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rickb609

Courtney Taylor?

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I see that YOU have been a member for many years but the other 11 I speak of have not. It's highly suspicious that all these posters join CC solely to praise this tour operator.

 

I've been a member for over a year and have read the board for much longer. I find it informative, but have not had anything worthwhile to add, so I felt no need to post. Now I do.

 

The reason so many "First posters" are praising Courtney is because they have *met* him and taken one of his tours. Unless one has, I think it extremely unfair to disparage him--or the people who *have* toured with him and rave about it.

 

As to why they *are* "First posters," it is because Courtney has introduced them to the CruiseCritic forum--which, I believe, is a good thing.

 

I discovered this list in May 2009, while planning a Western Caribbean cruse in June for my extended family. I spent many days researching cruise lines and ports of call, and a couple of days on Ocho Rios. I decided to contact Courtney Taylor primarily due to the praise he got on this website.

 

I sent him an e-mail describing my group of 20 people, ranging in age from 13-83. Most were in their 30's thru 60's. I requested suggestions for possible visits. He replied *immediately* with a long list of possible activities and attractions. I then spent another day researching each--and others--and then e-mailed him back for a quote.

 

I also requested information on various local items, such as cellphone service and wireless internet. He responded immediately, again, and was most helpful--expanding upon the services given and the highlights available.

 

We settled upon a price of $300 for 7 hours for 19 people--payable at the end of the tour, and with *no* deposit.

 

I was a bit late arriving, as no one had mentioned that ships time was an hour earlier than Jamaica time, but when we arrived, all I had to do was ask for Courtney and one of the other drivers went and brought back his brother Orville. Courtney was tied up with another tour, but Orville was also a wonderful guide.

 

He pulled up a large bus that would have held nearly three times our number and we clambered aboard and were seated in air conditioned comfort.

 

I always plan my own self-directed tours with room for driver input, so I polled my group and we settled on three locations to start. But first, a quick stop at a local bodega for a quart of local rum, a case of cokes, a handful of limes, a bag of ice and a Styrofoam cooler, a tube of disposable cups, and a couple of gallons of water--all for about the price of two drinks on the ship. It was party time in Jaimaca!

 

We dropped off the first group for tubing and the second at a beach for snorkeling.

 

After reclaiming the tubers at the bottom of their run, we took a nice tour up the coast seeing the native country, the backstreets of the city, lovely homes, and some of the well-known sites of Ocho Rios--stopping along the way for a few roadside vendors.

 

I asked Orville to take us to an off-the-beaten-path market, so we wouldn't be hounded by the normal tourist scams. He found a nice little place where the prices were slightly lower than downtown, but where bargaining was the order of the day. I *love* to haggle--it's my favorite game, so I had a ball. I bought everything I had on my list and paid anywhere from 50-75% off of the original asking price. I was very happy with the prices and, a year later, am still pleased with the quality of the merchandise.

 

After that, we picked up the snorkeling group and Orville took us to a great little local restaurant up on a hill, where we were the only customers. We sat out in a garden under a large palapa, and ate the most delicious chicken jerk. My family are mostly tea-totalers, so they drank various fruit drinks, and the waiters had no objection to the boozers in our group bringing our own Cuba Libres.

 

By then, it was approaching embarkation time, so we had him drop off a dozen hard-core shoppers at the market by the port and the rest of us at the ship.

 

It was a fantastic way to see Jamaica, and I would never go back without first arranging for another day with Courtney Taylor's tour group!

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We are booked with Courtney in a couple of weeks (and I will post a review, since I have more than one post to my credit :)). He offered to take us to a restaurant on Mahogany Beach, and give us some time to hit the beach if we wish.

 

Anybody know how the beach is for swimming? Did anybody else eat at the restaurant on Mahogany Beach?

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We've just returned from our fabulous cruise on RCCL, Liberty of the Seas. Our trip to Ocho Rios was the highlight of all of the cruise ports, Thanks to Courtney Taylor. He came highly recommended on these boards. From the first moment I contacted him by e-mail, he made me feel very comfortable and I knew he would take care of our group of 10. Do not hesitate to book with Courtney. He will customize your tour to exactly what you want to do. He was a wealth of information and very friendly during our tour. It was a very rainy day the entire time we were on our tour. We wondered if we should cancel due to the weather; thought it would be a waste of money. We were glad we didn't. Courtney saved the day with his ideas of things we could still see and do in the rain. I will not hesitate to recommend him in the future and if I ever return to Ocho Rios, I will be contacting Courtney.

