Ocho Rios -Jamaica
Lougee1043: Took a bumpy bus ride of over an hour to marthas bray for the raft ride
down river- very relaxing , peaceful and most enjoyable - toward the end of the ride the raft captain tried to sell us some hand carved gourds- we expressed no interest in buying any and he simply put them away-------none of the pushiness that I have read about at dunns falls or in the markets-----------this was our least favorite of the 3 stops
RandyK47: This was a great stop. The ship tied up at the old Reynolds Pier so no tender ride. Carey and I did the swim with the dolphins and Dunn's River Falls climb in a combined shore excursion package. First of all, the swim with the dolphin was incredible. We got Calypso as our dolphin. You break up into groups and there were about 8 of us. It was still fairly early in the morning so climbing into the ocean was a bit of an adventure but the thrill of being in the water with a dolphin made us quickly forget that. You do have to wear a life vest (like a water skier's) so keeping afloat is not a problem. There was a bit of a current in the little enclosed bay so you did have to swim enough to hold your position. Spend about 30 minutes in the water with Calypso and got to touch her a couple of times and got a dolphin "kiss". They take the pictures and won't let cameras in with the dolphins but that's partly because of safety and partly (obviously) because they want to sell you the pictures. It was well, well worth it and one of our best moments and memories of the cruise. Highly recommend it. From there we went to Dunn's River Falls. Got hooked up with a group and a guide and off we went. Since we signed up over the internet we knew what we were in for and had brought our own water shoes. You can rent or buy water shoes at Dunn's River so you don't have to bring your own. Tennis shoes really aren't a good option because they'll probably get ruined and are pretty heavy once they get wet. The climb was fun but extremely crowded. We made it the whole 900 feet, partly because we were motivated and partly because we moved fairly slowly so we really didn't get tired. While not as much fun as the dolphin we're glad we did it. From there we caught a shuttle back to town and headed for Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Very load but lots of fun. Had a couple of their margaritas and infamous cheeseburgers. Wow…..what a margarita! Easily walked back to the ship and boarded. Want to add here that HAL gives you a plastic ID card, like a credit card, and you use that to get off and on the ship. It works pretty slick and we never had any problem getting back on the ship at any stop.
Lougee1043: Our major excursion =swimming with the stingrays was cancelled because
of rough seas-we chose not to go to the turtle farm or hell based on
comments made on this board -after talking with people who took the trip to hell I concluded that we made the right decision to pass that excursion up-walked through town and did a little shopping but generally took it easy,--small world - saw the courtesy clerk from our local safeway walking up the street with her husband
RandyK47: No excursion here for us. This was our shopping port and that's what we did. I know for sure my wife had lots and lots and LOTS of fun here. This was a tender port and a rough day but got through it with no problem. Oh….this port can get really crowded. I counted 4 other major boats at anchor that day. They had to have dumped 8,000 to 10,000 people in the town. Add that to the other tourist and locals and it was a bit busy.
Cozumel - Mexico:
Lougee1043: Very busy day in port- we were docked at the pier closest to the center
of town - there were 6 or 7 ships in at the same time so it was a bit
crowded---decided at the last minute to try and join the taste of
cozumel and folkloric show- with a little help from the Neptune lounge we made it - the dance show is in a theatre located on the 2nd floor of a diamond mall ----very very interesting show, music and costumes - if you want to appreciate the diversity of the Mexican people their dance and music is a good way to experience it --- free drinks after the show and then a bus tour around the island - had a young interesting guide and it was and enjoyable 4hours --- had lunch at panchos backyard - cool and shady with excellent drinks and good food- my son wanted me to bring him a bottle of "real tequila" with a worm in it - after a bit of research I learned that worms come in bottles of mescal- a slightly stronger drink then tequila - found one called mr. Scorpion ----no worm just a scorpion - hope that will be "real enough" for him - the bottle of liquor was taken when we reboarded the ship - was given a receipt and the liquor was returned to my cabin the following afternoon
RandyK47: This port was our other shore excursion adventure. Because of my interest in Egypt my wife thought I'd like to see Mayan ruins. She was right so we took the Tulum Mayan ruin tour. This tour is long, like the better part of 8 plus hours. Requires that you take a water taxi off the island to mainland Mexico. The ride is about 45 minutes and it was not a calm day. Thank goodness we'd gotten used to a little of that during the cruise however, not everybody was so lucky and we had at least one couple and their children who dropped out of the tour because the husband had gotten so sick on the way over. I have no idea how he got back and I didn't run into him during the rest of the cruise to see how he was doing. Last I saw him he had that "please shot me" green look so the bus ride to Tulum wasn't a good idea. Anyhow, Tulum is another 45 minutes or so away by bus. Great tour at the ruins with a guide. Had a small Subway sandwich, chips, and drink as part of the tour as there wasn't much time for a stop for food. After the ruins it was back on the bus and then the water taxi. Had about 45 minutes to kill before the water taxi ride so it was off to Senor Frog's for another margarita….hmm…I see a pattern here. Since we were in Cozumel until 11 PM we decided to eat in town near the ship and we tried Senior Frog's on that side. A bit noisy and active but kind of fun and they had great margaritas! Only port we bought liquor in and that was taken away from us when we boarded the ship and return Saturday night before disembarkation.