Been waiting a long time for this cruise so any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Leaving on the Mariner on Feb. 22. Thinking about doing the following,
Labadee - Castaway Malfini Beach $50, 3 hours.
Ocho Rios - Bike $62, 4 hours.
Grand Cayman - Aquaboat & Snorkel $79, 3 hours.
Cozumel - Dolphin swim & snorkel, $136, 3 1/2 hours.
Have done western route twice. Do not miss Dunn's River Falls. You may think you can't do it, but you can because we did, with the help of a super guide. You will love it. It's the best shore trip we've done so far, out of 8 cruises, and we went with Pete Taylor tours.
Labadee - Malfini beach tour is awesome! Much nicer than staying around labadee. They only take a handful of people so I would book it in advance online.
Jamaica - Dunns falls are very nice but I think they are a bit overrated. If you are going to do that and you want something active, try the kayak tour/falls combo. Despite what they say, you do not have to go up in a group holding hands. I think this is a ploy to make sure you tip the guys by keeping you as a captive audience. I enjoyed it much more going up on my own. Haven't tried the bike but that sounds pretty good. Our personal favorite tour in Jamaica was tubing down the white river. Very relaxing. Nice clear, cool mountain water.
Grand Caymen - You really shouldn't miss the stingrays. I used to think they were cold, dangerous creatures. They are more like playful puppies.
Cozumel - Some people are very dissapointed with the dolphin tour. You don't get to really play with the dolphins very much. It is more of an educational thing where you get close and get to touch one. Some people thought they would have more time physically touching the critters and were not happy. Just make sure your expectations are not too much. The ruins at Tulum combo with xel-ha was nice. Not sure what we are going to do this time. Thinking of renting a jeep and finding a nice beach somewhere (we are going 2/15)
I guess I waited to long to book. The Malfini Beach tour is booked on Labadee and so is the Dolphin swim & snorkel on Cozumel. Labadee doesn't give you many choices. On Cozumel we are thinking about the Hideaway Beach Boat Adventure, but there are so many choices there. Any more suggestions?
We did the Dunns River falls last year. Despite my bad knees, I was able to go 2/3 of the way up. DH was game to go all the way, but my right knee was yelling "No mas!" Never tipped anyone at the falls--never even thought about it. Never saw anyone else tip either, but we didn't go all the way up.
Explorer E. Carib. 1/12/02
Explorer W. Carib. 1/18/03
Summit Alaska cruise/tour 8/3/03
Adventure S. Carib. 2/8/04
NJ - too bad about Malfini beach tour. We are going on 2/15 and the site won't let us sign up for it. It says to sign up on board. Are you sure it is sold out? No worries. If you don't mind not being able to swim and you want to relax on a nice stretch of beach, the far side of the island (dragons rock) is too rough to swim in so it is usually pretty peaceful on that side. Most people camp out near where they are dropped off and don't venture over there. It used to be completely empty before they built the second food area. The parasailing is alot of fun too. You might consider that. My other favorite on Labadee is a nice nap in one of the many hamocks they have. You can also set up a spa treatment or relax on board.
Have you been to the ruins at Tulum on Cozomel? They have a nice combo trip that takes you there and then to xel-ha (a nice sanctuary). I was considering trying to find a place to go horseback riding without a tour in cozomel on a beach somewhere. I don't care for the tours on horseback where you are forced to ride in a line.
We did the parrasailing at Labbadee. Great time. Dont miss this chance. We did the river tubing safari at Ocho Rios. Will do it again if we ever get back. Adventure of a lifetime. We did the stingray, snorkeling combo at Georgetown and will remember it always. Take a credit card or extra cash to buy the video they take of you. It is professionally done and great. Hams can get in every scene. It cost about $30-50. At Coszumel we did the Cattamaran snorkeling and beach party. You cant miss this one. Our friends did the dolphin swim and were sorry. Said it was overpriced for such a short time. Anything else? Book with the ship if you still can.
For our honeymoon 6 yrs ago, we stayed at the Enchanted Gardens in Ochos Rios...it was beautiful, waterfalls everywhere,, hammock gardens, aviary with parrots and other tropical birds that will come down and land on you to eat. You will get some awesome pictures if you go there...you are basically in a tropical rain forest with waterfalls everywhere....They are now open for tours only, not lodging. I would take a cab and see it if you have never been there, it is really close to port, like 5 min drive, cost us $3pp to drive there and $10 pp to get in and you can swim in the waterfalls--only takes about an hour to see the resort. Then we went to some private beach and then to Margaritaville. We have done the Dunns River Falls in the past and it was not that spectacular.
I loved just relazing on Labadee...it was beautiful just swimming snorkeling and walking around the island.
Cozumel, we rented a Jeep for the first half of the day and saw the island....stopped at the CHAKKANAAB (SP?) resort...it was really pretty. ($10pp to get in)...then we went on the Catamaran Sail Snorkel and Beach Party...it was sooo fun....great time! WOuld do it again in a heartbeat!
I am confused about Labadee. From the posts I've read, it seems that one can just get off the ship and head to the beach. Is that correct? I thought we had to buy the Malfini Beach excursion in order to go to the beach. It would be great if we didn't have to do that! These excursions certainly can add up. Is the barbeque right there on the beach? And are the teen activities there also?
I know, I was confused too before my cruise. You will tender over to this island that has beaches all around. You do not have to do an excursion to lay on the beach, play volleyball and shop in the flea markets. It is a beautiful place. The BBQ lunch was really easy to find...it will start around noon and you will see the people heading to it....just look for the covered areas with picnic tables and that is where it will be. I have some really great pics of Labadee if you would like me to email them to you...just let me know!!
HAve a great time...I want to go back so very badly!
There a several very nice beach areas on labadee with 2 or 3 barbque areas free to use at no charge. They also provide beach chairs and have hammocks set up in some of the trees. If you want a relatively quiet spot and don't mind not being able to go in the water, the far side of the inlet (dragons rock) is usually relatively quiet. The surf there is too rought to swim in but it is a really nice place to relax for a bit. The other 'main' beaches can get a bit crowded.
The Malfini beach excursion is a bit more "off the beaten path". They take you down the coast to a secluded cove (only about 15 people) where they have some beach chairs, floating mats and snorkle gear for you to use. They also serve drinks there (not included). It is a beautiful spot to enjoy for a few hours if you want to get away from the crowd.
If you haven't tried parasailing, labadee is a nice spot to give it a try.
If you haven't already booked all of your excursions, look at www.shoretrips.com. It is a great place to find alternatives to the cruiseline options. Many of them are cheaper, and there will be significantly fewer people on the excursion with you. This is a good thing! if you have already booked, still give it a look. You can always cancel the other excursion with a full refund up until 24 hours before the excursion. The cruiseline will not help with your planning because they want to strongly encourage you to take theirs....they want your money. Whatever you decide, have a great time!
I am writing from my cybercabin on Voyager from my balcony. Bit of a drag that I can't truly leave the office but if you have to check in to the office there are worse places to do it from. Anyway, the labadee stop is being replaced by an extra day at sea and they are extending the other stops by an hour or 2. We will not be leaving Cozamel till 10pm. The captain said the plan right now is to cancel Labadee for 3 weeks.