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ShotoJuku August 22nd, 2009 05:27 PM

Major Tom Anyone??
Has anyone ever gone cave tubing in Belize on the Major Tom excursion?

If so, good, bad, or indifferent, how was your experience?


colorcrazie August 22nd, 2009 05:53 PM

My DH has gone cave tubing twice in Belize, but through ship's tours. He loved it!

ShotoJuku August 22nd, 2009 05:57 PM

I haven't seen any cave tubing excursions listed on the CCL site (for Belize). :(

nlb1050 August 22nd, 2009 06:52 PM

Carnival quit giving the cave tubing tours after some problem with them. Don't remember exactly what happenned but the tours were deem too dangerous. Of course I don't know what tour company they used.

brad813 August 22nd, 2009 07:13 PM

Why does this post put the song in my head?

lhp August 23rd, 2009 12:21 AM

Carnival discontined the cave tubing because a passenger was killed.

The waters were running to high in the cave. All the independent tours had cancelled and Carnival did theirs anyway. The waters swept she and her husband into a rock...which knocked her out and she drowned.

It also sucked her husband down but he was able to be retrieved and was ok.

I say all that to say this....Carnival tours were never linked the entire time to a guide...and this is VERY important.

Both Major Tom and Yhoni link everyone THE ENTIRE TIME. People are also now required to wear helmets.

Hubby and oldest son did a tour with Yhoni last May and it was fine. (

But please understand that now that Carnival is not offering the seems the independents may be overwhelmed.

I have not heard any complaints about Yhoni yet, but there are some complaints from Major Tom about being rushed.

I never heard these kinds of complaints until AFTER Carnival no longer offered the tour.

Would I go cave-tubing? Of course....AS LONG AS you are linked to a guide the entire time.

Carrnival never linked. The guides would "suggest" that you hold on to someone....but there was never anyone linked to a guide the entire time.

nlb1050 August 23rd, 2009 09:25 AM

lhp, thanks for being able to give reason for Carnival stopping this tour. I only remembered that something had happenned but could not remember what.

nighthawk65 August 23rd, 2009 10:07 AM


I have used Major Tom before and will be using him again on my Valor cruise in March. As stated above people are linked together in groups of 12 and each group has its own guide. I don't know what other companys have for back up transportation, but Major Tom has at least two back up buses and also a tender boat on call. I'm trying to talk my wife into doing the Cave Tubing/Zip Line Combo. It will probably take the next six months to convince her to go for it.

Happy Sailing :D

ShotoJuku August 23rd, 2009 03:43 PM

I was looking into the cave tubing / zipline combo myself but my Wife is reluctant to do the latter.

I convinced her that the cave tubing was great by looking at Samantha Brown's (Travel Channel) cave tubing video on YouTube.

I made an online reservation with Major Tom's and will settle up ($$) with them on the dock.

brad813 August 23rd, 2009 04:27 PM

As long as you hold on and are under the weight limit of the equipment, ziplines are perfectly safe. The possibility of equipment failure is remote, and a zipline ride lasts up to about a minute normally. Your wife has no reason to be reluctant.

ArtByCrawford August 26th, 2009 11:22 PM

We did the cave-tubing/zipline combo with Major Tom in 2007 while on VALOR, and to this day it's one of the most exhilirating things I have ever done. Major Tom and his outfit are complete professionals, and from what I understand he is a pioneer in the cave tubing experience.

Major Tom met us himself on the dock after we had tendered into Belize City and then we rode a lengthy period to the excursion site. At the park we hiked for 45 minutes into the rain forest while Tom talked about the native plants and animals and the lives of his ancestors. We got the chance to stop and talk about poisonous snakes (don't get off the path), ancient rituals (there were magic mushrooms on the wayside), and an ancient Mayans diet. We all got the chance to eat huge termites from a fresh nest...Tastes like Mint!

Once we got to the river, we got into our inner-tubes and joined up into connected groups of 12, as was already mentioned.....Tom, or one of his sons, steered us throughout the excursion and provided explanations of what we were seeing and how best to navigate the river. We were never in any distress, though we saw tubers from Carnival and other cruise lines being swept away by side currents or into the brush areas because they were left free floating rather than having a cruise line representative help them.

In the end, after both excursions, our only concern was getting back to the ship on time...and this is where I need to caution everyone.....we almost didn't make it back to the ship!!! We were the last two people to walk onto the ship before the door was closed to sail away.

I credit that near miss entirely to Carnival.

Our excusion with Major Tom was to include passengers from both Valor and Legend. Legend was due in port an hour before us...However, a passenger suffered a heart-attack onboard after leaving Cozumel, so the ship turned back. She arrived almost 2 hours late to the port...which skewed everthing for the whole day, given the distance to the locations.

I'd book Major Tom again anytime. He's a great host with a great knowledge of the area. Be more aware of the ships.

Joko Joan August 28th, 2009 09:15 PM

Captain Tom
My family and I have been on one of Capt. Tom's cave-tubing adventures and we would highly recommend him to everyone. Our ages ran from 7 yrs. to 71. Capt. Tom's main concern is for the safety of all. Because I had had some trouble with walking, he had one of his sons take us on a "short-cut) whereby he took us to the end of the cave tour, pulled me and DH through to the beginning where we joined up with the rest of the family. His son, "Sonny" put in much effort to pull the two of us through and I can't praise him enough!

We were all able to take a break from the hike to the start of the tubing experience when we reached a very refreshing swim area. I must advise you to wear some sort of sneaker that you can also wear in the water. I found a terrific pair in Bealls that had cut-outs in the sides and back which made it easier for the water to run out.

What made Capt. Tom's tour different from the ship's was that each of us were lashed together in a train formation. We learned later that there was someone from the ship's tour that ran into a problem. And upon exiting the cave, there was the ship's photographer taking pictures of our experience, even of us, since there was no way he could know who was or was not on a ship tour. All in all I would give this tour 5*****. What classy gentlemen was Capt. Tom and his family. :D

colorcrazie August 29th, 2009 03:34 PM

My DH did this twice through the ship and loved it, but Carnival no longer offers it. I did not go because I would be unable to do the 45 min. walk to get to the river. I would never do a zipline, as I am terrified of heights. I would literally have a heart attack.
But, one thing people might want to be aware of is that the river is not exactly pristine. Any open water anywhere can have contaminants that you can't see, but this one has some nasties that are ONLY a concern if you have an open wound. No problem if you don't, but if you have a cut or large scrape, either don't go or make it waterproof, either with waterproof tape or something like Nuskin would probably work. And, do NOT swallow the water!
I don't mean to scare anyone off as this is a fun tour. Just use some common sense to stay healthy.

lhp August 30th, 2009 10:56 AM

I do not think anyone should be scared off these tours....however some new facts need to be addressed, so that people can make a fully informed decision.

Yhony ( and Major Tom have both always given passengers their money's worth.

I started reading up on them years ago on our first trip to Belize and over the years ...have read 95% positive stuff about both of them.

Hubby and oldest son tubed with Yhony in May 2008 and had a blast.

HOWEVER, what folks need to realize now is that since Carnival is not offering the cave-tubing excursion...those "bodies" are having to be absorbed by the existing independent tour operators....and (at least for awhile)....this "may mean" the independents experience some "growing pains".

And since the independents do not have a crystal ball to tell them if the cruise line's actions are temporary or permanent....the independents do not know if they should make the investment in additional guides and equipment or not. seems that (at least for awhile) there may be some strain on the independent's abilities.....

Not saying both still won't do a great job....just understand that they may be a bit "pushed" times....

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