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Old April 27th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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Default First time cruise

I have a ton of questions!! We are very excited about our first cruise. We are leaving Miami on the Imagination and going to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Any tips, advice for first times is greatly appreciated.

Tips? Do we tip more than the $10/day/person

Excursions? Purchase ones offered? Which ones are fun? Go off on our own? Is it safe to go to the beaches on our own in Jamaica or Caymen?

Dress? I've read about formal nights...??
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Old April 27th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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You will enjoy Grand Caymana nd Jamaica. I do!!!

Tips--if you feel the service is good you can tip your cabin steward more, and each day if you like. The $10 per day is an easier way to do tips, so no extras are needed unless you feel the service was above and beyond. We tipped our cabin steward an extra $40 on our Conquest cruise because she really did go the extra mile each day!!!

Excursions--in Grand Cayman there will be buses that will take you on improtu tours to where you want to go. You can book an excursion and feel safe, or just wing it on your own. Since it is your first, I'd stick with the ships excursions this time. Stingray City is a must and I'll be back in Grand Cayman in Jan 09 to finally see ALL of Boatswain Beach (Turtle Farm) this time (third time lucky?). Jamaica-go with a tour and Dunn's River Falls is a must.

Formal nights-it is up to you. You can bring a fancy party dress or a outfit you would wear to a nice restaurant back home when you got for a special occasion dinner. Some people take no dressy clothes at all. Me dress pants and a nice blouse is as formal as I get!!!!

Happy sailing!
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Old April 27th, 2008, 04:28 PM
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You will love the Imagination, my personal favorite . Go to the shows they are very good. Read your Carnival Capers daily, the Not So Newlywed Game was hilarious . I even got out of my chair on deck & paused sunning for that show. THe ice cream & pizza are wonderful & they are available 24 hrs . Take stairs and you won't have to worry about weight gain .

Grand Cayman the Stingray City tour is a must. We took the tour offered on ship it included : Turtle Farm, 7 mile beach & Stingray City. Don't know if still available . You should have plenty of shopping time after this tour, we did.

Ocho Rios Dunn's Falls is also a must. Take water shoes for this one & you will get wet . We also booked this through ship. It included bus around city, stopped at Shaw Garden Park(very pretty), Dunn's Falls & then to a protected shopping area. This is a great way to see Jamaica since you're not there very long. Some of our friends took a snorkeling cruise to Dunn's Falls. Since I could'nt swim at the time, that was out of the question for me. They loved it.

Be careful in Jamaica the locals can be fairly persistant in wanting to sell you things It "WAS" a locked (locals out) shopping area, if that tells you anything. Got back on ship and saw no reason to get off when Carnival tour was over.

Don't mean to scare. Just be observant of your surroundings. As we should at all times, even in good Ol' USA.

Just relax, enjoy & be prepared to book your next cruise, you will be hooked 8) .

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Old April 27th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Above posts hit the nail-just be sure that you do not go off on your own in Jamaica (no matter what anyone else tells you).
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Old April 27th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Another great way to do Dunn's River Falls is the Cool Runnings Catamaran Tour. This is a ships tour that takes you to the falls on the Cat and then after the climb back aboard the catamaran with an open bar for a sail to the beach where you get a couple of hours beach time. I highly recommend Dunn's River Falls but be aware that you will be climbing and must be reasonably fit for this activity and you will get WET. Good water shoes required. As others have said in Jamaica stick to ships tours or stay in the tourist zone.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 05:06 PM
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I agree with KY Cruiser, stick to the Carnival sponsored tours on your first cruise. Once you a comfortable making your way around in foreign ports and getting back to the ship on time, then try roaming out on your own. A lot of tours can be picked up dock side or on-line cheaper but you need to know what you are doing.

My first cruise was on the Imagination and it was great! We have a cruise (our 5th) in July on a similar ship, the Fascination. They are smaller than the newer ships but a really great way to go for your first cruise.

Grand Cayman is great and I would second both the Turtle Farm and the Stingray City tours. You might even have time to stop in a little town called Hell. The name comes from unusual rock formations on site but the most fun comes from sending out letters post marked from Hell.

I haven't been to the other ports you listed so I'm not much help there.

ENJOY!
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Old April 28th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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Jamaica...Grand Canopy Tour

Grand Cayman...Seatrek

Both are through Carnival, so you should be okay. Experiment with booking private excursions on your next cruise.

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Old April 30th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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Thanks for all the replies!!! Has anyone ever purchased the insurance Carnival offers? Is it worth it or a waste of money?
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Old April 30th, 2008, 08:35 PM
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I forgot to mention that Island Village shopping area is a very short walk, less than 5 minutes from the end of the dock, to get to. The walk there is quiet and you shouldn't be bothered because on one side is all vacation condo's and the other side is a small two store shopping area with a bar, and then a strange sunken area that looked like it could have been a tennis court or parking lot (there is a fence on the other side which is where Island Village shops are). The cab drivers around Island Village are very polite and a no thanks will do, plus there is security guards at the entrance.

I was asked at least two or three times to braid my hair, but I said no thanks and they let it be. The walk there and back is safe. I'd do it if I was alone, but if you are with someone else or a group you'll have no worries at all.
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I gotta go where it's warm.....

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