Will be booking our shore excursions soon for our cruise in Jan 2001 on the Sea Princess, not sure what to do in Jamiaca, would like to do Dunns River Falls, I understand there is a choice of three boat trips to get there, not sure which one to choose we do not want a party boat (Limbo not being our thing). Also any other suggestions are there any nice beaches or good shops close to the ship so we can go back to the ship after Dunns River have lunch and keep near to the ship in the afternoon. And is Jamaica really as bad as it sounds, we can put up with a bit of hasstle to buy/rent goods etc but I do draw the line at being stabbed/robbed or worse...
No, its not that bad, but best to stick with shore excersions and not wander off on your own. Just be sensible and aware of your surroundings, like anywhere else.
Jamaica is a beautiful island, its just a few locals can be pushy at times.
We're going on the Sea Princess in January too and I've been trying to choose things to do. Have you checked out the Princess.com site on Captain's Circle for the shore excursions?
I wanted to book the catamaran that I've read about to Dunn's River Falls but doesn't seem to be listed. May do Stingray City in Grand Cayman but tempted to follow other advice and book that by ourselves from recommended sites. Cozumel may be a spot we either just wander about the town or take a cab to the nearby ruins or snorkelling. I will have my seven year old with us and I think these may be good for him too.
Dunn's River Falls is a must tour to take and the catamaran trip which is usually offered at different times is great. There is a crafts bazaar at the top of the falls for some shopping. The closest shopping plaza to the port is about a 20 minute walk once through the gates turning left at the top of the street as long as you can put up with the locals wanting to take you on a tour! Just politely say no thank you and keep walking. Don't wear any jewlery or carry a camera. You can buy Jamaican Rum or Coffee which are great souvenirs. A tour to Sting Ray City on Grand Cayman is also a must do. In Cozumel I would skip the local ruins as they are nothing compared to those in Playa del Carmen or Chicen Itza. We have just taken a taxi to the Playa del Sol and had a great morning on the beach and there is a good crafts bazaar there as well with cheaper prices than in town. Taxi fare about $12 each way. There is a restaurant and facilities for your convenience. When you return to town be sure to stop into Poncho's Backyard inside of the Los Cincos del Sol at the end of the shopping district. The store sells everything and is very well kept and the restaurant Poncho's is a lovely respite for the end of a fabulous day in Mexico. Strolling mariachi's and great Margherita's.
If you have never been to Jamaica before, I highly recommend the tour which combines Prospect Plantation with the visit to Dunn's River Falls. Wear your swimsuits under your regular clothes and bring along your towel and a pair of Surfwalkers (nylon mesh footwear with thick rubber soles) to climb the falls. You can leave your clothes and valuables in the tour van, where the driver will guard them, while you do the climb.
At Grand Cayman, all of the excursions seem to be winners but three options stand out.
>> Stingray City constantly gets rave reviews from those who go.
>> The "Sea and See" tour hits all the really unique destinations.
>> Seven Mile Beach (you can go on your own) is one of the best in the world.
Additionally, you will find real quality merchandise in the shopping district of George Town, which is right by the tender pier. BTW, the rum cakes (from a stand in the shopping district) are fantastic -- the coconut flavor is my favorite.
On Cozumel, I disagree with Nanatravel's comments regarding the local Mayan ruins at San Gervasio. Although not as extensive as Tulum, they are far more significant because the island of Cosumel is a holy place in the Mayan religion. Additionally, the folkloric show in the city of San Miguel de Cozumel (available on a combined tour that also visits the San Gervasio ruins), is one of the best that I have ever seen.
The tour to Tulum is outstanding, and the ruins there are quite extensive. Nonetheless, it is a relatively long journey (a ferry ride across the channel to Playa del Carmen followed by over an hour on the bus to Tulum -- and, of course, the reverse on the return trip) so it will be a long day. I'll leave it to your judgement as to how your youngsters will handle such an excursion. If you do decide to go to Tulum, be sure to bring one large bottle of water per person as the area tends to be very hot (typical daytime temperatures are in the 90's in the middle of winter).
I have also heard from several sources that the new park at Ex Carat is outstanding, but it also entails a full day outing with the ferry+bus tranportation arrangements.
The Western Caribbean route is one of my all-time favorites. Do have a great cruise!