oooh a crusing virgin, we love you!!
Grand Caymen - the sting rays are a must-do- book this on your own, lots of good tour operators to choose from - our personal favorite is Captain Marvin - web site same as the name, very reputable. You can snorkel if you like, or when you get to the sandbar you can stand in the water and be amazed by these creatures, you can pet them, and feed them if you look, most of the time they just swim around you, when they brush up against you if feels like a gentle tickle. The turtle farm is another fun trip to take especially if you have little ones - the little ones seem to just love the turtles.
If you just want to hang out at the beach all you need to do is grab your beach stuff, grab a cab and head to7-mile beach. Its a public beach. You can use the hotels beaches and facilites but they do charge for that.
Cozumel - if you snorkel or want to try it, this is the place- some amazing snorkeling here- it takes an excursion out to the Palencaar Reef - but it is wonderful - book a ship's excursion to do this. If you want to do a Dolphin Swim you do that at Channunkaab National Park - they book up really fast do it right away www.dolphindiscovery.com. This park also has a nice beach, good food, aquarium, small gift shop, mini replica of the ruins, good snorkeling here also. If you just want to hang out at the beautiful beaches there are plenty of those to choose from that are just a cab ride away. Playa del Sol and Mr. Pancho's are the favs. You can also tour the Mayan Ruins - this is basically an all day trip - it takes some getting there, book with the ship just to be on the safe side. No trip to Cozumel would be complete without a stop at Carlos'N'Carlies for a monster marquerita.
Very good information LisaK. It means a lot when people like yourself write to us "cruise virgins". I may have a million questions before Jan 1st.
The last thing I want to do is be stuck on the ship the whole time with indecision.
I love the adventure part of any vacation, but I need to know a bit about what to expect.
Though I'm still nervous it is turning into a giddy nervousness.
You've come to a great place for help. You WILL have lots of questions, but you'll get a lot answered here as well. The only thing is, you're going to be hooked!
Cozumel~ We've been there and going again in a few weeks. Love this place! We go to Chankanaab Park for the day. Lots to do to keep you busy. Of course, you'll have to do shopping as well. The cruise's will have a meeting that you can go to and they give you tips on who to buy from and who to stay away from. The places that they recommend, they guarantee I think. Just be prepared to be pestered here!( in cozumel) They stand out their shops and try to get you in. Give them a firm NO THANKS! and move on. Good place to buy vanilla!
Grand Caymans~ We're doing the Cap't Marvin excursion. MUCH cheaper than booking on the ship.
When you go to different ports, ask who others go to. Go to ones that are recommended on this board by MANY people. If you hear their name over and over and good reports, then you can be pretty certain they're reputable.
Key West~ Not one of MY favorite places. We did have an ok time. The weather made it to be a little miserable for me. VERY HOT AND HUMID. But we went in September. YOu're going at a better time. We went to the light house. Great views! Went to Jimmy Buffets to eat. Just did the Duvall crawl. (shopping along this street) Check out the key lime pie there!
Taking a trolley around can be fun. That's just to keep us cooler!
Have a wonderful time!!
Any more questions, feel free to ask. I'm sure you'll have many.
I went two years ago to W. Car. for the first time and I am hooked. I am getting ready to go on another in Jan to the same place but i traded key west in for montego bay instead. My brother is going with us this time and he is a first timer as well and he has been reading these message boards, and like you are getting over the nervousness and becoming very anxious to set sail. He as well can not think of anything else except this cruise).
Grand Cayman - we did stingrays and loved it so much we are doing them again. This is a must do.
Cozumel - we heard that theChankanaab Park is a must do, so we are going to book an adventure called Sea Trek Helmets. This is a 25 min walk 20ft down under the water. I heard that this as well was a must do.
Last time we went we booked everything through the cruiseline because we made plans and sailed almost 2 weeks later. This time have had time to look into websites and have heard that there are so many different excursions that you can book on your own and these usually take you away from the "cruise crowds".
Sorry - probably more info than needed :-) No worries - you will have so much fun!!