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dalmationlover
06-04-2003, 04:59 PM
I have a question for anyone who has done stingray city with the dc excursion. How many people do they take out at a time. It seems like it maybe more crowded than the private excursions. Did you feel like you had enough time and didn't feel crowded. Would like any input I can get. We definitly will be doing stingray city just don't know with who.

tezb
06-04-2003, 05:22 PM
We too were in the same predicament. I heard from someone else that said they take out about 100-150 at a time. Looks like a double deck catamaran type. We went ahead and booked w/ DCL knowing that we can still cancel up to 2 days before we sail. Even though DCL is a little more in price, my DH feels better about using them because if there are any delays/ problems, DCL has to wait for you. Also, they are more likely to cancel in bad weather... for your own safety because they still have to answer to you later and see you, etc. The private/local companies are probably good too but they don't have to see you after the excursion and seems like they might be more likely to take you out even in bad weather because they don't want to lose out on money. Just mentioning all this because they are issues we had thought about and actually changed our minds into probably sticking w/ DCL. Another big plus is that DCL has a photographer take pics of you while at Stingray City and you have the option to buy the disc from them after. I like the idea of a professional taking pics of our family at such an experience. The other companies do not offer this or at least I know Nativeway said they don't offer it. Hope that helps....I know of one other person who used DCL and plans to do so again...

WDWLVR
06-04-2003, 05:26 PM
We were on the DCL excursion and yes we were on a double decker boat, but it really didn't seem packed. It was about 80 people I think (4 busses of 20 each).

We had plenty of room and plenty of attention. The captain of the boat did a great job of explaining what would happen. He had two assistants - one that stayed on the boat to help people out and the other was passing out the foot for the stingrays.

We were in the water for about an hour and had a great time.

I have heard that some of the private excursions offer a tape of your experience so if that is something you would like then go with them.

I was very happy with the DCL excursion.

inkkognito
06-04-2003, 05:30 PM
I think it depends on which excursion you do. There are two with similar descriptions. We did the one called "Island Your and Snorkeling with Stingrays," and we were broken down into vanloads of people. Each vanload went on its own small boat, so it was not crowded at all. The group was small enough for the guide to easily help us feed the rays, show us how to hold them, take photos, etc.
Barb
Visit the Platinum Castaway Club at: www.******************* or www.*****************

trishy
06-04-2003, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by WDWLVR
He had two assistants - one that stayed on the boat to help people out and the other was passing out the foot for the stingrays.



:eek: I sure hope you meant to write "food".

We did the DCL Stingray Tour and were very pleased; in fact, so pleased that we are booked with them again for our July cruise. The comfort of knowing we're in DCL's hands in case of any possible "incidents" is what gives us peace of mind. They were awesome and no, it did not seem crowded at all. The guides were "excellent". There was plenty of time. It was not a case of "everyone get back to the boat so we can leave." It was more like "Okay, since everyone's already on the boat, let's leave." The stingray's are awesome, but there's only so much "petting" one can do. ;)

GOOFY D
06-04-2003, 06:21 PM
Originally posted by inkkognito
I think it depends on which excursion you do. There are two with similar descriptions. We did the one called "Island Your and Snorkeling with Stingrays," and we were broken down into vanloads of people. Each vanload went on its own small boat, so it was not crowded at all. The group was small enough for the guide to easily help us feed the rays, show us how to hold them, take photos, etc.
Barb
Visit the Platinum Castaway Club at: www.******************* or www.*****************

Sounds like we had the same one. It was one of the highlights of our trip!

jpatrick
06-05-2003, 09:31 AM
we went with capt. marvins and there was only 15 of us on board. when we saw the other boats loaded down with over a hundred people we were sooo glad we chose capt. marvins! with a small group we got to spend more time in the water. this was the highlight of our trip.

IrishCowboy
06-05-2003, 09:39 AM
We used Capt Marvin's in May 2002 and loved it! Only had 10-11 on board and the crew went out of their way to assist everyone. Capt Marvin's also will not charge you for the excursion if DCL can't tender into Grand Cayman.

One other question/comment: Isn't the cancellation policy for excursions 7 days with DCL?

trishy
06-05-2003, 09:44 AM
DCL policy is cancellation 2 days before sail date.

