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Do you always do an onshore excursion at each stop?


Melsmice
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Although we've been on a different cruise line previously, this is our first Royal Caribbean cruise.  We are on Oasis of the Season, 7 day Western Caribbean.  Since we've never been to the ports we'll be stopping at (Haiti, Jamaica and Cozumel) I'm wondering what our options would be if we chose not to do an excursion at every stop but wanted to get off the ship.  Are their private beaches, places to eat?   Before we book anything, I'd like to have as much information as possible.  

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You don't have to go on an excursion on every port.  Many of us will chose one port and enjoy the quiet of the ship or just walk around the shops at the pier.

Matt has done many blog posts about excursions especially in Labadee and Cozumel.  There is a search button at the top of the home blog.  

Labadee, Haiti is the RC's private island.  You can walk around and enjoy the beach and food all for free.  There are additional excursions available if you desire.

Cozumel has shopping at the pier and very easy to walk around town.  Many of us will jump in a taxi to go to an all inclusive beach.  Nachi Cocum is a favorite of many without kids.

Jamaica- walk around the pier shopping area or go on an RC excursion.

 

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If there is a RCL shore excursion I really want, then I book it in advance. For me, the other options are, (1) book a non-RCL shore excursion because they're typically cheaper, or (2) just get off the ship and walk around if you feel comfortable with the port (I do walk around Cozumel, St Thomas, St Martins, Grand Cayman, but I would not walk around Belize, Falmouth, or anywhere in the Bahamas - just my personal opinion), or (3) just stay on the ship and enjoy the reduced crowds!

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It all depends on what you enjoy. If there is an excursion of particular interest to me, I'll book it. If not, I'll check information about the port for things to do and/or plan to just walk around the shopping area. The other good option already mentioned by @WHStoneman is to just enjoy the ship itself while it is much emptier.

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When we went on our first cruise this year (Alaska) the excursions were cool but as we learned later you can do some of them on your own at a lower price.

We have upcoming cruises to the Caribean, Bahamas and Bermuda. Caribbean we got good RC excursion prices for dolphin/stingray, into to scuba and Tulem ruins so being it's out first time to Grand Cayman and Cozumel with teenage kids we figured we'd go the RC excursion route.

For Bahamas we are doing a foodie tour in Nassau (not RC) and splurged for a cabana on Cococa (RC)

Bermuda is the one I am currently researching and all of the excursions are $$$$. I'm taking the whole family (7 adults, 2 under 5) so I am currently looking to plan our own excursions. One day I want to take the grandkids to zoo/aquarium/caves and next day do the beach. It would cost a fortune to do this with RC. For example, admission to zoo/aquarium is $10 for adults, kids under 5 are free. Total admission for 9 us is $70. Caves are $22 for adults so $154 total. For the two I come up with $224. The RC excursion price is $126 for adults and $118 for kids or $1,360 and total time, including transportation back & forth is only 4 hours. I think I can find transportation for 9 of us for under $1,000 and go at a leisurely pace.....

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Our decision also comes down to how many times we have been there and if we are traveling with a group or by ourselves.  That and how long you are in port.   

IE our cruise in July, I splurged on the cabana (Chill Island) because my SIL will burn even if she wore 1000 SPF.  My BIL wants to scuba so we booked the Catamaran with RCL...don't want to risk a problem with the Catamaran and not getting back on time in Bermuda since we leave at 5.  Bahamas we have already done the dolphins, and also the sting rays, so this time we will just walk into Graycliffs by ourselves instead of using RCCL.   My BIL wants to do the swim with dolphins, so they are going on their own and chancing it with an outside company.

Remember if you book it with RCCL they will hold the ship for you, or so I have been told if the tour group has issues getting back to the ship on time.  I have seen not only on this site, but also on FB pics/stories of people running to the ship bc they did a 3rd party operator.  One poster was angry bc the ship actually left without them.  It occurred bc the poster did not think about the time change.  They saw 3 hr tour... and booked it for the afternoon, never realizing that the time change meant they were coming back an hr after  the ship left. 

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On 11/26/2018 at 12:11 PM, KJ1231 said:

 

Bermuda is the one I am currently researching and all of the excursions are $$$$. I'm taking the whole family (7 adults, 2 under 5) so I am currently looking to plan our own excursions. One day I want to take the grandkids to zoo/aquarium/caves and next day do the beach. It would cost a fortune to do this with RC. For example, admission to zoo/aquarium is $10 for adults, kids under 5 are free. Total admission for 9 us is $70. Caves are $22 for adults so $154 total. For the two I come up with $224. The RC excursion price is $126 for adults and $118 for kids or $1,360 and total time, including transportation back & forth is only 4 hours. I think I can find transportation for 9 of us for under $1,000 and go at a leisurely pace.....

Bermuda in general is very expensive.  But it is a very safe island and easy to navigate.  We've been there not only via cruise ship but did a land vacation there as well.  The public buses are a great way to travel.  In fact, the school children use them as their transportation to and from school.  It's fun to be on the bus when they pick up the students; they are all in their uniforms.  The respect they have for the bus drivers is amazing.  Good experience for American children to witness.  Bus passes are available at a kiosk type thing at the port, as are ferry passes.

You will be able to get shuttles from the port area we well, direct to certain places.  This is one of the few islands I have no problems navigating all on our own.

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We seldom do an excursion in every port. We usually find one or two over the cruise and do those. On our upcoming cruise, we're only stopping at Nassau and Labadee so we won't do any excursions (stay on the boat in Nassau and do the beach at Labadee). Otherwise, it's fun to stay on the ship and enjoy all that you can do on her.

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  • 1 month later...

We don't do excursions in every port.  We've been to many of the ports before.  If we do tours we book them ourselves mostly.  Haiti is the private island so you either book nothing and do the free things or you book with RC.  For Cozumel it is great to just walk around, shop and take in your surroundings.  We've also rented a car here and went to a beach club.  In Jamaica there is so much to do and we book on our own.

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