You have to do the ziplining on Kauai, if you like adventure. I booked this on my own through Kauai BackCountry Adventures and saved $50.00 per person. There were about 8 or 9 people in our group and we had a blast. Some of the people were on our ship (Pride of Aloha) and we remained friends the whole week. What a blast.
I also booked the Maui Downhill bicycle tour on my own through Maui Downhill Mountain Cruisers. I was again able to save around $50.00 per person. It was a thrilling but dangerous trip. We had a lot of fun.
I booked my snorkeling and kayak adventure on my own also and actually had one of the guide's pick me up in Kona, Hawaii and take us about 1 hour away to where we snorkeled. This was only $50.00 or so, much less expensive than NCL charged. Again, the groups were small because they were not through the cruise line.
Happy cruising, and it pays to do a little research on Google. I saved a lot of $ and had a blast.
We sailed on the Sea in April 04. We did cave tubing in Belize with X-treme and had a small group of less than 12, compared to the bus loads that NCL brought in. X-treme was less expensive, and also offered more caves and information on the caves.
In Roatan we got off the ship and found a tour operator/ van that would take us where we wanted. We had decided our main interests were the zip lines (jungle canopy tour), beach for snorkeling, and shopping. We got a great price on the van, and it included a seperate tour guide. The guide stayed on the beach (next to Tabayana) with us, stayed with our stuff on the van while we zipped across the tree tops down through the rain forrest. When we went shopping he escorted us through the streets/stores helping us bargain for goods.
In Cozumel we headed for Paradise beach, which was excellent and not at all crowded while we were there........they may be better known now, and could possibly be crowded.
In Cancun we did take an NCL excursion...only because our time was so limited, and we wanted to get on the first tender off the ship. We actually did miss the last tender back to the ship, but since we were with the NCL excursion they sent back another ferry for us (about 65 of us) and we had a little extra time to shop near the pier. The excursion was to Isla Murjes, included all you could drink, water toys, and great shopping. This wasn't at all crowded but did involve a lot of wasted time since you had to tender into Cancun and then take another boat to the island.
Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll be around for another month while researching our next cruise on the Majesty 8/29.
We too like to do our own thing. The best way we have found is to go to ports a call and read what others have done. Another way is the websites for what ports you are thinking of touring and read what is available. We have done this for 3 cruises and had outstanding results. So far only 1 bad tour and one so,so. The rest have been all we expected and more. Depending on age and energy, we have heard that the tube trip in Belize is great (we have past that age). Roatan there are a couple to think about. One is Salt and peppers, we are thinking about the glass bottom boat combined with something else for our Nov Sea trip. Guess I could go on and on. NMnita
Thanks so much for the info. From everything we've read the Xtreme Tubing sounds great. If you have any info on how you booked the tubing directly that would be great, also on how you found the van in Honduras. How was the snorkeling?
Once you get off the ship in each port you will find tons of people trying to sell you tours. We actually just approached the first one and bargained a little to get the tour we wanted. These sales people are prepared and many have pictures of the places they will take you to see...just have in mind what you want to do and see on the island and let them make you an offer. If you don't like the first one, another salesperson will come up and make you an offer, don't be afraid to negotiate. The snorkeling was beautiful. We actually snorkeled right off Tabayana beach, which was crowded with NCL guest who paid a lot more than we did for their visit to the beach, and we had the private tour along the way. I think they did get a bbq with their excursion.
Sante is a great way to see the Mangroves or have a relaxing spa day(beats ship prices by half). If you want to see Roatan from the water- take the mangrove tour-great tour around the Island with a friendly guide. Spent about 90 minutes in a small boat through the Mangroves and trolling through the various water towns. Spent some leisurely time in a tiny cafe sharing a beer and conversation with some ex-patriots. 4 -5 hour day. Angela runs the Center and is a great hostess.
In Cancun time is real tight-Making the first non tour tender gets you there around 9:30 or 10:00. You have only till 3. Took a private Catamaran trip (180 for 2 runs about $60 per person if more) for an incredibly beautiful day. The Cat is old and needs a little work but at around 30' it is small enough for two for a romantic day and big nough for 8 or 10 for a party. We walked off the tender right onto the Cat which was waiting for us by the beach. You choose what to do- we snorkled Isla Majores(Do not miss)-swam by the beaches, and just sailed around. -Coronas and Tequila included.
X-stream is probably the best cave tubing group but the day is long. Hour and 15 minutes back and forth to the cave followed by a 45 minute to1 hour hike to the stream. Bring bug spray. You do not want to get bitten by a fire ant-they are everywhere.
Did Eagle Ray Divers for snorkling in Cozumel- just two of us on the boat with a snorkel guide. Price is a little high but when you see the boats with 20 to 50 people it's probably worth it. Snorkel sites are 5-10 minutes off the dock so water time is good. (you have take a taxi $7) www.eagleraydivers.com