The must-do excursion in Grand Cayman, in my opinion, is the swim with stingrays. The turtle farm is nice too. In Cozumel, I would suggest either the Tulum ruins or the dolphin swim.
Its always more expensive to get the tours thru the ship, but they'll hold the ship if your tour is late returning. For a good example of how that helps, read my posting at www dot mycruiseadventures dot com for the Caribbean Adventure / Grand Cayman page.
My wife and I were on this cruise last year and we took a ship excursion which went to the turtle farm, hell and the stingrays all in one deal. we enjoyed that a lot. it was a highlight of the trip. In Jamaica, we did a beach day at a private beach, do that, the town was scary. we were followed everywhere we went and constantly approached to buy one thing or another, legal or otherwise. we had a very bad impression of Jamaica. In cozumel, our tour operator drove us to a location of another excursion and then told us that was the best he could do. not very impressive. Sadly, irritation is the lingering memory of this port. I don't know what to advise here.
By the way, the ship was great and we really did have a great time.
I will let you know when we return how our excursions were. We are booked through the ship on only one, in Jamaica the Rose Hall all inclusive resort and water park. In Grand Cayman we are using Captain Marvin's for the sting ray site and two additional snorkeling sites and in Cozumel we have booked the dolphin swim directly with Chankanaab park. My friend has been to Cozumel before so it's not an unknown to one of us. Since the park is only five miles from the ship getting a taxi shouldn't be too difficult...we'll allow enough time to walk the five miles if need be however!!!
thanks ya'll. I agree about Jamaica, i really dislike Jamaica as a whole, i went to Ocho Rios about 12 yrs ago and it was the same, people trying to sell my DH cocaine, pot you name it (they didnt approach me, just him..poor guy). Even our nice hotel(and it was nice) was reeking of pot.
People harrassed us on the beach, which was supposed to be private, and the airport was the worst!!
Grand Cayman - book and independant tour with the sting rays, we have used Captain Marvin and Captain Bryan both very good.
Cozumel - if you snorkel or want to give it a try, book a ships snorkel/beach tour. Snorkeling the reefs is amazing.
Jamaica - the hottest tour now is the "Original Canopy Tour" zipline line tour thru the jungle. River tubing and river rafting is also great fun. If you are docking in Ocho Rios I would highly recommend booking a tour with Peat Taylor he is great,do a search under his name to find his web site.
We sailed on the Conquest in August 2005 (we were the last group to disembark before Katrina hit ) We loved Jamaica! I believe I found Barrett Adventures through this forum. We went to Y-S falls and the Black River trip. Our tour guide met us in the terminal and took us on a wild van ride though beautiful countryside to the falls. Our guide was wonderful pointing out coffee, pineapple, and other native flora. He brought us right back to the terminal. We never encountered any negative behavior in Jamaica.
We did the stingray trip in Grand Cayman. It was nice but crowded.
We went to Tulum from Cozumel. We did book this through Carnival and it was great. The only downside is that it took all of our time so we didn't get to see anything of Cozumel.