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#1
285 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Hi All,

Thanks so much for giving all your input and info.

Now it's time for all of you to spout off and give me your opinion!

I think I finally came up with what we should do on our cruise - if you have any input, suggestions, etc., please let me know!

We are cruising on Carnival Paradise (me, my hubby & son who is 26) Apr 18 - 25. Here is my tentative itinerary.

Belize - Carnival excursion of Shark / Ray Alley

Isla Roatan - Book on my own Salt & Pepper snorkel Trip.

Grand Cayman - Book on my own Nativeway snorkel trip.

Cozumel - We won't book anything because we want to go to Tulum and then Paradise Beach if we have time on our own.

I'll want to book these things in the next couple days, so don't delay - send me your opinions today!

Thanks,

Kelly
#2
Ohio
373 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
My 2 cents worth,

Did Salt and Pepper a few years ago...wasn't that great. We drove in a van with a non English speaking driver....glad I paid attention in college. Drove up to some old shack looking place, didn't appear to be where we were suppose to be going BUT it was....no running water in the bathrooms ( I am persuming you are getting lunch too?) Food was good. The beach is dirty and the water was murky...murky may have to do with the weather while we were there....lots of sand fleas that you cant' see. We had bug spray, but some people got seriously bit up.

Like I said..this was in Feb of 2003, so maybe recently it has gotten better.

Email me if you are running out of time and have any thing else that I can answer.

Jean

Ocean Beeze 10/01
NCL Sun 02/02
RCCL Majesty of the Seas 07/02
Sea Princess 02/03
NCL Sea 03/03
RCCL Serenade of the Seas Transatlantic 08/03
Carnival Victory 11/03
RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas....MARDI GRAS!!!!!!
RCCL Jewel of the Seas Transatlantic 09/04
Carnival Destiny 06/13/04
Sapphire Princess Orient/Asia 03/05
#3
Sarasota, Florida
1,923 Posts
Joined May 2000
Tulum is a wonderful site & worth seeing !

However, it's a long trip to do own your own.

I can tell you it involves a 50 minute to one hour ferry ride (each way)

Over a one hour bus ride (with bathroom stop) each way.

SO your are already up to a minimum 4 hours in travel time.

If you spend 3 hours at the site your trip is up to a minimum of 7 hours.
That's if everything goes perfect.

How long is your ship in port ?
If you are late, the ship will not wait.

If you are booked on a ships tour, the ship will wait.

After 18 cruises, this is still one trip I'd be a little scared to take the chance of doing on my own.

If you do deceide to give it a go on your own, please let me know how it went and about the times !
#8
285 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Thanks for your info so far, pictures look great too! I went to Tulum years ago, but it looks like it is much nicer now.

As for the times in port they are:

Belize (9 am - 6pm) - Carnival excursion of Shark / Ray Alley

Isla Roatan (7 am - 3 pm) - Book on my own Salt & Pepper snorkel Trip.

Grand Cayman (9:30 am - 5 pm) - Book on my own Nativeway snorkel trip.

Cozumel (1 pm - 11 pm) - We won't book anything because we want to go to Tulum and then Paradise Beach if we have time on our own.

I realize we are in Cozumel late in the day. Does anyone know what the ferry schedules are? Are we at risk of not making it back?

Jean & voyagerfl - do you have any alternative ideas? Are we better off just going w/ Carnival excursions if we want to do these things?

Thanks for your help, this is so nice to be able to ask people who have already been there and done that for their opinions

Kelly
#9
Dublin, Ohio
15 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
One other item you will need to pay attention to is ship time vs port time. Belize and Roatan do not follow daylight savings time..so their time will be two hours behind the ship. GC and Coz are just one hour behind.

Now, if I remember correctly, when we were on the Paradise, the ship moved it's clock back one hour...but I don't remember for sure. The bottom line here is be flexible with your plans and be careful. We are a family of 5, have always booked our own excursions, and never been left in a port. That said, we research extensively and don't take "big" chances.

And, port times are not your total available time. Once the ship arrives, it has to be cleared before anyone can debark. Then, there are over 2,000 cruisers that want to get off the ship. Then, you are asked to be back onboard 30 minutes prior to the set departure time. And, if you are lucky you walk off and on the ship. However, for Belize and GC you will tender...which you have even less control over.

Now, that said, cruising is the greatest!!! I hope yours is wonderful and you are able to make all your plans happen.

MB
Glory 2/04
Paradise 5/03
Destiny 3/02
#10
285 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
MBR, thank you for the time info. I have been asking those I speak with if they have had Paradise cruisers before and if there have been any problems.

Are the times listed in my Carnival itinerary ship time? Not local time?

I think I'll call carnival and ask them for sure what their time is compared to local time - thanks for the heads up!

Kelly
#11
St. Thomas ON
5,818 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Kelly, just my 2 cents worth - check with Coral Breezes for your Shark Ray Alley excursion in Belize. Less money, very professional and on the day we were there Carnival cancelled their excursion while Coral Breezes ran theirs. Either way though it is a great time.

Carnival Legend 02/04

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#12
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
can someone tell me the difference between Shark/Ray alley vs swimming with the stingrays???
We did the Tulum tour with the ship= Its an all day excursion. We had half an hour to spare when we got back before the ship was loaded.

Going NOWHERE



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Voyager August 31,2003
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#13
Dublin, Ohio
15 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Kelly, don't get frustrated if calling Carnival leaves you with more questions than answers. We were told many things...none of which were what happened onboard.

The times listed with the Carnival itinerary are ship times.

I checked my notes and YES, last May, the Paradise changed ship time by one hour on Sunday night (1st night) and moved it back on Friday night (2nd to last night).

Most tour operators that you read about on Cruise Critic will know what is going on and will make sure the timing is not an issue. Again, hope it all goes smooth as the Caribbean Sea!!!

MB
Glory 2/04
Paradise 5/03
Destiny 3/02