Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wednesday: Grand Cayman

Shore excursions are often canned experiences – dozens of people on a big tour bus with some a guide who has given the spiel for eons. But for the last few years, all cruise lines have tried to create smaller, more intimate experiences as well.

Yesterday, in Cozumel, those included a tequila tasting for 10 under an open-air palapa that left my dining table mates raving.

I spent my Cozumel morning with 9 fellow cruisers in a traditional Mayan sweatlodge – apty named, as you literally sweat out a half to a full gallon during 90 minutes in what is essentially a brick kiln heated by lava rocks from a fire and splashed by the shaman-in-training with water and herbs. The idea: To reorder your energies and cleanse your system. Sounds a bit New Agey, but my fellow excursion-takers were pretty much 50-plus church-going Americans, and everyone reported feeling great afterward.

Today we’re in Grand Cayman, where snorkeling and Stingray City are the main attractions. Both involve larger group sizes. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Some excursion notes:

Cozumel: No. 1 excursion is a visit to the Maya ruins at Tulum (and if you’ve never seen them, you should.) Given the limited time you’re in port, best bet is to go with the ship’s excursion. Snorkeling and diving are also popular; these are trips you can do on your own if you’ve brought or rented gear, or you can arrange them at a (non-ship-run) booth as soon as you get ashore.

Weather: The trick to getting space on the small excursions is booking early. But excursions are non-refundable....which means that on a mediocred weather day (today is one of those) you're going unless the excursion is cancelled. Something to thin about.

4 comments:

BoozeCruise2 said...

Great stuff Jane! We are very excited as we prepare to board the Freedom on 7-9-06. Word has it that Verizon is the only phone that doesn't work at sea? Can you verify this? I was already planning a satellite phone rental just in case. Thanks for an excellent job reporting!

Jane said...

Hi. I'm told that Verizon phones do work, but as I don't have one, I can't promise it. I'd check the Verizon website; T Mobile's does include that info.

Michael said...

We were on Freedom for one of her "preview" events last week. The cell situation is confusing at best, as the papers in our cabin said GSM phones were the only ones that would work onboard, however it listed Sprint as a supported carrier which doesn't use GSM phones...

Either way, make sure you know what your carrier's roaming plan is like. When the ship is at sea, your phone will be roaming which could lead to HUGE bills...

stella said...

In 1998 we bought our cabin (where we now live full time). The mortgage for the rental cabins was $600 (large down payment). Had we upgraded our primary residence a second home would have been out of the question at that time. For $1300 a month we had two houses that we loved and were still comfortable, financially.