Cruise Ship Vacations Un-Censored Part Duex “Oh those wonderful ports of call”
In my last post I discussed the fleecing of cruise lemming and how to avoid the end of cruise sticker shock. Now it is time to delve into those wonderful glamorous ports of call you will or will not be stopping at.
Everyone loves travel it helps us spool down from our frazzled lives of, selling stuff, getting other people to sell stuff, making stuff to sell, keeping people from dying so they can buy stuff and best of all buying stuff for ourselves. All the while, finding your kids, finding your kids covered in unknown and known substances, keeping your kids from trying to feed your Prozac to the dog. All this stress and in your ten minutes of down time you see a vision on T.V., a island deep blue water, white sand beaches, sexy people in small swim wear. You say to yourself, “I deserve to be there”. And you do so you book a cruise. But in your delirious haze of life you forget what you see it not always what you get.
Ports of call: The fleecing dose not end on board for the cruise lines they extend their slimy tentacles ashore as well. They may have already hit you up for a catamaran and snorkel trip for a
$100.00 bucks of which they make 50.
How does the cruise line pick a port, you ask? There are a couple reasons one is the most expected, a pretty place where people will pay you to take them at 30MPH. The others are yup you guessed it, does the port offer ways for them to make more cash.
Here is how it works;
Ships look for ports with low port fees formulated by how long it takes to get there (fuel is expensive) mixed with lots of tour operators so they can continue to make money snd popularity.
Safety- which is weighed from country to country depending on profits to be made
Feral Dogs don't laugh I noticed a correlation between the amount of ships in a port and the number of feral dogs.
When the above is not enough they buy a small island, (I.e. Coco Cay, ) where it is staffed by cruise line staff and all profits for activities and drinks goes right back to the ship.
Do they own the docks? (the industry has spent billions on building docks and port facilities filled with contracted duty free shop. Bars, and questionable dinning establishments that they get 30% of all sales.
You will see on board a person called the “port and shopping guide” or “Port Lecturer” they are not employees of the cruise line they are hired marketing spokesmen and women for contracted shops and restaurants in port. They make a lot of money. I know I was one. I averaged 4000 a week in commissions. They will spew the virtues of shopping in port and some of them are real good deals other meh!
Caribbean Ports! “The Long , Short & Ugly List”
Cozumel Mexico: first on the list and the largest cruise ship destination port in the world. More than 1100 ships a year, that is an average of 21 ships a day dumping an average of 22,000 people most of which wearing matching tee shirts. Cozumel is only 28 miles long and really only has one city San Miguel. The beaches you see on tv are far away requiring you to take a shore package from the ship or fend for yourselves by taxi. Other wise all you will see is jewelry shops, taco stands, clothing stores and bar full of really really drunk cruise ship passengers dancing topless well past the age you want to see people dance topless. ( Carlos & Charlies or Senior Frogs)
Grand Cayman: Ahh even the sound of it oozes rich and famous, because it is. Cayman is home to a lot of off shore banks ( where the executives from A.I.G., BNY, Leman Bros hide their money) and internet casinos. Small is not an understatement.it has no natural source of fresh water. So why was it inhabited in the first place. So people can leave money there. Granted it has some of the best diving in the world and the water is amazing but it has no soul. American chain restaurants or turtle burgers ( yes real sea turtle) If you order a burger in grand cayman and don't specify beef or ham you get turtle. It also has all the same shops as your last port. Hmmm confidence I don't think so. Also the worst part is it is too shallow to dock. So you ship anchors off shore and if the waves are no too big have little boats called tender come and whisk you away to shore. This Battan death march can take hours as the people who pay for tours get off first and everyone else clogs the stairwells like a cheeseburger in Oprah's arteries, waiting to get off. And if it is a bit windy and the seas are up? Sorry you dont get to leave the ship port canceled. This happens around a little over half the time. The cruise line does not care it is just more on board revenue for them and they will only refund half of your tour fees.
Belize City, Belize:
Belize it or not this place is a dangerous shit hole. The ship due to shallow water is another tender port. The tender takes 30 minutes to get to the heavily fenced / guarded and armed port.
DO NOT WANDER OUTSIDE THE PORT WITH OUT A TOUR!
Belize is also home to some amazing rainforests and the closest place in the world to a city to see wild jaguars. You again will notice the same shops as the last two ports I am sensing a theme happening.
Ochos Rios, Jamacia:
No beaches near the port the downtown is not safe, same shops as other ports yawn..........
Wooo Hooo now we are talking, stunning beaches great people a real lack of contracted shops a true caribbean paradise. My recommendation take a cab to the south of the island to the monkey bar and beach. Real monkeys run wild( you cen get them drunk as well as feed them) cows on the beaches and roads what more could you ask for to forget your recession stress back home.
Avoid like the plague, dirty, rude and at the same lattitude as south carolina, so save your money and go to hilton head instead.
It is florida and 90 miles from Cuba, no real beaches but lots of bars, gay pride parades and way too many hemmingway shlock. But if you like to party it is fun, if you like hemmingway visit his house and see the decentants of his polydactal cats (six toed cats they are sweet and weird at the same time. Also unlike the other places and feral dogs Key West is full of feral roosters. I know WTF but they are everywhere. Lots of free roaming Cock. Maybe that is why it became the gay riveria. They arrived and said shit bob said cocks I didnt think he ment poultry.
So that is my line up for the Caribbean. Full of hard to find beaches, identical shops which give money right back to the cruise ships and feral dogs. Stay tuned for pacific paradise from the sea in part 3.
Part 3 Coming soon: “Pacific Paradise or Ports of Poo?”