Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
mrsgthatsme

Famouth and Labadee vs. Nassua and CoCo Cay?

Recommended Posts

After much deliberation and consideration of various cruise lines, we have decided to broaden our horizons from DCL and take the leap and take a RCCI cruise. :) Thanks to all of the great tips on this board, we have narrowed it down to two options. 

 

1) 4 day on the Mariner (April) to Nassau and CoCo Cay. We have been to Nassau several times on other cruises and are not huge fans. We did the dolphin excursion at Blue Lagoon on our last DCL cruise, so would be looking for another beach type excursion to take if we returned there. (Not wanting to fork over the big bucks for Atlantis water park though! :) Concerned about the number of times CoCo Cay is missed.... however, the dock SHOULD be done in March, so hoping we would be ok... We LOVE Castaway Cay with DCL, so curious as to whether Labadee or CoCo would be more similar to this laid back, gorgeous beach feel. I have heard that there are much more aggressive vendors in Labadee, which wouldn't be super appealing to us. :) 

 

2) 5 on the Independence (April) to Labadee and Falmouth. I have heard mostly negative about Falmouth and Jamaica ports in general. Years ago, my husband and I did Dunn's River Falls and enjoyed it, but I think that is a 45-60 minute ride from Falmouth and I don't think my kids would love that. Are there other good options for excursions at that port? 

 

Any opinions on these two options (based on ship itself, or itinerary) would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd do Indy, because I'd rather do the Caribbean and I like the extra day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have always enjoyed our days at Coco Cay,  when able to tender.   Rough seas has made us miss a few times.  Not a big fan of Nassau . Usually stay on the ship and relax.  

We are booked on the Independence  March 9th  for the 5 night  Labadee / Jamaica  cruise.  Looking forward to a Cabana at Nellies Beach Labadee,  and an excursion to the Good Hope Great House , Jamaica.  Also see activities that can be added to our tour there.   We have not been to Good Hope ,which looks to be about a 20 minute ride from the pier.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are we talking this upcoming April?  If so, be aware the target date for the "new" Coco Cay is May 2019, so last minute construction may still be going on and not all facilities may be open. The port at Falmouth is somewhat self-contained with shopping and restaurants within the gated area. 

We found the zip-line and Alpine coaster at Labadee a lot of fun.  The more "aggressive" merchants are confined to a single area that is easily circumvented or transversed by tram.  They also have an indoor venue with "local" merchandise where aggressive haggling doesn't seem to occur.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, SoCA6ft5 said:

Are we talking this upcoming April?  If so, be aware the target date for the "new" Coco Cay is May 2019, so last minute construction may still be going on and not all facilities may be open. The port at Falmouth is somewhat self-contained with shopping and restaurants within the gated area. 

We found the zip-line and Alpine coaster at Labadee a lot of fun.  The more "aggressive" merchants are confined to a single area that is easily circumvented or transversed by tram.  They also have an indoor venue with "local" merchandise where aggressive haggling doesn't seem to occur.  

Thanks! Yes, this April. We are aware the water park will not be open until May... do you think there will be significant construction issues that would impact April cruisers? Also, approximately what is the cost of the zip line and coaster on Labadee? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mrsgthatsme said:

Thanks! Yes, this April. We are aware the water park will not be open until May... do you think there will be significant construction issues that would impact April cruisers? Also, approximately what is the cost of the zip line and coaster on Labadee? Thanks!

Hopefully others who have visited more recently can answer about the current situation at Coco Cay.  Last I checked the zip-lines at Labadee were $99  & the coaster was $26 for 1 ride, $36 for all-day access, but again, these prices may be out-of-date.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How old are your kids?  I would imagine they would like Indy much more than Mariner, unless they are babies who really won't notice the difference in amenities.

I would also do Indy.  I love Labadee, and as mentioned the vendors are confined to one area and not allowed in any other guest areas -- very easy to avoid them. 

I'm not a fan of Falmouth, but since you're on a short cruise, you can use that as a day to just enjoy the ship when it's not quite so crowded, if you want.  Or, depending on your kids' ages, you could take them out into the shanty-town area outside of the port gates and let them see just how good they have it at home.  (If you do this, take a sealed box of breakfast cereal or similar with you -- there are always friendly but skinny dogs there, and while it's not the healthiest dog food, it's better than nothing!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've wondered why the 5 day Falmouth/Labadee cruise wasn't offered as much as the other 5 day itineraries (such as in the Oct/Nov months).  I liked Falmouth.  Good Hope is a great excursion.  Great zip lining.  I avoid the vendors at Labadee--very pushy--you really cannot even look at things peacefully.  Inside the gates at Falmouth is very interesting but haven't been since Margaritaville was built.  I've got some wonderful wooden parrot and dog carvings there.  Not sure they really carve them but I did watch some of them work and it appears they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've done Dunn's River Falls from Falmouth and it was more like 45 minutes.  Not that bad.  Falmouth has a nice port area if you just want to get off the ship and browse for souvineers, etc...   Having been to both Falmouth and Nassau, I would still choose Falmouth.

