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View Full Version : Back From Western 4/8-4/15


MNrae
04-17-2006, 01:06 PM
I figure I owe some info since I asked so many questions here before my trip.

Our itinerary (DH, DS, & DD - 7yrs):

Key West (on our own) - jet ski & walked around town - FUN!
Grand Cayman (on our own) - Rays/Reef/Rum tour thru Native Way - AWESOME!
Cozumel (on our own) - dune buggy tour thru Cozumel Homes - Don't think I would do again but the experience was nice
Castaway - jet ski - AWESOME!

I'll leave it brief unless someone has a specific question.

Thanks to all who provided information to me previously!

dsny06
04-17-2006, 01:34 PM
MNRae, Thanks for the info. We're on the Western leaving this Saturday and we've also booked the same Native Way trip that you just did. Did you have a problem getting on an early tender? Also, what did they serve for lunch? I did e-mail Sharon at Native Way to ask about their lunch menu since one of my kids has special diet needs but I've not heard back from her.

Thanks in advance! :sunny:

MNrae
04-17-2006, 02:11 PM
Dsny06,

We were worried about the tendering process as well. We went down to the Buena Vista Theater around 7:10am (if my timing is right). The first tender was listed at 7:30am. We were the first to arrive. We showed them our e-mail confirmation to let them know we had to get there for a tour. He asked why we didn't book with Disney if we were so worried about getting there in time. I told him we would have if they offered the tour (however, probably not!) Long story short, he got us on the first tender which was still wide open when we left the ship. Right thru the gate was a man holding a NATIVE WAY sign. He asked us to wait across the street near the ROLEX sign. We ended up waiting about 45-60 mins for others to arrive.

You'll love the tour! Guides are fun and really get you into the action. I would suggest sitting up top. They let our 7 yr old DD drive the boat for quite awhile. Be sure to bring an underwater camera - also, they do have a guy videotaping everything. You can buy for about $60. Yes, we did get one as well.

First we went to swim with the stingrays. So neat! One of the highlights of our trip. Next was snorkling. Not my favorite but lots of people loved it. I ending up hitting some shark (don't know what kind - harmless I guess) in the nose with my flipper. I was freaked out and he wouldn't stop following me. I almost drowned my husband in the process. He thought it was hilarious! Not me.

Next was Rum Point. Beautiful beach but pretty crowded. No beach chairs left but plenty of picnic tables. We were there for about 1 1/2 hours. Kids spent all of their time in the water. We were given menus on the boat right away to place our orders. Decent size menu - hamburgers, hotdogs, salads, tuna, chicken - food was good and waiting for us when we arrived - nice touch. Beer was EXPENSIVE! You might be able to put in a specific request. Seems like that would be possible. If not on the boat, just wait until you get there to order.

Have a great time! Kiss a stingray for us!

UMTerp
04-17-2006, 02:50 PM
MNrae, we were on the same boat! I didn't know it! We were the family on the other side up top on the way to Stingray City. Your DD is very cute and looked like she was having fun driving! My DD was the other girl up there about the same age as yours. Too bad I didn't know you were going to be on the same tour! It was a fun day!

UMTerp

dsny06
04-17-2006, 02:57 PM
Thanks MNRae for such a wonderful description! Sharon from Native Way actually suggested that we let guest services know ahead of time that we need to be on the first tender but now I feel confident from your experience that we'll make it out w/plenty of time to spare.

My DD's are 7 and 9 and will LOVE the boat ride especially is there's a chance to maybe "drive". We all love snorkeling and it sounds like there's lots of exciting stuff to see. We will bring the underwater camera too.

I think I'm just going to pack our small soft cooler bag w/stuff for DD and that way I know she'll have stuff to eat.

Thanks again and welcome home!

cinderella_mom
04-17-2006, 03:02 PM
MNrae, sounds like you had a great time. I was looking into this one for GC as well. We're not going until August. Seems like forever...anyway. What time did the tour end. I'd like to try to do a quick city tour (go to Hell, etc) as well. Would there be enough time?

