Has anyone made their own arrangements for port visits instead of taking the excursions offered by Princess? It is a little scary thinking that I could miss the "boat" because I decided NOT to go with Princess suggestions.
Any "must dos" in Limon and Cozumel?
We routinely book our shore excursions independently and haven't encountered any problems..Research your tour options for a givien port..I've found Cruisecritic.com an invaluable resourse..check out their Ports Of Call section..members will post their comments and tour suggestions..many times including web addresses for their favorite tour operator..
Personally, We've used A-Z Jamaica Planners in Jamaica...Great company who has arranged two customized tours for my husband and I at 1/3 the cost of the cruise line tour..Belinda even arranged for a birthday cake to be served to my husband during lunch.. Cozumel...Try Dolphin Discovery...it's an awesome experience to swim with the dophins..Or...take a cab to Paradise Beach...All beach chairs/umbrellas/beach toys etc are free...beautiful beach..Look for Paradise Beach Tom..they earn their money by selling food and drinks..no pressure...it cost about $8 for a cab to the beach..
We are gonna take a "risk" and use Peat Taylor in Ocho Rios. We have heard awesome things about his tours, so we aren't really worried about getting back to the boat. If we miss the boat, I can't think of any better place to be stuck on our honeymoon than in Ocho Rios hehe
I would just suggest you give yourself ample time to get back if you go a good distance from the port and make sure you find out where the cabs or busses are when you get there.
Karen - Peat Taylor is not a risk at all. He knows his business and is very good, he will get you back in plenty of time.
The key to planning a shore excursion on your own is to budget your time, plan your travel time to a from your destination, add a bit of "wiggle" room in case of traffic and just make sure you are on the ship 1 HOUR before she sails.
I make an exception and use the cruise ship tours when i am taking a tour that involves traveling by water to my destination, to snorkel for example. If something goes wrong and the boat has some type of mechanical problem and is delayed, they will hold the ship for your group until you get back if you book with the ship. If you go it alone, you could be looking at airfare to your next port of call.
CeCe- in Cozumel - the "things to do" are to hit the beach- lots to choose from (Playa Del Sol and Mr. Pancho's are tops) If you want to beach, snorkel and do a dolphin swim then go to Channunkaab National Park - you can do all of the above on your own, just grab a cab. If you want an awesome snorkeling experience - book a ship's tour to the Palencaar Reef - this place is amazing.
If you want to tour Mayan Ruins - book a ships tour(it takes some traveling to get to the ruins)
If you are in a port like from 7am to 5pm, you shouldn't have any problems getting back to the ship on time, as long as you aren't planning to travel a long way from the ship. In those situations, I would say stay with the ships excursions, as the ship will wait for you.
If you just want to go to local beaches, that kind of activity is easily done on your own.
When we go on planned excursions, we normally just do the ships excursions. There is no worry or extra expense of getting "to and from" and if something goes wrong, you have a better chance of getting recompense from the cruiseline than from the excursion company. We don't mind spending the extra money, but many people do and just prefer to arrange their own stuff. It's a matter of preference.
My wife and I came back from CP three weeks ago. We booked shore tour with CP in Cozumel, but we tried our adventure in Grand Cayman with Captain Marvin, My experience was CP is more expensive but service not better than Captin Marvin.
Captain Marvin knew the ship schedule very well, and they even provided shopping time after the snorkelling tour, so you will not miss the boat. If you choose to go off the beaten path, you then have to watch out and spare two hours for the way back to the boat. In Cozumel, our ship was scheduled to leave at 6 pm but would not leave until almost 7 because three passengers were missing. The captain kept calling those people via public announcement, so everybody knew we were waiting for an hour for three people who would not return to the ship. The bartender where I was smoking my cigar at that time told me this happened about one a month and the ship usually wait for about an hour. Don't take this for granted, though.