Cruise-Shore Excursions...any advice?

OK, for all my readers out there, I need your tips and advice. We are going on a cruise this summer to the Caribbean. We will visit Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Island Roatan. I was told that I am able to book our shore excursions in about a month, so today I got online (been online about 2 hours!) to get an idea of what there is to choose from.

And I think I made myself more confused. First of all, there's so much to choose from, especially on Grand Cayman. Secondly, we have to choose something that Jenna (who will be 7 by that time) can/will enjoy.

Soooooooo....here are my questions to any of you who have ever been on a cruise either to these islands or somewhere else...

*What is a must see? Has anyone been to Stingray City on Grand Cayman?

*Would you book your excursions through the cruise line or through a local vendor? Last time we cruised (it's been 10 years!), we just booked everything through the cruise line because we didn't know better. This time, I was on Trip Advisor reading some reviews and saw where lots of people book their excursions and tours outside the cruiseline and it is a lot cheaper. I just wondered if anyone had any experience with this?

I know a bunch of you have cruised, some of you are pros...I'm just curious because any way I can save a buck, I'm going to!

Just email me if you don't want to post a comment. Any advice is appreciated. Even if you can point me to a good website talking about making the most of your cruise, that is great. After all, at this rate, it might be another 10 years before we cruise again!



The Lamberts said...

I HIGHLY recommend Sting Ray City!!! Clark and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon, and we went there and loved it. I'm not sure how Jenna would react...it can be a little scary because they get so close to you, but it would definitely be something she'd remember for a long time!

Stacey said...

Hopefully my friend Debi will post. She is a cruise expert. I personally would not book through anyone but the cruiseline and you know how cheap I am. I would always be afraid something would happen and at least I would have the cruise line to fall back on to chew them out and demand my money back if it did. Never been to any of those ports so I can't help ya but if they have a Mayan ruins or a dolphin thing those are fun.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Grand Cayman twice, both w/o kids. Stingray City is a fun experience but unless Jenna is adventurous, I'm just not sure I'd try it. It might be a total waste of money. I know Kelsey would completely flip out and hate it. You have to shuffle your feet and because the water is always moving, sometimes they kind of slide into you. They feel like snot, by the way. :-) It's great to have the pictures and say I did it but I certainly do not feel the need to ever do it again. Don't they have a turtle farm excursion? That might be more kid-friendly.

On our honeymoon, we just did a beach excursion to Grand Cayman where we could use the facilities of one of the nice hotels - complete with cookout, jet skis, etc.

We sailed in to Playa del Carmen and took the bus ride to Tulum. It was fascinating from a historical perspective and much closer than going to Chichen Itza. But again, we did that before Kelsey was around. It included snorkeling which Jenna might love if she likes to swim at all.

There's always the option of using the ship's babysitting while you do more of an adult excursion. I guess there's good and bad to both leaving them on the ship and taking them with you.

I haven't been to the other 2 places but they sound like fun!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I would definitely stick with cruises offered by the cruise ship. I just always felt safer doing that (travel to the excursion, timely return to the ship, food offered, etc.) and knew I'd get my money back if something cancelled (which happened to us THREE times on one cruise due to a pending hurricane and unsafe seas). I'll shut up now!