Author Topic: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?  (Read 2391 times)

clean

  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1103
  • CHE Posts: 5416
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2019, 05:56:27 PM »
Quote
I have only been on one cruise, but I just felt like we were all being herded like sheep getting off the boat into the port where all the excursion wolves are waiting.

I have been on several cruises with Princess now, mostly short duration.  I understand the feeling a first timer might be left with.  Many of the ship board activities are actually infomercials for their products or services.  Many of the ports have excursions and there is often a rush to get off the ship to take them.

Quote
There was a lot of push for shopping in the ports and on the ship, but they'd give coupons for free rum punches or tequila (which the adults enjoyed) and little gems and trinkets (which daughter enjoyed).
I dont particularly drink,  and the coupons for inland rum and tequila are likely enticements to buy more for home, and are lost on me. 

I might suggest, especially with the newer and bigger 'floating resort' ships that are out there now that you might enjoy the ship even more by skipping the excursions and staying on board! The lines on port days for the huge slides or bumper cars or whatever these newest, biggest ships have to offer are shortest while in port!!   
My parents (not water slide fans, mind you), have been more and more reluctant to visit the ports of call and much more likely to dip in the ship hot tubs or take advantage of some other ship board activity on the ship rather than venture off on a tour. 

I often travel (usually to Alaska) with my PhD school office mate (he is now retired).  We will make our way to town and either take a cab to where we want to go, or make our own arrangements.  We can see what is not on the tours and usually spend a fraction IF at all to do it!    Once we walked to a fish hatchery that was not yet open (it was too early for the salmon run), but as the hatchery was expecting a class of students, they let us join in that tour!!  Other times we have walked to  a local museum, or to the tourist information center run by the town (not the cruise lines) and found great deals and things not on the ship tour systems. 

however, we never (almost never anyway) eat while off the ship. Too much good food already paid for than to pay tourist prices to taste and get a picture eating a crab (which could be almost $100 a person for 'the experience' ... and in May the King Crab is NOT 'fresh from the docks!)

The point is, You dont have to get off the ship (especially the mega sized ones with the multi deck water parks) to have a great time!  Ive traveled with my Tween age niece (12-15) and she was always eager to ditch her parents and other geezers to  get back to the Tween Zone to play with her new best friends!  She was gone AND entertained most of the trip!  My brother would go to the first comedy show to ensure that it was kid friendly, but he always stayed and saw the next show !  The comedy shows, especially, are usually influenced by the audience so they are different enough each time to not be repeats and they are always (in my experience anyway) kid friendly and usually not politically decisive!! 
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am"  Darth Vader

mamselle

  • Use your wit and intelligence to figure out how to be kinder
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4739
  • Wondering, Wandering Sr. Member
  • CHE Posts: 4,618
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2019, 09:36:10 PM »
A chacun son gout, then, but...then why not just find a cruise ship in dry dock and live on it for a week?

I get the feeling of the "Accidental Tourist," never touching shore, never engaging with others, it feels very insular.

I like the idea of getting out and walking about on your own, and visiting places and so on--that part makes sense to me. 

But along with the number of ships capsizing, getting major illnesses on board, having squally weather turn into hurricanes, etc.....I've just never seen the point.

I hope the OP finds what will work best for them.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

Kron3007

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 657
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2019, 06:13:03 AM »

[. . . ]

We are kind of leaning toward Mexico or the Dominican for now, but if my kids were a little older I would also consider Costa Rica for something a little more adventurous.  I love Costa Rica, but with little kids, we are really looking for a more all inclusive, lazy holiday and I dont think Costa Rica is the best for this (or at least not in my budget).     

As mentioned by Hibush, Puerto Rico is worth investigating, especially on the basis of cost. For anything other than a walled all-inclusive resort with the breakfast buffet of sausage, spaghetti, and toast, I would classify Costa Rica as less "adventurous" than Mexico or the DR. As for all-inclusive resorts themselves, it doesn't matter which country they're in. They are like international airport terminals.

