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NCL Excursion: Stingray City & Barrier Reef Snorkel

Where: Grand Cayman 

Ship: Breakaway 

 

When I read “Tours with this activity level involve physical exertion for extended periods of time; can involve uneven or steep terrain or swimming in a light current. Recommended only for physically fit and adventurous travelers.”. 

We’ve snorkeled before and don’t consider us total novices but as we age (early 60’s) we don’t consider ourselves “physically fit”. Obviously Stingray City is rather benign - no concerns there. Your thoughts on whether we pop $200 with our concerns? We’re not vegetables but don’t consider ourselves fit either. When the activity level is “Challenging “ it’s a concern. Maybe I’ve never noticed.
 

Anyway, opinions are welcome especially if you’ve done the Barrier Reef Snorkel. Thank you all in advance. Randy 

 

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If you’ll be snorkeling from a boat, you may be in the water without touching the bottom for extended periods of time. They will probably give you a life preserver to help you with buoyancy. You also need to consider your ability to climb up the ladder back onto the boat. If these are activities that you feel that you can handle then go for it. If it doesn’t sound like something within your physical abilities, then I would look at something else. Maybe a snorkeling excursion from shore in shallow water. 
 

We did a snorkeling excursion to a shipwreck in Grand Cayman and it was fantastic. But even though I’m in good physical condition and I’m a solid swimmer, it was a bit exhausting at times. 

Edited by Tapi
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9 hours ago, blindrid said:

NCL Excursion: Stingray City & Barrier Reef Snorkel

Where: Grand Cayman 

Ship: Breakaway 

 

When I read “Tours with this activity level involve physical exertion for extended periods of time; can involve uneven or steep terrain or swimming in a light current. Recommended only for physically fit and adventurous travelers.”. 

We’ve snorkeled before and don’t consider us total novices but as we age (early 60’s) we don’t consider ourselves “physically fit”. Obviously Stingray City is rather benign - no concerns there. Your thoughts on whether we pop $200 with our concerns? We’re not vegetables but don’t consider ourselves fit either. When the activity level is “Challenging “ it’s a concern. Maybe I’ve never noticed.
 

Anyway, opinions are welcome especially if you’ve done the Barrier Reef Snorkel. Thank you all in advance. Randy 

 

 

Hi Randy

 

You have snorkeled before, you know what is involved. The only "steep terrain" would be a ladder to get back into the boat. It would suggest to me that they don't have a platform at water level and if you cannot climb a ladder you may have difficulty getting back on the boat. As far as water currents, ??? you are swimming in the ocean 🙂. Maybe they are trying to "protect" from unreasonable criticism in their description. 

 

As you said, Stingray City is rather benign. Mother's with their infants in their arms are a common sight. At whatever other reefs they bring you to, you will not be able to stand in the water. Just what you would expect if you are going snorkeling.

 

I would suggest reading up on the many other reliable excursion companies that do the same Stingray City + other reef snorkel as what is being offered by NCL, but for much less money. Looking either on this sites' "port of call threads" or something like TripAdvisor will give you names and prices so you can compare. 

 

hope this helps

have a great cruise

 

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My hubby and I are in the Twilight of our 30s. Last March, we went on an excursion marked challenging. It was night kayaking bioluminesent bay in Puerto Rico. 

 

It was quite a workout! We kayak quite a lot and are average in fitness. We started on a beach, had to kayak across a very windy and exposed ocean bay. Through moored boats. It was about 30 minutes of paddling. Then into the narrow, dark, buggy, smelly mangrove swamp channel. Against the current and navigating away from other boats and kayaks. Paddled across the sheltered bay then back through the swamp. All in all about 4 hours of pretty intense activity. 

 

We got back to the ship late at night, wet, muddy, swampy smelling, and starving. But, with amazing memories of a special place. 

 

We now know that challenging means challenging lol

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Nic6318: thank you - we typically use local excursion companies but our friends booked this one,

 

All: ladders are no issue. As to extended periods not touching bottom, we normally wear our snorkel vests especially if the water is rough. I consider us OK swimmers.
 

I’m thinking that I may be taking the challenging part to the extreme. Also, I may be underestimating our conditioning reacting to our desk jobs. We’re not unfit just not what I remember being in good condition. 
 

