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Old 07-04-2012, 07:37 PM   #46
tseitel
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on june 25th, we chartered a private boat thru Island Marketing, Grand Cayman Cruise Excursions. Its listed as the private outrage stingray city & starfish beach eco tour. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this tour. The boat can hold up to 10, I believe. It was great just being our group, so the Captain can go basically where you want. We went to the sandbar & swam and fed the stingrays, went to a reef to snorkel (like swimming in an aquarium), went to Rum Point beach, toured the mangroves, and stopped at Starfish Beach. The Captain was great. He kept us away from other boats, provided squid for the stingrays, and brought them up to us, dove down and brought up a live conch for us to see. At starfish beach, there was 1 other boat there, not having much luck finding any starfish, but of course, our personal Steve Irwin dove down and brought up some huge starfish for us to hold and examine. Even just being on the boat was lovely, with the cool breeze and skimming along the waves. He provided sodas and bottled water, and I brought some snacks. Fantastic time had by all, even my 6 year old DD is still talking about the stingrays!
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:58 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by alicia1506 View Post
we are flying from australia to take this fantasy cruise in nov and we are dying to do the chacchoben ruins tour, as we're not big on beach time/swimming as we have plenty of opportunities to do that here, but very little opportunity to explore mayan ruins.

would love to hear from those of you who experienced it.. what were your thoughts on the site/excursion etc. we are planning on only doing it with disney as we don't want to get left behind (really tight time frame).
We just did the Disney Chacchoben ruins tour last week. Tip, bring some bug repellant from home. The guide passes some out, but he only had 1 bottle to share among the entire bus. You might also want to bring along your own bottled water. The tour states that drinks are provided, but we didnt get anything till tour was over, & we were getting back on the not so air conditioned bus, and it was OMG HOT & steamy!! The ruins were larger than I had expected, multiple sites. We saw monkeys in the trees, and lines of leaf cutter ants. All in all, Im glad we went (when else will I get to see something like this) but wouldn't do a second time. There is a small set of shops at the start/finish of your tour, with reasonable items, with 1 very small restroom. The kids,6,17, werent impressed, but the adults appreciated the history, and I have some impressive photos. We had 1st seating for dinner, and made it back in time to just rinse off & change super quick. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:56 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by tseitel View Post
We just did the Disney Chacchoben ruins tour last week. Tip, bring some bug repellant from home. The guide passes some out, but he only had 1 bottle to share among the entire bus. You might also want to bring along your own bottled water. The tour states that drinks are provided, but we didnt get anything till tour was over, & we were getting back on the not so air conditioned bus, and it was OMG HOT & steamy!! The ruins were larger than I had expected, multiple sites. We saw monkeys in the trees, and lines of leaf cutter ants. All in all, Im glad we went (when else will I get to see something like this) but wouldn't do a second time. There is a small set of shops at the start/finish of your tour, with reasonable items, with 1 very small restroom. The kids,6,17, werent impressed, but the adults appreciated the history, and I have some impressive photos. We had 1st seating for dinner, and made it back in time to just rinse off & change super quick. Hope this helps.
this is exactly what i needed to hear -- thank you so very much
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:46 AM   #49
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We are also doing Western on the Fantasy, 9/1, and traveling with three almost three year olds. I saw one poster had a three year old and so used Native Way for stingray city. What is their age limit? I did sting ray city about 15 years ago when I spent a week on grand cayman. I'm not 100% sold on taking my twins quite yet but I think they would get a kick out of it (if I can keep from squealing like I did last time!)
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:19 PM   #50
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To the previous poster...which Dolphin swim in Cozumel did you do? We have two to choose from (Dolphinaris and another whose name I can't think of). The one I can't remember the name of advertises a push/pull swim. I'm also struggling with the ethics around doing a dolphin swim at all, so any feedback you can give about the conditions there would be great.
We did the Dolphin Discovery in Cozumel. It is in the Chankanaab park. They have a Push Pull Swim that you can do there, but my youngest was too young and we wanted to stay together so we just did the Encounter. (The encounter you stand in the pen on a ledge and the dolphin swims up to you for you to pet/kiss)

The whole dolphin area is a large fenced in area with the smaller (4 on each side) pens where you meet the dolphins. In between the smaller pens is a large area where they do the Push/Pull/Swim and have the dolphins jump out of the water and such. All in all, it seemed pretty good to me. The bigger problem I had is how much they charge for the pictures. THey took a lot of them, but with having 8 people in our group they wanted almost $300 for the CD of the pictures. A bit much for me. This place also was nice to snorkle and swim in the pool. We stayed about 3 hours after the dolphin part was over and had a great time.
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:29 PM   #51
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We are also doing Western on the Fantasy, 9/1, and traveling with three almost three year olds. I saw one poster had a three year old and so used Native Way for stingray city. What is their age limit? I did sting ray city about 15 years ago when I spent a week on grand cayman. I'm not 100% sold on taking my twins quite yet but I think they would get a kick out of it (if I can keep from squealing like I did last time!)
I'm not sure if they have an age limit. One of the workers on the boat going out to the stingrays mentioned something about 2 year olds going before. My 3 y.o LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the stingrays. In fact my 6 y.o. dd had a harder time and a little meltdown because some waves got in her face. Once we got the snorkle and mask on her she didn't want to leave.