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We just returned from our Freedom cruise, Oct. 3-9. I booked Courtney from the reviews I had read. We got off the ship and asked for Courtney and they had us wait at the side and they called for Courtney. Courtney was very professional and even accomodated a member of our party that was unexpectedly in a wheelchair. Courtney took us to Fern Gully and drove us around to see different areas of the island to see how the people live. We went to see a spice lady and listened to her tell about spices and see where they are grown. She was very interesting to listen to. He took us to a pottery place to watch them make pottery. The let my nephew make a pot from clay and that was the highlight of the tour for him. We wanted to go to the Blue Hole but due to the rains they had been having the water was very muddy so we decided to skip that. We then had him drop us off at the Island shopping area by the ship so my dad could go back and rest. We said our goodbyes to Courtney and spent the next couple of hours shopping a spending time at the beach by Margaritaville. I give a big thumbs up to Courtney. He gave us a very informative and safe tour of the island and I highly recommend him as a tour guide. Thanks Courtney for a wonderful day in Ocho Rios.

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We toured with Courtney off the Ryndam in October. It was a good tour of the island for first timers to Jamaica-Dunns River Falls, Fern Gully, Wassai Pottery, lunch on Mahogany Beach, shopping and Juici Patties.

 

Our group did not want to climb the falls, but they were worth seeing, and it was OUR choice to go there. Courtney got us to the falls before the crowds descended. It was packed by the time we left. Fern Gully was a nice drive through, and we made a photo stop. We also met the spice lady, and I have the nutmeg and allspice to prove it. She was fun to visit, and was not a hard sell. The pottery studio was a great stop, as you were able to watch them working on throwing and painting the pottery. They had some very nice pieces for sale, but there was no pressure to buy. I can't say that for the street vendors in Fern Gully, at the one "scenic overlook" stop, or around the shopping area. Most understood a firm "no thanks", but it took repeating it several times.

 

Lunch at Mahogany Beach was nice. Open air, nice view of the water, and it was definitely a "locals" restaurant. We were surprised to see the ship's security officer stop in for some lunch, too.

 

Courtney gave us a good tour, adding some surprises like the spice lady. He was more than willing to go to where you asked, such as the stop for Juici Patties.

 

If I could make some constructive comments, a bit more information about the island history and culture would be nice. Also, Courtney did not provide water, pop or other beverages for the tourists, unlike tours I've been on in other locations. I'd pay a few dollars more for that, as it was hot and very humid the day we were with him.

 

Courtney was courteous and friendly, and I would not hesitate to recommend him. While not at the very top of the list of tour operators we've used, he certainly is a far cry from those at the bottom.

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Just wanted to know, my husband and I would like to get a tour with Courtney Taylor in December. I have tried the email addresses and website I found on facebook. Emails come back undeliverable and still no response when I sent a request on his website. Anyone else having trouble? Makes a nervous, is he still around?

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The review of our tour is just a few posts up on this page. We did not go to the blue hole, never intended to do so. I can't offer any insight into that location, sorry.

 

As for the beach, while we could have gone in at Mahogany Beach, we were having enough fun just chatting and having lunch that nobody went into the water. We did walk on the sand, but that was it. The sand was not pretty and white, more like playground sand, but it was a quiet and location with pretty water. Of course, there was the beachside bar/restaurant, too.

 

Sorry I can't give you more beach/swimming info.

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Scheduled tour with Courtney but ship unable to make port due to weather. Courtney was great to deal with, prompt, answered all questions

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Just returned home from cruise. I booked Courtney Taylor for our guide in Montego Bay. We wanted to stay close in the area, so decided not to go to Ocho Rios. Courtney drove our group of eight around to see some of the sites, to a few shops (hassle-free), and waited while we spent a couple of hours on the beach. He was most accommodating and took great care of us. We were extremely comfortable at all times and thoroughly enjoyed our relaxing day. I would strongly recommend booking a tour with Coutney for anyone going to Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. Next time we go, he'll be our guide again. You won't be disappointed.!

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I went on my 3rd Carnival Cruise on December 4th and we went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I booked Courtney Taylor and we had a fabulous time. It was 4 of us and the tour was only $40. We went to Dunn's River Falls, The Blue Hole, and he gave us a wonderful tour around the Island. After the tour, he took us to lunch and the beach. We really got a chance to see how the Jamaicans lived and interacted. Dunn's River Falls was amazing. That was the highlight of our tour. Courtney is very nice, professional, and knowledgable. I would highly recommend Courtney Taylor for your next Jamaica trip.

