a cool runnings tee too


Back at the village went to Natty Nails and Braids shop where Audia had a nice clean sheet towels and flower (!!) on the massage table for me...open air but nicely hidden so no privacy problems

really nice to chill for half an hour and listen to regaee while having neck and back rub...$1 a minute...I highly reccomend it...
tell Audia that "Cheri" sent ya ...she is a sweetie and everyone in the village seems to know her

Bought tees, coffee, a picture, saw artists and people and had a ball , I love love love Jamaica...lush, green, mountains, waterfalls...brilliant music and food and arts

Grand Cayman was nice but NO different from Boca Raton.

Jamaica is a vibrant, bustling culture and world of it's own
I would love to return
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Old June 1st, 2006, 06:14 PM
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Default Ocho Rios

My daughter and I took a shore excursion (Not Dunn's falls, heard it is overrated) but rather a ride down the White river on inner tubes. It was a great trip up, as our bus driver was very personable and gave us insight into some of the 'off the beaten track' locales in the area. We ended up at a place serving jerk chicken and beer, with a rope swing over the lazy river. It was a great trip.
My wife, on the other hand, was accosted by street hawkers trying to get us into cabs, over to shops, etc. It was disconcerting, and nearly fatal, as she stepped around a gaggle of these guys blocking the sidewalk onto the street to move by and nearly got hit by a bus (traffic goes on the opposite sides of the road).
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 01:04 PM
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My wife and I took a Western Caribbean Cruise (Paradise) a few years back and stopped in Ocho Rios. We took the hike up the falls (name ?). We got on a motorboat with a small Jamaican Crew ("ya mon") and started drinking a rum drink at 10:30am. Hey, it's a vacation, but not something I do anytime else. The crew were polite and funny. When we got to the falls, there were "guides" at the difficult places to climb up the falls but nothing too hairy. I would suggets wearing tevas or aqua shoes. Once at the top, there were a few guides holding their hands out for tips. We tiped some but not others and heard some grumbling fromt the ones we did not tip. Once we returned from the tour (2-3 hours later) we decided to return to the ship and relax eventhough we still had a few hours before the ship departed. We had a pleasant memory of Ocho Rios and wanted to keep it that way. Hope this helps, we recommend you explore this port but be safe, go with a group if at all possible. Good Luck. Our next cruise is on the Carnival Liberty, "Rome to Home" on November 3, 16 days, Rome to Ft. Lauderdale. Can't wait!!!
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