Ok, I'll admit I am starting to get a little worried with everyone's comments on belize. We are booked on Norwegian Sea(02/07), and my daughter (12) who currently wants to be either a zooligist or botanist is VERY eager to do the Lamanai & River Safari. Has anyone done this tour lately? She'll be crushed if the water is polluted. Will she be able to see lots of plants and animals?
I sure hope the water isn't poluted in Belize cause we booked a cave tubing tour thru Xstream and would be very disappointed if it was. I've heard great things about Belize and some bad stuff. It all depends upon your take of the situation.
The Water is NOT Polluted. Belize takes very good care of its ecosystems and natural resources. The country is beautiful! *Please see my post from 11/18 above.*
There are some people who did not like Belize because it's not a shopping place. Belize city is just that, a city and the port area is not developed like St Thomas, but don't let that scare you! There are so many great tours to take there. Don't go on your own because there is not much police presence to speak of. But do enjoy the ruins, the cave tubing, the river tour, the jungle bike ride or whatever excursion you choose. A lot of Americans have retired there in recent years -- does that help make it "Unscary"?
I stopped in Belize when it was a relatively new stop for cruise ships (about 2 years ago). I say that because I don't know if they have added more touristy stuff, but my brother and I weren't that thrilled. We didn't have any problems walking around, but we did stick out like a sore thumb.
I agree with some other posters that there wasn't a lot of things to do right off of the ship. But, since my brother and I aren't the tour-type people, we set off for a walk into town. There wasn't anything to see (and we searched).
However, on the way back to the ship we found the nicest gallery just outside of the terminal. As you leave the terminal it is on your left. A nice white building. Anyway, it is owned and operated by this lovely woman who moved from Atlanta to Belize with her husband and kids a few years ago. The shop represents many local artists and craftmen. She has some lovely things at reasonable prices, including art work, glassware and purses. We wound up spending a couple of hours browsing, spending and speaking with the owner. It was the only part of Belize that was wonderful. If the shop is still there, make sure you stop by.
XStream Cave Tubing!!!
Well, it was not what I expected.
I think they should rename this tour the XStream "Rain Forest Trek and Cave Tubing".
Tender to shore.
Meet up with Richard and the others.
Load up in a couple of older model 15 passenger vans.
Ride 1 hour on pavement thru the city and less populated areas.
Looks very poor and reminds me how blessed I am.
Turn down a wore out dirt/gravel road with BIG potholes/ruts and bounce around for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Walk around in the mud to pick up your tube.
Hike about 5 minutes to the river/stream and wade thru waist-deep waters holding onto the ropes so you don't get swept downstream to get to the other side.
Hike another 55 minutes stopping a couple of times to discuss some dry caves.
Finally, set your tube in the water and drop your butt in the middle of it. Hang on to the wall and/or the other tubers until everyone gets in then let go and drift away.
Float / paddle with your arms to move for about an hour.
Try to hear the echoing instructions from Richard, Charles or Louis over the echoes of conversation from the other tubers.
Get out at the ropes and hike back to the parking lot - about 5 minutes.
If you have time you might be able to get lunch at the little restaurant / hut.
20 - 30 minutes thru the dirt /gravel road. 1 hour on the paved road. Grab some free fruit and juice from Richard. Get on the tender back to the ship.
Don't forget, you hiked thru the muddy trail and when you put your tube away, there is more mud. Mabye change clothes in the nasty bathrooms at the parking lot or stay in them for the ride back. What about those shoes?
I guess I didn't expect THAT far of a hike, THAT far of drive or all the mud.
I did it.
Probably wont do it again.
My wife didn't enjoy it, Neither did my neice or friend that went with us. Oddly enough, my sister-in-law had a great time.
Wow I guess we lucked out as we didn't have any mud only sun...Sounds like you got the authentic rainforest excursion
Everything in Belize seems to be a drive and a half unless you want to stay in Belize City and I can't imagine that anyone would want too. Looks like everything good is a good distance from the Port. We had a great time but I guess our conditions were a lot drier!
The Cruise Director will tell you that Carnival does not recommend wandering around Belize on your own. This is because this area is new to cruise tourism and does not have the typical places tourists want to visit.
My husband and I were there in 2002 and went on the River and Ruins tour. We had a blast but it was a long day. If you go anywhere in Belize bring bug spray. Enjoy.
The Cruise Director will tell you that Carnival does not recommend wandering around Belize on your own. This is because this area is new to cruise tourism and does not have the typical places tourists want to visit on their own (nothing close to the port).
I've heard people rave about the scuba diving and river tubing. My husband and I were there in 2002 and went on the River and Ruins tour. We had a blast but it was a long day. If you go anywhere in Belize bring bug spray. Enjoy.
Some people who posted in this thread ought to do a little research before they go on vacation.
1. Belize - is a 3rd world country - many people are POOR - this does not mean they are criminal. The government cannot afford western standards of repair and cleanliness as far as street maintenance etc goes. YOU WILL SEE POVERTY and the city will be dirty. THIS IS REALITY in a large part of the world. If you cannot handle that why are you cruising in the 3rd world?
2. RAINFORESTS are WET and MUDDY - that is why they are rainforests.
3. Zoos and nature preserves in this part of the world are doing fantastic species preservation work on minuscule budgets. They need any support they can get. Yes they are primitive. The whole country is primitive for heaven's sake.
4. Belize is a VERY poor country that has tried it's best to preserve incredible Mayan ruins, a diverse rainforest ecology system and an amazing ocean reef system. It's a pity some people are so incredibly ignorant of the rest of the world that they cannot appreciate what it has to offer.
If you are a regular blood donor, think twice about Belize. We cruised there in 2002 (Rhapsody) and took tour ashore. I returned home, went to donate blood and was told that I could not donate for one year because of malaria problems in Belize. Anyone out there have a similar experience? We're taking Panama cruise in February (Splendour) and one of the stops is Belize. Will not go ashore this time. Also am checking on other excursions.
edk77: I assume you also do not plan on going ashore in Mexico and will not be out on the deck in Panama. Malaria is endemic to MOST Central American countries and to parts of Quintana Roo in Mexico. HOWEVER does this mean you are likely to actually get malaria - no - unless of course you plan to spend many nights in the rainforest with no insect repellant. BTW Dengue fever is also endemic to many islands in the caribbean - does that mean tourists are likely to get it - No more likely than they are to get malaria in Central America or Mexico. All travel except inside a sealed bubble involves SOME risk of contracting illness. The question is degree of risk and that just is not very great. The bloodbank is only showing extreme caution - which is fine - it is after all a bloodbank.
Jeanne: I am not the least bit worried about contracting malaria. That's not my point.
If you are a regular blood donor or if someone is counting on you for a specific donation, it would be best to check with your local blood bank in advance of leaving the country to find out if you will still be eligible to donate when you return. So far,
according to my local blood bank, Belize is the only stop on our Panama cruise that will prevent me from donating blood. I enjoyed the last trip to Belize and the wildlife sanctuary, but if I want to go futher into the interior of Belize this time on other excursions, I will be ineligible for donating blood for one year. That is a decision I will have to make. Most people have never donated blood and need not be concerned with this issue. They should not be worried about malaria, although it probably would be a good idea to carry some repellant (DEET) if travelling into the interior of a country in Central America or Mexico. Bottom line if you are a blood donor: Check with your local blood bank before booking any cruise to find out if there are travel restrictions that will make you ineligible to donate.