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Which Grand Cayman Stingray Tour?

C

Cinderellie

Guest
#1
Hi, all! We are sailing on the 8/29 Conquest and wondered which of the tour boats you would recommend for our family to do the stingray tour. Here are some things that are important to us:

- Family of 4 -- Mom and Dad (Dad not a swimmer) and two active great swimming kids -- 14 YO boy & 10 YO girl.
- Want to REALLY see the stingrays -- the MAC daddy tour.
- Hubby likes the biggest, most luxurious boat with the most stability.
- I'd like to have someone video tape this experience -- I hear some offer that.
- The crew must be good with kids. I don't want a drinking party boat because of the kids!

Your suggestions? I've heard good things about Crosby, Marvin, Sotos and others.

Your advice, please.
Thanks!
 
N

Natalia

Guest
#2
We used Capt Marvins and loved them. We had our kids along, they were fantastic with the kids!! It wasnt a party boat, and our guides were so polite, helpful and informative. The only criteria they didnt meet in your above list was .."Hubby likes the biggest, most luxurious boat with the most stability". There were 12 of us in a standard, efficient boat (covered, bathroom/changing room). The water wasnt rough that day, so I didnt notice any abnormal motion. The boat ride is about a mile or 2 out to the sandbar where the stingrays are (we also stopped at the Coral Gardens for snorkeling, which was about 12' deep). They did video tape the tour, and we bought a copy which they shipped to our home in about 3 weeks. Great video! We were completely happy with this tour.
 
M

Mychelle

Guest
#3
We also used Captain Marvin's and they were excellent!!! We bought the DVD and it is awesome! It's like reliving the whole thing again!
 
C

cfurry

Guest
#4
Not to pile on, but we also had a great experience with Capt. Marvin. Very well run operation, pleasant crew, etc. My daughter (not an outdoors kinda gal) kind of got a little freaked at the stingrays, and Paul the first mate was very gentle and patient with her. He was a cool old salt. We'd snorkel with them again anytime.

Also, their downtown Georgetown office is only two blocks from the cruise ship docks, and has clean restrooms. ALWAYS a plus. You can reserve online and ask them questions via email, another plus because calling the Caribbean ain't cheap. We were impressed, from beginning to end.

Tip: Bring cookies from the ship. They'll give you gatorade and water, but you'll get hungry out there.

Enjoy!
 
H

hkolln

Guest
#5
We used Nativeways and absolutely had a BLAST!!! They put together a DVD for us in 2 hours and delivered it to our ship by tender. Great all around time!!
 
L

lizardstew

Guest
#6
Another vote for Captain Marvin. We didn't notice any videotaping but they obviously offer the service. There were many kids on our boat, which had Captain Marvin himself as the boat Captain! Eric, our guide, was so great and knew where to find the best stuff when we were snorkeling....he even went down and "fished" out a moray eel from its hiding place at the Barrier Reef. Cool! Natalia is right about the boat....normal sized but more than efficient!
 
N

Natalia

Guest
#7
Just to add one more thing about the video (speaking only of Captain Marvins again)... they showed it on a TV as we were riding back to the island after snorkeling. That was a nice touch (good sales technique) because we got to see how neat it was, and it made us want it where as I might normally have declined. This would hopefully give you the chance to see it before deciding to purchase. The reason they didn't deliver it immediately was because they edit it, add music and credits.. then duplicate it for who ever ordered it. But we received it fairly quickly via regular postal service. Oh, as Cfurry said, nice clean bathroom at their office where we all changed into our bathing suits.
 
S

Sodey

Guest
#8
If you go with Captain Marvins, try to "Ham it Up" as much as possible. This will get you more video time on the DVD. Because my kids were chasing fish, doing summersaults in the water, letting Eric put the stingrays on their heads, holding the stingrays etc... We definetly took up most of the DVD. It was a great momento of the trip. Your kids will talk about it for a long time!
 
M

MissMokey

Guest
#9
Hi --- I am a non-swimmer and was wondering if any of them (or the ship's tour) provided life vests????
 
H

hkolln

Guest
#10
Stingray city sandbar is not deep...it was up to my waist.
You won't have to swim there, you can just walk around since the water is so shallow.

I don't know about lifevests however on our tour with Nativeways they had lifevests for the kids because we went out snorkeling at a reef after seeing the stingrays. I'm sure they had them for adults also that needed them. I can't say if the cruiselines had them though.
 
