Excursions

Paradise Beach guest shore excursion review

In:
05Dec2015

Paradise Beach is a popular beach excursion for Royal Caribbean guests visiting Cozumel, Mexico and today we have a great overview of what to expect here.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Keith Davis recently visited Paradise Beach, and shared his thoughts with us!

Description

Paradise Beach is a beach club that is open to the public for $3 per person. 

Once you arrive at Paradise Beach, here is what is available to all guests

  • Beach with chairs, loungers and umbrellas
  • Freshwater pool with lounge chairs
  • Two bars, one at the beach and one at the pool
  • Two bathrooms and changing areas, one at the entrance the other behind the bar

For an extra fees there are the following available:

  • Paddle boards
  • Kayaks
  • Water toys that include trampolines, slides, climbing iceberg, launch bags, water rocker & water mats
  •  Snorkel Equipment (Additional fee)
  • Massage tent adjacent to beach
  • Jet skis (separate vendor)
  • Paragliding (separate vendor)

​Guests can purchase a Fun Pass for $15, which gets them use of the paddleboards, kayaks, water mats and water toys.

All food & drink are available a la carte.  

Beers are $4.50. Tropical drinks $8.50/$14.75 for a souvenir yard glass. Burgers $11.25-$13.25, Chips and salsa $6.00, Nachos $9.25.

There is no all-inclusive option available.

Paradise Beach is located about 6 miles south of the International Pier, which will cost guests about a $15 taxi ride roundtrip.

Comments

The entrance into the water does have several areas where there are rocks, the best place to enter the water is the north end (far right) there are no rocks in this area.

Generally when there are several ships in port the beach can get crowded.  This last trip there was the Brilliance of the Seas, Independence of the Seas & Carnival Freedom but the beach remained fairly empty.  I think the threat of rain definitely came into play there.

It did rain twice, once we went into the roofed bar area and second we just stayed under the umbrella.  As is typical the showers passed in 10-15 minutes.

Cabs are plentiful for the return trip back to the ship.

Have you been to Paradise Beach? Share your thoughts on this excursion in our comments below!

Excursion Focus: Nachi Cocom Beach Break in Cozumel, Mexico

In:
04Nov2015

If you have an upcoming western Caribbean cruise, chances are you are visiting Cozumel, Mexico. 

 Royal Caribbean has been coming to Cozumel for decades and it has recently become one of my favorite stops.  There are so many options for beach days, excursions, and hotel’s for the day; it can be a little overwhelming.  

I’m going to share with you about my recent experience at Nachi Cocom. 

What is Nachi Cocom?

If you have never heard about Nachi Cocom, it’s an all-inclusive beach day that you can reserve online prior to your next Royal Caribbean cruise.  

The cost for the day is $55 per adult/$35 per child. When you make the reservation, you are required to put down a $11 deposit per person and the balance is due on check-in which is cash only.  

If you are interested in booking you will need to book direct through their website, as it’s not offered through Royal Caribbean.

Why book Nachi Cocom?

One thing that makes Nachi Cocom stand out compared to other local beach break places is they only let 100 people per day visit.  

With that being said, once they have 100 reservations they are sold out for the day.  To me if gives you more of the exclusive feel when you are here, because it never feels busy.  

I’ve been here three times now and the one thing that just keeps me coming back is their customer service is always outstanding.  

I have seen the bar staff running drinks over to ensure their guest don’t have to wait too long. 

What’s included in the price?

They provide each guest with a nice beach lounger and an umbrella as soon as you arrive, in fact they walk you over to it.  They also include unlimited alcohol and bottled water in the cover charge, which always makes for a fun day.  

Lastly, they include menu service delivered right to you on the beach, or they have sitting area.

I’ll mention most beach break places I’ve seen before are buffet style lunch, but at Nachi you get everything fresh and made to order.

And the food is absolutely outstanding; I usually order a couple of rounds of their fresh guacamole!  

