Posted March 3rd, 2010, 09:20 PM
Caribbean and Mexican ports do not have the same car seat laws as the US and Canada do. You need functioning seat belts to properly secure a car seat. You need functioning seat belts to secure an adult. I'm not at all saying to leave your car seat at home or on the ship, but I've been to the "usual" Eastern and Western ports of call many times, and can only tell you my observations. Seat belts are removed from taxis and vans because they charge per person (unless you agree to a flat rate for your party), and they can cram more bodies into these vehicles if the seat belts are gone. Four in a backseat pays more than three. If you are patient and willing to wait, you might find a taxi or van with seat belts. It may cost you more. Private and rental cars have them. Ports like St. Thomas and St. Maarten/Martin are very hilly, with narrow twisty-windy roads. Local drivers drive faster so they can go back to pick up a new load. Often a scary ride from Charlotte Amalie to Magen's Bay! Or from Phillipsburg to Orient Beach! Private drivers might have seat belts and drive more slowly. St. Thomas has a plethora of open air vans which charge per person. You'll pay for your kid, but your kid will sit on your lap, and you'll wait forever for this van to fill up before it even moves. Cozumel is flat, with much better roads. Better chance of finding a taxi with seat belts. Grand Cayman is also flat with good roads, but I've never ridden in a closed van with seat belts. I just go to the beach. Same thing - wait forever, and they charge per person. San Juan has good roads as well, but we've always walked from the pier to Old San Juan. (Bring a stroller!) Only took a hotel shuttle from the airport once, and it had seat belts. Nassau is also very flat with good roads, but I've never ridden in a taxi or van (or converted 20-year old limo) that had seat belts. We usually went to Paradise Island over the bridge. Tortola is very hilly, but has decent roads. I found a taxi with seat belts to go to Cane Garden Bay. It cost me! I've not cruised with young kids, and I've been accused of telling parents to forget about bringing car seats (which I never did). I've only stated my experiences and observations. What I'm saying is what I've seen. It's best to be prepared for something you may not find that you take for granted at home. During the years that "family cruising" has grown, it's unfortunate that the ports of call have not recognized this in terms of "family transportation." I'm sure there are links to local transportation that may be useful for those with car seats. I'm just stating my observations, so please don't "shoot the messenger". Happy cruising to everyone!