Posted March 23rd, 2009, 02:33 PM
I think i read on the RCI board where the pass to cable beach is 15.00. you can use the pools and chairs for that price . free to go to beach just ride the # 10 bus out there for 1.00 . last time we were there the taxi's will take you for about 4.00. they are knowladgeble on how to do it
Sandal's is all-inclusive so their daypass charges are far higher: $110/day plus transfers, but that includes all the facilities of the resort include pools, food, drink and non-motorized watersports. Sandals is adults only so keep that in mind. As per the 1-800 number you need to contact the resort directly to book, check out the website.
Most of the other resorts charge $15-20 which includes use of their pools, towels, etc., but food and drink are extra. The closest is the Hilton which you can see from the ship, but I would not recommend this as the beachs are far, FAR nicer on Cable Beach and it's a short Bus or Cab ride away. When you exit the ship there is a tourist desk that can help you with recommendations (and are usually a little cheaper than the ship.)
The exception to all this is Atlantis which charges $35 to see the full aquarium (there is much more than you can see from the lobby) and to wander the grounds (you can see the other displays as well that way.) $65 gets pool and beach access and $110 gets you access to the waterpark. Note that this does not include food or drink which is breath-takingly expensive. Atlantis is admazing, just not even remotely worth the price in my opinion. Technically the beach is free and there is access from locations on either end of the resort, but you'll likely have issues if you try to use the bathroom of buy something to eat. Also some people sneek into the paid areas. People claimed to have gotten away with it, but on my visit there was staff posted throughout the resort who were actively looking for my bracelet.
As a frequent cruiser let me tell you there are 4 ways to book your shore excursions:
1) through the cruise line themselves which is the easiest and pretty secure but very expensive due to all the mark-ups
2) book before through a tour service (there are a number, a TA can help you out with a name or two) I find this by far has the highest value/cost ratio and are usually pretty painless, just do lots of internet research. Also, I find you get alot of extras booking this way you don't get with the cruise line tours (smaller groups for example, the cruise groups tend to be large as the operators need as many people as possible if they going to make money)
3) In the cruise terminal prior to exiting the building: This is run by the local tourism bureau and not all that much cheaper than the ship, but it does give you some lower cost options
4) on the street as you exit: This is the crazy free-for-all outside the port. You'll find the lowest prices here but you take your chances a bit, the boats might be a little older and buses not quite as nice. However over 1/2 the time you'll find out these are the same people handling the cruise ship tours.
Personally I usually do my internet research and book ahead, it's nice having a plan and people waiting for you. In ports like Nassau which can be a little crazy you'll often have a better experience if you have something arranged. I've also booked right off the street with mixed results (there was a cab in St Thomas once I thought was going to be a one-way trip to the afterlife) The cruise line I usually only bother with if I'm taking a boat to another island and I'm worried I might not make it back to the ship in time (at least with a ship-booked trip they know where you are usually and are more likely to wait for you.) I wouldn't put the water taxi to Atlantis in this category as there are cabs that will bring you back over the bridge for not much more.