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T_Bone2012

Jan 15 -22 Mariner of the Seas Review -

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We sailed on the Mariner of the Seas January 15 to January 22nd.There are plenty of Mariner reviews out there with tons of Mariner ship photos, so I will only try to post photos that might be from a different perspective. I took a lot more photos off the ship than I did while on the ship.

 

Pre Cruise

We drove down from The Dallas area Saturday afternoon and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points/Galveston. Nice new hotel on the sea wall. We had a great room that looked out on the gulf. At the suggestion of those on the “Galveston Cruise cam watch group” posts here on CC, we ate at Gaido’s seafood restaurant, and it was fantastic.

 

 

 

Day 1 Embarking. We awoke to a fantastic sunrise in Galveston, and the sun would be a welcome site this whole week, as the weather was great. You could see ships lined up on the horizon under the sunrise. I had heard the nightmare fog stories about Galveston, and was actually relieved that the high temperature was only supposed to be 55’-60’. There would be no fog for our departure!

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The last few departures had been delayed by either fog or extra cleaning to prevent norovirus, so we were a little nervous, and kept checking email all morning to see if anyone had heard of a delay. Our original plan was to enjoy Galveston for most of the day, avoid the lines and minimize the time spent waiting by leisurely boarding at around 3:00 in the afternoon. Once we ate breakfast, we ran into hundreds of suitcase toting cruisers rushing to get to the port. It was only 9:30 AM! We had our first glimpse of the ship, and suddenly everyone wanted to board as soon as we could. So we scrapped the sight seeing plans, packed up the car and headed for the pier at around 10:30. We parked at Lighthouse Parking, boarded the bus and arrived at the pier around 11AM. There really were not that many people there to check in yet. We sent the luggage off with a porter, and we proceeded inside for a quick check in. We had all of our paperwork filled out ahead of time, so the whole check in process took maybe 15 minutes. There were only 3 people in line when we walked up to the check in line. After getting our boarding # (2), we took a seat and people watched for the next hour. I’m not sure if it was just me, but that hour seemed to take forever to go by. It was fun to watch everyone up front by the doors stand up and start gathering their carry-ons every time the doors to the ramp opened, only to have to sit down again when it turned out to be a false alarm! Here is a panorama of the terminal - it's made using a cool free app for the iPhone called photosynth.

 

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=eadd2d03-eab4-46a1-ba7e-54000c8f41e0&m=false&i=0:0:0&c=0:0:0&z=308.907902043911&d=0.951726204078361:2.3424082560853:2.73007881916373&p=0:0&t=False

 

They let us board the ship around noon, and we decided to try the Promenade Café for lunch instead of the usually packed Windjammer. We proceeded up one deck to the 5th floor and had our first glimpse of the Promenade. Wow! The last ship we were on was the Grandeur of the seas, and this was 10X more impactful. We walked down to The Promenade café for a quiet lunch. It was completely empty, and we had to ask if they were open! We had a few deli sandwiches, some pizza, then we walked around until the cabins were available at 1pm. There were only a few choices of sandwiches at the café. Next time we’ll fight the crowd for a better selection for lunch!

 

Our cabin (#9692) is an aft balcony cabin. The room is similar in size to the side balcony cabins, but the balcony was HUGE (about 8 x 10), and had 2 lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs and a table. I was so glad this cabin opened up 2 weeks after I booked. The room was clean, had a small couch, flat screen tv, a nice sized shower, and the room Steward (Mervin) kept our mini cooler full of ice at all times. Cabin panorama: once it loads you can rotate the pic 360'

 

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=d8ad39b6-87a9-4c68-87cd-68b4a0f58784

 

 

Being at the back of the ship, there was very little foot traffic. We really enjoyed the peace and quiet compared to our last Holiday cruise. The downside is that you are quite a way from the nearest stairwell or elevator, so we definitely got our exercise! The elevators were frequently full, so we took the stairs most of the time. As large as the ship is, I could get anywhere on the ship within 10 minutes.

 

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I decided to test the soda policy, and packed a small duffle bag with two 12 packs of soda. I didn’t try to hide it in a suitcase, didn’t pack the bag with towels – just put two 12 packs of soda in a duffle bag. I also packed a few rum runners in my regular bags so we could enjoy a scotch on the balcony before or after dinner without having to run to a bar. Don’t worry – we still ran up a hefty bar tab!

