This is my first cruise, I would like to know some things to do, and areas we must see in the following ports. Any recommendations, as it pertains to sovenir purchases, trying the local food, and art. Also, let me know of any funny stories....
If you've never been to a port, never stay on the ship. At least explore it. One port that one person may hate, the other person may love. If you've never been, you never know.
We'll be going to those ports this yr. Not sure what we'll do in Ochos Rios, but Grand Caymans, snorkeling is a must!
Keep asking for ideas of what to do. I'm sure you will find something that will interest you. You can also ask on Carnival board too if you haven't already.
Grand Cayman...yes definately...Stingray City. See if you can get the first excursion of the day out there. The stingrays are hungrier and there are less people there. Later in the day, there are up to 5-6 boats with filled with people and you don't have the stingrays to yourself and it gets a bit crowded. But even if you can't get an early tour out there, go anyway. It is just sooooo cool! If you get the early tour, afterward, walk along and swim in 7mile beach. The water is clear and warm and the sand is white.
Ocho Rios. The city itself isn't much. However, I would recommend doing Dunn's River Falls.
I agree with Bigsky. If you've never been in a port, at least give it a try. Life is an experience. Try new things.
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Everyone recommends Dunn's River Fallls in Ocho Rios, and I'm sure it's great, but if you want to do something that isn't in the company of 2000 other people, take RCCL's river tubing safari -- that was great fun, and there were only 8 of us! Other than that, I agree that it's a great place to stay onboard the ship -- the local merchants were unpleasantly aggressive, and a lot of the kids (including my 2 teens) were approached with offers of marijuana.
I spent my birthday in Grand Cayman, and it was the best birthday of my entire life! In the morning, we took the glass-bottomed boat tour, which was really cool. After lunch, we did the Stingray City snorkeling thing. Everyone -- just once in their life -- should pet a stingray! If you've never snorkeled before (I hadn't...), deep water in the Caribbean is NOT the place to learn, though -- I did better with my old swim goggles and just holding my breath underwater!
Just got back and i would say do sting ray city, it was a blast. we booked through Soto's Snorkel Cruise so we didn't feel like we were part of a herd and they were only $24 dollars a person with pick up to and from town. it was great! and they also stop at two other stops to snorkel.
did dunns river falls too and would recommend it but as most have said shopping in town got ugly. too aggresive. even as you leave the falls they are very aggresive but at least those little shops are more supervised. don't go to the flea market in town. My daughter did get her hair braided there for a decent price, but they got me on my other daughter. they told me $50 for the one daughters whole head which i thought was reasonable but then my other daughter just wanted the front so they said $2 a braid. Silly me, i never thought they would fit 20 braids in the front of her head. So don't go for that one. Get an exact total price for what you want done up front.
If i were to go back there i would most likely do the river tubing tour through the ship or one of the tour groups. oh and we didn't book dunns river through the ship, we took a cab there and paid the entrance fee. the cabs are right there at the dock.
whatever you do, have a great time! we loved it!
Grand Cayman: Sting Ray Sandbar (many call it Sting Ray City, but Sting Ray City is for divers, Sting Ray Sandbar is for standing waist deep in water)
Ocho Rios: You have to do Dunns Falls. Its a blast. Go on www.google.com (or search these forums) and look up Peat Taylor. He'll give you a full day of touring, including Dunns Falls, for $30/person. Its a real bargain and I'm sure you'll have a good time (and a safe one).
After reading all these message boards I was aprehensive about bringing my two daughters ages 8 and 13 to Ochos Rios. So we booked our tours through RC and went to Dunn's River and Dolphin Cove where my husband and daughters swam with the dolphins. After we climbed the Falls we purposely walked through the market that everyone says to avoid just out of curiosity and adventure. I had prepared my kids for the worst senarios and told them not to talk to anyone and if any one asks them if they want to buy something to just politely say no thank-you. These people couldn't have been nicer or more polite themselves. One gentleman even commented to my husband what a lucky man he was to have such a beautiful family. Ocho Rios became our favorite Island of the whole cruise and we already booked another trip in December on the Voyager to the same Itenerary. IMHO Grand Caymen is where you should be careful. The locals were rude and pushy and impatient from all the tourists and the Island is way overcrowed. I know Grand Cayman used to be very special but I think it has gone way down hill recently.
Wow, you are very lucky. While at Dunn's River Market Place my husband and I were overwhelmed by the aggressive merchants wanting to "give" us their stuff. They wouldn't take no for an answer and were following us back to the bus until I told them we didn't have money on the bus, then they started yelling at us. They tried to butter us up with compliments as well, I imagine that's part of their sales pitch. Then while waiting for the bus back to the ship we were approached by someone offering to take us to smoke some dope and drink some beers. We don't care if we ever see Jamaica again.
We LOVED Grand Cayman, found the merchants and locals to be very friendly and not at all aggressive, it was our favorite stop. Funny how people can have completely different experiences in the same exact places. I guess that's what makes life interesting.
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
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Both times, in Ocho Rio, I had experiences were kind of in the middle of Linda418 and Luv2B@Sea. Yes...the merchants were a bit pushy, but all we had to do is say no with conviction and they didn't hassle us. Maybe I give off the vibe "when I say no, I mean no".... And I think its rather funny....In all our travels, we have never had anyone try to sell us pot. I'm hardly prudish in the way I dress and act, but I guess I don't look like a pot smoker....
As far as Grand Cayman....I couldn't say the merchants were rude or aggressive, nor were they especially friendly. They didn't stand out one way or the other. However, I would say that Grand Cayman is one of my favorite ports. I love Stringray City and 7 mile beach. Last time we went, we took the first tour out to Stingray City and on the way back, we asked the tour bus driver to drop us off on the main road where we stopped at a liquor store, bought a couple beers and wine coolers and then walked over to 7 mile beach. The water temperature was perfect. No waves....just floating and standing in the clear water. The sand was clean and white. It was very relaxing.