Some other things that are included in the price are cabana’s poolside, hammocks, swimming pool, and swim up bar hot tub. 

What’s not included in the price?

Transportation is on your own when visiting Nachi, but not to worry taxi’s are $16-$18 each way.  Most of the time I take one alone going there, but have found new friends and split the ride going back.  

When you arrive a lady will take a picture of you and the group and later bring it to you for $12, I usually say no thank you since it’s just me.  

They also offer snorkel equipment, and beach massages for an extra charge.  I have not done either; so I don’t have any feedback, I’m always just looking for a lazy beach day. 

Have you ever visited Nachi Cocom before?  If so, please comment below and let us know what you thought.  

Royal Caribbean rolls out new shore excursions and offering free shore excursion sale this weekend

In:
13Aug2015

Royal Caribbean announced today it has revamped its shore excursion offerings and to celebrate the new offerings, is offering free shore excursions this weekend only.

Royal Caribbean's shore excursions have been grouped into seven special interest categories designed based on guest’s interest and vacation needs: Active Adventures, Family Connections, Royal Tour Challenge, Culture and Sights, Culinary Delights, Caring Discoveries, and the Royal Premium Tour Collection.  

In celebration of the new tour offerings, Royal Caribbean is offering free shore excursions on all new reservations completed this weekend, August 14-16, 2015. Bookings for sailings departing on or after September 14 will receive a credit of up to $150 to use towards the shore excursion of choice.

The new shore excursion categories group together various excursions to make it simpler to find related activities.

Active Adventures 

Guests can get their hearts pumping with activities at every level, from riding a dune buggy and boat rides to high-energy excursions that will take their vacation’s adrenaline factor to the next level. From tackling six exhilarating zip lines and two skybridges in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, to rappelling through small waterfalls, sliding toboggan-style down boulders and jumping off cliffs into natural pools at a thrilling watercourse in Madeira, Portugal, adventure seekers can test their metal on any one of these excursions.

Family Connections

Creating lifelong memories are what family vacations are all about. What better way to ensure those come to life with shore excursions that kids, parents and even grandparents can enjoy together. Families can share exciting experiences while attending gladiator school in Rome, Italy, where they can learn Roman gladiator combat skills with a hands-on fighting lesson and earn a certificate of Roman citizenship. Or embark into the great outdoors with awilderness kayak experience at Chilkoot Lake in Skagway, Alaska, where adventure seekers might spot bald eagles, brown bears, seals, sea lions or even whales. 

Royal Tour Challenge

In the spirit of good fun and some friendly competition, guests can spend their days in port with challenge-based activities designed especially for families and groups. Families and friends can spend some quality time together with a half-day laser tag adventure in Cozumel, Mexico, where participants will hit targets to gather points by following a jungle path filled with Mayan ruin replicas. Or better yet, guests can enjoy a five-on-five soccer game in Gijon, Spain, followed by a game of paddle tennis, a raquet sport played extensively in Spain.

Culture and Sights 

For travelers looking to explore history and culture with local experts and enrich their understanding of the world, they can select classic sightseeing tours, guided visits to archaeological sites and museums, live performances, and more. Guests can visit a sprawling Buddhist temple complex in Bangkok, Thailand, which was built in honor of two famous kings, or explore Rome, Italy, in an Ape Calessino, the little vehicle eponymous to Italian style which launched in 1948 to help with post-WWII reconstruction.

Culinary Delights 

Want to know what’s on the menu, in the fields or on tap? Discover a destination’s authentic, essential flavors through excursions that introduce guests to local chefs, specialties and purveyors. Visit Graycliff Chocolatier in Nassau, Bahamas, and delight in making truffles, bonbons and bars with a tropical flair, or learn pizza-making from the experts in Naples, Italy, where the Italian favorite was invented in 1830.  