 

While the rest of my party were out exploring the ship, I was busy watching my NY Giants upset the GB packers. What a great way to start the cruise. Our muster drill was on-time, and we left right around 5:00. Here is the view from Cabin 9692.

 

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Here is some other info they left for us.

crew.PDF

weekly planner.PDF

Edited by T_Bone2012

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Luggage arrived around 5:00. Our soda arrived with only 1 can broken. All Rum Runners went undetected.

 

Dining: We chose My Time Dining, 7:00. The 6:00 seating was already full, and 8:30 is too late to start dinner. We are also huge fans of having a cocktail out on the balcony or up on deck and watching the sunset. 7:00 seemed like the perfect time. The only downside is that a slow service meant that we had to really scramble for show seats.

 

The Dinner service was hit and miss. There was a large crowd at the MTD desk for the first 2 nights, then they must have straightened things out. It seemed that everyone wanted to eat between 6:30 and 7:30. We had 4 different waiter/server teams throughout the week. They said you could request the same table each night, but we were eating at the other restaurants two of the nights, so we just sat wherever they put us. I missed having the same waiter/server every night.

 

The first day menu:

Appetizers

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Pineapple Medley

Smoked Fish Tapenade

Vidalia Onion Tart

Sopa de Tortilla

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

Chilled Watermelon Gazpacho

Caesar Salad

Spinach Salad

 

Entrees

Pan-fried Pork Medallions

Truffled White Mushroom Linguini Alfredo

Slow-Roasted Prime Rib

Grilled Mediterranean Quesadilla

Pan-Seared Golden Sea Bass

Aloo Gobi Methi

 

Desserts

Strawberry Pavlova

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Savarin

Low-Fat Blueberry and Peach Cobbler

Sugar-Free Pot de Creme

 

We did not go to the opening evening show since it was at 7:45, and we were just being served dinner. I ventured out and caught the adult karaoke in the Lotus lounge (and I thought I was a bad singer!) and then went down and listened to the Latin trio play down in Boleros. Boleros has a non smoking section, but you are quite a way away from the band if you choose those seats. The Latin trio was actually a Latin duo (not sure what happened to the 3rd member!), and after 2 songs I had heard enough. There is just something wrong about Elvis songs being sung by Latin musicians with very strong Latin accents

compass1.PDF

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We are considering a cruise on the Mariner and wonder what you thought of the ports. We have been to Cozumel but not the others. Anxious to see your take on them.

Thanks,

Carol

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Great review so far. We are going to have to try the aft balcony next trip. We would love the extra space.

 

We recommend the deck 7 and 8 wraps 7388 and 7688 are the best!

View My Video

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The higher you go up the aft the more balcony space you trade for room space, Deck 10 wrap has a huge cabin, but the balcony gets smaller, but if you want more space inside I'd say deck 10 1688 and 1388. Here is a site that has a lot of pics of the inside of these:

http://www.voyager-class.com/pictures/cabins/aft_13881688/gallery.html it is the one with the stripper pole.

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The higher you go up the aft the more balcony space you trade for room space, Deck 10 wrap has a huge cabin, but the balcony gets smaller, but if you want more space inside I'd say deck 10 1688 and 1388. Here is a site that has a lot of pics of the inside of these:

http://www.voyager-class.com/pictures/cabins/aft_13881688/gallery.html it is the one with the stripper pole.

 

FYI - I looked over at the cabin next to us (9694 -corner cabin on 9) - it had a swinging door instead of a sliding door, and had a round window looking out back. The balcony was not as large, and it had a support beam cutting through it. I'm not sure I would like that.

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We're planning our next cruise on the Mariner, just haven't decided on a date yet. We would love to try an aft cabin. Are they quite a bit higher (price wise) than a regular one? Love all the pictures! :D

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On the site of Royal C.I. they say that this room has obsturcted view, we want to know if this is so, otherwise we try to book room 9390. Does anyone know????

Bye from the Netherlands!!!

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On the site of Royal C.I. they say that this room has obsturcted view, we want to know if this is so, otherwise we try to book room 9390. Does anyone know????

Bye from the Netherlands!!!

 

Here is my video shot from 9692 last month. There is one support beam that runs above you - that does not obstruct the view. the balconies on the 7th, 8th, floors are much more obstructed.