I see a lot of trips in Costa Rica that include white water rafting, climbing, jungle hikes, etc.  There are also volcanoes with hot springs, and a lot of eco tourism developed.  This is what I was referring to.  I understand that many of these things could be found in the DR or Mexico, but Costa Rica has done a good ib o developing this and protecting forest cover.  It's also nice that you can drink the water...


Kron3007

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 657
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2019, 06:15:24 AM »
Quote
I have only been on one cruise, but I just felt like we were all being herded like sheep getting off the boat into the port where all the excursion wolves are waiting.

I have been on several cruises with Princess now, mostly short duration.  I understand the feeling a first timer might be left with.  Many of the ship board activities are actually infomercials for their products or services.  Many of the ports have excursions and there is often a rush to get off the ship to take them.

Quote
There was a lot of push for shopping in the ports and on the ship, but they'd give coupons for free rum punches or tequila (which the adults enjoyed) and little gems and trinkets (which daughter enjoyed).
I dont particularly drink,  and the coupons for inland rum and tequila are likely enticements to buy more for home, and are lost on me. 

I might suggest, especially with the newer and bigger 'floating resort' ships that are out there now that you might enjoy the ship even more by skipping the excursions and staying on board! The lines on port days for the huge slides or bumper cars or whatever these newest, biggest ships have to offer are shortest while in port!!   
My parents (not water slide fans, mind you), have been more and more reluctant to visit the ports of call and much more likely to dip in the ship hot tubs or take advantage of some other ship board activity on the ship rather than venture off on a tour. 

I often travel (usually to Alaska) with my PhD school office mate (he is now retired).  We will make our way to town and either take a cab to where we want to go, or make our own arrangements.  We can see what is not on the tours and usually spend a fraction IF at all to do it!    Once we walked to a fish hatchery that was not yet open (it was too early for the salmon run), but as the hatchery was expecting a class of students, they let us join in that tour!!  Other times we have walked to  a local museum, or to the tourist information center run by the town (not the cruise lines) and found great deals and things not on the ship tour systems. 

however, we never (almost never anyway) eat while off the ship. Too much good food already paid for than to pay tourist prices to taste and get a picture eating a crab (which could be almost $100 a person for 'the experience' ... and in May the King Crab is NOT 'fresh from the docks!)

The point is, You dont have to get off the ship (especially the mega sized ones with the multi deck water parks) to have a great time!  Ive traveled with my Tween age niece (12-15) and she was always eager to ditch her parents and other geezers to  get back to the Tween Zone to play with her new best friends!  She was gone AND entertained most of the trip!  My brother would go to the first comedy show to ensure that it was kid friendly, but he always stayed and saw the next show !  The comedy shows, especially, are usually influenced by the audience so they are different enough each time to not be repeats and they are always (in my experience anyway) kid friendly and usually not politically decisive!!

I guess it depends on what you are looking for.  Personally, the idea of staying on a big boat isn't too appealling.  Why not just go to Vegas?

This dosnt even touch on the horrible environmental or labour record of cruise lines.

Anselm

  • Guardian against dark psychic forces
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 324
  • CHE Posts: 3500
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2019, 07:58:29 AM »
A chacun son gout, then, but...then why not just find a cruise ship in dry dock and live on it for a week?

I get the feeling of the "Accidental Tourist," never touching shore, never engaging with others, it feels very insular.

I like the idea of getting out and walking about on your own, and visiting places and so on--that part makes sense to me. 

But along with the number of ships capsizing, getting major illnesses on board, having squally weather turn into hurricanes, etc.....I've just never seen the point.

I hope the OP finds what will work best for them.

M.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

I've always been confused and mystified by people who go on foreign vacations where you never leave the resort.  What was the point of leaving the USA then?
I am Dr. Thunderdome and I run Bartertown.

clean

  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1103
  • CHE Posts: 5416
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2019, 09:14:13 AM »
Quote
The point is, You dont have to get off the ship (especially the mega sized ones with the multi deck water parks) to have a great time!

IF there are plenty of things to do at the port town, then do get off the ship and enjoy them!  I usually do, but  if you are unable to walk too far (as my parents are) or the town is not particularly appealing for whatever reason, you will not be bored with the ship. 

