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Old 02-05-2012, 09:16 AM   #1
Debs Hill
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Post your Western Cruise Excursion Reports here!!!

So, I was looking at the Alaskan excursion reports thread which is great and decided to start one for the Caribbean.........all reviews and photos welcomed!!!

I will start us off

Cayman Islands: Stingray City and Rum Point Beach
I would give this excursion and 8.5 out of 10
The down sides were a very long transfer time from docking to getting to Rum Point
Not enough time at the beach!
I also got quite sea sick on the small boat that took us out to Stingray City!!


The good bits were;
Rum Point Beach is beautiful, very relaxing and we had a ball there just swimming, snorkelling and chilling out.
Lunch was really yummy and freshly prepared!!
Stingray City was amazing fun and the crew were great...taking photos of everyone in the water using our own cameras. Loads of stingrays..have to do at least once!

Over to you guys!!
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:01 AM   #2
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We did not go through Disney for Grand Cayman. We booked on line through Native Way and went to string ray city, starfish beach and snorkling. It is definitely worth the money and the staff was very nice.

At Key West we explored the city on our own. We went to Jimmy Buffets and the original key lime pie store. The guy working in there was very nice and told us a lot of Key West. I would say next time, I'd like to take a formal site seeing tour so I know what I'd want to go and see the next time. I felt like we missed a lot.

At Cozumel we did the excursion through Disney, the Fury Catamaran Sail Snorkel and Beach Party. This was a lot of fun and the staff was very friendly. The snorkeling is great for beginners and the beach is very nice. The water is shallow where the water toys are which makes them easy and fun to use. There is not a lot of people at the beach which is also a plus.

We had cabana 15 at Castaway Cay and really liked this location. The water in the front of it is no swimming area but its really nice to wade in and play around in. By about 2:00 the tide goes out and its very shallow and sand bars appear everywhere. This was the best part because then we could walk out there and find really neat shells. Cabana's 14- 18 are in this 'no swimming' area but like I said, it worked out great for us.

Last edited by quickcat; 02-05-2012 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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We did Xcaret back in 2005 and it was AWESOME!!! It was SO worth the price. It's kind of like a theme park (we're theme park people) without rides or American regulations. There are monkeys in the trees under the paths and iguanas everywhere - they're just roaming wild. There are no safety rails on the paths so it's almost like you're in the wild - only not. :-)

The underground river is freezing but cool. They had a photographer in there under one of the shafts of light which made it a little touristy but it didn't take away from the overall experience.

The cost was a bit high but it was worth it to us. That being said, we didn't have kids with us. We're going on the western again and this time we'll have a 3- and 5-year-old and we've already decided we don't want to take them there until they're older. What was cool to me as an adult (no safety rails, underground river, wild monkeys) terrify me as the mother of small kids! :-)
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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We did Xcaret back in 2005 and it was AWESOME!!! It was SO worth the price. It's kind of like a theme park (we're theme park people) without rides or American regulations. There are monkeys in the trees under the paths and iguanas everywhere - they're just roaming wild. There are no safety rails on the paths so it's almost like you're in the wild - only not. :-)

The underground river is freezing but cool. They had a photographer in there under one of the shafts of light which made it a little touristy but it didn't take away from the overall experience.

The cost was a bit high but it was worth it to us. That being said, we didn't have kids with us. We're going on the western again and this time we'll have a 3- and 5-year-old and we've already decided we don't want to take them there until they're older. What was cool to me as an adult (no safety rails, underground river, wild monkeys) terrify me as the mother of small kids! :-)
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Keep them coming please...we leave on 1/5 and I am looking for excurions!
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:19 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for the contributions so far........would love to see any photos you have of either the Fury Catamaran trip and Xcaret......to help us make our choice!

your cabana on Castway sounds perfect! did you get to choose which number you wanted?
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:23 PM   #7
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Key West:
We have done Key West twice and on the first occasion we just wandered around on our own.
On the second occasion we did a Disney Excursion, can't remember the exact name but it was canoeing and dolphin cruise. This is not an excursion I would recommend and I give it three out of ten.
We only saw one dolphin on the way to the place where you snorkel/canoe. The water was murky and full of weeds. There was nothing interesting to see on the canoe part of the trip and two people on our trip got stung by jelly fish. It seemed a lot of money for not very much.
We were glad to get back on the ship! Live and learn!

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Old 02-05-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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We did our Western in 2010, our first DCL.

Key West we did on our own, we went to Fort Zachary Taylor beach. The walk was longer than we thought...it was very hot, June. The beach had everything you could need, but bring water shoes, beach was rocky.
We had been to Key West twice before, so we wanted something new. You can also take a tour of the fort, we did not have time for this.

Cozumel we did our excursion through DCL, Chanakaab with Cutural Musuem. I do not think they still offer this. Chanakaab was worth the vist, I could have stayed there all day. We went snorkeling, our guide was fantastic. They have a pool, beach, dolphin excurions and botantical gardens, plus food and bars. The Cutural Musuem was very nice and including a lunch and pinata for the kids.

Grand Cayman we did not Reef and Reck Snorkel thorough DCL. It was great we snorkeled right near the harbor and ship, it was very good.
We lunched at Maragareteville where my boys went in the pool and enjoyed the pool slide.