 

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Day 2 – Monday - Sea day –

 

My internal alarm clock goes off at 6:30 every morning whether I like it or not. I was up early and watched the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico, took a few laps around deck 12 then headed down for a cup of Seattle’s Best from the Promenade Café. I picked up a few pastries as a breakfast appetizer, and sat on our balcony relaxing, watching the ships’ wake until my DW awoke. We decided to try room service breakfast out on the balcony. The food was pretty good, but we decided that we liked the variety that the Windjammer offered. The room service coffee was weak compared to the Promenade Café coffee.

 

We spent the day exploring the ship, and laying out in the sun. My DW went in for a spa treatment, and of course had to put up with the pushy sales pitch afterwards. It’s not good to come back from a relaxing spa treatment with a full page of notes and pricing on the products they just used on you. So much for being relaxed!

 

The Bridge:

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It’s funny – when we looked through the cruise compass the night before, we both had 3 or 4 things we wanted to try: Cartoon drawing, table tennis, ice skating, rock wall climbing, Texas hold ’em poker, and of course, world’s sexiest man contest. In the end, we ended up sipping 2 or 3 Bahama Mama’s and soaking in the much-needed sunshine. Samuel makes a mean drink at the lower pool bar (hint). That’s the great thing about a cruise; you only have to do what you want to!

 

The ship is in good shape. I hear it is going into dry dock this spring, so it should get a facelift. The ship is amazingly easy to get around for its size. Since this is the first cruise after school starts, there were very few families on board. I would have to say that this was almost a 50+ cruise! The plus side to that is that there were almost no kids running up and down the hallways, and we never had a problem finding 4 lounge chairs together.

 

 

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This was the first formal night. We dressed up and hit as many of the photo spots as possible, hoping that maybe one of them would turn out! Sorry, but those fake backgrounds just need to go. Even if you have a great pose, both smiles are perfect, the tie is straight, dress wrinkles are hidden and both sets of eyes are open, the fake “stairwell” background ruins it. We ended up wandering around the ship taking pictures at different spots on the ship. Our pictures turned out better than their 19.95 photos. It was nice of them to give us 2 for 1 coupon so we could get 2 fake looking pictures for 19.95!

.

Day 2 menu:

First Formal Night:

 

Appetizers

Shaved Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melon

Shrimp Cocktail

Escargots Bourguignonne

Lobster Bisque

Oxtail Broth

Papaya and Pineapple Soup

Caesar Salad

 

Entrees

Filet of Beef

Shrimp Ravioli

Grilled Seafood Brochette

Roasted Duck

Sauteed Seasonal Mushrooms

Potato Curry

 

Desserts

Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle

Double Strawberry Cheesecake

Marinated Cherry Bake

Low-Fat Berry Mousse

Sugar-Free Coconut Vanilla Layer Cake

 

I had the Lobster Bisque and then the Filet, and it was quite good. We ordered an assortment of desserts and ate them family style.

 

After dinner we saw the comedian Gary Mule Deer, who was actually pretty entertaining! Then we participated in the Battle of the sexes competition in the Lotus Lounge, which came down to the very last balloon – that’s all I will say! We finished the long day off with the late night comedy of Dean Austin.

 

 

Day 3: Tuesday - Sea day

Forecast is for mostly sunny and 75’

 

 

 

 

I was up early to watch another beautiful sunrise, walk a few laps and take another trip to the Promenade Café for coffee. I found the coffee in the Windjammer weak, so I have turned by 32 OZ soda cup into a coffee cup. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer. Since I had room service yesterday, I was in for a treat. First, I don’t usually eat breakfast. I usually have a protein drink in the morning, and that’s about it. Wow – How many choices can one have! I had a bagel with lox, scrambled eggs, and bacon, toast, and fruit. I found it very good for buffet food. I definitely wasn’t going hungry on this cruise! One thing I did wish is that they could find a way to keep the toast warm enough to melt butter!

 

Lunch was a BBQ on deck with Ribs, chicken, and all the fixings. It was quite good, and we didn’t have to worry about changing out of our swimwear for lunch.

