Author: van duong
Date of Trip: March 2006
This was our first time cruising and it was quite the experience. Our first mistake was using a travel agent. Up until 1 week before embarkation, we were not sure if we would be going at all. (To me, there was no reason to use a travel agent, when we could have booked our trip through the cruise line directly.) Anyway…My boyfriend and I were originally set to go on the Carnival Glory to the Eastern Caribbean. We were part of a group of 39 people. We ended up on the Carnival Triumph going to the Western Caribbean. We live in TN. We drove to FL and stayed overnight in a hotel before the day of embarkation. The cruise was quite nice, but I’m going to focus on the ports of call — Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica –for this trip report.
I enjoyed Cozumel, Mexico. They are still recovering from Hurricane Wilma. Their port is still destroyed, so there are smaller tenders that come get you from the ship. There are dozens of vendors at the port that sell tequila, silver, tanzanite, or typical mexican souvenirs. We decided to take a taxi van that cost us about $30 round trip (total for the van, so we split the cost between all couples and ended up paying $5)to downtown Cozumel. Again more shops that sold the same as mentioned above.
We ate at a mexican restaurant. Great food. Cost listed in Pesos, but of course they take US Dollars. While you’re eating, a trio or quartet will come by your table to play music. At first you think … “aww…how sweet/nice.” Nope .. when they finish playing music, they tell you, “you can tip us any amount.” They stand and wait until you tip them, so I suggest you just shake your head at them when they try to approach you. After lunch the taxi van took us back to the port, where we took another taxi to take us to a public beach. Beautiful beach. and Free! There are several where you have to pay b/c itis a private beach. I suggest you go to Mr. Sanchez’s beach. It’s free and provides the same things as a private beach does. (restaurant(not free), pool, massage area (not free), bathroom/area, beach, tables/chairs-all free)
Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Islands.
My absolute favorite port. We decided to go on our own again instead of pay for an excursion through Carnival. We (a group of 18) chartered a catamaran to go to Sting Ray city to feed the sting rays at a sandbar and to go snorkeling around the coral reefs. It was an experience of a lifetime for me. We used Clinton Ebanks to charter the catamaran. He took great care of us. When we go back to Grand Cayman, we will look him up to use him again. *note* do not eat at the Paradise Restaurant or any restaurant in Grand Cayman unless you want to pay more than you feel like you should. 1 Grand Cayman dollar= 1.25 US dollar. We paid $85 dollars for a lunch of 4 hamburgers and 6 drinks!!!
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
This was my least favorite stop. You hear about people going there for honeymoons, etc. Of course you want to go, if you are staying at an all inclusive resort where you don’t have to go into the city!!! Out of all the ports, it would have been best to book an off shore excursion through Carnival.
We decided to walk around like we had at the other 2 ports. From the moment we left the port, there were people harassing us for taxi’s, hair braiding, or begging for money. Don’t be fooled especially by the little kids begging for money. We gave him money, as he desperately begged for it, only to see him an hour later, hanging out and playing on the beach with his family behind the fence he earlier stuck his arm through pleading for money. 1 US dollar = 65 Jamaican dollars.
If you want watches, the ship and Jamaica are great. In the tourist resort in Jamaica, (locals are not allowed in, so they hang out all around the entrances waiting on you) there are high end jewelry and watch stores. Bargain Bargain Bargain! You can always bargain at least 50% off! We were able to get this guy to drop the price of a $400 Citizen Eco watch, down to $130. We decided to walk in the city and visit their turtle park that consisted of a small park and 1 cage of at least 10 turtles. While walking there, 2 Jamaican policeman decided to escort us voluntarily. Makes you wonder how bad things are if they just silently start escorting you without anyone requesting. On the way there (about 50 yards) we saw 3 men begging for money again.
I was very excited about getting back to the Triumph.