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1st time nerves or rational concern

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My wife and I are going on our first cruise over thanksgiving break on our own. I'm nervous about us traveling alone at the ports but not sure if its just the nerves of not knowing or if i should actually be worried. We are going to Cozumel , Jamaica and the Grand Cayman.

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My partner and I spent a week on Grand Cayman in February going all around the island and never once felt even the least bit uncomfortable anywhere we went. We really enjoyed it. (...though our bank accounts did not :). Not a cheap place!)

 

I've never been to the other two places on your itinerary. I suspect you'll get a lot of opinions on Jamaica on this particular board, so I'll leave it to those more in the know.

 

Were you planning on doing ship excursions or other independently booked tours? Being part of a shepherded group would probably calm your nervousness a bit, although I know that's not everyone's cup of tea. We didn't spend a lot of time in the port area of Grand Cayman, but from what I recall, it struck me as fairly routine. There will no doubt be lots of people walking around, so chances are you'll just blend in as part of the crowd.

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It is generally recommended you take the ship's organized tours for your first cruise. You travel as a group and have a tour leader escorting the group. It's safe and everything is handled for you. Your ship will have a port tour talk the first or second day of your cruise which will go over the various tours offer, shopping, safety issues as well as any other miscellaneous info. You should attend that. It's usually rebroadcasted over the ship's cabin TV. I've been to all three port. With maybe the exception of Jamaica - all are very safe and generally walk-able. Jamaica - you will get a lot of comments good and bad about this place. Jamaica is a very beautiful island with warm friendly people. On the other extreme - Jamaica is one of the most homophobic places on the planet. It's religiously conservative like many of the Caribbean islands. The sales people are extremely aggressive and you will see a lot of poverty. Some GLBT won't even get off the ship. My buddies & I got off the ship and walk all around Montego Bay and we never feels unsafe or did I feel people were staring at us. As for tourist the locals are more interested in selling you something then harassing GLBT. As far as they are concerns you are two sisters. But this is not a place GLBT should wander off the beaten path or go anywhere you are not familiar with nor show any forms of PDA's. It's their country; there local customs and laws. Don't even think about asking if there is a gay/lesbian bar - there are none. If you do get off in Jamaica take a ship's tour. We did Dunn's River Falls and it was awesome.

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We enjoyed and felt very safe in Grand Cayman. But- just as others hinted at- I have a very strong opinion about Jamaica. Both times we have been (and actually gotten off of the boat), we took one of the tours offered by our cruise line. One went to Dunn’s River Falls and the other to a river tubing spot. The people operating the tours were friendly. Beyond that, all of our other encounters were not pleasant. I don’t think it had anything to do with us being a same sex couple, though- I saw other couples (m/f) being treated the exact same way. Everyone is very aggressive when it comes to making a sale or collecting gratuity- more so than any other Caribbean island I’ve been to. And they don’t mind pushing your boundaries by grabbing your arms/ hands and forcibly not letting go to try and make a point. I had a really unnerving experience in the market area exiting Dunn’s River Falls. We do not get off of the boat in Jamaica now. If you do decide to get off of the boat, please do take a tour by the cruise line. I think that is the safest option.

 

 

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thanks everyone i think more than any Jamaica is where my concern really lies and even more so because that is our stop for thanksgiving and everything i have seen and read is about the aggressive locals and pressuring to buy .. Its also our First not with family and even worse the wife's favorite holiday because its family driven... Yes no pressure to not screw it up. I was going to attempt a resort for a day but i think i will try and find something that is offered through the cruise.

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Both Jamaica and Grans Cayman are quite homophobic, Personally, I wouldn't spend one penny in either port and in Jamaica I wouldn't even get off the ship.

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Jamaica is the only port where I've felt threatened. We went there on our first cruise in 1989 and avoided going back for years. We finally went back on a partial Panama Canal cruise and stayed on the ship. That's what we plan to do if we're ever on a cruise that stops there again.

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Jamaica is the only place I've traveled to that I've said, "never again" (and I've been to plenty of rough spots). The touts are absolutely the most obnoxious I've ever come across. Combine that with the rampant homophobia -- and I'll never spend another dime there. If I go on a cruise with Jamaica on the itinerary again, that'll be a ship day for sure.

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My daughter (27) is part of the LBGTQ community and she talked with us about Jamaica in particular. I was not familiar with the country or their laws. We would never want to make her feel unsafe so she requested we not get off the ship in this port. Thank you for sharing your opinions on this as I read through the threads regarding countries that may not be welcoming to people of this community . I think we are doing the right thing.

 

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I was there in January on Carnival. Inside the port area you are very safe. There are vendors there but they were not aggressive at all. You could walk and look at the booths with no hassles. If you go outside of the port there was a strong police presence. I did go out to a few stores right outside the port with no one bothering me. I did see a police officer wave them back.

 

I took a ship sponsored tour. We did the float trip. No one bothered us, no one tried to sell us anything when the van came back in we all had to show ship cards to come back inside the port area.

 

I never felt unsafe.

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I was there in January on Carnival. Inside the port area you are very safe. There are vendors there but they were not aggressive at all. You could walk and look at the booths with no hassles. If you go outside of the port there was a strong police presence. I did go out to a few stores right outside the port with no one bothering me. I did see a police officer wave them back.

 

I took a ship sponsored tour. We did the float trip. No one bothered us, no one tried to sell us anything when the van came back in we all had to show ship cards to come back inside the port area.

