Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Cruises
Reload this Page >

Celebrity Caribbean Cruise with NO Paid Excursions??

Celebrity Caribbean Cruise with NO Paid Excursions??

Jan 28th, 2015, 10:21 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,377
Celebrity Caribbean Cruise with NO Paid Excursions??

Hi all-- we are looking at a Cenebrity Caribbean Cruise. We have done a cruise in Alaska... and the ship wasn't huge. We were able to easily see some sites at the stops without taking any paid excursions.

Please-- if you have done one of their cruises in this area-- is it possible to easily get to some pretty beaches or beachside strolls and such easily without paying extra for excursions?? We feel that we can only do this if we keep big extra costs to a minimum.
Thanks much for any advice.
kawh is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 03:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,071
Depends on where. Many islands have beach taxis or shuttles waiting at the dock that take you to nice beaches for very little money. While not the Caribbean, Bermuda has an excellent public bus and ferry system that will take you everywhere on the island.
gail is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 04:26 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,425
You don't have to pay for an expensive ships excursion to get to a beach. Gail say sit well. There will be taxis and shuttles at the dock. No worries.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 06:26 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 495
Where do you want to go in Caribbean? We have been to many islands and don't book excursions, been there, done that, etc. We did a 6 island repositioning cruise several years ago. One of the islands we visited was Curacao and I remember getting off the ship and being "welcomed" by so many taxi drivers wanting us to take a tour. We did book an island tour here because we were with friends that wanted to see the island. I think that we pd. $10. each for the tour.

If you don't want to book excursions and save money just get off the ship and see what's being offered on the island. You can definitely save money doing this.

St. Thomas - many taxi, tour operators hanging on the docks for business. St. Martin - we usually take the ferry across to the center (very cheap) and walk the stores, etc. There is a nice beach there that you can hang for the day. So it's not necessary to spend a lot of money on the islands.

We've taken the local bus in Bermuda and the Bahamas also.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 07:02 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,077
You never need to pay for excursions in the Caribbean. On every single island I can think of, it's always possible to do things on your own. You can always band together with another couple to reduce taxi costs, or you can rent a car on some islands very cheaply. Without knowing the ports, I wouldn't make specific suggestions, but it's always possible get to a beach or an interesting sight on your own, just as in Alaska or Europe.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,377
thanks so much for this info... i am comforted and ready to go. as for which towns... have two choices,

at sea, cozamel, cayman, jamaica, at sea, bahamas... or same itinerary but haiti instead of bahamas. any opinions on which would be better??

thanks very very much for the info. kawh.
kawh is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 02:37 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,077
Jamaica is the only place on your list where it's sometimes easier to use a ship's tour. And in Grand Cayman, there can be some advantages to a ship tour, as I explain below. But you can easily organize yourself and probably save a bit in every port depending on what you want to do.

I like both Coco Cay and Labadee, but I'd probably give the nod to Labadee because I think you still have to tender ashore at Coco Cay (ships can dock at Labadee). Both have beautiful beaches.

Cozumel has great diving and snorkeling trips (which you can sign up for in advance or at the dock), as well as fun beach clubs you can get to by taxi. Or the town is nice for strolling (though gets very busy during the day. You can also take a ferry to Playa del Carmen, which has better beaches than Cozumel island.

Cayman is just generally wonderful, with great beaches and stingray city. Since ships have to tender ashore, there's a distinct advantage in booking a ship-sponsored tour to Stingray City here because you're guaranteed to get off the ship early. You should check to see if it's really much cheaper to book this on your own if that's whayou want to do. Just requires a bit more homework. The town is a great place to stroll and shop, and you can get a taxi to the beautiful Seven Mile Beach.

Jamaica depends on where you're docked ... Falmouth or Ocho Rios. The best things to do are a fair distance from the port, so it's better to organize something in advance even if it's not a ship-sponsored tour because you'll need transport. There's a beach and pool area right at Margaritaville if you dock in Ocho Rios (and you walk there directly from the ship), but the beach is small and loud. A nice thing to do in Jamaica is to buy a day-pass from an AI resort with a beautiful beach. Those are expensive, but you can buy them direct from the resorts; you don't have to use the ship tour, and that can save you some money.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 10:57 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,377
doug_s....
thank you so very much for the information. very helpful! i am probably going to go with the one that goes to haiti... much better if no need to tender.
kawh is offline  
Jan 31st, 2015, 03:51 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,071
You mention avoiding "big extra costs" but another thing to consider is the little costs that mushroom. For us, mostly drinks, alcoholic and not that create sticker shock on checkout. It's hot, you are thirsty, everyone else has a cute drink with an umbrella. Do some research and thought to how to manage these costs - like drinking the free iced tea/lemonade usually available. Like discovering which is the true bargain alcoholic drink of the day. (Not by smuggling alcohol on in mouthwash bottles, stiffing the staff of their tips - as has been suggested on some forums)
gail is offline  
Jan 31st, 2015, 04:56 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,425
As for extra costs skip or really minimize the ships photographer. All the pics they take can add up. You are not obliged to buy them but the cost is high if you want to. They will take a lot of them and they will be costly.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 31st, 2015, 09:34 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
"Not by smuggling alcohol on in mouthwash bottles, stiffing the staff of their tips - as has been suggested on some forums" Gail, bravo! Right on! Well said! 100% agreement!

