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Old December 9th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Default Any UNsafe shopping areas??

So . . we're in Montego Bay Jamaica and the 'tour guide' tries to take us back behind some houses to roll us (take our money etc).

Yes, this is a true story. Has anybody else had a bad experience? Are there any other questionable areas that tourists should stay away from?
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Old December 20th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Default Hi Happy

Been to Jamaica a couple of times only a few not by choice but itinerary change.

WILL NEVER GO BACK< OR AT LEAST WILL NOT GET OFF SHIP.

All of my experiences have been not so good to bad. Beautiful island but the islanders for the most part SUCK. This was apparent after 9/11 when most of the other resorts and islands were helping tourists, Jamaica took it upon itself to gouge tourists by doubleing or tripleing the rates among other things. We found mistreatment of animals during one horseback riding excursion as well as dead horses and cattle in some of the fields.

Too bad Natalie Holloways group didn't go to Jamaica, I'd be happy to boycott. Unfortunately I have found Aruba to be the exact opposite, and one incident by a naive teenage girl will not change the fact THAT IT IS ONE OF THE SAFEST PLACES TO TRAVEL.

All in all if you do go to Jamaica, STAY within the port, even on excursions you are hit up by vendors and beggars. And Marijuana is ILLEGAL there no matter what you might have heard .

In all my travels, that is the only port I personally have had trouble with. Not even in the Dominican Republic, or Dominica have I been so unhappy or nervous...and I lived in New York City for most of my life.

Dave
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Old December 20th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Thanks Dave. We also had marijuana offered to us. I heard they will sell it to you then call the police on you! We met some people on the ship who DID buy it and said it was like smoking donkey turd.

We've been to Jamaica twice and I agree, will never go again. The ship tours sound safe but you're still in the hands of the locals. The police carry AK-57's into the markets!

We'll be going on the Eastern Carribbean in May (Nassau, St Thomas and St Maarten). Is it safe to wander those streets? After visiting Jamaica I'm a little afraid to venture anywhere.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Default Three great ports!

St Thomas. The streets are narrow and there is a lot of traffic so be careful crossing intersections. The Island tour with the stop at megans beach and Black beards castle is really good. drops you off near downtown shopping.

Mt. Maarten is really safe also...many things to do.

Nassau. Atlantis is a great place to see if you haven't. shopping is great and safe. However at the "Straw market" you will find some racy items like bongs and pot pipes...Cuban Cigars also.

I think you'll be fine.

Have fun!

Dave
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Dear HappyCruiser- St.Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau are all very safe ports, as long as you use your head. Stay on the main streets, use licensed cabbies only, use recommended local tour operators, things like that.
I agree that the Straw Market in Nassau can be a bit on the seedy side, the local crafted items are beautiful, just be aware of the "locals" just hanging around the marketplace.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 10:11 PM
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I've been to most of the Caribbean ports and never had a problem. On numerous occassions I have walked around Ochos Rios and feel quite safe. A few times people have offered to sell me pot or hash. I said "no thanks" and continued on my merry way. It might have something to do with growing up in a large city. I don't feel intimated very easily by things that are different from my normality. That might be different for someone who lives in the country on some mountain top and decides to come down for a cruise. One thing I can say is that it all depends on how you portray yourself. If you look like a easy mark then someone might try and take advantage of you. But that can happen anywhere in the USA, not just the caribbean. One thing I have learned over the years. You have good and bad people where ever you go. This is fact of life and their is not much that you can do about that. Just use common sense and don't look like a typical nerdy tourist. Have a great time exploring the various countries that make up this planet.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 06:39 PM
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I am still laughing at the donkey turd. But I understand what u are saying. We were driven on the speed boat for the parasailing ride and arrived at a deserted nasty area of the beach. We were out of sight of anyone including the ship. I immediately told them to 'get me from over here". I had made sure I got them on my digital camera, which they had their eye on the entire time. I tried to lightened up the situation and talk about my experiences in Grand Cayman. I also mentioned I was in law enforcement and they seemed to be harmless from then on. Overall, the parasailing was breathtaking and everyone should experience it atleast once.
Now, In Grand Cayman we decided to take the 20dollar tour and it sucked. The grungy lady seemed money hungry and shady. She hardly allowed us to get out of the van. She demanded 40dollars from my child and I. I felt as I was being robbed. We felt uneasy and returned back to the ship.
Something needs to be done about the crimes targeting the cruiseship passengers. In the meantime, I will pay more by arranging excursions with the ship.

