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My friend and I are taking our first cruise in June of 2021. We're stopping at Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman. We're looking for ideas for shore excursions. I know we're casting a wide net here, but what are some ideas for first time cruisers? Tours? Snorkeling? Just wander the port?

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Hi @Fox, welcome to the RCBlog forums!

Labadee is basically a beach day, and it's one of Royal's two private destinations. The most popular excursion option here by far is the Dragon's Breath zip line. If you enjoy this kind of activity, it's something of a must-do while you're there. My wife and daughters both did it and absolutely loved it.

There are other excursion options there, such as snorkeling or a boat trip to an even more-secluded beach than where you already are, but none of those are particularly necessary or (from what I've heard, at least) noteworthy.

 

Can't really help you with Falmouth or George Town, as I haven't yet been to either. The one thing I recall hearing second-hand with Falmouth is to skip the Dunn's River Falls expedition, simply because it's so far from the port that it takes the whole day to do what's in the end a relatively short excursion. But that's it. Others here should be better able to help with those two ports.

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Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica were two of our first cruise ports also.  As has been said, Labadee is Royal's private resort, we went hog wild and booked the Dragons Breath Zip line and a parasailing excursion.  I highly recommend both it was a great experience.  One word of caution, there is an artesian village market that has various types of souvenirs, the vendors are pretty aggressive and if you’re not used to high pressure and intimidating salesmen it can be a very unpleasant experience.

At the time of our visit, Jamaica was experiencing a lot of crime involving rival gangs and the drug trade so we didn’t venture from the port.  There was one excursion we were looking at that visited several sites, we decided not to go as two of the neighborhoods that were on the list to avoid was right in the middle of a couple historic buildings that were on the tour.  The port itself is pretty nice so we just visited the shops and had lunch at the Margaritaville.

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1 hour ago, DandA said:

Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica were two of our first cruise ports also.  As has been said, Labadee is Royal's private resort, we went hog wild and booked the Dragons Breath Zip line and a parasailing excursion.  I highly recommend both it was a great experience.  One word of caution, there is an artesian village market that has various types of souvenirs, the vendors are pretty aggressive and if you’re not used to high pressure and intimidating salesmen it can be a very unpleasant experience.

At the time of our visit, Jamaica was experiencing a lot of crime involving rival gangs and the drug trade so we didn’t venture from the port.  There was one excursion we were looking at that visited several sites, we decided not to go as two of the neighborhoods that were on the list to avoid was right in the middle of a couple historic buildings that were on the tour.  The port itself is pretty nice so we just visited the shops and had lunch at the Margaritaville.

With the market I found it best to keep walking and give calm but firm "no thank yous" from time to time. Some of the vendors DO feel aggressive but they will back off if they see that you're just passing through.

Forgot to note that there is a walking trail in Labadee. Was planning to go along it on my canceled August cruise.

Falmouth is kind of tricky, since there isn't enough in the surrounding area to interest me. I've done Dunns Falls a couple of times (only once while cruising), and it's fine, but it does take some time to do because of the distance. Mostly we stayed in the port area and had a ship day.

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Congrats on booking your first cruise! Hope you love it!

Don't really recommend getting off the ship and wandering in Jamaica. We did a river tubing excursion that was really fun and very relaxing. Labadee is Royal's private beach, so wandering is completely ok. In Grand Cayman i recommend an excursion that includes a stop at the Turtle Center. This was one of my all-time favorite excursions (but I love turtles!). ? ♥️

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Welcome to the family@Fox!

The one suggestion I would have about excursions is, don't try and do too much. I know the all day multi-stop excursions sound like a great option to see and do as much as possible, but you wind up spending more time on a bus, getting from one place to another. I know from experience. You're better off finding the one thing you really want to do. Congrats on your first cruise!

Happy cruising!

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In Falmouth we have did the same excursion twice we enjoyed it so much, it’s the bamboo water rafting, about an hour bus ride which is informative and scenic, once you arrive they have hand made bamboo rafts which you actually sit and relax, a tour guide does all the work for an hour long ride down a calm river with nice scenery and very relaxing. Just stay with your group and should be fine, we actually would do it again.

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On 9/7/2020 at 9:17 PM, Fox said:

My friend and I are taking our first cruise in June of 2021. We're stopping at Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman. We're looking for ideas for shore excursions. I know we're casting a wide net here, but what are some ideas for first time cruisers? Tours? Snorkeling? Just wander the port?

I found climbing up Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica a real blast.  It is physical, the water is cold, but it is an experience one remembers!  We took Royal's excursion.

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On 9/7/2020 at 8:17 PM, Fox said:

My friend and I are taking our first cruise in June of 2021. We're stopping at Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman. We're looking for ideas for shore excursions. I know we're casting a wide net here, but what are some ideas for first time cruisers? Tours? Snorkeling? Just wander the port?

Labadee  has a pretty impressive zip line (add'l charge).  Plenty of beach space.  If you like cabanas, you can rent those also.  Also water toys - big inflatables in the bay.  It can be a relaxing or active experience depending upon what you like.   The most discussed excursion in  Jamaica is Dunns falls.   Have friends that enjoyed it.  Cayman - beach and water activities.  The Stingray city is a good draw.  You can book long or short excursions to go feed the stingrays.   Also side trips to the turtle farm may be added.  Its also a very good place for scuba and snorkeling if the water is calm.   If you want the beach, you can find transportation to the 7 mile beach. 

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Labadee I'll echo the zipline was amazing, the views alone make it worth it.

I also had a blast on Dragon's Tail. It's a little "coaster" where you sit in a cart that's attached to a track. You control the speed with a lever so be cautious of slow riders. It's basically an alpine slide with some neat views. Reminded me of Action Park in Vernon NJ. ?

We went to Dunn's River but didn't walk the falls. We had a taxi guy take us around and that was one of the stops. The falls were cool but we weren't fully equipped to hop in. There can be some pushy vendors there too, but a simple no thank you without stopping, should be fine. 

Another Jamaica trip we did a resort for a day, had a blast there.

Top of zipline:

FB_IMG_1600027462815.jpg

Edited by sk8erguy1978
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  • 1 month later...

Ditto on Labadee

Jamaica- We are an adventurous family and if you are not in good health then I could see how you might not love this but..... We LOVED Dunn River Falls. We had an absolute blast climbing the falls and playing in the pools. Yes it's a long drive to get there and back but it was well worth it and I would definitely do it again. We went with our 8 and 11 year old girls who I had to keep close to so they didn't get hurt but they also loved it. If my girls weren't so darn risky like their Daddy I wouldn't have been nearly as concerned to watch them so close. I believe we paired this with a cave crawl which was also really fun and interesting.

Grand Cayman- We did the turtle farm and Dolphin Swim. Turtle farm was .... a turtle farm. Interesting for a half hour then we just wanted to get to the Dolphin Swim. Push,Pull,Swim and Turtle Farm was the name (or something close to that) and the Dolphin swim was AMAZING and we all had a great time. It wasn't cheap but we considered it a once in a lifetime type of excursion. My girls are so spoiled......

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Also, when the Wife and I started cruising we did it way different. We had a blast just with the excitement of being on a huge ship and exploring and taking in all the free stuff. We did it on the cheap and didn't spend a dime after getting onboard(sorry Royal). We loved cruising that way and you don't have to spend a bunch of money to have a great time! We splurge more now, but if I'm feeling like more of a penny pincher we dial it back and have just as awesome of a time.

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