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My husband and I have been to Jamaica on two other occasions, although on these occasions we were in a resort and had all transportation taken care of. When we decided to go back and show family and my son, we were at a loss as to how to get our needs met and see what we knew was out there to see. My husband searched the web and found Courtney on cruise critic. he read all the rave reviews and we decided to give it a try. We were not let down at all. Courney was extremely responsive to all of my e-mails prior to the trip and his tour was fantastic. There were 5 of us and we wanted a VERY SMALL low key tour. Courtney gave that to us and let us explore as we felt that we wanted to. Thank you again Courtney and I would recommend you to anyone. If we do a Crribean cruise we will definatley use you again.

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None of the ship's excursions covered what I wanted to do in Jamaica so my Dad and I opted for private tour. I found Courtney through reviews on this site and another travel review site. His price of $35 per person was very reasonable compairs to the ships prices and we had a terrific tour. He met us right at the port at the time he stated. We were unsure what all we wanted to see but gave him some ideas and he put together an excellent day. We stopped by waterfalls, Shaw Gardens, Fern Gully, met a women who knew all about local spices, did some shopping and then ended with lunch at Scotchies. He dropped us off at island village and made sure we knew how to get back to the ship from there. Our tour was about 4 hours total and we saw everything we wanted to on our own pace. Total cost was $70 for 2 people plus a tip for his good service, $30 in entery fees for some of the sites we visited and $12 for lunch.

Tips for Ochos Rios: Lunch at Scotchies is a must - great local food! Take lots of 1 dollar bills for tips (everyone wants a tip). The spiders are big but they run away from people.

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I had booked Courtney through Cruise Critic for my cruise in January 2011. We were to visit Jamaica on January 5th. Just before leaving on the trip, a friend called to tell me she would avoid jamaica at all costs. She had just returned from a week long vacation at one of the resorts and had some horror stories to relate to me. Included in her stories was one involving Dunn's River Falls. Her husband was seperated from their group by 4 locals. The husband ended up being frisked for money and valuables. Luckily he was able to get the group's attention and they came back to help him out. The locals scattered but she was pretty shaken up by the incident. It happened so fast, no one was aware of his situation until he called out to them.

 

After the phone call, we had a family meeting and since I was travelling with my wife and 3 daughters, we decided to cancel our reservation with Courtney and stay on the ship. I was not happy making the decision, but when your family's safety is at stake, what real choice did we have?

 

The decision never sat well with me, because afterall, we visit the Islands not just for the beach but for the culture as well. The unrest in Jamaica is well documented, but with a tour guide recommended by Cruise Critic, I just felt we would be missing out. After discussions with my wife, we decided we would go for it with Courtney and just avoid the Falls.

 

We met with Courtney in Ocho Rios and discussed the safety issues again. He just asked where we wanted to go and he would look after us - no problem mon! We visited Fern Gully, the Spice Lady and went to the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole was great - just what my daughters needed. It was a fun time. Be careful of the guide Kevin though. I tipped him $20 for his time with us while we jumped off the sides and waterfalls. I had asked Courtney what would be a fair tip and it was agreed that the $20 was more than fair. Kevin wanted $10 for each of us ($50) which I thought was outrageous. I spoke to Courtney and he made things right with Kevin.

 

We visited Mahogany Beach (nothing great) but did not try the Jerk Chicken. We decided not to shop and headed back to the ship.

 

Courtney was very personable and professional. He eased our fears about safety and over aggressive vendors - actually speaking to a couple of vendors before seeing us so they would tone down their approach. We happily bought some items from them because we were allowed to view the articles and discuss the purchase without being hounded into buying them. It made for a very pleasant experience.

 

Courtney is a very good tour guide. His van is clean and airconditioned. He could have given us a lot more history of the Island and had some cold beverages on hand, as someone already posted. Our main concern was safety and there was never any issue, especially with my girls. I'm glad we decided to get off the ship and meet with Courtney. It turned out to be a very memorable day.

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I had booked Courtney through Cruise Critic for my cruise in January 2011. We were to visit Jamaica on January 5th. Just before leaving on the trip, a friend called to tell me she would avoid jamaica at all costs. She had just returned from a week long vacation at one of the resorts and had some horror stories to relate to me. Included in her stories was one involving Dunn's River Falls. Her husband was seperated from their group by 4 locals. The husband ended up being frisked for money and valuables. Luckily he was able to get the group's attention and they came back to help him out. The locals scattered but she was pretty shaken up by the incident. It happened so fast, no one was aware of his situation until he called out to them.

 

After the phone call, we had a family meeting and since I was travelling with my wife and 3 daughters, we decided to cancel our reservation with Courtney and stay on the ship. I was not happy making the decision, but when your family's safety is at stake, what real choice did we have?