Be Safe
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Old August 31st, 2006, 09:57 PM
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We were in Nassau last Feb. and didn't have a problem. We had a very nice taxi driver that took us to Atlantis and told us a little about the island. We were told by a bartender at the Radisson Cable Beach hotel that Nassau was not safe after dark. We spent the day in Nassau and stayed at our hotel after dark.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 10:46 PM
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Didn't I read somewhere that the police in Jamaica were suppoed to crack down on some of the vendors and would take them to night court? On one of our first cruises over 20 years ago I tink we were in Montego Bay and although we have spent a week in Colombia and Peru I have NEVER felt so phyically threatened as I did in Jamaica and I agree I will NEVER cruise there.. I do understand some of the all inclusive resorts really protect you... and there was a young lady, a travel reporter, who disappeared from Jamaica...and authorities were not cooperating..
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Old September 12th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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In Ocho Rios I was approached by a man who told me "I can get you anything."
I said "No Thanks" and he left me alone. This was at Dunn's River Falls.
I found a lot of the local vendors to be pushy and unwilling to take "no" for an answer ...

Last time I was in Nassau, one of the passengers on our ship got mugged. I heard she wandered away from the main shopping area.

I think a lot of people on vacation assume they are safe because, after all, it's a vacation! I see people come down here and walk in parts of Fort Lauderdale after dark that are very seedy, if not dangerous. They think Florida = beaches = vacation = fun. But there are bad areas.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fruitcake
In Ocho Rios I was approached by a man who told me "I can get you anything."
I said "No Thanks" and he left me alone. This was at Dunn's River Falls.
I found a lot of the local vendors to be pushy and unwilling to take "no" for an answer ...

Last time I was in Nassau, one of the passengers on our ship got mugged. I heard she wandered away from the main shopping area.

I think a lot of people on vacation assume they are safe because, after all, it's a vacation! I see people come down here and walk in parts of Fort Lauderdale after dark that are very seedy, if not dangerous. They think Florida = beaches = vacation = fun. But there are bad areas.
We did something we would never never do again...

We've cruised to Mexico at least 4 times, and had begun to feel a little cocky...so while in Manzanillo, WE hired a cab to take us around...the driver spoke little English...and we more or less just pointed to spots on a map and nodded to one another.

Well, he took us on the wildest ride we'd ever had...at breakneck speeds and on roads that only horses should manuver. Some of these roads were way way in the 'outback'.... My husband, who is no wimp was scared and I was just as frighten.

I like what Fruitcake said...because it's so true...at least it was with us...
"I think a lot of people on vacation assume they are safe because, after all, it's a vacation!"

We're not stupid...we just got TOO relaxed! We haven't done anything like that since...
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Default Scare in Grenada

A few years after the crisis in Grenada, I took my mom on a cruise. We had heard that the Grenadians were, "...so thankful...to the US...", that we selected a cruise that visited that island. I am a seasoned traveler and in good shape, however, mom is neither. Long story short, we experienced a tour guide's attempt to extort $200 from us for a tour that we had agreed upon--at a much lower price. The tour was so-so, but with two (2) narrow escapes [duh, did not RUN when he first tried to shake us down], I knew that my mom was not physically able to run nor emotionally able to handle the extortion DEMAND. So I paid the guy, clearly telling him that I was doing it only because of my mom's desire to see the beautiful island and what he was doing would be a bad reflection on ALL Grenadians.

After checking that my mom was OK, a Bobby (sp?), Grenadian police officer, walked by and asked if we had a good day in port. My mom surprised me by candidly telling the Bobby what had happened. The local law FOUND the guy. A hasty trial [minutes] was held and we were refunded our money. Of course the guy denied ever seeing us, but when I told the amount and denomination of the money I had given him...well the judge knew the truth. I gave the guy the $40 we had agreed up initially + the $10 tip that I had intended to give and restated that I would share this experience EVERY chance I got. The tip? I hate the allegations of the alledged 'ugly American' and this was my attempt to show that Americans will always try to do the right thing--I had a good audience; the judge, several Bobbys, the entire fire department where the trial was heard and several locals.

Other than that, I have toured many areas in the Caribbean that some might not enjoy or feel safe in, however, Grenada is my only scary story.