L

lizardstew

Guest
#11
We were offered life vests on our trip with Captain Marvin. I am sure every snorkeling trip will offer them. I didn't use one but I wish I had at Stingray City. I am 5'4" and the water was up almost to my neck...I'm not sure why....everyone says it's waist high, but it definitely wasn't! Take a look.....(that's Eric, the guide w/Captain Marvin's by the way...)

<img src=http://a8.cpimg.com/image/86/C2/29535878-3be9-02000155-.jpg>
 
N

Natalia

Guest
#13
Stingrays do have barbs, and can in fact sting if they want to. But these stingrays are quite accustomed to being held and fed by people every day. They come for the food, obviously, but are willing to be held and played with in exchange for it. They are not penned, they are completely free to come and go. But when your boat pulls up to the sandbar, they come "runnin" for the hand out. Its a really neat experience, they rub against you and swim all around you. It can be a little intimidating at first, but after you are in the water with them for a few moments, its a lot of fun.
 
P

pnorth

Guest
#14
I loved Sting ray city and the other stops we did with Sotos. The guides were great too also got an ell out and a nurse shark. They also took my camera down to take a pic of the shark cause I was too tired to dive down. The had lemonade and punch on the boat, a small rest room, and only about 12 on the boat. It was not a very large boat like you want, they are for the ships tours. Great day and bought the dvd, the photographer passed her camera around for us to view the video and that sold me on it. I would love to go again.
 
G

gsamml

Guest
#15
My wife and friends went with Native Way and had a very good time. Can't speak for the boat, but you will not find big plush yachts doing this kind of tour unless you book it yourself and pay BIG $$$$.

You will enjoy yourself not matter who you use, just don't do the ship's tour. Most of the boats they use are 2 story pontoon boats loaded with about 150 people.
 
K

Kimmier333

Guest
#16
We just got back from the Conquest 5/9. We used Captain Marvins. It was just a short walk from cruise dock (where you are tendered in from). We took the 2.5hr tour. It consisted of Stingray City and snorkeling at Coral Gardens. We were offered vest for each. Nobody used them for the stingrays-water was about waist-chest deep, depending on your height. I didn't notice a video being recorded. There were only about 12 people on our boat. It had shade, sun, water, and restrooms. We saw a boat already there from the cruise ship tour and were herding them like cattle. There must have been about 100 people on that boat. We wore life vest at Coral Gardens. I was not very impressed with the marine life. Didn't see hardly any fish, but we had a great time. They dropped us off back at the Waterfront Centre.

Beware: We got on a taxi/bus and asked the guy to take us to a seafood rest. on the 7mile beach. He took us to the Beach Colony Resort, where we had to pay about $21 for 3 people. We went to the rest. and all they served was hamburger and hotdogs that were $7 a piece. On the beach, there was rows of chairs all the way down to the water and down the beach. No room to "build" sand castles with kids. Water had a ton of people in it. Although the water was beautiful, we will never go back there. There was a nice public beach all the way at the end of the 7mb that I noticed on our way to get on the boat for the stingrays. I guess I should have told the cab driver to take us there, but we were so hungry.

Kimberley
 
M

Missmissypie068

Guest
#17
What are the advantages of booking with someone like Captain Marvins over using whoever Carnival uses? Smaller crowds? Less cost? Thanks
 
L

lininak

Guest
#18
Here's another vote for native way. We went with them in December and have booked with them again for this December. Nice boat, great crew, great video, easy access to the water and not crowded -- and only $30! They meet you right at the dock and, on the tour we took, include a snorkle stop seperate from stingray city. Their website is www.nativewaywatersports.com
 
J

JoyceR

Guest
#19
This is our first cruise, and we are so un-decided what to do !! I know we definitely want to try snorkleing - If we don't decide ahead which one - and get off the ship at Grand Caymans - will there be tours available there for last minute people like us? Or do we definitely have to decide ahead of time and make a booking on-line? WE'll probably try snorkleing again in Cozumel - maybe Costa Maya if they have it there.

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciate.
Thanks
Joyce

Sailing on the Inspiration 8-22-04
 
B

beccabt

Guest
#20
Joyce, you can book on the ship and be guaranteed of getting back in time.They have a desk for shore excursions and you sign up there. Yes its more expensive and crowded but you never have to worry about missing the ship. If you book independently , you really want to do it a head of time. There are always last miute places at the port itself, however you know nothing about these companies. For instance in Belize we had booked cave tubing through Action and as we were walking to the Action van at least 15 people came up to us offering their tour at a cheaper price.Come to find out none of those people were professional companies , none had insurance etc. I felt more comfortable being able to research on line before hand.