Why not vegas?  Too hot, too cold, lines, smoke everywhere (of all kinds these days), expensive shows, crowds...

Lately I find that cruises are particularly cost effective. I used to go to Disney World frequently.  While it is a great place to visit, it is not particularly inexpensive anymore.  EPCOT should be avoided on weekend nights during Food and Wine Festival because it is more and more filled with groups of people trying to 'drink around the world'.   

Anyway, as others have said, there are different vacations for different people.  A Cruise is essentially an all inclusive resort that changes the scenery frequently.  If you want to stay aboard, you can. If you want to get off (while in port anyway) you can.  There are plenty of activities included in the price you paid upfront and plenty of opportunity to pay for additional experiences!  If  a 50 mile hike on the Appalachian trial, sleeping in a tent, eating dehydrated food is your idea of a great time (and I ve done such things in my youth and had a great time), then dont pick a cruise. If you want to have different entertainment options, sit down meals, and such, then consider a cruise. It is not as expensive as one may think.
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am"  Darth Vader

Kron3007

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 657
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2019, 01:23:40 PM »
Quote
The point is, You dont have to get off the ship (especially the mega sized ones with the multi deck water parks) to have a great time!

IF there are plenty of things to do at the port town, then do get off the ship and enjoy them!  I usually do, but  if you are unable to walk too far (as my parents are) or the town is not particularly appealing for whatever reason, you will not be bored with the ship. 

Why not vegas?  Too hot, too cold, lines, smoke everywhere (of all kinds these days), expensive shows, crowds...

Lately I find that cruises are particularly cost effective. I used to go to Disney World frequently.  While it is a great place to visit, it is not particularly inexpensive anymore.  EPCOT should be avoided on weekend nights during Food and Wine Festival because it is more and more filled with groups of people trying to 'drink around the world'.   

Anyway, as others have said, there are different vacations for different people.  A Cruise is essentially an all inclusive resort that changes the scenery frequently.  If you want to stay aboard, you can. If you want to get off (while in port anyway) you can.  There are plenty of activities included in the price you paid upfront and plenty of opportunity to pay for additional experiences!  If  a 50 mile hike on the Appalachian trial, sleeping in a tent, eating dehydrated food is your idea of a great time (and I ve done such things in my youth and had a great time), then dont pick a cruise. If you want to have different entertainment options, sit down meals, and such, then consider a cruise. It is not as expensive as one may think.

They can definitely be cost effective.  My parents have been finding all sorts of incredibly cheap cruises recently, so cheap it seems like a scam but they have gone without issue.

For me, the distance to any ports where cruises would be leaving (at least in winter) makes the cost much less attractive though.  By the time I add the cost of the flight and a night or two in a hotel, the affordable looking cruise often becomes more expensive than a resort trip where the flight etc is included.     

clean

  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1103
  • CHE Posts: 5416
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2019, 01:41:02 PM »
Quote
By the time I add the cost of the flight and a night or two in a hotel, the affordable looking cruise often becomes more expensive than a resort trip where the flight etc is included. 

I usually cruise with Princess. Currently the sales include up to $200 off the price of flights booked through the cruise line.  For what it is worth, I looked at flights from the closest big city and the prices are definitely cheaper from the cruise line's site, but the direct flights are missing. 

Perhaps its because of my location, but the closest big city (150 miles to the airport) has direct flights to LA and some to Ft. Lauderdale  that allow me to take an early morning flight and be able to catch the ship on the same day.   (most of the Princess cruises to Mexico or the Caribbean go from those 2 cities).  I admit that the first day is probably lost because Im napping much of the time I first get on the ship, until the lifeboat drill (whatever it is called now).  So I dont necessarily have to get a room. However, the La Quinta near the airport allows you to park for up to 2 weeks I think for $20 if you stay the night coming or going.  By the time you pay the room and the $20, it is cheaper than paying for airport parking, even off site. 

