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  #1  
Old October 29th, 2009, 12:32 AM
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timothy998 timothy998 is offline
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Default Any comments on the Western Caribbean--HMC, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman & Costa Maya?

Hello friends. I'm back again as we're contemplating, school schedules permitting, one of the March 2011 Western Caribbean cruises that goes to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Costa Maya, Mexico. We would be on the Nieuw Amsterdam (hopefully they'd have the kinks worked out after 1 1/2 years).

We think the itinerary would be an awesome one for good beaches, and a good chance to see some of the Mayan ruins in Mexico. We've already been to Grand Turk & HMC, and loved both of them for their relaxing simplicity.

Anyway, we would appreciate anything we could learn about Grand Cayman & Costa Maya and this cruise in particular, even though ms Westerdam currently is used for it. The new ship looks great...we've only been on ms Westerdam & loved it...I presume that Nieuw Amsterdam will be somewhat larger, correct, but with the same "general" layout? Thank you.
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Sailed ms Westerdam March 22-29, 2009. Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, San Juan & St. Maarten.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 02:33 AM
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I just did that exact itinerary

Since you've been to HMC and GT, you know they're nothing but beaches...if you're okay with that, go for it. Grand Caymen was one of the coolest places I've ever been, thanks to sting ray city, and the ruins in Costa Maya were fantastic. Look on the port of call boards for more info.

I really liked that it was 4 ports and only 2 sea days. I get bored on sea days.
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HAL: Statendam - August, 2001 - Alaska
RCI: Independence of the Seas - March 29, 2009 - Western Caribbean
HAL: Westerdam - October 18, 2009 - Western Caribbean
RCI: Navigator of the Seas - September 29, 2010 - Eastern Mediterranean & Egypt
NCL: Norwegian Sun - July 6, 2012 - Baltics & Russia
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Old October 29th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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We LOVED this cruise on Westerdam last year. My full review is available on Cruise Critic.

Highly, highly recommend Native Choice for a tour of the ruins in Mexico. Could not imagine better tour guides than David and Ivan.
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Celebrity Mercury to Alaska -- June 2003
Diamond Princess to Mexico -- December 2006
HAL Westerdam to W. Caribbean -- December 2008
HAL Zuiderdam to Panama Canal -- November 2009
HAL Eurodam to E. Caribbean -- December 2010
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam to E. Caribbean -- December 2011
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam to W. Caribbean -- December 2012
Celebrity Silhouette to E. Caribbean -- March 2014
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  #4  
Old October 30th, 2009, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abb4k View Post
We LOVED this cruise on Westerdam last year. My full review is available on Cruise Critic.

Highly, highly recommend Native Choice for a tour of the ruins in Mexico. Could not imagine better tour guides than David and Ivan.
Thanks for all the information. If I understand correctly, you booked Native Choice independent of HAL...do you remember the price differential...can I just look them up via an online search and pre-book them relatively easily? I hope the kids' spring break coincides with this sailing. We loved Grand Turk & HMC just because of the beaches...and figure this would give us even more beaches to enjoy.
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Sailed ms Westerdam March 22-29, 2009. Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, San Juan & St. Maarten.
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  #5  
Old October 30th, 2009, 04:12 PM
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Willsot Willsot is offline
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In our opinion, Costa Maya and Grand Turk are quite similar in that you have a simple walk down the dock and are in a very nice pool and beach area. The sand beach at Grand Turk is nicer, but we just sort of laze in the shade by the pool on both of these stops and don't bother too much with excursions.
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  #6  
Old October 30th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timothy998 View Post
Thanks for all the information. If I understand correctly, you booked Native Choice independent of HAL...do you remember the price differential...can I just look them up via an online search and pre-book them relatively easily? I hope the kids' spring break coincides with this sailing. We loved Grand Turk & HMC just because of the beaches...and figure this would give us even more beaches to enjoy.
Yes, you can find Native Choice online. Yes, we booked that independent of HAL. I do not recall if there was much of a price differential (if any), or even if HAL offered a comparable excursion, though suspect they do. We did the Chacchoben Ruins tour (it's about a one hour van ride through the countryside, toward the Belize border). http://www.thenativechoice.com/chacchoben_ruins.php

There's an amazing excavated city there. What made the tour with Native Choice memorable (relative to booking a similar excursion with HAL or anyone else) is that our tour guide is the son of the person who discovered the Chacchoben ruins. That's Ivan; his colleague David, who lives just a few minutes from Chacchoben, is also terrific.

So, bottom line, we booked with Native Choice because of the terrific recommendations on Cruise Critic -- not because of any cost savings -- though I suspect we probably did save some money. My guess would be that a similar tour would be more expensive on HAL, because the cruise lines always build their own profit margin on top of the actual cost of the excursion.
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Celebrity Mercury to Alaska -- June 2003
Diamond Princess to Mexico -- December 2006
HAL Westerdam to W. Caribbean -- December 2008
HAL Zuiderdam to Panama Canal -- November 2009
HAL Eurodam to E. Caribbean -- December 2010
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam to E. Caribbean -- December 2011
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam to W. Caribbean -- December 2012
Celebrity Silhouette to E. Caribbean -- March 2014

Last edited by abb4k; October 30th, 2009 at 07:31 PM.
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  #7  
Old October 31st, 2009, 02:09 AM
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timothy998 timothy998 is offline
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Thanks for the link and details. The excursion sounds fun and we can decide whether to go with HAL or book on our own. And we anticipate we'd have a bit of time to hit the beach if we desired...if nothing else hit the pool once back onboard. I think we're going to become addicted to cruising...the kids certainly are after our first, and HAL's cruise prices are just so competitive.
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Sailed ms Westerdam March 22-29, 2009. Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, San Juan & St. Maarten.
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