 

 

Day 3 menu

 

Appetizers:

Summer Fruit Medley

Crab and Noodle Salad

Chicken and Cabbage Dumplings

Cream of Mushroom

Seafood Laksa

Guava and Banana Soup

Caesar Salad

Rainbow Salad

 

Entrees:

Surf and Turf

Lasagna Al Forno

Roasted Free-Range Chicken

Asian-Fried Tofu

Pan-Fried Basa Filet

Khoombi Bhonna

 

Desserts:

Passion-Berry Mousse

Banana Cream Pie

Coconut Creme Brulee

Low-Fat Mango Pudding

Sugar-Free Pineapple Parfait

 

I had the surf and turf. It was not quite what I would consider traditional surf and turf, but it was so mediocre that I really do not recall what it consisted of. Anyone else remember? Portofino would have been a good option for this night (hint to future cruisers!)

 

Sunset

 

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Love the towel animals!

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Compass3.PDF

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Day 4 Roatan, Honduras

Forcast: Sunny and 75’

 

After 2 relaxing days at sea, we arrive in Honduras. Once again we wake up to a fabulous sunrise, and we are within sight of the island as I take a few laps on the 12th deck.

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After breakfast, we walk off the ship and into the port. We had reserved a Victor Bodden tour over the internet (you don't pay until you get there) , and we quickly found their booth. The 4 of us piled into our air conditioned van and our guide, Larsen, drove us through town. He explained the history of the country as he drove. He said they had had 3 straight days of rain - and we were the first ship they had had in 3 days! Our first stop was a scenic view at the top of a mountain, which was also lined with some local gift booths. It was interesting to see the local crafts. There was also a great view of the ship.

 

Scenic view

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Great thread-enjoying all the detail and appreciate the dinner menus with your choices. Thank you and looking forward to more.

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From here we drive up to get the zip lining out of the way before it became too hot, and too crowded. We were one of the first groups of the day – and it was a blast!

 

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After finishing up the zip line excursion - we bought the photo disk of our trip for $20 - what a bargain for 60 pictures! They really did a great job. We walked around the corner to the interactive animal exhibit. Wow! I had heard that you were able to hold a small monkey, but I was not prepared to have monkeys climbing all over me – pick pocketing me, and sitting on my head! It reminded me of the movie “Night at The Museum”. Luckily I didn’t have anything in my pockets for them to grab! We had a fantastic time.

 

 

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There was more!

 

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They even had a baby Lemur! This whole animal excursion was $5, but It was free if you paid the $45 for zip lining. we tipped our guide 10 bucks - he took some great pictures of us too. It was one of the highlights of the trip.

 

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We drove a little further to a small Butterfly reserve. I'm not sure if this was worth $7 each – but we all were able to get some good pictures.

 

 

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.

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Yay!! Thank you for the review & pictures. I leave on this itinerary on Sunday, and I can't wait!!

 

Can you tell me what pier Mariner docked at in Cozumel? Thanks!!!!

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It was lunch time, so we went to the Half moon bay restaurant for some lobster skewers. I read about this place on the Roatan link under CC PORTS OF CALL. The restaurant overlooks the bay – and is a great place for lunch. $25 gets you a lobster skewer and an ice cold beer.

.

 

 

Half Moon Bay Resteraunt, Roatan Honduras - you can get a 360' view

 

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f0f7861b-9597-4e95-be6d-34f583f9b147

 

After we finished lunch, we decided to go snorkeling right off the beach next to the restaurant. There is a rest room to change in, and we were ready to go. We rented gear, right next to the restaurant, and off we went. There is a nice reef right in the bay.

 

Snorkeling in Half moon Bay

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That's the restaurant behind Russ.

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a Needle fish - yes it swims vertically!

 

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While we were snorkeling, the girls were lounging in the sun on the beach. Bring your own towels! We snorkeled until 3:30, then decided to head back to the ship.

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Day 4 Menu

 

Appetizers

Roasted Butternut Squash and White Bean Salad

Crab Cake

Bresaola Carpaccio

New England Clam Chowder

Harira Soup

Green Gazpacho

Caesar Salad

Focaccia and Tomato Salad

 

Entrees

Beef Stroganoff

Conchiglioni Pasta

Pan-Seared Sole Fillets

Shrimp Gyoza

Slow-Roasted Double-Cut Pork Loin

Vegetable Vindaloo

 

Desserts

Berrymisu

Orange Chocolate Parfait

Sky High Lemon Meringue Tart

Low-Fat Cranberry Yogurt

Sugar-Free Coconut Custard Slice

 

We looked at the menu after breakfast, and decided that this was a good night to try out Chops Steakhouse. We made reservations for 6:30, and – it was fabulous.