 

I never felt unsafe.

 

But if some of the natives had known you were gay you might not have felt so safe. Why would I spend one penny in such a place?

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But if some of the natives had known you were gay you might not have felt so safe. Why would I spend one penny in such a place?
This is what my dd says too. She doesn't want to support that place when they have such anti gay laws in effect. She mentioned perhaps even giving some of the money she might have spent there to a LBGTQ rights organization in Jamaica. Not sure if we can do that or not but I will leave that research up to her. Thanks all

 

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Jamaica has some of the worst "Human Rights" violations in the Western Hemisphere. This has been documented for years. I was there in the early 80's. It is a beautiful island. The natives are always in your face trying to sell you something. I personally would not get off the ship or spend a dime on the island.

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Jamaica has some of the worst "Human Rights" violations in the Western Hemisphere. This has been documented for years. I was there in the early 80's. It is a beautiful island. The natives are always in your face trying to sell you something. I personally would not get off the ship or spend a dime on the island.

 

I agree after learning about it through my DD. I don't feel like I should support those kinds of laws and human rights violations. Thank you

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I was there in January on Carnival. Inside the port area you are very safe. There are vendors there but they were not aggressive at all. You could walk and look at the booths with no hassles.

 

I never felt unsafe.

 

This is what I did the only time I was on a cruise that stopped in Jamaica. I just went around the port area to look at the vendors there. I did not want to get to port and not even get off the ship, while I also did not want to go into town as a solo passenger (even on a ship excursion). In terms of boycotting; that is a difficult issue, does a boycott really hurt the bigots or the population facing the bigotry.

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In terms of boycotting; that is a difficult issue, does a boycott really hurt the bigots or the population facing the bigotry.

 

Simple solution: take the money you would have spent in port and send it to the Jamaican group J-FLAG. Just saw a documentary about them at the San Francisco queer film festival: they do brave, amazing work, when they're not being raped and murdered.

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Simple solution: take the money you would have spent in port and send it to the Jamaican group J-FLAG. Just saw a documentary about them at the San Francisco queer film festival: they do brave, amazing work, when they're not being raped and murdered.
^this^ +1

 

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Pick another cruise with a "drama free" itinerary. Since you cannot control other people due to their beliefs, then control what you can control. It sounds like there will be other drama anyway, so why not eliminate this area.

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Jamaica is one of our favourite ports.......as passengers disembark, we enjoy the quiet of the ship!:D

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But if some of the natives had known you were gay you might not have felt so safe. Why would I spend one penny in such a place?

 

Inside the port area is NOT or ever has been an issue... unless you have an experience you wish to share?

 

 

bon voyage

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My wife and I were in Cozumel and Grand Cayman in January, second time in both ports. We’ve never felt unsafe in either port, doing beach excursions in both.

Jamaica, I can’t comment, other than by reputation. I agree with some of the other posters - consider a ship excursion if you’re concerned. I would hope you would have no issue with the tour operators and would hope you would have some allies with your other shipmates.

And, I as well have struggled with spending vacation dollars in a country where we feel unwelcome by a government and by so many of the poplulace...but we are cruising out of the USA anyway

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My wife and I are going on our first cruise over thanksgiving break on our own. I'm nervous about us traveling alone at the ports but not sure if its just the nerves of not knowing or if i should actually be worried. We are going to Cozumel , Jamaica and the Grand Cayman.

 

I encourage you to take a ship excursion if this is your first time. You will have fun, be cared for, and the activities are vetted by the cruise line...especially in Cozumel and Jamaica. Cayman is easy to navigate and explore.

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This is what I did the only time I was on a cruise that stopped in Jamaica. I just went around the port area to look at the vendors there. I did not want to get to port and not even get off the ship, while I also did not want to go into town as a solo passenger (even on a ship excursion). In terms of boycotting; that is a difficult issue, does a boycott really hurt the bigots or the population facing the bigotry.

I surely can understand you not wanting to go into town as a solo passenger. I also agree that boycott is a difficult issue. Food for thought: Years ago when we cruised to Jamaica, we met two men (a couple) from Texas who made a point to go ashore in Jamaica if not for any other reason than to show that "being gay" is normal, even if not majority, it is a universal norm, present everywhere on the planet. I can imagine that they were careful not to engage in PDA's, as some have pointed out on these boards. Perhaps what is most needed for homophobic places, such as Jamaica, is to be exposed to the normalcy of occasionally (or even regularly) seeing gay couples doing what everyone else is doing: sightseeing, spending time with their families, going on tours, shopping, going to the beach, eating at a restaurant, etc. Only then maybe the tide towards acceptance in places such as Jamaica will change, especially for the local gay men and women who I'm sure bear the brunt of the discrimination.

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My husband and I did the cooking class excursion in Cozumel and it was delightful. Never felt awkward.

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I've cruised on Carnival a lot. And always with my wife. We had a stop in Jamaica once or twice. Let me just say that I've learned that lesson. I will forever treat ports in Jamaica as a "Sea Day" and stay on the ship. Nothing on that island is worth the safety of myself, my wife or our kids. It really wouldn't hurt my feelings if Carnival stopped porting there. Don't get me wrong. The island is beautiful. And the culture is very interesting. I am just allergic to religious based homophobia. I think it should be treated like a disease and that Jamaica should be quarantined until it is cured.

 

Just my .02 worth.

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