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Ocho Rios and Labadee

Discussion in 'Caribbean Ports' started by melanile, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. melanile

    melanile Guest

    [size=medium]Hi all! :wave

    I’m checking out different forums trying to get an answer for a question. My bf and I are going on our first cruise the last of November first of December. I’m the type of person who likes to do their homework before going anywhere, (you should see me freaking out about going to Vegas next month and getting ready for it!!! lol).

    I’ve asked this on another cruise forum, but still haven’t got an answer yet. There are soooo many questions I have, but I’ll try and just keep it to the one as not to bother anyone….

    I’ve heard a couple of things about Ocho Rios. I’ve heard good and bad things. What is it there that makes people feel uncomfortable? I’ve heard people say on one hand, that they would stay on the ship next time they dock at Ocho Rios and that it makes them feel uncomfortable. But then on the other hand, I’ve heard people who rave about it and says they have a great time there.

    Ok.. so I’m going to ask one more question, (sorry!!). This actually has to do with Labadee. I was thinking about doing the Castaway at Malifini Beach. I want to do snorkeling, (for the first time… this should be a hoot!!! Lol) and I’m not crazy about spending the $120, (60 each…) if the beach isn’t that great there and there are better places. Could someone please give me some insight on this as well????

    Thanks for all your help and sorry to be a bother…..

  2. suer182

    suer182 Guest

    Labadee is RCI private island. Therefore any tour you do must be with the cruise line. However, if you have your own gear(which I would suggest, I am not comfy using some elses toothbrush), nothing to stop you from walking in the water and snorkel on your own. Maybe someone else will chime in on where the best snorkeling is.


    Now about OR, lets just say the natives tend to get restless. I wouldnt venture out too far on my own.
  3. spoheating

    spoheating Guest

    I am not sure I would spend extra money to go to Malfini Beach. Labadee IS the beach--there is nothing else there. You will be skipping the beach to go to the beach. This is one of our family's favorite ports--the only people there are from your ship so deciding if it is crowded or not will depend on how you feel about the ship experience. you can also snorkel from shore on Labadee. It is not the world's greatest snorkeling, but an easy place to learn. We have our own gear and will take a look around even though we will be doing some better snorkeling at Cayman later in the week.

    Ocho is one of my favorite ports. If you go understanding that it is a third world country with in excess of 30% unemployment you will have a clearer picture of what to expect. The native vendors are desperate and pushy. A polite no, thank you will divert most of them. They are trying as hard as they can to get your money. Expect it. Crime is an issue anywhere on Jamaica. Do not walk off on your own. I would recommend a ship's tour, or a group tour like Shoretrips.com (we have used them extensively, smaller more private offerings than the ship) that meets you at the pier facility. We are 47 and active, and travel with two teenagers. We have had our most wonderful experiences in Ocho--we climbed the falls (but this wasn't a favorite--beautiful and an interesting experience, but not a must do--picture a large group of people with linked hands trying to keep their footing on slippery rocks in flowing water). We tubed on the White River--great entertaining guides, a nice ride through beautiful countryside, lots of help for our then 9 year old daughter. We horseback rode through a plantation and then in the surf on a beautiful beach. We have found the Jamaicans to be friendly, pleasant and upbeat. At this point we limit our contact to professional tour venders for safety reasons and have never felt uncomfortable at all as long as we were with our guides. Have compassion toward those really agressive vendors and try to imagine standing in their shoes economically and you will endure it better. And, have your no, thank yous, ready.
  4. melanile

    melanile Guest

    Thank you spoheating!!!

    That was the post I was looking for! Since this is our first cruise, (wahoo!!!) then we will take the day and practice and learn how to snorkel.

    I thought we could hit Margaritaville in Ocho Rios. I can't remember if I saw that Cemetery Beach is in Ocho Rios or not. I heard that was a really neat place to go.