I hope to do the Western cruise again.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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This will be our first Western cruise that includes Costa maya......would love to hear about your experiences of this port of call!
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #10
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Please keep them coming! I am laying our an itinerary for DS 13 and I for March. This is what I have so far, please let me know what you think, be honest, this is a new itinerary for us.

Key West:

On Our Own: We will catch the Conch Train to the Truval Village stop. Walk to the Southern Most Point for pictures, stop by the Butterfly Museum and Lighthouse Museum, and Hemmingway House. Catch the train back to Conch Station and see the Shipwreck Museum and walk around Mallory Square. Sometime in there we'll have to sample the frozen, chocolate dipped Key Lime Pie. I know it looks like a lot of museums for one day, but DS prefers to keep moving!

Grand Cayman:

On Our Own: Boatswain's Turtle Farm via either cab or bus.

Cozumel:

Xplor Adventure Park through DCL excursions. The travel is too complicated to try to do on our own and ensure we don't miss the ship at the end of the day.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:39 PM   #11
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Grand Cayman
We did a jet ski excursion to Stingray City and Rum Point beach. This was a 10 out of 10. There was a very short bus ride to the jet skis and then a nice jet ski ride to Sting Ray city. When we approached Sting Ray city we could see all of the charter boats aganist one another and they were only letting so many people into the water. We pulled up on the opposite side of the sand bar and had the place to ourselves. Our guides starting cutting fish and within no time the sting rays were all around us, after about 35 minutes we were back on the jet skis heading to Rum Point, we stayed at the beach for about an hour and then headed back to the resort. Full use of the resort when we came back and then a bus ride back to the ship.

Cozumel
We did the dolphin encounter at Chakanub. 6 out of 10, it was fun but too short.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:56 PM   #12
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We have done the Western twice, but one was a double dip, so we did not go to Grand Cayman on that one.

Key West, we have done the aquarium, and butterfly farm. I thought this was quick and easy for kids. We would also walk down to the Blonde giraffe and get key lime pie, but I have heard it has closed.

Grand Cayman: We did the rum point beach excursion through DCL. It was a beautiful place, but that boat ride to get there is rough and fel like it took forever. We would not do this again because of it. The water was really pretty, though, and there were tons of conch shells in the ocean. Th food was REALLY expensive here.

Cozumel: we have done the ruins on our own. We took a taxi there and hired a guide. Interesting to do once. It is the temple of the fertility god so if you are wanting children the guide said to rub the stone arch there. We did not do this, two is enough for us! We got dropped off at Los Cincos Soles. It is a fabulous store for trinkets and such. It also has the best Mexican food we have ever had. Fantastic chicken enchiladas. Huge margaritas. Filtered water. On our next trip we went here again and it was just as good. From the boat to this store, there are a bunch of neat shops. I collect talavera plates and there is a giant two story store here with a great selection to choose from.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:18 AM   #13
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Keep them coming guys!
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:30 AM   #14
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My DD and I were on the Magic back in March 2010 and did the Western Itinerary. Here's our input:

Key West: Explored on our own. Just walked around the shops which was nice to just get off the ship for a while.

Cozumel: Did the DCL Dolphin Excursion at Chankanaab Park. The water was very cold so my daughter didn't really enjoy it that much. Overall the park was pretty nice though. Rating 7.5/10

Grand Cayman: DCL Excursion Sting Ray City and Rum Point Beach. Agree with the OP that the time to get to the Beach took way too long and the small boat to the sting rays made me queezy too. Not enough time at the beach and it was very crowded. I wouldn't go on this one again. Rating 6/10

We are going again this March 2012 and have planned the Fury Catamaran trip in Cozumel and Boatswain for Grand Cayman. Both via DCL.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:43 AM   #15
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Just did the Magic Western 1/21-28th:
Key West and Grand Caymen were done on our own. We simply got off and went shopping.

Cozumel we did the Tulum Ruins tour:
Loooooooong day with lots of travel! The only port I felt uncomfortable hot in. Ferry ride to mainland is rocky and it is the side to side rocking motion and bobbing up and down. If you get at ALL motion sick, please take meds prior to this!) I do not have any issues with motion sickness, so this did not bother me, but several people were not so fortunate.
Once you land in Playa Del Carmen, there was NO one there to meet any of us and we all wandered around for about 5 minutes before someone came running down the dock to "corral" us. Then it is a 10-15 walk through town to where you get on a bus. the buses are really nice and comfortable. Bus ride is about 45 mins (?) then they stop at a "market" where they try and sell you every kind of trinket. You can use the restrooms, but if I can impart any knowledge here: DON'T DO IT! These restrooms are nasty and tiny and...well we will leave it at that!
You are handed a bag lunch which includes a sandwhich, banana, muffins and nuts and a bottle of water to eat on the remaining 20 or so minutes to the ruins. Once at the ruins, each person is given a headset to listen to the guide as he explains the history etc while you walk through the park. Very informative, but long....and it was hot and windy. I would not recommend this tour for those under 15 or those with mobility issues. However, if you like history and culture, this is a fantastic glimpse into an ancient culture. Keep in mind it is a long day! You are off the ship from 9am to about 5 pm with little to no time in Cozumel before the ship leaves at 6:30.
Probably more of a review than you wanted, but there it is.

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