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drwestlake

Tips for Conquest, Just back

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...March 27. I wanted to give you a few tips for this ship and the islands. Our first day we went up to the casino and asked for the wrist bands that hold your sail and sign cards I had heard about. Around the corner from the casino is a Vacation Plan Club counter set up. They will give you a string that goes around your neck with a clear plastic sleeve that will hold your S&S card. They will ask you to make an appointment, about 15-20 minutes to explain the program for later in the week. I kept my appointment, it was no pressure and I did not make a commitment. In doing so, I was invited to two open bar private parties. We were able to go to one, the Margurites/Chip and Salsa party. They played a musical hat game and the winner won a 7 night vacation in Mexico, not bad! They also gave away several bottles of wine.

We were also invited and went to the Captains party and the Past Cruisers party, both open bar and appetizers.

Sunset Beach Resort, Montego Bay: go! Worth the $20 per person. It includes food, drinks, bar, water sports, beach, 2 pools. It will cost you $2 per person, each way in a cab and is about 5 minutes away - but don't walk.

Pardise Beach, Cozemel: I wouldn't go again. Water was not clear, but brown and yicky and very hard to walk in, rocky. It is a free beach but will cost each person $5 for a wrist band if you want to play on the water trampoline and iceberg and other water sport things. The cab ride is about 10 minutes and cost our family of 5, $16 each way. There is a large sign out where you get your cabs telling you how much it will cost you according to the long list of beaches that you want to go to, good idea.

Cozemel is a great place to shop for tourist type things. $5 t-shirts, ect.

Grand Caymon - Went with Sotoscruises. $30 per person. They have two coolers water and lemonade. If you like they will take your picture with the stingrays for $20 for 1, each additional at $10 each. Not a friendly group of workers, but you will enjoy the coral gardens, 1/2 hr., and the stingray sandbar, 20 minutes.

I do not have a cell phone, but heard many people having problems with keeping their phone and their S&S card in the same pocket. It ruins the card somehow. Overall we were happy with our vacation, just hate coming home to cold rain. Any questions, let me know.

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Were you in Coz the day of the storm blew in? Normally the beaches in that area are not murky. Might have been due to weather conditions and you would have found that at any of the beaches. It is my understanding that Paradise Beach isn't a sandy beach- as this has been discussed on the Coz board - we are bringing water shoes.

 

Sounds like all in all you had a great time. Glad to hear the deal at Sunset is worth it. Did you have to haggle with the taxi driver? I've heard different prices. This is the first time I've hear $2.00 per person.

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drwestlake- would you explain further about the "unfriendly workers". we're booked with sotos and we have a 7 yr old who I think will need a lot of coaxing to get in with the rays-was hoping for not only friendly but, "child friendly" as well.

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There was no bargaining for cabs. As we were leaving the terminal area people are standing around holding signs for different tours, waiting for their groups to show up. Someone asked where we were going, I told him, he said $2 each and then he walked us to the curb, got a mini van with a driver for us and we were off. On returning same thing, driver loaded us up, pulled out of the gates, (I think to insure he got the job) went back inside and got our S&S cards for us and we were off. I never thought to ask if the price was different and he never questioned the amount we gave him.

Shoot, I must have missed the information about the rocky beach. I think once I found an area with the trampoline and things, I was set because my children had played on things like that before and loved it. My fault for not checking better.

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Sure. Did you get the information and directions on where to meet the guide? Ok, when we left the pier we turned right and walked down maybe a block, no big deal. On the right side in a small parking lot was a white van with a Sotoscruises sign on the side. We were the first there. The man got out of the van, said nothing, I said, "we're the Westlakes". He said, "you're a little early, I'm waiting for some more people. You can walk around or sit on the curb and wait." He then got back into his AC van, we sat on the curb for maybe 15- 20 minutes. When others arrived we loaded up and drove maybe 10 min. to what I think is his home/office. He stopped the van said to walk down the drive way and someone would help us. We did, no one was there for maybe another 10 min. A teenage boy showed up went to the boat (which is in a kind of canal behind the house) and messed around for a while, didn't say anything. Then a woman came, collected our money, we got our snorkel equipment and got on the boat. The boy and woman disappeared and we sat there for maybe 20-30, long enough for people to start whispering, what's going on here. Then another van pulled up with another load of people, same process, then we took off. I would not have minded waiting for this other group, but it would have been nice to know why we were waiting. Leaving the canal and going into the ocean you see A LOT of hurricane damage to houses and surroundings. I would have liked to have a little information on that, but the guides were not talking.

There was a family with a young girl maybe 13 who seemed like she had some problems, I heard the mom ask one of the men if he could strongly encourage her to get into the water. A little later I saw she was in, but I don't know what was said. At the coral gardens, take their suggestions and get a life jacket even if you're a good swimmer. They will place it around your waist. It's less work for you, not fighting the waves so much.

On the way back to the pier, the woman drove. Same thing no talking. I guess I like conversation, having a good time, did you like the tour, where are you from, etc. I know they do this all the time, but I don't, you know what I mean? I don't know, I felt odd.

The boat has a canopy for shade which is nice to have. It's smaller than some of the others, but clean. The water gets pretty wavy because there are several other boats at each site at the same time. My 10 yr. old daughter was really nervous at first, but did fine. I'm not suggesting you chose another guide, but just know there may not be a lot of chit chat.

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Thank you very much for the info........I think I'm going to do some checking around for another tour possibly nativeway. Time for more research!! And just when my dh thought I would give these boards a little time off!LOL

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Captain Marvins is very nice and the people are friendly. One of the younger girls in our group had NO DESIRE to even get in the water - but in the end the guy had her holding a stingray. I don't think you can go wrong with them.

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PS - Thanks for the info on the cab. I've read so many differetn things. Some said $5.00 each way for cab for 2 people - some said 4 people. One lady said $20.00 for 4 - I think she just misunderstood when the guy said $5. she thought he meant a piece and didn't question it - boy he got a great tip.

 

I guess we will just ask before we get in so there are no surprises - there will be 8 of us so we will need 2 taxi or the van.

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I second the suggestion for Captain Marvins. We booked ahead of time with them when we were on the Conquest in Nov of 2004. At the time we booked, we weren't even sure if we were going to get into Grand Cayman...turned out we were there the 1st week they started letting ships back in:) They took a CC to book and we walked to their office at 8am to meet with the others in our group (nice size group~12 of us total) and paid however we wished at that time. Nice office with some souvenier shopping , friendly people, and a gal onboard that video taped the entire time so you could purchase later if interested (we got the DVD shipped to our home about 3 wks later; i think $55).

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Who was the CD on your cruise? We're on the Conquest July 17 and I know the CD might change between now and then, but I'd like to hear who/how yours was. Thanks.

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We also booked with Capt Marvins--absolutely great! Very friendly crew.

 

Also they day you went to Paradise beach must have been unusual==we've been 3 times and the water was beautiful each time-I dont remember too many rocks, but we entered the water right in front of the bar area.

Sorry you were there after a storm.

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