My advice:
=agree on a price first with a tour guide you meet at the dock/pier
=keep your money in different pockets--if asked for more you can pull your budgeted $$ out of one pocket and say this is all I have--which is effective in straw markets where you get hounded!
=if you are uncomfortable-leave, your gut instinct is often right
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Old September 24th, 2006, 10:06 PM
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This isn't the United States folks, these are 3rd world countries! They don't have safe shopping malls or the same economy that we have here in the United States.

So many Americans just "expect" things to be the same no matter where you are in the world. The world isn't a pretty place & many of these Caribbean islands are dirt poor. They have no good economies & many of them have a shaky (if any) government. Jamaica is the perfect example as most of that country is run by thugs & the police are paid off.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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Although I lived in the suburbs, I spent a lot of time on "the streets" in Detroit as a kid growing up. And my profession (fire contractor) still takes me into some rough areas of the City at all hours of the day and night. I usually carry a hand gun and am very "aware" of where I am and what is going on around me. Given all of that, my common sense told me to get back on the ship on our first visit to Jamaica. Since then, we always plan on staying aboard whenever a cruise we are on ports there. We have never been to Haiti, but should we book a cruise with that as a port of call, I am sure we will also stay aboard. Some of our best times on a cruise have been when everyone else gets off 8)
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 11:00 AM
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TourneyKit, you make perfect sense to me!

I used to work a lot with a local police department when I lived up north, and I remember having a discussion with one of the detectives about how a certain situation I had been in raised hackles ... he said to me, "ALWAYS listen to your gut."
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Old January 12th, 2007, 09:44 PM
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We have a bad experience in Jamaica at Dunn River Falls on our very 1st cruise and learned a valuable lesson. Do no leave anything of value in the tour bus - even if it is a cruise ship sponsored shore excursion!! I left my watch in my towel bag (luckily it was a knock off Rolex that I had paid $20 for!!) and when we all returned to the bus most people had things missing!! One couple had brought their entire wallet (ID, credit cards, cash etc) and left it in their bag!! I felt so sorry for them. Supposedly the driver was to be with the bus!!! When we exited the Falls we mistakenly turned right instead of left and were directed thru the handicraft market. 3 large males were demanding "you rich Americans buy something!!!" After a few terrifying minutes one of the ladies we were with spotted an opening where we could excape to the bus. Whew!! Next time - we stay on the ship!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old January 15th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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while in Mo Bay on Carnival Conquest, we went souveneir shoping. Although the taxi driver ws fairly friendly, he drove like a maniac. After sh
opping I was standing on the sidewalk waiting for the taxi to return (I had agreed to a rt fare to be payed when returned to the ship) when I was accosted by a local that tried to sell me a "free" cloth bracelet thing. I continually said "No , thnk you"...finally he stuck a chunk of hash in my hand and wanted $20.00. This frightened me to my 6' 5" 250 lb core ! I did not want to spend my vaca in a Jamaican jail !!...I gave this low-life a stiff arm to the chest that collapsed him to the ground.All this time, my gf was being led to a back row of shops where she was surrounded by a large group, insisting for payment for things she didnt want. ( a classic distract and seperate ploy) I arrived in full fight mode and the mob dispersed. I grabbed her and switched to flight mode. Thankfully the taxi showed after a few tense minutes on the street.

Come Back to Jamaica...I think not !!
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Old July 12th, 2008, 07:21 PM
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Are there any safe places in Montego Bay for a couple of 20 something girls to go shopping?
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Old July 13th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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Take a ship's tour in Jamaica. Yes, they are still locals, but they make enough from cruise business to NOT want you to report a bad experience to the cruise line. Plus, the cruise line will be looking to make sure you get back to the ship safely.
And, no, a couple of 20 something, or 60 something girls should not go off on their own anywhere in a 3rd world country, including Jamaica! I used to love it there and went often, both on cruises and just to stay there. Not anymore.
Marty
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Old July 15th, 2008, 07:27 AM
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In answer to the safe shopping for 20 year olds...We took a tour in Montego Bay last summer, and this was our experience.....

On the way to Margaritaville,we watched a drug transaction. Once there, I think Jimmy Buffet would be mortified!

One strip mall, with a jewelry store, and a quick mart, stop was not worth even getting off the bus, as was a stop at a craft fair.

My advice....Save your money for another port. I will stay on the ship if we ever do a western again.
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