 

LOVE Labadee.  Very relaxed beach day, and there are many things for the kids to do, depending on your likes.

 

I would choose 5 days to the Caribbean and the larger Indy for sure.


Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go with Indy, extra day.

 

We were at Coco Cay twice last year.  The first time construction didn't really affect our stay.  Second time construction noise was periodically noticable but not too bad.

 

Labadee, if you don't go into the vendor area you are fine.

 

Falmouth,  Besides Dunn's River Falls, there are beach excursion, tubing down a river among other things.  Also some hotels offer day passes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would choose an almost guaranteed day at Labadee over a maybe day at CoCo Cay. 

So sick of Nassau that we never get off the ship anymore.

Was at CoCo Cay at the end of October. 

Nothing was finished.

Spent an hour in a cabana only to be told the weather was getting bad and we all needed to return to the ship.

Promised myself that until the dock is built (operational and up and consistently running) we are not planning 

anymore cruises to CoCo Cay with Nassau.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually prefer the Voyager Class ships (like the Mariner) to the Freedom Class ships (like the Independence), due to the smaller size.  As for the ports, my opinion is that Nassau and Falmouth are both good places for staying on the ship and enjoying the pool deck when it will not be crowded.  Labadee is a little nicer than Coco Cay, especially during the construction at Coco Cay.  Nevertheless, the most important part of this comparison (by far) is the extra day: four days good, five days better!  However, you might also consider that the 5-night itinerary including Labadee is also available on the Voyager-Class Navigator out of Miami on April 7 and April 21.  The Navigator is in dry dock right now being amplified so it will be the most up-to-date ship in April.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I booked both the zipline and the coaster at Labadee for my February cruise during a sale. I paid $79 for the zipline and $30 for the all day coaster pass. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pick the 5 day cruise.  Stay on the ship if you go to Falmouth and enjoy your day at Labadee.  If you choose the 4 day cruise, stay on the ship in Nassau, and enjoy Coco Cay.  Better choice would be the extra day on the cruise.  We find 5 day cruises too short, so a 4 day cruise would be far too short.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We really liked Labadee it was  beautiful beach day. If you stay away from the market that is on the right and up the little hill they don't bother you. In Falmouth we did a ship excursion, which we usually don't, it was a river tubing and reggae hill one. It was so much fun. There was music, rum punch, something they kept calling lemon aid that tasted like honey dew melon, and small plates of some of their local dishes that they served to you at your spot. There was a slow moving river at reggae hill that had tire swings in it. we had a blast. The port area there is fenced in and there are a lot of shops and a Margarita Ville. But I have never been to the Bahama's so I can't compare them. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/30/2019 at 8:15 AM, The Fun Researcher said:

We've done Dunn's River Falls from Falmouth and it was more like 45 minutes.  Not that bad.  Falmouth has a nice port area if you just want to get off the ship and browse for souvineers, etc...   Having been to both Falmouth and Nassau, I would still choose Falmouth.

 

LOVE Labadee.  Very relaxed beach day, and there are many things for the kids to do, depending on your likes.

 

I would choose 5 days to the Caribbean and the larger Indy for sure.


Dan

Thanks for the information! Was the road to Dunn’s River Falls a rocky or bumpy one? When I went years ago, I remember it being really rough. Hopefully there have been improvements since then? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, actuarian said:

I actually prefer the Voyager Class ships (like the Mariner) to the Freedom Class ships (like the Independence), due to the smaller size.  As for the ports, my opinion is that Nassau and Falmouth are both good places for staying on the ship and enjoying the pool deck when it will not be crowded.  Labadee is a little nicer than Coco Cay, especially during the construction at Coco Cay.  Nevertheless, the most important part of this comparison (by far) is the extra day: four days good, five days better!  However, you might also consider that the 5-night itinerary including Labadee is also available on the Voyager-Class Navigator out of Miami on April 7 and April 21.  The Navigator is in dry dock right now being amplified so it will be the most up-to-date ship in April.

Good suggestion! I would love to hear what things you prefer about the Voyager class if you don’t mind?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/30/2019 at 8:15 AM, The Fun Researcher said:

We've done Dunn's River Falls from Falmouth and it was more like 45 minutes.  Not that bad.  Falmouth has a nice port area if you just want to get off the ship and browse for souvineers, etc...   Having been to both Falmouth and Nassau, I would still choose Falmouth.

 

LOVE Labadee.  Very relaxed beach day, and there are many things for the kids to do, depending on your likes.