Vavasmon
04-17-2006, 03:05 PM
MNrae - I didn't realize it was you he was making fun of for not booking through Disney. We did the NativeWay Island Tour and Sting Ray City tour that left at 9:30. We were also on the first tender so that we could do a little shopping first. My advice is be at the theatre by 7:15 for the 7:30 tender. I was suprised how empty our first tender was.

disneycruise05
04-17-2006, 03:28 PM
What time does the ship get to Cozumel? I was looking at the DCL site and it said that ashore time wasn't until 10:30.

anty30
04-17-2006, 03:45 PM
MNrae - I didn't realize it was you he was making fun of for not booking through Disney. We did the NativeWay Island Tour and Sting Ray City tour that left at 9:30. We were also on the first tender so that we could do a little shopping first. My advice is be at the theatre by 7:15 for the 7:30 tender. I was suprised how empty our first tender was.


Vavasmon,
I have this same tour booked for 5/20/06. Did the tour leave at 9:30 on the nose? Did you pay cash when you were on the tour? How was the tour overall? That day is my DD8 b-day. She will be turning 9. We also have DS5 with us. Do you think they will love it? What time did you get back to the pier? Anything special you can recommend for us to do besides the tour? Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to make it a great day for DD. Should we bring a cooler with food and drinks? Also, is Margaritaville opened yet?
Thanks for any info you can provide.
Anty

Vavasmon
04-17-2006, 04:40 PM
Vavasmon,
I have this same tour booked for 5/20/06. Did the tour leave at 9:30 on the nose? Did you pay cash when you were on the tour? How was the tour overall? That day is my DD8 b-day. She will be turning 9. We also have DS5 with us. Do you think they will love it? What time did you get back to the pier? Anything special you can recommend for us to do besides the tour? Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to make it a great day for DD. Should we bring a cooler with food and drinks? Also, is Margaritaville opened yet?
Thanks for any info you can provide.
Anty

We paid cash for the tour but they also accepted Mastercard and Visa - no AmEX - he said it took abut 5 months to get their money from them. You pay the boat captain not the tour driver. We did not bring any food with us and am not sure when you could have eaten anything other than a quick snack. I am including the GC part of my still being written Trip Report -

Grand Cayman – I had arranged for the Island Tour and Sting Ray tour directly through Native Way water sports. We met the guide under the gazebo near the Carnival tender stop. He was easy to locate with his sign. There was another family of 5 (from the Carnival Glory) signed up for the tour. We left the dock area on a “bus” (more like oversized van) right after check-in at 9:45. We stopped at a local hotel and picked up another couple which made our group of 10 for the tour. We drove by the governor’s house, the oldest house on the island, stopped at the turtle farm (our guide was very knowledgeable about the farm and we were able to hold a turtle), the rum cake factory (tourist trap), and the Hell section of the island. At the stop in Hell you could purchase postcards to mail home and take pictures of both the rock formations and the cutouts. After the stop in Hell we should have proceeded directly to the boat dock but the boat had phoned the driver to let him know they were delayed about 30 minutes. We ended up driving around by some both very wealthy homes and some very poor homes. The guide knew a lot about the island and its history – he willingly answered questions all along the way.

We arrived at the dock about the same time as the boat. They had to clean-up the restroom area (I assume someone was sick) before we left. Our group grew by about 15 people who had the Rays and Reef tour booked. We went out to the Sting Ray Sand Bar (about a 20 minute boat ride). When we arrived we exited the boat along with a photographer. They had a Ray we each could hold/kiss. They took several pictures of each group with the stingray and we could feed the rays also. The pictures that were taken very good – the price was 30 for the first 2 and 10 dollars each additional – a CD is mailed to your house. At this time we were given the option of going back to the pier or continuing on to snorkel at the reef. The boat operator assured us that we would be back in plenty of time for our 4pm tender so we elected to stay on-board (the family from the Glory had to leave since their tender was a 2pm). DD and DH loved the snorkel at the reef. They saw numerous fish and had a very good time. We were back at the pier about 3:15.

anty30
04-17-2006, 06:56 PM
Thanks so much for the details. I cannot wait to go. :thumbsup2