 

The decision never sat well with me, because afterall, we visit the Islands not just for the beach but for the culture as well. The unrest in Jamaica is well documented, but with a tour guide recommended by Cruise Critic, I just felt we would be missing out. After discussions with my wife, we decided we would go for it with Courtney and just avoid the Falls.

 

We met with Courtney in Ocho Rios and discussed the safety issues again. He just asked where we wanted to go and he would look after us - no problem mon! We visited Fern Gully, the Spice Lady and went to the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole was great - just what my daughters needed. It was a fun time. Be careful of the guide Kevin though. I tipped him $20 for his time with us while we jumped off the sides and waterfalls. I had asked Courtney what would be a fair tip and it was agreed that the $20 was more than fair. Kevin wanted $10 for each of us ($50) which I thought was outrageous. I spoke to Courtney and he made things right with Kevin.

 

We visited Mahogany Beach (nothing great) but did not try the Jerk Chicken. We decided not to shop and headed back to the ship.

 

Courtney was very personable and professional. He eased our fears about safety and over aggressive vendors - actually speaking to a couple of vendors before seeing us so they would tone down their approach. We happily bought some items from them because we were allowed to view the articles and discuss the purchase without being hounded into buying them. It made for a very pleasant experience.

 

Courtney is a very good tour guide. His van is clean and airconditioned. He could have given us a lot more history of the Island and had some cold beverages on hand, as someone already posted. Our main concern was safety and there was never any issue, especially with my girls. I'm glad we decided to get off the ship and meet with Courtney. It turned out to be a very memorable day.

 

 

We are booked with Courtney May 4th for a Dunns Hike and River Tubing...I am glad that you posted about the beverages. I will facebook with Courtney and let him know that we would like some beverages for the day...

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I am booked with Courtney on February 17! Will let you know how it goes. Getting excited!!!!:D

 

 

:DHoly Cow...getting excited...I have over 2.5 months to go and i am bouncing off the walls. Please tell Courtney we are looking forward to excursion as well.

Angela

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:DHoly Cow...getting excited...I have over 2.5 months to go and i am bouncing off the walls. Please tell Courtney we are looking forward to excursion as well.

 

Angela

Okay..so getting excited was just a bit:Dof an understatement!!!:p

Will tell Courtney hi for you!

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I am booked with Courtney on February 17! Will let you know how it goes. Getting excited!!!!:D

 

 

Hi itaslljimmysfault! I am on the same cruise as you and I remember seeing that you had posted about this tour on the roll call...I am interested in booking this as well...it's getting late to book things, but we kind of booked this cruise last minute. Do you know if Courtney would have room for 2 more on this tour? I did just send him a message through his website, but don't know how long it will be until I hear back, so I thought I'd check with you. Thanks!

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Okay..so getting excited was just a bit:Dof an understatement!!!:p

Will tell Courtney hi for you!

 

 

:DThank you so much....enjoy the land of where everything is Irie...not to mention Jamaican rum is pretty damn good.

Angela

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We just booked our excursion for 5 ppl, the cost for the private tour was $25pp (which is what everyone else is charging at the moment) and the cruise ships itinerary is limited. I emailed Courtney and said what we wanted to see and he emailed back within 1 day saying we are booked.

 

We take off on Carnival Liberty on 3/26 so I cannot wait until the 31st to see Jamaica. I do see a lot of first time posters but at the same a lot of "seasoned" posters so I don't have any worries.

 

I will absolutely post my review, both pros and cons (if any) as I believe these boards are great to get the whole picture.

 

The people that have used courtney, where does he meet you at? His last email just said meet you at the docks with a sign. Is it easy to see? I mean we have 3000 people getting off the boat so I don't want to miss him.

 

Also, so we are not late how to we ensure ship vs. local time is correct or make sure we are not late?

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We used Courtney Taylor when we were on the Liberty in February. You are right, there are 3000 people getting off the ship in Ocho Rios...and you have to go through a building first, before you go out into the parking area. I was told the same thing, "just look for me, or ask for me by name"...I did just that, I told one of the 'security people' that I was looking for Courtney, and they phoned him and told him we were there. We waited about 10 minutes, and then were lead out into the masses of people to where Courtney was waiting for us. He is awesome. He is friendly and knows alot about his island. He will take you where you want, when you want and you can stay at those places for as long as you want. He took my family of 5 and we were with him the entire time we were there, and could not have been more satisfied! Enjoy your day with him, you will be glad you booked with him!

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