We're going to the eastern Caribbean with Carnival Victory on 05/13/07.
Has anybody of you ever planned a shore excursion by yourself?The excursions offered by Carnical are very expensive so we are not sure whether to choose one of them or to plan an excursion by our own. We read that the criminality rate in the Caribbean is very high.... so we're not sure if it's that clever to walk around alone...?
When you get off the ship, there will be a LOT of vendors on the pier offering the same excursions. I would go to the website for the port you will be in and see what companies they support at their website.
It really depends on your ports of call, but in most of the Eastern Caribbean, it very easy to go out on your own. You can get a guide/driver at the pier to take you around, or you can rent a vehicle and go on your own.
We booked our own excursions for our Western Caribbean cruise well in advance. It was very easy to do by just doing a bit of research on your own ports of call. And at all of them, they also had vendors trying to sell excursions to people who don't already have things booked.
Just my 2 cents, I would either book in advance with reputable companies (you can ask about specific ones here) or bite the financial bullet and do it through the ship. Some of those hustling people as you get off the ship are legit and some are not. It does depend a lot on which ports you are talking about. But, we have had several less than safe "adventures" with just winging it with a local vendor when we got there. When you are with the ship tour, the vendors know that anything they do will lose them business in the future, so it's not worth it. When you are on your own, that does not apply.
I am pretty adventurous by nature and DH even more so, but we have learned some hard lessons.
Never bothered me, but then I'm a 6' guy, a pretty savy 20 year cruise veteran, and walk around ports like I know exactly where I am going (I research them well before I go). That said when taking my 11 year old kiddo (himself a savy 11 year cruise veteran) I am very cautious in many places, Jamaica being at the top of the list, Grand Cayman at the bottom. Skip wearing jewelery and stick to very tourist travelled areas where police are generally about. Go in a group with other couples. Get recommendations from folks who have been there before and use your intuition. Also don't be stupid and get drunk in foreign ports, ala that student in relatively safe Aruba.
Originally Posted by Sandy0815
We read that the criminality rate in the Caribbean is very high.... so we're not sure if it's that clever to walk around alone...?
Amadeus:09 Diamond;Celebrity:10 Summit; HAL: 87 Rotterdam V,89 Nieuw Amsterdam II,93 Nordam III,94 Ryndam III,96 Westerdam III,99 Veendam IV,01 Maasdam V,02 Amsterdam III,03 Volendam III,03 Zuiderdam II,04 Westerdam IV,04 Oosterdam I,05 Zaandam III,06 Statendam V,06 Prinsendam II,07 Nordam IV,08 Eurodam I,08 Rotterdam VI,09 Veendam IV,09 Volendam,10 Nieuw Amsterdam IV,12 Ryndam III;11 P&O:Artemis;RC:07 Splendour of the Seas,11 Navigator of the Seas,12 Majesty of the Seas
We have done most of our excursions either on our own, or with independent operators. Over on the Cruise Critic boards, there are a LOT of recommendations under ports of call. Sorry, but this board just doesn't have as many as that board does.
Mariner of the Seas 3/30/08
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
I have done several of my own shore excursions. I research the companies on line first by doing a search on the ports at Google then I try to find feed back on cruise chat websites such as this one for feedback. It would help if you listed your ports so people can make recomendations.
I have booked with Sunny Liston tours in St. Thomas a real bargain at $20, I wish I had done San Juan on my own as Carnival city tour was not worth it, I would have had more time at the places that interested me if I just took a cab, in Nassau I went to the zoo, took a city bus for just $1 the locals were protective of us, and I felt very safe, I also ate at the Fish fry area where the locals eat. I have also done my own excursions in Mazatlan Mexico with Mazatlan Frank and in Belize with Coral Breeze limited. I plan to use Captain Marvin on my next cruise in Grand Cayman.
I saved a lot of money and I feel had better excursions then the ship offered, with smaller groups. In certain ports where safety might be an issue I might stick to the ships tours, ditto with tender ports as you don't want to miss your boat. Hope this helps.
Carnival Mardi Gras 1987 (Bahamas)
Carnival Legend 2005 (Exotic Western Caribbean)
Costa Mediterrenia 2005 (Eastern Caribbean)
Carnival Pride October 2006 (Mexican Rivera)
Carnival Legend 2007 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Glory 2009 Western Caribbean
Carnival Liberty 2011 Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Spirit 2011 Western Caribbean Carnival Miracle 2012 Southern Caribbean
I see your cruise is over, but for anyone else going you can take a taxi from the port and do well in St. Thomas and Nassau, but in St Maaten I suggest an excursion from your ship there. We walked off our boat & walked to the beach, got a drink and a umbrella and chair. Sat down and it was fun, but the vendors started coming around then the people started coming over from their ships on boats. It got crowded after awhile, so we walked behind the beach to the shopping area. It was quaint and fun, but the people around the beach just didn't seem trustworthy. If we ever go back we will do an excursion.
Study where you are going, very important! Like St. Thomas, we took a van with others to a nice beach to snorkel (we were the only ones who got out at this beach) that was part of a resort, and took another taxi, by ourselves, to tour St. Thomas. I will never take another mountain tour though, that cured me of doing that. Those aren't even hair pin curves, I don't know how people did it who rented cars or other motor vehicles. He was a great driver, but you had to take turns going around corners.
Nassau we took a van, with others, to Atlantis resort and had a private tour of that.