I'm going on our first cruise with my wife and a three year old son on a Royal Caribbean - Navigator of the Seas this May 2004 going to Eastern Caribbean. Will it be cheaper/better to book the tours/excursions through RCI or at each destination?
There are a lot of posts on this forum related to this subject. I'd do a broad search to see what you can find. I've written several myself if you want to just search for my ID. In brief, you can save money and see/do more, but you have to do your own research and if anything goes wrong you are on your own; whereas with a ship excursion the ship will do what it can to help out if the tour runs late, runs into trouble, etc. Much of it depends on the excursions you are considering. Since you have a 3 year old, most the excursions I bet you would be fine booking on your own (e.g. plan your own "beach escape" rather than take the cruise's excursion).
Always book via RCL, if you are a tour and the van gets a flat, they will wait for you. If you take Ya Mon Tours and their Van geta flat, the ship will leave without you. Then you have to pay for airfare to met the ship.
We did the Eastern Caribbean on the Navigator and did our own thing at every port except San Juan, where we did the Old and New San Juan tour. It was very nice. Its cheaper doing it by yourself.
Sovereign of the Seas 2/03
Navigator of the Seas 2/04
Adventure of the Seas 2/05
Serenade of the Seas 2/06
Monarch of the Seas 7/06
Liberty of the Seas 8/07
Majesty of the Seas 5/08
Re: Re: Book tour through RCI or do it on our own?
Thank you for your response. I hope I'm not imposing too much if I ask for your recommendations for each destination such as the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and possibly Haiti? I put a question mark on Haiti because when I checked the RCL website, Labadee in Haiti has been replaced with either Nassau or Coco Bay, Bahamas.
Socal, may I recommend on these islands that you do your own tours. It is easy, less expensive and you can be more flexible with your little one in tow.
Nassau; take a taxi @ $4pp each way which includes the toll to the Atlantis Resort. There walk around inside and buy tickets to see the Dig. Your child will love this underground walk through aquarium. It is just enough for all of you to experience. Taxi's are readily available at each main entrance to take you back to the ship.
St. Thomas: take a jitney ($5?PP) (open back truck taxi or van ) to Maegan's Bay ($3). Bring his pail & shovel and swimmies. Wear your bathing suits and have a great day. The water is calm and beautiful. Very safe for his age. When you return, you may wish to stop downtown in Charlotte Amalie for shopping or return to Havensight where you will find many of the same stores.
Coco Cay; You will not be going to Labadee due to the political unrest. CocoCay is RCI's man made island and just a wonderful beach day. Again, bring his beach toys and plan to have a great day in the sun. There will be a BBQ luncheon served on the beach and you are free to go ashore or back to the ship when you like. Drinks and ice cream are charged to your Sign & Sail account, but you may want to buy souvenirs in the little native shacks. I believe there is a secure fenced in area for your child to be in the Kid's camp program too, leaving the parents some time to have fun in the water to yourselves.
Don't try to do too much. Bring a small folding umbrella style stroller too for walking on board ship and at ports of call. Have a nice fulfilling breakfast on board ship and return to the ship for a late lunch.