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Old 03-13-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Orange County, CA
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Stingray City - DCL or Native Way Sports?

He we have booked the DCL Deluxe Stingray City Sandbar Snorkel excursion booked and also have reservation with Native Way for their Stingray Sandbar, Coral Gardens, & Star Fish Snorkel tour. About the same cost and time but wondering which is better experience with kids. I like the idea of the Native Way tour because sounds like more than just stop at the stingray city and possibly smaller boats/groups.

I'd love feedback from those that have done either tour. I understand Stingray City can be kind of a zoo somedays and that will detract from the enjoyment of the excursion but can't control that. BTW - we are on the Fantasy in about 2 weeks so I need to finalize my decision soon. Thanks
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:09 PM   #2
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Curious as well. I booked native way for our upcoming cruise because of the small group size. Have only ready very positive things about them on trip advisor.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:43 PM   #3
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:51 PM   #4
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Cayman is a tender port - hence more chances for a ship not to be able to dock.

Unless however you booking has a guaranteed full refund if the ship is not able to dock, then I would not risk it.

That said, Stingray City can be chaotic. There seems to be no limit on the amount of excursions they'll accept. Sometimes there are 6-7 mega size ships docked. And they will still sell you excursions at the port, even if they were sold out at the ship.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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There is only 1 other ship in port that day (I checked) & native sports does note require cc deposit so no risk there. Mostly looking for feedback of which tour company offers better experience - I prefer smaller personal service over big DCL tour - but maybe not?

Anyone have input?
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:19 PM   #6
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We have a private charter booked with Native Way for our GC visit at the end of May. We have 7 people so the per person cost isn't so offensive. We're excited to have a boat and a guide entirely to ourselves. If the ship doesn't make it in to port there's no charge or penalty or anything. I've read tons of reviews between Trip Advisor, Cruise Critic, and here. I'm confident we'll have a fabulous time.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:34 PM   #7
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My sister and I went with Native Way in December. Their van was waiting for us wen we got off the tender. About a dozen people in our group. 10-15 minute ride to the dock, then half hour (maybe less) boat ride to Stingray City.

Good time at Stingray City, which is actually a sandbar nowhere near the shore. This surprised me. Water was about chest deep. We took turns posing and kissing a stingray, then they gave us food and we fed them. Very cool! The boat crew was very attentive. There are other boats in the area with people doing the same thing. Wasn't too bad.

Star Fish was a short stop. We bobbed in the water with our flippers and masks. Those that knew how dove deep and brought up sea stars for us to look at.

We had more time at the Coral Gardens to float around and look at coral and fish.

There was a bit snorkel of instruction offered. This was my first time ever snorkeling, so I appreciated the help. I also snorkeled in Costa Maya and Cozumel. I was always the last off the boat and in the water. Afraid to put my face in the water, sure I would drown to death. But, one I relaxed, I really enjoyed it.

There was water and a big jug of fruit punch on the boat for refreshment.
One of the boat crew cleaned up conch shells for the children to take home with them.

We had about 90 minutes to wander around the town after the excursion was over.

Oh! I changed in dry clothed in a tiny private space where they"head" is on the boat. Not recommended! Wait and use the nice, clean restroom near whereyou get dropped off.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:26 AM   #8
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We did the Native Way Sports in June. Our DISboard group was able to sign up 70 people so we filled three boats. They took us to an area that had very large starfish. It was about 15 feet deep and not a lot of starfish but enough to dive down and bring up for the kids to see and touch. Then they took us to the Sting Ray Bay. There were several boats there but everyone got a chance to feed and hold the Sting Ray if they wanted to. The water was about 3 to 4 feet deep in this area. Then they took us to a place with fish and coral to snorkel. We stayed in this place until we were out of time and had to get back to the ship. They were waiting for us when we got off the ship and they made sure we were back in plenty of time to get back to the ship. It was also nice that there was 70 of us so the ship would not leave 70 passengers short.

I was not really looking forward to this excursion when I booked it. I thought it was just another snorkel excursion. After doing it I would rate it one of my top 5 excursions.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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I know this wasnt an option you listed but we used stingray sailings and loved it! i was also deciding between them and nativeway before booking. stingray sailings has a catemeran and there were only 5 of us! the stingrays were awesome i loved it, and we had a whole area to ourselves away from the boats with tons of ppl on them. we also had some time to snorkel nearby. chip is from the islands and was a great tour guide. i am glad we went with them, i loved the boat and the ride back was nice and relaxing. i would choose them or nativeway
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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Thank you all for feedback. Interesting no replies about DCL excursion!
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