I think we’ll book it. If it proves too difficult I guess we’ll watch with a cold soda in our hand 😎. Thanks for everyone’s input. 

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16 hours ago, tanyaewa said:

Stingray city can actually be quite challenging if the water is choppy or if the rays get feisty.  I’m only about 5’5” and it was difficult to keep my feet planted firmly at times 

 

I booked stingray city mostly for my husband --- if I think its too much for me, can I stay in the boat?

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6 minutes ago, C cruise said:

I booked stingray city mostly for my husband --- if I think its too much for me, can I stay in the boat?

 

Hi

 

There is never any obligation to go into the water. At the "Stingray City" area very easily see the stingrays from the deck. The water is generally very clear and the water only 3-4 ft. deep. in many areas. There are many pictures online, check You Tube to reassure yourself.

 

hope this helps

have a great trip

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34 minutes ago, Nic6318 said:

 

Hi

 

There is never any obligation to go into the water. At the "Stingray City" area very easily see the stingrays from the deck. The water is generally very clear and the water only 3-4 ft. deep. in many areas. There are many pictures online, check You Tube to reassure yourself.

 

hope this helps

have a great trip

thank you for this response -- I will check out the youtube videos 

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5 hours ago, C cruise said:

I booked stingray city mostly for my husband --- if I think its too much for me, can I stay in the boat?

Absolutely.  There were a few on our boat that stayed onboard.  Maybe we were slightly different season or weather but there were definitely no moms holding infants on our excursion.  The stingray interaction is not for everyone either.  They are pushy buggers.

You completely control your participation so no need to worry. It’s an awesome sight to behold 

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It's been years ago.  We snorkeled just about every cruise.  I was quite comfortable doing it even though climbing the ladder back onto the boat became harder and harder.

 

But then one time in St. Thomas, I think it was, I got caught up in a current and was being carried out to sea.  No matter how hard I swam, I could not get any closer to the tour boat.  My husband tried to help, he couldn't.  Finally we got the attention of the crew and two men came out and towed me back to the boat.  So even experienced people can get into trouble.

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On 10/21/2019 at 10:41 PM, blindrid said:

NCL Excursion: Stingray City & Barrier Reef Snorkel

Where: Grand Cayman 

Ship: Breakaway 

 

When I read “Tours with this activity level involve physical exertion for extended periods of time; can involve uneven or steep terrain or swimming in a light current. Recommended only for physically fit and adventurous travelers.”. 

We’ve snorkeled before and don’t consider us total novices but as we age (early 60’s) we don’t consider ourselves “physically fit”. Obviously Stingray City is rather benign - no concerns there. Your thoughts on whether we pop $200 with our concerns? We’re not vegetables but don’t consider ourselves fit either. When the activity level is “Challenging “ it’s a concern. Maybe I’ve never noticed.
 

Anyway, opinions are welcome especially if you’ve done the Barrier Reef Snorkel. Thank you all in advance. Randy 

 

 

NCL doesn't monitor who goes on excursions, and they tend to mark them more difficult than they really are. We have done this excursion (or one very similar) and found the stingray part easy. The snorkel depends on the waether because it is at a reef out in the open water, not one near land.

 

If you think you can do it by all means go for it.

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Nic6318: thank you - we typically use local excursion companies but our friends booked this one,

 

All: ladders are no issue. As to extended periods not touching bottom, we normally wear our snorkel vests especially if the water is rough. I consider us OK swimmers.
 

I’m thinking that I may be taking the challenging part to the extreme. Also, I may be underestimating our conditioning reacting to our desk jobs. We’re not unfit just not what I remember being in good condition. zqvol: I’m thinking like you are. If it’s rough, it’s rough. If not, probably easy. 
 

I think we’ll book it. If it proves too difficult I guess we’ll watch with a cold soda in our hand 😎. Thanks for everyone’s input. 

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I snorkel a 3 stop-including reef. Out of Cayman several times every year.   I’ve encountered all kinds of conditions including strong currents requiring people needing a tow back.    I’m an avid snorkeled but extremely conservative.  I also always wear a floater-  no matter how stupid I look. 😀😀.  

 

I’d never go on a ship tour- they are jammed.   I’ve gone with the same vendor for over 20 years and will continue to.   

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