DCL Repeaters
06-05-2003, 10:48 AM
Didn't see a photographer taking any pictures of our Stingray City excursion booked through DCL on the 5/10 sailing. We brought our own waterproof type cameras as did most others.

buzz638
06-05-2003, 11:46 AM
hi jpatrick , irishcowboy

Very glad to hear those good words from you for
capt.marvin's.
We are booked with them on our august 16th cruise(first ever!)
-
couple of questions for you:

Is the office within walking distance of the port ?
-
Do they have someone with you in the water ?
DW and DD really want to do this but are a little bit nervous
being so close to those creatures....lol
:p

And if you have any other tips or comments feel free to post them.

Thank you
Steff

trishy
06-05-2003, 02:06 PM
I sure hope you just didn't see them - we had our family's pictures taken in the water with (a rather large) stingray by a photographer (believe he works for the the catamaran). We bought the pictures on disc. Lots of people were buying their pictures on disc. They were selling them at the dock (a little "shack" type place) when we got off the boat. I sure hope this hasn't changed... The pictures came out beautiful. We will definitely take an underwater camera on our next trip, though, just to get our own candid shots.

dalmationlover
06-05-2003, 02:54 PM
Thanks everyone for the information. I like the idea of doing the island tour and than having a small boat. Would that be the same for the Discover Cayman Tour?

nativefl
06-06-2003, 06:05 PM
We also just took(5/27) the Stingray City Tour with Captain Marvin & loved it!

2 items I wanted to make note of however, 1st they had someone filming our trip & for I think $57 we are getting a DVD. 2nd Disney did cancel their excursions when we were there, but Captain Marvin did not. At first I was a little concerned, but Captain Marvin's was completely upfront about the whole thing. They were the ones who told us it was a little rough & that Disney had cancelled, but they felt it was still ok to go. They said since Disney goes out with so many, it may not be as safe in rough waters, but since we only had 20 or so, it was easier for them to give us personal attention. There was one family with younger kids, 3-5yrs old & they did cancel, which Captain Marvins let them do without any hassel.

I will definitely tour with Captain Marvin's again next year. They have been around for almost 50 years. We appreciated their professionalism & felt completely safe.

Of course, if touring with Disney makes you more comforable, then I say that is what you should do. This is your vacation & you dont want to be stressing over anything!!

Have fun!

Leslie:earsgirl:

tezb
06-06-2003, 09:57 PM
Is the DVD thing new? Let us know how it turns out...the quaility, etc. Sounds like a great souvenir. I know people who have done the dolphin excursions who also film it in case anyone wants to purchase it. Just wondering how it will turn out, if your seas were choppy that day. We've booked our excursion w/ Disney but still haven't decided if we will stick w/ them or not. Also seems like Nativeway is good too.

nativefl
06-07-2003, 09:08 AM
I am not sure if the filming is new or not. On the boat trip back, they played it for us & it looked good. There is no sound so they will be adding "island" music to it.

Yes, I agree it will be a great souviner. From what I saw on the boat, they filmed both my husband & myself holding the stingrays & my son petting one(from on the boat).

We should be getting it this week, so I will let you know what the final product was like.

Leslie:earsgirl:

tezb
06-07-2003, 10:33 AM
Leslie, pls remember to post after viewing the DVD. I may switch just for that feature. I even emailed them to make sure they will be doing it. How was the boat ride? Do you think bonine is necessary, or maybe just as a precaution?

nativefl
06-07-2003, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by tezb
Leslie, pls remember to post after viewing the DVD. I may switch just for that feature. I even emailed them to make sure they will be doing it. How was the boat ride? Do you think bonine is necessary, or maybe just as a precaution?

Will do.


The boat ride was fine for us, but my family doesnt usually get sea sick. We honestly dont really take anything when we cruise. My husband has asthma & is alergic to aspirin, so he doesnt take much over the counter medicine. For my son & myself, we may take something the first day on board, but never after that, because we feel fine.

However, someone did get sick at the very end of our excursion, so if anyone in your family tends to get sea sick, then I would say take the bonine. It cant hurt.