Otherwise, I agree, that the cruises have been great bargains, but the airfares lately have nullified much of the savings.  I was looking at spring Break options recently and the airfare is more than the cruise fare!
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am"  Darth Vader

spork

  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2086
  • CHE Posts: 18449
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2019, 04:56:25 PM »

[. . . ]

We are kind of leaning toward Mexico or the Dominican for now, but if my kids were a little older I would also consider Costa Rica for something a little more adventurous.  I love Costa Rica, but with little kids, we are really looking for a more all inclusive, lazy holiday and I dont think Costa Rica is the best for this (or at least not in my budget).     

As mentioned by Hibush, Puerto Rico is worth investigating, especially on the basis of cost. For anything other than a walled all-inclusive resort with the breakfast buffet of sausage, spaghetti, and toast, I would classify Costa Rica as less "adventurous" than Mexico or the DR. As for all-inclusive resorts themselves, it doesn't matter which country they're in. They are like international airport terminals.

I see a lot of trips in Costa Rica that include white water rafting, climbing, jungle hikes, etc.  There are also volcanoes with hot springs, and a lot of eco tourism developed.  This is what I was referring to.  I understand that many of these things could be found in the DR or Mexico, but Costa Rica has done a good ib o developing this and protecting forest cover.  It's also nice that you can drink the water...

Ah, you mean "adventure adventure." Sorry for not understanding. Yes, Costa Rica has done a great job with ecotourism and environmental conservation. If I had children of elementary or high school age and was choosing a destination for a family trip, I would pick Costa Rica over the DR or Mexico hands down.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

backatit

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 263
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2019, 05:00:22 AM »
If you want to go to Costa Rica on a family trip, PM me. I have some connections there (I'm a long-time surfer and one of my good (and very TRUSTED) friends is a travel agent who specifically handles CR travel and lives there). He can set up specific family-friendly vacations. CR is where my surfer friends with small children and spouses in tow usually go- it's safer than El Salvador or Nicaragua (although they do go there as well).

It's a lovely country with a lot of history and natural beauty, but I don't go often anymore (there are better waves in El Salvador and some friends bought a beach house there so I've been concentrating my energy on there lately).

Puerto Rico is also nice. Another friend has a BNB at Isabela that got totally destroyed, but I believe she's mostly rebuilt now, which is good. One of my good friends is from there, and her family still lives there, so I keep up with news from the island regularly. They are open for business and NEED your money, so think about that if you can.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 05:02:53 AM by backatit »

Sodium

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2019, 05:10:07 PM »
Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I hadn't considered cruises seriously before, but reading the posts made me reconsider that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!


Aster

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 783
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2019, 05:56:56 AM »
Another endorsement for Costa Rica. I only do the interior and the Pacific side, but some of my friends have been to the Caribbean side and enjoyed it. Flights into San Jose (Costa Rican capitol) are cheap and abundant at U.S. airports. I highly recommend the mountain options in Costa Rica. You're in tropical latitudes so there aren't really any seasons, and most of the mountain options in Costa Rica are jaw-dropping. Tropical forests. Subtropical forests. Cloud forests. Costa Rica is volcanic and topographically rugged. Lots of wild areas have monkeys running around in the trees.

The island of Cozumel is also a popular Caribbean favorite for the economy-minded tourist. Many U.S. airports fly directly there throughout the week, and resort prices are very reasonable and family-friendly. If your family is scuba-certified, Cozumel is a top international destination in its own right.

Stay away from Cancun and the rest of the "Maya Riviera" on the Yucatan Peninsula. The mainland has a lot more crime. It used to be much safer taking the Cozumel ferry to the mainland for outings, but most people are recommending to just stay on Cozumel now.

Bbmaj7b5

  • Slightly devilish
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 53
  • Complicated and just a little sour
  • CHE Posts: 12,098
Re: Cheap and Best Carribean Destination?
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2019, 12:18:57 PM »
Costa Rica? Cayman Islands? Bahamas? Bermuda?

I've heard great things about Costa Rica, and would find it tempting despite having no desire to do that sort of thing. I've been to the Cayman Islands. It was OK (but expensive).

I spent a few days doing post-disaster reconnaissance work for building damage and high water marks in Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian. Abaco was severely damaged, as was much of Grand Bahama outside of Freeport. The rest of Bahamas seemed to be ok.