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Advice needed for excursions

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Help! I'm trying to decide on excursions for my family's Christmas cruise on the Navigator, sailing Dec 23, western Caribbean. Now the kids (21,19 and 15 yrs) say they definitely want to snorkle with the stingrays and swim with the dolphins. So I figure we will do dolphins in Cozemel and Stingrays in Grand Cayman. Now, I'm terrified of missing the boat! I've read everywhere that the excursions are better booked privately than through the ship. But the ship won't wait if your late unless you booked through them. I'm a wimp. If something can go wrong, it will happpen to me lol2-vi.gif So..advice please, should I play it safe and book through RCI,(will we still come home raving of the experience or wish we'd book elsewhere?)or go with a private company. If private which ones? and what TIME would you recommend so we are all safely back on board before sailing. Is there anything else you recommend at either of these ports or in Ocho Rios or Labadee? As you have probably guessed by now, we are all first time cruisers! icon_biggrin.gif Thank you so much on advance for your help.



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It's usually best to book morning excursions, especially in GC and Stingray City. The S City excursions last about 3 - 5 hours, leaving you plenty of time to get back to the ship. Captain Marvins is very popular and has always worked out great for me.

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Hey, Steph,


We just got off the Freedom on 9/24 and took two independent shore excursions. They turned out to be the best excursions we've had out of all the 3 times we've cruised. The first one was on Grand Caymen. We went horsebacking on the beach in Grand Caymen and the reason it was so nice was because the company was much more lax then when you book through the cruise company. He basically stuck us on horses then followed us up the beach telling us where to go.


The second excursion was in Montego Bay and it was a Catamaran, Snorkle and Margaritville excursion. RCCL offered this excursion as well but due to some confusion on the RCCL shore excursion site and a mixed up RCCL customer service rep. we decided to go independent. There was only six people on a 65 foot catamaran and we were treated like millionaires! Plus the snorkling was more relaxed. No instruction unless you ask for it and you don't have to wear a life preserver (unless you want to).


I was worried about what would happen if we didn't get back in time from our excursion so I wrote an e-mail to the company. Their response was this:


We have never had anyone miss the ship due to our tour operators. However, if our tour operators is at fault, they and we are insured to get them to the ship it they (the tour company)are at fault.





The company we used was shore trips (shoretrips.com).


I hope this helps!




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I second the recommendation for Captain Marvin's in GC. We used them once and they were great. They are very used to dealing with cruise ship passengers. We booked with them a second time and our itinerary was changed and excluded GC. I contacted them and they gladly cancelled my reservation with no penalty. We've used ShoreTrips in Cozumel before and had good luck with them too. Visited there this past March and did the Fury catamaran snorkel trip thru the ship and it was awful - don't waste your money on that. Have fun!

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Look, if you're THAT worried about it, book through the ship! It's not THAT big of a price difference and your peace of mind is worth more than whatever savings you may realize! This is a vacation, after all, and you don't want to be stressed for no reason! Go ahead and book with RCI--you'll be more relaxed, your family will be much happier with you and you'll have a better time!

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