Edited to add: As I mentioned in my previous post the Tour includes the City Tour (Turtle Farm/Hell). On our trip, we were actually the only ones on this tour, so we were able to skip the Rum Factory Tour - Not interested in that - and could have spent a few minutes on the Beach instead of going to Hell. So, you could possibly tailor the trip a little to your liking.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:39 PM   #52
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Thanks, Brian H! That is exactly the excursion I was thinking about booking. I liked it because the description says you are free to spend time in the park after the dolphin swim. The park looks pretty nice and I think that makes the price easier to swallow. Did you book through Disney? I went to the website for the facility and was surprised to see their "list" prices are higher than what Disney is currently showing on their site! Who knows about discounts, but the Disney price seems pretty reasonable. I just hope it's not sold out! This is our first cruise, so I can't book until 75 days out.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:22 PM   #53
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Thanks, Brian H! That is exactly the excursion I was thinking about booking. I liked it because the description says you are free to spend time in the park after the dolphin swim. The park looks pretty nice and I think that makes the price easier to swallow. Did you book through Disney? I went to the website for the facility and was surprised to see their "list" prices are higher than what Disney is currently showing on their site! Who knows about discounts, but the Disney price seems pretty reasonable. I just hope it's not sold out! This is our first cruise, so I can't book until 75 days out.
We did book it through Disney. I'm not sure if it would have been much cheaper to just do it direct. It was nice to do it through Disney, as they arranged the Taxis to and from Port. FYI - They have one person in charge of the group. He met at the entrance each hour to arrange the taxi rides back, so you can pretty much go whenever you want. We would definately consider this one again.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:02 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Codie
We are also doing Western on the Fantasy, 9/1, and traveling with three almost three year olds. I saw one poster had a three year old and so used Native Way for stingray city. What is their age limit? I did sting ray city about 15 years ago when I spent a week on grand cayman. I'm not 100% sold on taking my twins quite yet but I think they would get a kick out of it (if I can keep from squealing like I did last time!)
I am also on the 9/1 western and we have a stingray tour booked with native way. I have a 4 year old and had no troubles booking. If you want to pm me I can send u more info. By the way we have a meet group too.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:13 PM   #55
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I agree with you about the Secret River it is completely worth it! Loved every minute of it.
Was this excursion through DCL?
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:50 PM   #56
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two years ago we did the Boatswain's Adventure Marine Park which was a lot of fun...a lot to do and the turtles are really interesting and fun...

i've heard a lot of good things about Rum Point Beach and booked it for this year (8/18 Western Carib)...and comments???
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #57
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We are considering doing the stingrays at Castaway Cay with the bike/float/snorkle add on - but I keep hearing Stingray City - has anyone done both to compare? This is our first time cruising.

We are also plan'g on doing the shipwreck snorkle excursion - I think that one is in Cozumel. My kids are 9 and 11. Has anyone does the shipwreck excursion w/ kids? I was just curious. Also, do you get to see anything wow-ish on the way out there? It looks well priced and I've read good reviews in the Passporter on both this one and the Stingray excursions - but it says Castaway is the way to go - ??

Casey-
The Shipwreck or "Wreck and Reef" snorkel excursion would be an awesome first snorkel for your kids. It is in the bay, so water is calm, no waves, easy to snorkel in. Being in the bay, mom/dad don't have to worry nearly as much about being swept out to sea, shark attack, etc. There are TONS of fish to be seen. The shipwreck is cool to look at too. It is a short excursion, about 2 hours, leaving time for other activities. Being in port area, there is no transportation to worry about (no 45 minute ride on a non-air conditioned school bus). It is in Cayman. I would recommend combining with Stingray City. Stingray City also short excursion and would be simple to do rays in morning and snorkel in afternoon. I would strongly suggest Stingray City over the ray encounter at Castaway Cay. There is simply no comparison. Have fun!!
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:33 PM   #58
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Casey-
The Shipwreck or "Wreck and Reef" snorkel excursion would be an awesome first snorkel for your kids. It is in the bay, so water is calm, no waves, easy to snorkel in. Being in the bay, mom/dad don't have to worry nearly as much about being swept out to sea, shark attack, etc. There are TONS of fish to be seen. The shipwreck is cool to look at too. It is a short excursion, about 2 hours, leaving time for other activities. Being in port area, there is no transportation to worry about (no 45 minute ride on a non-air conditioned school bus). It is in Cayman.
I am trying to decide between this one and the Nautilus Undersea Tour and Reef Snorkel. DD and I have never been in the ocean or done any snorkeling. DH has but it was over 20 years ago and he really does not remember much except being scared because he saw eels. Do you wear life vests? Dh and I are very worried about dd and ourselves for that matter getting really tired.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:25 AM   #59
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Well, we reserved Stingray City snorkel for our cruise in September. It sounds great. In Cozymel we reserved the 12 Meter Regatta. Anyone know anything about that one?
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:56 AM   #60
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When I visited all these ports I scuba dived at each one. Of course you need to be certified but it was some of the best diving I've done.
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