Caring Discoveries 

Guests wanting to make a difference in the places they visit can select tours committed to wildlife, the environment and local communities. Whether it issaving a sea turtle in Cozumel, Mexico, where approximately 20 percent of turtles aren’t quite ready to head for the seas, or meeting an Iditarod musher and their racing dogs at a dog sled camp in Skagway, Alaska, visitors will leave a lasting impression.

Private Destinations: Labadee, Haiti and CocoCay, Bahamas

These secluded escapes boast experiences that range from soaring 500 feet above the beaches of Labadee on the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, to tranquil beachside escapes appreciated through guided nature walks or lounging on the white sandy beach of CocoCay.  Exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests, the dynamic offerings in Labadee and CocoCay tantalize guest’s individual craving for adventure or relaxation.

Excursion Focus: St Thomas Sky Ride to Paradise Point

In:
05Aug2015

If you are going to see the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, why not see it from over 700 feet above sea level?  The Skyride to Paradise Point allows guests to go to the top of a mountain and enjoy a stunning view of the island.

Description

The premise of the Skyride is simple, take a cable car from the base of the mountain all the way up the hillside in just minutes.

Located within walking distance from the Havensight Pier, the Skyride is a 5-10 minute walk.  No taxis or transportation needed, it is easily accessed.

There are no set times for this excursion.  Guests may purchase tickets from the ship's Shore Excursion Desk or purchase tickets at the attraction.  If you bought tickets on your Royal Caribbean ship, you can exchange your tickets for wristbands at the ticket office.

Admission to the Skyride is good for the entire day, so you may return later on and experience it again.

Once you have your wristbands, guests will walk up a set of stairs to the loading area.  

Guests will be lined up in the order they arrived to board the next available cable car to the top.

The cable cars can hold about 6-8 people and there are windows on all sides to allow a view on the way up.  The ride itself takes roughly five minutes and is fairly tame.  There is little in the way of swaying or motion and the ride is quite smooth.

Once at the top of Paradise Point, guests disembark the cable car and can walk to a number of platforms to enjoy the view.

In addition to the view of the harbor, Paradise Point features shops, a nature trail, a restaurant and a bar.

Guests may return down to the bottom at any time.

Comments

There is no question that the skyride offers some fantastic views of the harbor, Charlotte Amalie and the surrounding area.  It is the perfect perspective to see your Royal Caribbean ship in the harbor.

Getting to the skyride and up the mountain is pretty simple and the only caveat worth mentioning is there are a lot of stairs involved, so if you have a stroller or wheelchair, keep in mind that there is no alternative to the stairs.

Once at the top, the view is impressive and it makes for great photos.  

The Paradise Point folks advertise a Carnival show everyday, although we were not present for it on our stop. 

The shops and bar at the top are your typical tourist-centric diversions and we opted not to go there.

If you have never done the skyride, it is an impressive attraction that can be completed fairly quickly.  You should have plenty of time to do other activities on St. Thomas even after experiencing the Skyride.

Royal Caribbean also advertises that the excursion is risk free, so if you purchase a ticket at the Shore Excursion Desk and then decide not to go for whatever reason, you may return the unused ticket to the Shore Excursions Desk onboard for a full refund.

Reservations

The St. Thomas Skyride has a tremendous capacity and the benefit of a full refund is reason enough to purchase tickets in advance either on Royal Caribbean's web site, or at the Excursion Desk on board your ship.  

Cost: $21.75 per adult, $10.75 for kids.  

Royal Caribbean offering new shore excursion to Pope's private summer residence

In:
12Jul2015

If you are taking a Mediterannean cruise, Royal Caribbean has a new shore excursion for those stopping in Rome.

Royal Caribbean rolled out a new shore excursion to the Pope's private summer residence estate, along with stops at other well-known landmarks such as the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.

Since 1626, the estate has served as a second home to the pope. View majestic gardens and a working farmhouse set amid Roman ruins of the ancient Amphitheatre and Villa built by Emperor Domitian and dating back to the 1st Century A.D.

