Go Back   Cruise Critic Message Board Forums > Ports of Call > Caribbean > Jamaica
 
Register here!
Forgot Your Password?


Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old July 3rd, 2004, 10:34 PM
Gingee's Avatar
Gingee Gingee is offline
5,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Peoria, IL USA
Posts: 5,185
Default Martha Brae Rafting?

Has anyone taken the Martha Brae Rafting? (Montego Bay) If so, did you book with the cruise ship or on your own? Was it worth it?

Thanks
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old July 6th, 2004, 09:48 AM
jgmpuma jgmpuma is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 1,181
Default Martha Brae

This is one of those excursions that people seem to love or hate. We thought it was one of the best parts of the cruise, but a lot depends on which raft guide you end up with.

My wife, her sister and husband and I booked a cab just outside the terminal. The fixed rate was $90. For this, the driver would take us to the river and pick us up afterwards.

The trip to Martha Brae took about one hour. When we arrived, we were just about the only ones there. The cost of the raft trip was (as best as I can remember)$25 per raft, and each holds two people. We also bought some Red Stripe beers for the trip, and they put these in a bag of ice. The float down the Martha Brae take about an hour, through a canopy of rain forest. The guide describes everything, and stops to pick flowers or let us smell the aromatic leaves of the vegetation. A very relaxing trip.

Now for the possibly bad part. Some of the raft guides can be pretty aggressive in selling their crafts to their passengers. This is true just about everywhere in Jamaica, but on the raft, you are a captive audience. Ours wasn't too bad. We bought something from him (can't remember exactly what), but considered that to be part of his tip. There are also vendors on the banks of the river selling drinks, crafts, etc. Our guide steered away from them unless we asked him to stop. Some guides, I have heard, are shills for these vendors, and will stop whether you want to or not. Just make it clear to the guide ahead of time what you want, and that his tip will depend on whether or not he makes you happy.

On the way back to the ship, the cab driver asked if we wanted to stop for some shopping. We did, and that was a mistake. The shop owners were very aggressive, and it was a pretty unpleasant experience. When that ordeal was over, we asked the cab driver to take us somewhere for lunch where the locals ate. The place was called The Jerk Shack (or something like that) and was excellent. All four of us ate and drank for about $10 per person.

At the end of the trip, we gave the cab driver a total of $125. Altogether, the excursion cost us about $50 per person, including lunch. That was quite a bit less than the Carnival excursion, and we avoided the kind of crowds you get when a bus load of cruisers shows up at a place like Martha Brae. The people who booked the trip through Carnival were a lot less happy with it than we were. Some found the trip boring, but that just depends on what you like to do on vacation.
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old July 8th, 2004, 12:42 PM
Krazy Kruizers's Avatar
Krazy Kruizers Krazy Kruizers is offline
50,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 87,962
Default



Rafting on the Martha Brae - we did it a few years ago and loved it. Guess we were also lucky and had a good guide - he didn't pressure us into buying anything and he didn't stop along the shore anywhere.

At that time we were crusing with Princess and booked the tour through them.

Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old July 10th, 2004, 11:35 PM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 15,655
Default Martha Brea River Rafting -- A REVIEW

Just another opinion!

My husband HATED this Martha Brea Excursion!!!

The rafting part was OK ... some points along the river were quite pretty.

When we arrived at the Rafter's Village which was a complete zoo, we were finally assigned to a 2-Person bamboo raft with a guide to "pole" us down the river. Each guide constructs his own raft so every raft is different.

Our guide NEVER stopped talking! Over & over, he told us how poor he was and that his job was the ONLY means of support for his parents and entire family of 17 people. He sort of slipped a bit on his sad story when he told us his brother was on the raft behind us.

All along the river there were vendors with styrofoam coolers of beer and displays of wood carvings. Our guide absolutely insisted we stop because he would really so very much appreciate a beer of two. (To be quite honest ... we had NO PROBLEM stopping after the awful bus ride UP the mountain -- We needed a beer also! )

The trip UP the mountain as a "Sunday School Picnic" compared to the trip back DOWN!

We were on this HUGE bus (Grayhound sized) barreling down the tiny, narrow mountain roads at record speeds ... almost running on-coming autos and rusty old trucks full of terrified workers completely off the mountain.

This bus driver must have been a taxi driver in Cozumel in a former life!

In the mist of all of this our tour guide seemed to think it would be a good idea for us to sing our National Anthems. We thought we should be singing "In the Sweet Bye'n Bye" or "NEARER MY GOD TO ME"! !!!

Whatever .... Some liked this one better than others. Just our opinion!

Happy Sailing! OCruisers
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old July 11th, 2004, 12:15 AM
parrotheads's Avatar
parrotheads parrotheads is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 343
Default

If you want to avoid all the problems of aggressive vendors and raft operators use a tour guide who will go with you and protect you from this kind of situation. You can hire a private tour operator for about the same price you paid the cab driver (if you get a group of about 4-6) but have safety and a competent, intelligent and knowledgeable guide for the day as well.
We've done Jamaica twice and both times used Barrett Adventures. I posted earlier a link to her tour to the Pelican Bar that she shared with me. Check it out or contact her yourself. (Carolyn Barrett) info@barrettadventures.com
__________________
La Vie Dansante!
(loving "life's dance")
http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2344661300101774682miOvIz
Reply With Quote

  #6  
Old July 12th, 2004, 09:44 AM
jgmpuma jgmpuma is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 1,181
Default

Ocruiser's experience is just what I meant about getting the right raft guide. If that had been our experience, we would have hated it too. That's just the luck of the draw, for the most part, but the rafters depend a lot on tips, and you have to let them know ahead of time that you don't want to be hassled, and that their tip will depend on how you are treated.
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old August 6th, 2004, 03:17 PM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 15,655
Default

Everyone brings up good points -- SOME JUST LIKE THIS EXCURSION MORE THAN OTHERS!

Yes, our Raft Guide could have been better but we still tipped him $20 Plus Beers!

We simply did not feel the TRAVEL TIME "To & Fro" made this excursion worthwhile. Just our opinion! Some people liked it!

Happy Sailing! OCruisers
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old September 30th, 2004, 11:49 PM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 15,655
Default

Sam ... Sorry you had trouble finding this one ... and, yes, you are right ... did say scroll ... just didn't say keep going to page 2 ... sorry. Hope you can find it now....
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old March 17th, 2005, 11:13 PM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 15,655
Red face

June .... Yes, it was a ship's excursion. We never had any problems as far as "feeling safe" was concerned.
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old June 6th, 2005, 10:39 PM
kingtns kingtns is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: churchville, pa, usa
Posts: 1,845
Default tubing or rafting

thank you! after all I read I think we'll pass!!
__________________
susan


Reply With Quote

Reply

Bookmarks


Ad Sponsored By
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:41 PM.


© 1995 - 2014, The Independent Traveler, Inc. All rights reserved.
"A Community of People Who Love To Cruise"
All of the information contained within Cruise Critic is protected by copyright. You may, however, download a single copy only for your personal use.