We are not big drinkers but still like to indulge every once in while. You just have to find what, when and where the specials are.

Bucket of beer is usually is a good deal. Ask the bartender not to open all of them and take them back to the cabin and keep it in the mini fridge. Order a bottle wine at dinner and drink a glass each night and ask the staff to keep it for you for the next day. If you are on the Princess, buy the coffee card. It works out to a little over $2 for an espresso. A bargain anywhere. They don't advertise it and you will have to ask.

Find out when and where free champagne/drinks are offered. Art auction, Captain's Gala, guest loyalty function, cocktail mixing demonstration etc.

Certain cruise lines charge more for their beverages than others. The reason is simple: they offer lower cruise fare to get you on board and then make their money on drinks. It's either that, or the gouge.

Just watch out for all the so call "wow" bargains (which they are not) and all the impulse buys such as $10 watch and cosmetic jewelry. Some deals are okay but you have to know your prices. The ship's "duty free" shop are not necessary cheap so resist the temptation unless you know your price.

We bought some ship's photos in our early cruising years. We just politely refuse the pictures to be taken now and most will leave you alone.

The last time we bought pictures was 3 years ago after on a Thanksgiving cruise. The ship's photographer was quite good (a rarity) and he did convinced us to get our pictures taken at an excursion. (They have staff traveled with the excursions to take pictures and videos.) They had a deal to put their pictures into Christmas cards so we ordered 25 cards (with envelops) and I think it was $50, expensive for Christmas cards but not a bad deal for custom cards.

Speaking of sticker shock, a staff of mine went for a mother and daughter 7 day cruise years ago and the tab was a few thousands dollars. The expenses were spa treatments (on every sea day), champagne (more than a bottle a day), excursions, "inch of gold", souvenirs, photos, and of course, generous tips.

Just remember that all the little things add up fast!
Eschew is offline  
Jan 31st, 2015, 09:40 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 821
We never, ever take ship excursions. I check out their excursions, go online to the local tourist board or plug in that excursion to google and find a similar much less expensive option.

There are posts that recommend guides others have used if you wan to use someone.

We always take the local transportation, if available.

Check out shorebee.com for more info as well depending on where you are going.
jan47ete is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 01:21 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,377
thanks again to all of you for this inf!! yes, paying for drinks all day is a real turn-off for me; i like to know what i'm spending up front. part of our interest in the deal we are looking at was an included drink plan. i know that, even so, some drinks will not be included in that-- but can deal with that. don't want to deal with what was mentioned above-- seeing others happily drinking a cold one while we are cheap and thirsty!!
kawh is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 06:12 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,786
Most ships will also permit you to bring one bottle of wine per person on board with you (although there is a charge to drink it in the dining room and you must carry it on, not check it). Some lines will also allow you to bring a small amount of soda on.
persimmondeb is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 08:52 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,425
I know that Celebrity will let you bring two bottles of wine per cabin at embarkation only and for use in your cabin only. Most other lines do the same as well. On our last Princess cruise we had two bottles delivered to our cabin from their selection and the cost was nominal.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 12:11 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 14
Grand Cayman was our favorite stop on a recent (January 18-25)I wouldn't miss the turtle farm. We paid @$35 for a private 30 minute drive in an air-conditioned van, including admission to the turtle farm. You can fo more cheaply w/o AC. Good reports on stingray site as well. Can walk to beaches and shops.
Falmouth depressing, so poor, but I like my small carved mahogany dolphin.
We now avoid Nassau. It's become so congested. Public transportation available. The 15-mile drive from the airport to cruise port took my husband an hour in April.
Multitude of options in Cozumel. I chose sailing & snorkeling, arranged by the travel agent, but many booked the excursion on line.
Refreshing getaway with folks from all over Canada, US, and Mexico, sailing out of Galveston.
Laurelle is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 03:15 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,425
Also it seems you just may like a nice cold one so try local brews in every port. If you are in Cayman try their Caybrew. No bad!
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 07:06 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,377
jacketwatch... yup!!
kawh is offline  
Feb 1st, 2015, 08:06 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,425
Now you're on vacation. .
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 12:21 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,377
jacketwatch-- as an aside--
was poking around here for more on celeb. cruises (signed on yesterday... have more questions)... and i saw an old post of yours where you refer to 'the late great dogster.'

was so shocked and sad to read that, indeed, he passed away. after a rough start, where he mocked me and i slapped him around a bit, and he very humorously copped to his eccentricities of patience, he gave us some excellent guidance on our first trip to vietnam, the pandaw and lands beyond. oozing poetry between his wild and humorous posts, i lurked long after we had gathered the information we needed.

funny how you can feel so weirdly close to a stranger through just their written word.
kawh is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:07 PM.