:earsgirl:

tezb
06-08-2003, 12:26 AM
thanks Nativefl.... from what I hear travelling the north sound is not usually rough, esp in July so we'll hope the weather cooperates....but I'll plan to have the bonine just in case. Don't really know if anyone gets seasick....the ship doesn't seem to bother my kids...but you never know w/ a boat and I don't want to be unprepared.

dizneykids
06-08-2003, 09:46 PM
capt. bryan's also has a photographer in the water and offers video for $39 or dvd for $59. because of the choppy waters 5/27, they didn't film as much as they usually do, so they offered the video for $35, but no break on the dvd.

we've booked three or four excursions on our own over our last couple dcl cruises because of disney-imposed age restrictions (we have a 4yo) and have had no trouble whatsoever. capt. bryan's was great because my dh got sick and decided not to go out with the rest of us and capt. bryan's did not charge us in spite of our reservation for him to be with us. i HIGHLY recommend capt. bryan's.

note also with stingray city that there will be LOTS of boats and LOTS of people on the sandbar competely for the stingrays' attention. of course, there are also LOTS of stingrays. for those of you concerned with the number of people/size of your boat, it won't matter cause once you get out to the sandbar, there'll be another half dozen (or more) boats and appropriate number of guests in the water. when we arrived, our captain decided to take us to the reef first rather than to the sandbar because there were just too many people in the water at that time.

tezb
06-08-2003, 11:27 PM
disneykids...that's good to know about last minute cancellations. I was wondering that too because you know, things happen. I am currently booked w/ DCL and Capt Marvins...will cancel one once we decide. Is there any better time to choose over another...that will be less crowded? We have 11:15-1:15 booked w/ Capt Marvins. I know every time is probably crowded, huh?

ReadyForDisney2003
06-09-2003, 09:36 AM
dizneykids . . .

I have been looking for someone that booked Capt Bryans AND had a 4 year old with them! My DD will be 4 1/2 and too young for the snorkel w/ DCL. I have liked the idea of Capt Bryans over the other excursion (captain Marvin?) because I like the catamaran-type boat. Did your 4 year old do ok on the boat over and in with the stingrays?

Did you have that type of boat? The picture on the website shows a 10 passenger, catamaran boat. Did you do the 2 hour excursion? Did you have to pay upfront or at the ship? Did they get you at the dock or did you take a cab?

Thanks for the help. How far in advance did you book?

Sandra

dizneykids
06-09-2003, 10:30 AM
Did your 4 year old do ok on the boat over and in with the stingrays?
my son did fine on the boat so long as he was sitting either in my lap or next to me while it was moving. last year, when we did the golden eagle in st. maarten, he would only sit in my lap. this year, we rode out on the netting (not a large area) and back on the deck as the older kids were reclining on the netting. 5 across was all the room there was on one side of the netting.

also, the day we went was very choppy. and when we got to the sandbar, there were too many people, so the captain took us over to the reef area first. ds was game to go in the water with me (they have little kid vests, but you have to ask for them as they keep them below in a separate area from the snorkel vests), but once he got in and hit by a wave, he wanted out. when we went over to the sandbar where the stingray were, he wouldn't even consider going in. and....after i went in and had trouble helping older sons (11 and 9), i was glad he refused. i would not have been able to manage with 4yo ds.

that said, i was told our day was very unusual, that normally the waters are so calm you can walk to the sandbar. i guess it will just depend on how calm your waters are and how adventurous your 4yo is.

Did you have that type of boat? The picture on the website shows a 10 passenger, catamaran boat.
we were on the Hannibal which held probably 40-50 people and is a triamaran. it's the second picture on the page http://www.cayman.org/captainbryan/

note that the netting area (as i call it) is very small and does not cover the entire front end as with some other catamarans, but has 2 small sections of netting, one on either side of the middle pontoon.

Did you do the 2 hour excursion? Did they get you at the dock or did you take a cab?
you know, i never paid attention to the length of time we were out there. we booked the 2.5 hour session. we had to be there at 8:30-8:45 and we walked to the office. once you get off the ship, you take a left and keep walking for about a mile (i guess...i have no concept of distance when i'm in a hurry!). you will pass capt. marvins, then go around a curve, and just past the bakery (with the roosters out front), you'll see a small housefront that is the capt. bryan office. we walked there and back (me and 3 sons...11, 9 and 4) without a problem (except we were running late and it was HOT!). bring bottled water!

the boat is not docked near the port where we docked, but on another side of the island. they load groups up in a variety of vans (which have seat belts) and take you to the boat and then return you to their office upon completion of your excursion. our driver did drop one of the families we were with off at a hotel along the 7-mile beach as they wanted some more beach time before returning to the ship and it was along the way. so, don't hesitate to ask if that's something y'all want to do. my kids had had enough water at that point.

