Cruise excursions

Old Jul 15th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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Cruise excursions

My husband, 20-year-old son and I are going to Grand Cayman, Belize, Cozumel and Isla Roatan on a Carnival cruise in early August. It is our first cruise and first visit to these places. What are the best excursions to take? Should I reserve them through the ship, or are there better or cheaper ways to see the islands? I don't want to miss the boat..... I have no idea what to expect form the ports. Is it necessary to go on an excursion or can you just get off the ship and wander around to a beach or snorkel on your own? Please advise--thanks!
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Can only speak to Grand Cayman. The most popular tourist thing is Sting Ray City - a large sandbar where there are a bunch of people-tolerant stingrays - really big - like 6 foot wing span. They hand out there waiting for tourists to come stand in the waist high water and feed them squid.

A little hokey - certainly. But also really cool. You can touch them, take photos with them. Only thing that might be harmful to the stingrays that I can think of is that they get used to being fed by people and lose their interest in finding their own food. We went with our 16 year old dtr and she enjoyed it as well. Excursions, either private or thru cruiseline generally include another stop to snorkel and sometimes a beach stop or lunch.

We did the excursion thru Celebrity cruiselines - great fun. Can probably find one cheaper independently - I know there has been discussion here about this specific port of call. Also go to cruisecritic website - one thing they are really good at is giving info on specific ports.
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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I think you need to do some research to find out what the best option is. You can look up the excursions and prices on the cruise line website. I use to see what tour options are out there for any given city, then I look for the specific company that offers the tour so that I can see if I can get it cheaper than what viator is offering.

Sometimes the cruise excursions are cheaper than what you could book on your own, but sometimes their not. I would use their list of excursions as a starting point to see what peaks your interest. This being your first time cruising, you may want to stick with the cruise excursions for peace of mind. Still, my suggestion is that you know exactly what you want to do in each island before your cruise. Use guide books, websites, etc to see what the main attractions are: is great for finding things to do. may also prove to be a great site for getting cruise-specific advice. Have fun!
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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Do go to That is a VERY complete cruise site wiht everythin you can think of about cruises! You can check out ports here and even search on a topic. Do check out their 'boards'!
You can just get off and go where ever you like in port. Just make sure you get back to the ship in plenty of time before it sails. If you're not back they sail anyway!
You can find the same tours when you get off the ship, they are sold at every port.
Sting Ray City is a must for Grand Cayman. The ship's tour is fine but we never do them anymore. You can get the exact same tour for a lot less $$. Try Captian Marvin for the sting rays. We had two snorkeling spots before we got to Sting Ray City. Search him on
In Belize you tender way in right to the city. There are no beaches there. You have to take a water taxi to one of the cayes for a beach and/or snorkling. However, our favorite excursion in Belize is cave tubing with Reggie. His price was [email protected] and the ships were $89-$94. This is for the same place, same time, same caves. Email me for info in Reggie, [email protected], subject 'cruising'.
We are snorkelers and like Tabyanna in Roatan, but now it is open only to tours. So, we took a cab to a hotel next door to the beach and walked over and snorkled.
In Cozumel you can go to Chankanaub, a national park. They have a big beach, snorkling, a swim with the dolphins that is fun to just watch and other things. You'll find this on the web for more info. Plus there are TONS of shops at the pier there.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Usually ships tours are more costly. If you do some basic research you can find a private tour operator and do the excursions on your own. It will be less $$ and you will be on your own time. Have fun. LArry
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 03:52 PM
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We are going on the exact same itinerary but in late August/early october. What I did was start off by checking out the excursions offered by Carnival then start doing my own research. I found out about stingray sandbar in Grand Cayman and its way cheaper booking it online on your own (maybe even less crowded since you'll be booking a different time slot than the cruise). Then theres Roatan where I have been hesitant since I've heard it can be risky on your own but I found a site that shows some amazing excursions I'd love to try. Seems safe but I'm not sure about Roatan yet. Then Belize is a can't miss river tubing adventure waiting to happen. I just googled Belize Tubing and found lots of info. Lastly Cozumel is where we are just going to relax so we booked an all inclusive at one of the beach clubs. Anyways, I hope this was even slightly helpful! I know its more risky to do things on your own but we are on a tight budget for this trip so every penny counts.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:39 PM
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Hi, the excursions through the ship are more expensive, I prefer to book on my own. I usually have an idea of what I want to do before I arrive and then when I get there, search out someone to take me. When you get to each of these ports, there will be plenty of people offering to take you pretty much whereever you want to go. Since this is your first time, you may want to book ahead of time through a company. I have heard very good things about (cave tubing in Belize, this is so much fun! It is the most popular excursion in Belize). Also I heard was a great outfit. I believe both of them charge $45 per person. Cozumel, I would dive (if you are into that or want to take a class) snorkel, or just hit the beach. There is a place, cannot think of the name of it, but there will be people with signs advertising - it is about 15 min. from the port, nice beach, with clean facilities, pretty good restaurant. You can rent jet skis, there is a rock wall type of thing in the water. Your son would probably like this area for a couple of hours. Have fun! We love cruising!!!
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