Hi, this is my husbands and my first cruise on the Jewel of the Seas, we are cruising on April 9th to the Eastern Caribbean. We are going to San Juan, St. Maarten, St Johns, St. Thomas, and Nassau. I am really confused about the shore excursions. I have been hearing that it is better to book your own excursions than on the ship. How do I find the web-sites individually for each excursion. There are so many things to do that I am overwelmed. I would love some advise where we should go and what is awesome and what is not. I want this to be a great trip and I figured that it would be best if I heard from people that have been there done that. Thank you very much! Terri
First I check to see what the cruise line offers for excursions. Once I find something that interests me I start checking on line using a search engine such as google or hotbot. When we went to Belize we decided on Cave Tubing so I put Belize Cave Tubing in the search engine and several companies that offered it came up. I then came back to this site and asked for recommendations from others. If what you want to do makes time tight, ie the excursion lasts 7 hours and you're only in port for 8 hours I would book through the ship. You won't save any money if the ship leaves you behind.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
Along with Darcy's suggestions, don't forget the old fashioned way to research....travel books. I use the library so I don't have to spend any money. Sometimes, a book only has a chapter or two that are relevant, but I've found some great "secrets" in these books. The books will also suggest things you can do on your own; as opposed to taking a private tour. In some ports, you may want a tour or excursion. In others, maybe you'll want a walking/shopping tour or a day at a beach or another do it yourself tour. The books will give you insight to these type of activities. Have fun planning!!!
You've already received some good info. from the other posters. If you want to find land excursions, say, to a particular beach or park or site, or have them drive you around to see the sites, it's easy to get a taxi or minivan usually right where your ship docks in almost any port, from St. Thomas to Malta to Tahiti! However, excursions such as snorkeling or diving are tougher. Snorkeling excursions in places like Grand Cayman can be picked up at the dock many times. But it's much harder to arrange those types of trips on most islands if you wait until you arrive to find one. You could waste precious time locating a dive shop. Costa Maya had some booth you could just walk up to and they'd arrange such trips, and you find these types of places at other stops as well, but not always. Sometimes what looks like a "tourist info. center" or tour info. booth is actually a timeshare sales booth, so be wary of those as well. You generally WILL save money over ship's tours by booking on your own.