This is the first time this residence has ever been opened.

Royal Caribbean guests will also visit the Pontifical Villas in Castel Gandolfo, the estate’s majestic gardens and the on-site working farmhouse, a panoramic drive across Rome, and an in-depth tour of the world-famous Vatican Museum.

Following the tour, enjoy a panoramic drive through Rome—passing by the Colosseum—before arrival in Vatican City.

The price for the Pope's Summer Residence and Vatican City - CVR2 shore excursion is $165 per adult and $129 for children.  The tour is approximately 10 hours.

Excursion Focus: Zipline at Labadee

In:
02Jul2015

Perhaps no other shore excursion on Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee is as exciting and well-known as the Dragon's Breath Flight Line zip line. It has become synonymous with the island and offers guests the opportunity to soar through the air above Labadee at speeds of 40-50 mph.

Description

Dragon's Breath Flight Line will take you to a point 500 feet above the beaches of Labadee and then send you down a zip line that is longer than 2,600 feet.  The zip line is visible from nearly everywhere on the island and it offers some incredible views.

After checking in for the excursion, the staff will suit you up with the right harness for you and then present a short safety video to explain the basics of riding a zip line.

Because zip lines are heavily reliant on staying safe, guests are escorted to a shorter "Little Dragon" flight line, where you can work on the basics with far less risk.

While at the shorter zip line, the staff will demonstrate the basics of what to do and then allow you to try it out.  It's a good primer of what to expect and it gives guests an opportunity to work on their technique.

After that, you will board a truck and you will be on your way up the mountain to fly the real thing.  The truck ride can be fairly bumpy, due to the road conditions.

Once at the top of the mountain, the process is similar to the Little Dragon flight line and you are prepared to go and then sent on your way.

From start to finish, the excursion will take around an hour to complete and the views you will get from the top of Labadee are unparalleled.  There are views of the beaches, the coast of Haiti and your Royal Caribbean ship.

Photo by Royal Caribbean

Dragon's Breath Flight Line is open to guests at least 48 inches tall and cannot weigh more than 275 pounds.

Comments

Dragon's Breath Flight Line is a real adrenaline rush for anyone who is brave enough to try it.  There's no question the anticipation is scarier than the zip line ride down and even during very windy conditions, 

What I really enjoyed about Dragon's Breath Flight Line (and the reason I wanted to do it) was the amazing view you get while riding the zip line down.  Royal Caribbean claims it is one of the longest zip lines in the world and your trip from the summit to base is almost a minute of air time.

During my excursion, we had about 6 people decide to quit out of fear, which is something to consider if you have a fear of heights.  How scary is it exactly? That answer depends on you and your fear of heights.  The ride down is smooth and there is virtually little that you have to do during the ride other than maintain proper form.

Royal Caribbean says you cannot bring anything that is not attached to your body, but in my experience I witnessed plenty of guests holding cameras and phones while riding.  I would advise to invest in an accessory that allows you to attach your phone or camera to your body but understand you are risking losing that device if you do not.

Photo by Braden

Perhaps the only real complaint I can levy against Dragon's Breath Flight Line is the price.  As of the writing of this blog post, the cost of Dragon's Breath Flight Line is $95.75 per person (for adults and children).  That is certainly not inexpensive.

The reason why this zip line adventure is so popular and why so many guests elect to do it is because it's a very unique experience on Labadee and something that really stands out as exhilarating and memorable.   I believe the Dragon's Breath Flight Line is worth trying, especially if you watch a few other guests go down it while you are on the beach and think it looks like fun.

Reservations

The Dragon's Breath Flight Line is a popular excursion, although there are flight times throughout the day.  Reservations are recommended and can be made in advance on Royal Caribbean's web site, or at the Excursion Desk on board your ship.  

Cost: $95.75 per person.

Will I get wet?

No, even though you go over the ocean, you do not make contact with the ocean at all.

