Review: Oasis of the Seas with Royal Caribbean (June 6,2015 sailing) Part 2 - The Ports
We did the 7 night Western Caribbean leaving from Fort Lauderdale and visiting Labadee, Haiti - Falmouth, Jamaica - and Cozumel, Mexico.
Fort Lauderdale: We arrived a day early and stayed Friday Night at the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale. Around this hotel isn’t much too do but there is a shopping center behind the hotel with shops and restaurants to check out and the main reason we stayed here was for the Happy Hour with free drinks and snacks from 5:30 to 7:30PM and the free Hot Breakfast in the morning before check out. The Hotel also offered a shuttle right to the airport for about $7 per person which made getting to the ship quick and easy
Labadee, Haiti: This is a private resort with free food and drinks - have a drink package and those drinks are free too. Quickly learned my lesson here that with the Premium Drink Package you can't order a diet coke and bottle of water at the same time BUT can order a Rum/whiskey and Diet with a bottle of water - not sure how that makes sense but sure whatever. We spent a majority of the day in the water and got our worst sunburns here so apply that sunscreen early and often. There are many excursions you can buy at this port but the best in my opinion is the Floating Beach Mat for $20 per person and buying some snorkel gear. You can walk along the whole port is you want and it really isn't that far of a distance from one end to the other. There is lots to see with little shops towards the end that have very vocal locals trying to sell their stuff but if you ignore them you will be fine. Think there was about 3 or 4 different beaches you could sit at and 2 lunch buffets. NOTE food is only served at the buffet and when it is gone it is gone so eat early if you can.
Falmouth, Jamaica: Least Favorite port by far. If I would have known what Jamaica is really like before we got there I would have booked a shore excursion for sure! This port has about a mile of shops right after getting off the boat that is gated in and you have to show your sea pass card to get in and out. Me and Eddie were confused by this but wanted to see the town and as soon as we walked out the gate we knew it was a big mistake. There are so many locals that won't leave you alone and won't let you ignore them. They follow you - they harass you - they yell at you - they touch you - they beg for money - and the list goes on. It was horrible we walked down the street and quickly back because it was NOT a safe place to be. Talking to one of the vendor that was in the gate we learned that the gated port area was built because so many people were complaining about the harassment that if it wasn't there no cruise ships would stop. Within the port there are a lot of good places to shop and a majority of the souvenirs we brought back were from Falmouth (Good Rum and lots of Bob Marley Swag). To eat you have a few options. Spice Kitchen and Bar had great Chicken Wings. A little stand called Tastee - sold patties which were Empinada like packets full of beef or chicken. And if you want to get away from it was Margaritaville has a pool you can sit and relax in all day.
Cozumel, Mexico: This was mine and Eddie's Favorite Port so far - I could have spent all day in this port and I have no doubt why people joke about how many port runners are see on this port because even without an excursion there was too much to do and see in one trip. Again there is a big shopping port right after you get off the boat with shops and restaurants. All we really had time for in here was SR Frogs that’s has a total party vibe with a nice view of the boat and killer margaritas (the food was just ok-typically bar food). Across from the port is another Mall with a Hard Rock Café. Turn Left and you head downtown Turn Right as you head towards the beaches. We turned Right thinking we'd find a great snorkeling spot but instead ran in the Jose Cuervo Distillery and stopped in for a tasting. It was right outside of Discover Mexico kind of in the middle of nowhere and ironically ran into the cruise ship tour that arrived shortly after us but was a part of our tasting group (we paid $44/person for just the tasting or $75 to add on a taco lunch -- we just did the tasting -- if you purchase on board you pay $70 with/taco lunch no option to do just the tasting) The tasting itself lasted about 2 and a half hours. We tasted 3 different styles of 1800 (which I didn't even know was Jose Curevo lol) - learned the difference between sipping and margarita tequilas - got some food recipes to try out at home with tequila - got a little tour of the Discover Mexico site - and ended the tasting with learning how to make the best mango margarita I have ever had and of course getting to drink it!! If you're up for a 30 minute walk I would say venture off and find this on your own it was an easy walk and you get to see the city.