 

ChopsGrill_Menu1.jpg

 

Chops desserts

Chocolate Mud Pie (Yummy)

Passionberry Duo

Red Velvet Cake (Todd loved this)

Coconut Creme Brulee

Porto's

Dolci

Tiramisu Ala Portofino

Dolcetti Alla Portofino

Tartufo Al Cioccolato

 

Wed towel

DSCN5265.jpg

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Yay!! Thank you for the review & pictures. I leave on this itinerary on Sunday, and I can't wait!!

 

Can you tell me what pier Mariner docked at in Cozumel? Thanks!!!!

 

We docked at the international pier - right next to the Allure. have a great time - we loved all 3 ports so much we are going to book the same cruise next year.

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Awesome review with some of the best pics I have seen! Also great videos especially the time lapse!

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We docked at the international pier - right next to the Allure. have a great time - we loved all 3 ports so much we are going to book the same cruise next year.

 

Thank you so much! I was trying to figure out where we had to go to meet up with the tour we have planned, so that helps a lot!

 

I love Belize and Cozumel, but I've never been to Roatan, so I'm really looking forward to my first visit there.

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I love Belize and Cozumel, but I've never been to Roatan, so I'm really looking forward to my first visit there.

 

Read through the posts on the Roatan port of call page - there is a ton of good advice. We really enjoyed Victor Bodden Tours - our tour guide, Larsen, was from the island, so he knew every good spot to go.

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whatdid you do at all the ports?? any pics ??

)

 

Roatan = Victor Bodden tour

Belize - Shark ray alley snorkeling through coral breeze tours

Cozumel - swimming with Dolphins

 

I'll post more pics tonight

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Terry: we were supposed to do that tour in Belize but the weather was so bad we had to cancel...rain and high winds and most of the Caye excursions are so close to sea level we were afraid the waves would mess it up. Did you enjoy the shark ray alley? We want to go again and this time, we're going no matter what. Also Goff's Caye.

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Roatan = Victor Bodden tour

Belize - Shark ray alley snorkeling through coral breeze tours

Cozumel - swimming with Dolphins

 

I'll post more pics tonight

 

thanks for the pics,,we also booked with victor bodden,

 

the monkeys you saw was it where you pay 5$ ? as an extra on the tour?

we are planning to drive around, see the monkeys, eat and maybe swim,

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Terry: we were supposed to do that tour in Belize but the weather was so bad we had to cancel...rain and high winds and most of the Caye excursions are so close to sea level we were afraid the waves would mess it up. Did you enjoy the shark ray alley? We want to go again and this time, we're going no matter what. Also Goff's Caye.

 

Yes - Shark Ray alley was a lot of fun. It was the 2nd part of the tour, and we only stayed for 30 minutes. We snorkeled over the reef for a good 45 minutes. One hint if you are taking pictures at Shark Ray Alley - see which way the current is moving and move towards the current - away from the boat. A lot of sand gets kicked up by the the snorkelers by the boat. If you move off by yourself - stay up-current from them - your pics will be nice and clear.

 

We liked Caye Caulker so much that we are going back to belize this November for my 50th Bday, and we just booked this cruise again for next year.

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the monkeys you saw was it where you pay 5$ ? as an extra on the tour?

we are planning to drive around, see the monkeys, eat and maybe swim,

 

Look on their web site -it has each tour labeled with a price. If you just do the monkeys - I believe it's $5 (plus tip for your guide).

 

If you zip line - the monkeys are free (except for the tip!).

 

As most of these tours go, everybody wants a tip! Our driver was great - request Larson if you can. we had a fantastic day - and we tipped him $20.

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Look on their web site -it has each tour labeled with a price. If you just do the monkeys - I believe it's $5 (plus tip for your guide).

 

If you zip line - the monkeys are free (except for the tip!).

 

As most of these tours go, everybody wants a tip! Our driver was great - request Larson if you can. we had a fantastic day - and we tipped him $20.

 

did you do the private tour? i see there are a few tour options..

we got Laura for our guide

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did you do the private tour? i see there are a few tour options..

we got Laura for our guide

 

Yes -We did the Best of Roatan tour ( 4 people for $100)- we had the driver for the entire day.

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