We just returned from the 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Conquest out of Galveston, TX.
We've learned through experience that the ship's excursions are over-priced, crowded & they exaggerate how exciting they're going to be, so we did our ports on our own.
In Montego Bay, we walked off the ship, through the terminal & jumped in a van/shuttle, which for $4 per person each way dropped some off at the shopping center (small) & the rest of us at Doctor's Cave Beach & Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. The driver was offering to be our all-day guide if 30 people would agree - no one did. I heard him haggling with another couple about Dunn's River Falls. He explained a cab ride for 2 would cost them $150. He asked how much they wanted to pay. They said $100 for cab ride & entry to the falls. He said he'd make a call & work it out, but they changed their minds & went to the beach with us. But that's something to consider, because the Carnival excursion to Dunn's River falls was much more than that for 2 people. We spent the day at Doctor's Cave Beach, where the water was crystal clear & cool. Nice sand. Beautiful view. Cool to watch jets landing nearby. There were 3 water trampolines & other water sports. We paid $5 for adults to enter & $2.50 for kids. If you're gonna drink beer, be sure to order from the folks in yellow caps from "The Dock", not the Groovy Grouper. "The Dock" sells a bucket of 6 for $10 (Red Stripe - good stuff). The Groovy Grouper didn't have any drink deals & charged more. We got the kids the chicken fingers/fries from the Groovy Grouper for $3.50 each & that was a good afternoon snack. The facility had a nice changing room, restrooms, and showers. Umbrellas & chairs were another $15 I think. It was not a bad deal & a really fun time. When we had baked long enough, we walked a block down the street to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, which was pretty hopping with spring-breakers, but not too crazy for families. I didn't see anyone using the waterslide, but I swam the kids out to the water trampolines. The food was good, but the "perfect margaritas" were disappointing. When we decided to leave at 4pm, there were about 20 cabs sitting out front dying to take us back to the ship. Look for drivers with the JTB license. They're government controlled & insured. Set the price before you get in. Once again it was $4 per person to return to the dock. Be careful walking down the street & when riding in cabs. There are plenty of people approaching to sell you stuff, beg for money or steal from you. People just stick their heads & arms into the windows - so either shut them or be prepared. I had my bags in the middle between my legs & my back to my window & was glad, because a man reached in & was looking for something to grab, but nothing was within his reach. So be careful. We weren't harassed or in danger, just a precaution. Stay in the touristy areas. This was a great day overall. Beautiful beach, beautiful water, lots of fun for the kids, and very affordable when you do it on your own. Have fun!
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