Excursion Focus: Valley Church Beach in Antigua

In:
12Jun2015

The sheer beauty of the South Caribbean is perhaps best exemplified by Antigua, which boasts 365 beaches, one for each day of the year.  When we visited Valley Church Beach in Antigua, we were blown away by the views, ocean color and serenity of the location.

Description

Valley Church Beach is about twenty minutes away from where Royal Caribbean docks in Antigua by car.  It's located in the southwest corner of the island and is fairly easily to get to, especially by taxi.

Located in Valley Church Bay, the beach features a palm tree lined beach with soft white sand and not a whole lot around it.  It's the kind of beach experience where you will find natural beauty and quietness around you.

When you arrive at Valley Church Beach, you will find a sprawling beach with locals working there to help you get a spot.  There are beach chairs available to rent for $5 each and beach umbrellas for $10.   There is also free WiFi available.

There's a restaurant that serves up food and plenty of beverages at the center of the beach, close to the parking lot.  It's close enough to walk to from almost any spot on the beach.

What will likely strike you about Valley Church Beach is the beauty of the water's color in contrast to the beach around it.  It's the kind of scene that you would dream of when thinking about a Caribbean beach. 

While the water is a beautiful shade of blue, it's rather cloudy, so snorkeling is not a great activity in this spot.

Comments

Plain and simple, Valley Church Beach is a beautiful spot to visit and the perfect beach for a day trip that many cruisers are looking for.

The combination of natural beauty, inexpensive prices for beach furniture and close proximity to where Royal Caribbean docks its ships, makes for somewhere we would love to go back to anytime.

There are only two negatives that can be pointed out about Valley Church Beach: the water is not clear enough for snorkeling and there are lots of locals trying to sell their services and wares.  Neither is a concern large enough to warrant skipping.

There are no water toys or other activities other than something a local might be offering.  Valley Church Beach is perfect for lounging, as well as families with small children who are looking for a beach with small waves.

Excursion Focus: Junkanoo Beach

In:
Category: 
29Jan2015

I'd like to officially welcome our newest blog contributor, Michael Poole.  Michael has been a number of podcast episodes so far and joins our team to offer some great insight and advice based on his many Royal Caribbean cruise experiences!

Junkaoo Beach is a beautiful public beach located in Nassau, Bahamas.  I’ve visited this beach seven times within the last two years, and will go again next time I’m in Nassau. 

Getting There

Once you exit the ship you will see Senior Frogs located to the right.  You can’t miss it; if you don’t see it just follow all the people with wild balloons on their heads.  Once you get to Senior Frogs, you will stay on the sidewalk and it turns to the left. 

This is when you will see the first of 3 signs for Junkanoo Beach (right in front of the Sheraton hotel, which is a free hotspot zone I might add).

The sidewalk will go through the town of Nassau, and takes around 5 minutes once you get to this point. 

So the only direction I can give you is just stay on the side walk until it runs into Junkaoo Beach, remember there will be two more signs saying Junkaoo ahead to ensure you are on the right path. 

About the beach

Now that you have arrived, you must be asking yourself what should I do first? Well explore, I will say it’s not very large and can get a bit crowded, but then again its FREE! 

They have a tiki bar special that includes 3 beers + 4 shots + wifi password (which was Byron98 when I was there) for $10.  For that price, it is a steal, if you ask me.  I’ve never eaten here but the food looked great. They cook it on a grill right in front of you, made to order.  

If you are more into relaxing that’s fine there is plenty of beach area, just remember to bring a beach towel. 

If snorkeling is more your style they rent the equipment right on the beach.  In fact, they also offer the stand up paddle-boards for rent, which looks quite fun and a great photo opportunity with the light house in the background. 

Whether you are a family or simply on a budget, I think Junkaoo Beach is a great way to spend the day in Nassau.  And remember it’s only a short walk back to the pier when ever you want to head back.  

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