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Excursions Advice?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line' started by 21stamps, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    Not a Disney cruise, but assuming a lot of you have kids in the 7 year old range, I'd love to get input!

    We are doing a Western Caribbean and here are my booked excursions-

    Roatan, Honduras - Maya Key

    Harvest Caye, Belize- Lagoon Wildlife & Magrove Estuaries Boat Tour, then Pool/ Beach Day

    Costa Maya, Mexico- Chacchoben Ruins and Beach Combo.

    Cozumel, Mexico- here's where I need help!! Currently have Dolphin Swim All Inclusive booked.. HOWEVER, my first choice was X Rail to Jade Cavern which is unfortunately no longer offered thru NCL.
    The company is called Wild Tours, I am considering booking the Jade Cavern excursion thru them.

    Thoughts, critiques, advice?
     
  2. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I quoted your post here so I wouldn't derail that thread.lol

    Thanks for the advice!

    Illusionarium was recently replaced with Cirque Dreams and Steam.

    I booked Burn the Floor, Million Dollar Quartet, and Cirque Dreams floor seating- this one will be our Thanksgiving dinner.

    Sounds like, based on CC feedback, that my son is not age appropriate for the Escape Room :(

    I'm starting to wonder how we are going to fit everything in! There's just so much to do. I honestly don't know if he'll go to the kids club at all.. but I would like to get a massage in at some point.lol
     
  3. ChuckElias

    ChuckElias Well-Known Member

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    Here is my review of the Chocchoben Mayan Ruins from my DCL trip report in April of 2013:

    We chose the Chocchoben Mayan Ruins excursion. We felt lucky, because all of the watercraft excursions were cancelled, due to the rough seas. "Chocchoben" means "red corn" in Mayan. This excursion was a 1 hour bus ride to the ruins site, then a 2 hour tour of the site, then a half hour for shopping before the hour-long drive back to the port. It was VERY interesting. Lots of great information from our very knowledgeable guide, Lisbeth. I really enjoyed the excursion, but I would not recommend it for families with small children under the age of 13 or so. There was very little to hold a child's attention, except possibly for climbing on the ruins, which is only about a half hour or so of the tour. Additionally, as much as I liked the excursion, it was just too long. We reported to the theater at 12:25 (before "all ashore") and get back at 5:40 (after "all aboard"). Because we got back to the ship so late, we had to rush to dinner.

    Also, on our way back from the ruins, our bus was stopped at a military checkpoint. Now, when I use the phrase "military checkpoint", you may think of an army base or something like that. But that's not what we ran into. We stopped at a shack -- literally, a wooden shack -- and a thick piece of rope that had been stretched across the road. This shack was manned by two guys in fatigues, who boarded our bus carrying machine guns. They spoke no English as far as I could tell and the tour guide was telling them "all tourists". One guy stood at the front of the bus next to the driver, with his machine gun at the ready (not down at his side); and the other guy walked down the aisle of the bus, looking for who-knows-what. My daughter was scared to death. And while it seemed fairly routine, I was nervous, because we had no way of knowing if these were legitimate military personnel or bandits or whatever. It was not a good experience, but it only lasted about 5 minutes and then we were back on our way.
     
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  4. ChuckElias

    ChuckElias Well-Known Member

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    My advice is that if you book the excursion through the company directly (or through a 3rd party vendor, like Shore Trips, which I use for my clients), be sure that they guarantee your arrival back to the ship before departure. If you book an excursion through NCL, they promise to wait for you if your excursion runs late. But if you book it on your own, the cruise line will not make that promise. So be sure that the tour company guarantees to fly you to the next port and put you up for the night if they cause you to miss the ship's departure.
     
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  5. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thank you, below is the description for ours, this is actually Thanksgiving day and we will eat a Tday dinner in an MDR, I'm concerned about the time as well. On my reservation it's actually listed as 7 hours.
    I'm hoping that the inclusion of the beach at the end will be a nice addition. We do have a few books on the Mayans, and a few on Mexico itself. I fully anticipate that my kid will fall asleep on the bus ride though. We aren't going to the mainland in Belize because of the travel time, which is regretful, but I'm ok with it, I'd hate to skip this one as well though. I feel like we need some "cultural educational experiences" included.
    IMG_3816.PNG
     
  6. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I think we would have to do an early tour to be certain that we'll make it back. NCL is only offering the ATV tour to Jade Cavern, obviously we do not meet the age restrictions for that option.

    The XRail tour company does have good reviews, is there a reason to book thru a 3rd party?
     
  7. ChuckElias

    ChuckElias Well-Known Member

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    A couple of reasons:

    1) A 3rd party company like Shore Trips will offer a variety of excursions in any given port. That's helpful if you're not sure what you want to do. It's easier to go to one company and browse their "inventory" than to do a Google search on "Mayan excursions" and sort through 1000 links.

    2) The "get you back to the ship on time" guarantee is huge.
     
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  8. C&D

    C&D Well-Known Member

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    Also a veteran of Chocchoben (two adults), great tour but mimics ChuckElias; we were also detained at the military checkpoint (more concerning than scary, but maybe a wee bit scary). We booked with Disney and our tour was late coming back (traffic, construction). I definitely recommend to book through your ship's excursions.
     
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  9. tk924

    tk924 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to 21stamps for jumping on this thread, but now I'm concerned about our first 7 day Western Caribbean next year.
    The family wants to do the Dolphin Swim while at Cozumel but I'm worried about distance from the ship and who to even book this through.
    It sounds like too many things could go wrong and I'd hate to have a bad experience on our first 7 day cruise.
     
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  10. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    No problem! I look forward to seeing the replies. Plus, you just reminded me that I need to cancel out Cozumel Dolphin Swim.lol

    It looks fun, not sure which one you're looking at, but I think there is a facility fairly close to the port in Cozumel.

    Here's a portion of the description from what I am canceling.. it says 5 minutes from port. Dolphinaris. It has great reviews too!

    You’ll meet your guide outside your cruise ship for an approximate 5-minute taxi ride along the coast to the facility. Upon arrival, you’ll attend a 10-minute interactive orientation session so you can learn more about the dolphins’ history, physiology and anatomy. Then make your way to a waist-deep platform in the waters of the lagoon to immerse yourself in the magical underwater world of the bottlenose dolphins. As you head into deeper water, you’ll be given a snorkel mask to see how the dolphins turn, glide and hurl themselves high into the air. Hold on tight during the famous belly ride! You can grab onto a dolphin’s fins while racing across the water at top speeds for a thrilling experience.


    Relax after your dolphin swim and take full advantage of everything the facility has to offer. Stop by the palapa restaurant for lunch with the family and cool off with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Kids and adults alike will love Serenity Cove, a safe inlet with snorkel equipment where you can swim through an underwater aquarium filled with tropical fish, rays and starfish! Head out to the ocean for fun-filled activities like kayaking and paddle boarding. Tour includes all food, beverages, snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding. Photos, videos, souvenirs and lockers are at an additional charge. After your tour, you can walk into downtown Cozumel for some shopping before heading back to the dolphin entrance where your transportation will take you back to the ship.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  11. tk924

    tk924 Well-Known Member

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    Wait. There's more than one? Man, i really need to do my research.

    But with great reviews and 5 minutes from port sounds like a winner to me.

    Thanks for the info.
     
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  12. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Not sure of your kids ages, but just a heads up, minimum age to Snorkel and Kayak is 8.
     
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  13. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    We leave for Florida on 11/15...cruise departs that Sunday...still undecided about Cozumel!
     

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