Did you have to pay upfront or at the ship? How far in advance did you book?
we booked the end of january for our 5/24 cruise. we paid when we got to the storefront. they were nice enough to NOT charge me for my dh who wasn't feeling up to coming (in spite of our having a reservation). total for me and 3 ds was $105.

if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

tezb
06-09-2003, 09:43 PM
Okay, I'm confused now! Are Capt Bryan's and Capt Marvins the same company or 2 different?? I thought it was Capt Marvin's..Want to make sure I'm signing up for the right one.

ReadyForDisney2003
06-09-2003, 09:57 PM
dizneykids . .

Thanks for the great information. I haven't booked anything yet, but I'll keep it all in mind.

tezb . . .

Yes, there are at least 2 companies I have been reading about -- Captain Marvins and Captain Bryans. I have heard good things about both. I am most interested in going in a catamaran type boat, not a standard motor boat. I have seen pics of these types of boats on the Captain Bryans website, but I'm not sure of if Captain Marvin uses those.

dizneykids
06-09-2003, 11:02 PM
there's also a company called nativeway that some of the DISers we traveled with used and liked.

from my research (including contacting both capt bryan's and capt marvin's), only capt bryan's has the catamaran.

tezb
06-09-2003, 11:27 PM
DCL uses a double deck catamaran...according to their brochure.

I have also looked into Nativeway but they don't take professional pics and I like that feature. Capt Marvins have cabin type boats. Are any better than others...boat wise? Don't really know or is it just personal preference?

ReadyForDisney2003
06-09-2003, 11:53 PM
I can't do the DCL one -- they have an age limit and I have a 4 year old.

How long is the boat ride? 1/2 hour out, 1/2 hour there and 1/2 hour back? Something like that?

Thanks.

CRSNDSNY
06-10-2003, 05:55 AM
Stingray City Snorkel Tour = Lots of people

Rum Point Beach Adventure & Stingray City Tour = Less people

Stingray City Snorkeling and Discover Cayman Tour = Less people

Island Tour and Snorkeling with Stingrays = Less people


The reason I'm asking is because although I've snorkeled before, I'm not the most confident swimmer. If there are a lot of people around I tend to get very nervous. We'd like to do one of these excursions you've all been mentioning, but which do you think has the least amount of people in close vicinity?

tezb
06-10-2003, 03:47 PM
I can't answer all your questions but from what I've heard, you can wear a life jacket if you choose...I believe they're avail on the boats. can someone else who's gone confirm??

nativefl
06-10-2003, 05:03 PM
answers to previos questions...

1. Captain Marvin's had life vests, which we wore at the coral reef, but not at Stingray City, since you can stand.

2. The type of boats Captain Marvin has are Cabin Cruiser, not a Catamarans.

3. I would say the boat ride out & back was a 1/2 hour each way. The entire Captain Marvin tour took around 2 hours as you spend about 1/2 hour at a coral reef & about a 1/2 hour at Stingray City. Please note th 1/2 hour at Stingray City was definitely long enough. I did not feel rushed. I agree with the statement someone else made...it was more like everyone was ready to go, so we headed back.

Hope this helps!

Leslie:earsgirl:

trishy
06-11-2003, 01:23 PM
DCL requires you wear a yellow life vest. It's one of those that you can inflate a little bit or a lot depending on your comfort level. The other boats out at the sandbar did not require them. Just a thought if you don't want to feel out of place.

dizneykids
06-11-2003, 02:36 PM
melody...i think that it won't matter which excursion you take. there is only one stingray city and multiple providers taking folks out there all day long. when we went, there were at least two other cruise ships docked in grand cayman. so, you are not only out there with all the dcl folks, but carnival and celebrity folks, etc.

by the time we got out to the sandbar, there were more than half a dozen boats surrounding the sandbar. if they all carried 30-50 people (as it seemed), then you can plan on a hundred or more people standing on that sandbar competing for the stingrays' attention. course, once you are surrounded by the stingray, you probably won't notice all the other people.

DISNEYFAMILYOFFOUR
06-11-2003, 06:38 PM
We went with Captain Marvin's on our honeymoon when we stayed at Cayman Island. We also bought the video (no DVD's back then in 1997) and the video was nicely done. No sound, but carribean music. We will do Captain Marvin on our cruise.

By the way, what is the DCL age requirement?

ReadyForDisney2003
06-11-2003, 06:56 PM
I think the age requirement is 5. My DD will be 4 1/2 at the time of our cruise and I know they won't allow her to go on this excursion.