Hi susus, I just got back from my first cruise and you will find this site EXTREMELY helpful in answering any and all questions. I sailed last month on the Paradise and our first two stops were Belize and Roatan. First off, these are two very new ports and are undeveloped. Best to have a tour (either from the ship or privately. We booked a city and Altun Ha tour (mayan ruins) in Belize with a private company - sorry I don't remember exact name or website, I think it was something like cbelize.com. They were excellent! My friend and I were in a van with 4 other people and a guide who was excellent. Toured the ruins and general area (and gave valuable info regarding the area). I think it was about $50 for a 4 hour tour. The thing to keep in mind is that even if you don't have something booked ahead of time, all of the tour companies are there on the dock when you arrive and they will all try to sell you a tour. You could probably negotiate a good deal. We booked ahead of time and they were there to meet us. In Roatan, it's a little different. There were no formal tour companies to greet you, but there were many private "taxi drivers" willing to take you around for the day. My friend and I booked a tour from the ship (West Side Island tour) and it was awful! We saw nothing of interest and it was expensive ($45 each). Our two friends got off the ship and hired a driver who showed them the whole island for $20 for the day! Things may change by January though, because when we went to Roatan in Sept. they said that they get one cruise ship every two weeks. But as of October, this would be increasing. So, perhaps more ships will mean increased tourism things by the time January rolls around. Also, you can search the web by typing in "Belize tour companies" or the same for Roatan. Good luck. Hope this helps.
At Belize, we booked with Reggie Trapp for his Cave Tubing adventure@ $65pp. It is not that strenuous, but a lot of fun. It is a great way to do something different, learn and see a beautiful country and meet other cruisers. Check out www.regtours.net. The advantage of a ship's tour is that you will get off on a tender first and be back on time. Reggie has never missed the boat in over 5 yeas of being a licensed tour guide. There are many private tour guides, so keep checking the ports forums on this site as well as other similar web pages for great reviews and first hand experience.
Just back from our cruise. Belize - well, probably worth seeing how poor it is even if you don't go on a tour. But you have to be "strong" to get past all the vendors that are waiting to "greet" you.
Roatan - paradise in danger of being developed. Highly recommend Banarama for diving/snorkeling. Terrifice staff and facilities. Hummingbirds, too! My husband, an avid diver, had "the dive of his life" in Roatan with Banarama.
Ron hooked us non-divers up with Mayan Princess for horseback riding. Our tour guide was Freddy. He doesn't speak English, but is taking lessons. He was just great with my 8 year old granddaugter. For $25, we saw a part of Roatan most people will never see.
We wanted to tour with Coral Reef Explorer, but the weather was not favorable. We'll hook up with them next time.
We are arriving in Belize and Roatan on NCL in December. We are traveling with our 3 children (ages6,7,9). We are debating about going either to Caye Caulker or Goff's Caye while in Belize. Any thoughts on either would be appreciated.
In Roatan we are planning to take the boats excursion to Tabyana Beach (which is on the west end) for a day on the beach combined with snorkeling. Has anyone done this before?
My husband and I sailed NCL in April 2002, same stops...
Roatan...we did the boat's shore excursion to Tabayana Beach, beautiful beach, a little crowded though, mostly NCL cruisers. I think when we went on our cruise, Roatan was a new thing. I'm not sure if things have changed in Roatan, but I would recommend the boat's shore excursions, especially with young children. The area the boat docks is a concrete pier connected to a dirt road. Who knows, by now, it may be highly tourized, which would be a shame!
Belize...we did some shark/ray alley snorkling tour. The snokling was okay, however, it is nowhere near land. The beach we went to afterward was abosutely beautiful and very quiet, the only people on it were the fifteen or so of us that did the tour plus a few of the resort guests.
I hope you enjoy your cruise on NCL....we had a lot of fun!
Just returned from Belize on the Enchantment. I highly recommend checking with www.cbelize.com. Very professional group and use air conditioned vans. If you register before your trip, you get a discount. Don't have to pay upfront either. Marsha Garcia was our guide and she is a very lovely young lady who took us on the Belize Zoo/City Tour (they have several others). It was the highlight of our cruise as we did have such a wonderful educational experience besides the tour. Have heard comments that there is nothing in Belize...... NOT true! A person has to get out there and discover some of the enchantment of the people and sights. Enjoy!
Just got back from Roatan on the Horizon. As said in previous messages things are a little sparse in Roatan. We took the Tabyana Beach Break excursion. We were met at the ship and then escorted on a dirt road to a bus (that leaked) in the poaring down rain. The rain did let up for about an hour at the beach. Then the rains came and came and came and came. Lunch was just OK. I have found these BBQ style lunches leave alot to be desired. But all in all we were on a cruise and at the beach so we just dealt with it. On the way to the beach you go through some very poverty stricken places. Really makes you appreciate what you have at home. Our table mates went shopping at the end of the pier and said they got some really good prices on things. This seemed a little scary to me but I guess if you were with a group it would be OK. Anyway have a great time.
We are leaving on Paradise Jan. 11th, Would appreciate hearing from those of you that said you were going in Nov. or Dec. there are 2 adults and three children (10, 7, and 3). ALEX, we are debating between Goffs and Caye Caulker as well in Belize, let me know which one you did, and Roatan is up in the air as my husband is going diving, so it is just me and the girls. Thanks for info. Mo