 

I would choose 5 days to the Caribbean and the larger Indy for sure.


Dan

Thank you! Would you mind telling me what things on the Independence make you prefer the larger ship?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is very interesting to hear that most people prefer the Independence. I completely get the 5 day vs 4 day issue, but interesting that it sounds like the Indy is more liked by those posting in general. I read tons of reviews on CC and Mariner seemed to be more highly regarded as a ship based on those reviews. Some of the reviews on the Independence mentioned very dated staterooms and some general disrepair and lack of cleanliness on the ship... did those sailing recently feel differently? We are newbies in terms of the ship options and this all feels pretty overwhelming!! Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/30/2019 at 8:15 AM, The Fun Researcher said:

We've done Dunn's River Falls from Falmouth and it was more like 45 minutes.  Not that bad.  Falmouth has a nice port area if you just want to get off the ship and browse for souvineers, etc...   Having been to both Falmouth and Nassau, I would still choose Falmouth.

 

LOVE Labadee.  Very relaxed beach day, and there are many things for the kids to do, depending on your likes.

 

I would choose 5 days to the Caribbean and the larger Indy for sure.


Dan

Thank you! Did you feel safe in the port area in Falmouth? I’ve heard even there the  atmosphere is on the aggressive side in terms of vendors. Was that your experience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, mrsgthatsme said:

Good suggestion! I would love to hear what things you prefer about the Voyager class if you don’t mind?

It is basically a matter of size; my wife and I prefer smaller ships.  Even the Voyager Class ships are too big in our opinion; we prefer Radiance Class.  However, Radiance Class is not an option for the cruises being discussed here and we still enjoy sailing on Voyager Class ships. 

 

Independence has 251 more rooms than Navigator/Mariner and it is 92 feet longer.  That means more walking and more crowds getting on and off at ports and on embarkation/debarkation day.  It also means bigger crowds at every activity, more crowds at the Windjammer/Main Dining Room/Theater/Schooner Bar/etc.  Finally, the Voyager ships have a higher space ratio than the Freedom Class ships.  That means more space per cruiser, although the space ratios are declining slightly as the ships get amped.  The Navigator had a space ratio of 36 before it was amped but it will come down to 35 due to the addition of new rooms during the dry dock.  The space ratio on the Independence is 34.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, actuarian said:

It is basically a matter of size; my wife and I prefer smaller ships.  Even the Voyager Class ships are too big in our opinion; we prefer Radiance Class.  However, Radiance Class is not an option for the cruises being discussed here (unless you want to cruise out of Tampa) and we still enjoy sailing on Voyager Class ships. 

 

Independence has 251 more rooms than Navigator/Mariner and it is 92 feet longer.  That means more walking and more crowds getting on and off at ports and on embarkation/debarkation day.  It also means bigger crowds at every activity, more crowds at the Windjammer/Main Dining Room/Theater/Schooner Bar/etc.  Finally, the Voyager ships have a higher space ratio than the Freedom Class ships.  That means more space per cruiser, although the space ratios are declining slightly as the ships get amped.  The Navigator had a space ratio of 36 before it was amped but it will come down to 35 due to the addition of new rooms during the dry dock.  The space ratio on the Independence is 34.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How old are your kids? I would vote for Independence and Falmouth and Labadee. The actual port area in Falmouth is developed with shops and restaurants, very safe, and gated. Outside of the port area is not dangerous, but the vendors are sort of aggressive, and it might be alarming for younger kids. We just find it to be kind of annoying. Cocoa Cay is under construction and it is unlikely that the dock will be completed in a timely manner. Labadee is a great beach day for the whole family. JMO. :classic_biggrin:

Edited by Coralc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, mrsgthatsme said:

It is very interesting to hear that most people prefer the Independence. I completely get the 5 day vs 4 day issue, but interesting that it sounds like the Indy is more liked by those posting in general. I read tons of reviews on CC and Mariner seemed to be more highly regarded as a ship based on those reviews. Some of the reviews on the Independence mentioned very dated staterooms and some general disrepair and lack of cleanliness on the ship... did those sailing recently feel differently? We are newbies in terms of the ship options and this all feels pretty overwhelming!! Thank you!

I've been on both and loved both.  You can't go wrong on either one.  They are honestly very similar.  My husband actually prefers Mariner because of its (slightly) smaller size.  I would give a slight edge to Indy, but that's because I love theater and on Indy you have Grease...plus their other production show is very good.  Also, having the extra kids pool, whether you use it or not, spreads out crowds a bit at the pools.  Mariner is very busy on a sea day.  And of course, the extra day is always a bonus. I didn't notice any difference in the rooms but we were in standard type rooms (and different categories so hard to compare).  We loved both though, and even have Mariner booked again next summer.

Edited by LuCruise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...