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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Default Cruise line excursions vs. booking on your own

DH and I are taking our 1st cruise this fall. Do you recommend booking the excursions through the cruise line or on your own?? We are going to Cozumel and Grand Caymen. In Grand Caymen, we are definately going to do the Stingray City but we aren't sure what we want to do in Cozumel yet. Just curious what everyone's opinions are.....
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:24 PM
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We always kinda look around and see what we are doing...most often in Cozumel we do stuff on are own. Its very easy in both Cayman and Cozumel to get around..

But with Cayman being a tender port, when you book an excursion thru the cruise line you will recieve priority tender and get to get off the ship first.

So depending on when the time of your tours start that plays a huge role into it.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:43 PM
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My family and I did the Dolphin Swim at Chankanaab (sp?) Park, which was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. No need to book through the ship for this excursion. The park is maybe a 10 minute taxi drive from the ship and taxis are plentiful. This is one excursion I would feel very secure in booking on my own without fear of missing the ship and you will save some $$$ by doing it on your own. Plus, the park in itself is very nice to see.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 04:32 PM
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Many repeat cruisers to the Caribbean, find themselves walking of the ship and getting the tours right there..less expensive and easy to do...The only island I would say to do the ships tours are in Jamaica.

Remember by doing this, it is up to you,to get back to the ship on time, because, they will leave without you..The morning tours would eleviate any stressing about this issue...
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Old June 14th, 2010, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old June 14th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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i always book excursions through the cruise line. the ship won't leave without you. and they will if you are not back in time.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 08:47 PM
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As a first time cruiser I would book the tours withe the cruise line.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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It is rare for us to do ship excursions. They just aren't worth it, especially in Cozumel where transportation is plentiful and navigation is simple.

We were there last week and had the nicest time. I booked Nachi Cocom, which has a nice uncrowded beach, good food, pool with swim up bar, restaurant for one all inclusive price.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 09:54 AM
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We were in our 20's when we went to Bermuda and we did our own exploring .On our next cruise we were in our 50's and booked directly with the cruiseline as we did on out last and will do so on out next one
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Old June 15th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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First cruise.......definately go through Carnival for Cayman Island, especially for Stingrays. Those excursions are not that expensive. Cayman is a tendered port and you don't want to miss the last tendor to the ship. Do the Hell/Turtle Farm/Stingrays for a longer excursion. Hell is not much, but how often can you say "I've been to Hell and back". You can mail a postcard postmarked from Hell and buy cute hats and t-shirts. The turtle farm is fun too. You get to pick up the smaller turtles. They range from little to 400 pound turtles. Some are for consumption, some are set free.

With Cozumel......do some investigating and plan ahead what you want to do. Paradise Beach or Chakanaab (spelling?) are great places to go and easy to catch a cab back and forth.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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We have done it both ways. I always compare prices on the excursions through websites and then determine which is the better deal. If I book privately I always make sure we are done several hours before departure. For instance, in St. Thomas we did an excursion with a company that also had a similar excursion offered through Carnival. We had our own guide for just the 6 of us who really geared the trip for our children. My 10 y.o. can still tell you all about the animals we saw while snorkeling, and what a hurricane hole is and how it works! He taught his entire class about it when we got back from the trip. The people who booked through the cruiseline numbered about 35, and they had two guides for all of them! They also only did 1/2 the excursion we did, and paid almost twice as much as we did. We did have to pay for a taxi out to the site, but it wasn't enough of an expense to make up for what we saved. We also arranged to go early in the day, so we were back in plenty of time to get showers and go explore around the port some.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 01:03 AM
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Default Stunningly high prices

I most often stay on the ship and enjoy the smaller crowds onboard when in port. When I do an excursion I book on my own unless it is a close call for making it back to the ship on time-- a tulum trip from coz for example.

The savings from booking yourself can be dramatic. Once with the kids we wanted to do the pirate museum tour in Nassau. Ccl wanted 40 per person--160 for the four of us. We decided to look into booking on our own. The place was only a few blocks from the port--easily within walking distance. We walked it on our own and when we arrived we discovered that the kids got free admission and the adult tickets were about 6 dollars each! It was a cool museum and the kids loved it but I could not stop thinking about how overpriced the ccl offer was.

As a ccl stockholder I encourage you to book with the ship.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 01:41 AM
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It is a good question on choice. We have gone with the cruisline and on our own in the past. Do what feels most comfortable for you. You may save some money going on your own but, if you spend your time worrying about getting back to the ship it isn't worth it.

Also since this is your first cruise be selective with your excursions. I have met people who took multiple excursions at a single port. They ended up saying that it was too much.

If you are like us you will find you like cruising and will go many more times! Have a great time!
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Old June 16th, 2010, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Many repeat cruisers to the Caribbean, find themselves walking of the ship and getting the tours right there..less expensive and easy to do...The only island I would say to do the ships tours are in Jamaica.

Remember by doing this, it is up to you,to get back to the ship on time, because, they will leave without you..The morning tours would eleviate any stressing about this issue...
Hi All! Have heard from a reliable source--many private tour vendors are offering guaranteed return to ship on-time or they will transport you to the ship. Think I'd want to investigate a bit more. Could be worthwhile.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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CruiseCC: We (wife and I) did the Nassau tour and Pirates Museum for $40 each. However, our tour included a 2 hour tour of the city and we stopped at various places to take pictures like the Parliament Bldgs, the Fort on the top of the island, etc. and have the guide explain things to us. Prior to taking the tour we thought the Pirate museum would not be as good as it was. However we had read on-line that it was the best Pirate museum at the time. We were pleasantly surprised at the depth of the information in the museum. I would recommend the museum as an almost must see especially if you have little ones.
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Old June 16th, 2010, 08:52 PM
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Sig, thanks for that info...I would have to really investigate this guarentee, really well before I even thought of booking . If they are late and miss the ship, by what means are they going to get you to the ship? Pilot boat, fishing boat, etc?? The answers could be interesting. Even a simple thing like a flat tire, in the boonies,could take forever to get fixed..things happen

For afternoon excursions, if one feels uncomfortable, booking with a private company, take the ships tour for peace of mind..on morning tours, consider the private tours..but it's true, that even a simple flat tire in the boonies, could take forever to get fixed,and back to the ship..morning or afternoon...ones comfort level is important, true enough...
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