    Thanks again!
  5. lizzitish

    lizzitish Guest

    I've been to both....first-Labadee- we did the Malfini Beach ...it was nice, but considering the price, you can snorkel for free at RCCLs beach and see just as much sealife...After we got back to the main beach, I was sorry we went to Malfini....there's alot to do in labadee from renting waverunners, renting floating mats, or just swinging in the hammocks. Save the $$ and snorkel for free.
    Im one of the ones not particularly found of Ocho Rios...our first time there we did Dunns River Falls which was alot of fun until the end where it "dumps" you in a flea market where the vendors are very pushy, and touchy and they wouldnt take a polite no thank you...I understand that they are dirt poor but I didnt like that. But knowing the conditions in the area, the second time we went, I wouldnt let my kids (10 & 13) off the ship. DH and I had a few drinks at Margaritaville then went and walked to one of the shopping "malls"...all the way there we had a cab driver hounding us asking to take us here or there....and one guy offered to sell us drugs...Im the type to be polite, but DH said you just have to keep your head down and keep walking....
    You'll have a great time, enjoy and let us know how you made out...
  6. melanile

    melanile Guest

    Thank you lizzitish ! Where's Cemetery Beach?? Sorry about all the questions...lol
  7. Keeping your head down and not making contact didn't work for us! We tried that since it was our first encounter with vendors as we left Dunn's River Falls. We were immediately yelled at with "I SAID HI! NOW GIVE ME RESPECT!!!" We got this from many of them. It was truly aweful as we didn't want to or mean to be rude. We ended up paying $60 for a dang T-shirt and 4 FREE totems!!!!!!!!!

    Marguritaville is a great place. It's music, fun, colorful, beach, pool, slide, dancing, all of that.

    Ocho Rios we made a game out of counting which of us got propositioned for drugs and relationships more. We were 2 women traveling together. We were up to 7 each within the first 2 hours.
  8. runningdeer

    runningdeer Guest

    I agree, I have been to many ports, some in very poor areas, but this one is the worst. A simple NO does not work. Why the cruise lines continue to stop here is a mystery to me. For those who love this port so much, I wonder how honest they are being.
  9. Was in Ocho Rios last July. Did Dunn's River Falls (great time...a little scary at first; but the tour guide had things under control).

    Shopping was included on our tour. It was simple (keep in mind 3rd world country). My wife and I are pretty young...so you'd think we were targets; but a firm no got the job done everytime...or just simply walk away; they WILL NOT TOUCH you...so walk away; the moment you show slight interest in something; they will hound you. It really was VERY easy to pick up on. My wife ended up getting a great basket/bag/purse for 6 dollars (original asking price was 20 US dollars). So have fun with it; it's a great experience. They are people to; they dont intend to harm; just trying to make a living...like the same annoying sales people calling your house at 6 p.m. every night.

  10. meriflower

    meriflower Guest

    I have done both Labadee and Ocho Rios. Labadee was nice but not on my list to go back there again. Ocho Rios,no way, mon! The other posters are correct that the vendors there are very pushy, we did "experience" the vendors after Dunn's River Falls. One vendor was trying his hardest to get us to buy these tiki's with the carving of "irie" on them. He gave us this sob story of being dirt poor, starving family, etc. He was interrupted in his spiel by his cell phone. I guess he wasn't too poor to have a cell phone! The rest of the way out of there we practically ran - it was horrible. Dunn's' River Falls was neat though the water itself was filthy. On the bus ride to the falls we saw a guy washing his dirty laundry in the river. The only thing we did enjoy seeing in Ocho was the Shaw Gardens. I would not recommend Ocho or Jamaica to anyone. Another passenger had his bag stolen.
  11. Terrimcc

    Terrimcc Guest

    Mel, We really enjoyed our day in Ocho Rios. We went to Sandals and had a great time, after coming back to port we walked over to Island Village for a little shopping. We never felt unsafe, and I would definitely go again.
    We will be going to Labadee for the first time next March on the Solstice ( our first Celebrity cruise). I was also considering the Malfini Beach excursion. I have heard both good and bad things.
    Cemetery Beach is on Grand Cayman. It is supposed to have great snorkeling. We did the seven mile beach and Sting Ray City excursion when we were the earlier this year. I had read a lot about Cemetery Beach and it sounded like a lot of fun.
    I do have photos posted on Webshots. Here is a link ( I hope this works)

  12. melanile

    melanile Guest

    Those were great pics thank you! I can't wait for this vacation.... I'm sooooo ready. I'm counting down the months as the counting of days seem so much further...lol

    Are any of you going this fall? I'm going on the Nov 30th Marnier....
  13. Terrimcc

    Terrimcc Guest

    As of 7:00 this morning I am on vacation. We will be taking a short trip to Saugatuck, MI. It is a quaint little town and we will be staying at a B&B for 4 days. Our next cruise will be on the Celebrity Solstice next March. This will be the first year that we have not done two cruises. Seems the cost of air fare may slow us down a little.
    Have you cruised before? Our Solstice cruise will be our 12th.

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