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Old 04-11-2012, 02:05 PM   #46
ilovetexas
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I don't do ship excursions when I can avoid them. We will be doing the ruins through DCL in Costa Maya next month but I haven't been there before so I don't have a review.

Grand Cayman - I went to StingRay City and Snorkeling with Moby Dick tours last year and am going with them again this year. Although, that jet ski adventure to the stingrays and to Rum Point that someone was talking about really caught my eye. Maybe next time. The guys at Moby Dick are very good guides and the boat isn't crowded. Also, you can take ANY age child on their boats, no age restriction.

Cozumel - Nachi Cocum!!!! I discovered it last year and don't ever want to do anything else there again!!! It's the ultimate beach day. $50 gets you GREAT food, good service, a covered spot on an uncrowded beach, a pool with a swim up bar, and all you can drink all day. It's about a 10(ish) minute cab ride and costs $15 each way. Even after you tip everyone nicely, it's a very inexpensive day.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:49 PM   #47
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I was hoping someone would speak to this as well. We are booked for this in March and I hope it is good. Can anyone offer their thoughts on the Cozumel Highlights and Myan Ruins tour in Cozumel?
Also would appreciate any feedback on this tour...
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:04 PM   #48
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Our cruise was in September 2009 so it was a while ago now.

Key West - We did this on our own. We did the trolley tour. Just walked up and booked it at the time and jumped on. It was exceptionally hot though. We went to the Southernmost Point, queued to have our photo taken, then took the trolley back to port where we had icecream. We did enjoy seeing the town from the trolley but we felt like we were melting when we were walking around.

Grand Cayman - Island Tour and Butterfly Farm. We enjoyed this although the kids were a bit bored on the bus tour part. The turtles were great. The kids got to watch some baby turtles hatching which was pretty cool. They also enjoyed the butterfly farm although there was a huge thunderstorm while we were here so we were stuck inside for a while. Hell was ok for a few minutes but the gift shop was really tacky and the kids had no interest at all. Rum factory pretty boring and a waste of time. Its just a shop.

Cozumel - Absolutely the hightlight of the trip. We did the Dolphin Encounter at Chankanaab. Chankanaab is one of the nicest places we have been to and I wouldn't hesitate to spend time there even without the dolphin experience. The dolphins and trainers with the dolphins were awesome and we all had a great time. The only negative I could say is that the water was a little choppy and we had to hang onto my 4 year old and the wall most of the time to stop floating out. We ate while we were there, the kids had their hair braided, swan in the pool, walked around the beautiful gardens, snorkelled and the kids played in the playground. Would definitely recommend.

Castaway Cay - Here we just rented snorkels and floats and relaxed on the beach. Absolute paradise. I couldn't imagine a cruise without Castaway Cay. DH did parasailing which he loved. He said that the water was so clear, he could see everything from up there.

Next cruise, we are going to try something different though. We are doing Discovery Cove this time so no dolphins for us on the cruise. We are going to try the Fury Catamaran in Cozumel this time. We were thinking of doing Discover Native Cayman and Saltwater Forest in Grand Cayman although its really hard to find reviews for this one. In fact I've only been able to find 1. We also have Costa Maya this time. We were thinking that we would do The Mayans through the Ages. I'd love to hear some information about this one if anyone has done it on another cruise.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:05 PM   #49
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Great info!
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:31 PM   #50
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I did Western on CCL a couple years ago and booked all my excursions on my own.

Cozumel - did the bar hop bus. This was tons of fun and not the rowdy drink fest it sounds like, although I'm sure it could be. We had 10 in our group and rode to the other, virtually uninhabited side of the island. You go to 3 or 4 bars and get a drink in each bar. Some people didn't drink but were just there for the scenery. It was so beautiful! And we were mostly the only people in the bars since it was during the day. They are all on the beach so you can swim or lay out. Or relax with some chips and oh so yummy guacamole! I am thinking of doing this again whenI am there on the Fantasy in Feb and I will bring the 8 and 11 year olds. They will love having the beach all to themselves!

Costa Maya - we did the Mayan Experience tour with Ivan from Native Choice. Holy cow! This was the best excursion ever! We went to one of the ruins, I forget which one and Ivan took us around. About halfway through the tour, he told us that his father had been the one to discover that particular temple and that he grew up on the grounds. Like literally his house was there! It was really neat to hear stories about growing up there.
After the ruins, we went to a Mayan family's house. They served us a traditional Mayan meal (so good and not nearly as exotic as you would think) , spoke about Mayan life now and even did some dances for us. Unfortunately, I don't think we will be in port nearly long enough to do this, but you should try.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:33 PM   #51
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Great info. Please keep comments and reviews coming
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:18 AM   #52
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:47 AM   #53
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Just off the March 30 to April 6 sailing of the Magic.

Key West
We just walked around on our own. We walked to the Southernmost Point, and stopped for the obligatory key lime pie. DS (13) was uncomfortable here and the amount of smoking really bothered him. Key West is definitely a drinking town.

Grand Cayman
We booked Boatswain's on our own. It was $56 for two of us to book directly through their website (they had 20% off for the time we were there). The shuttle they offer has odd times, so we asked some locals how to find the bus. We took the bus for $2.50/pp. There a ton of turtles, and since we had access to the whole park, we spent quite a bit of time in the swimming pool. There were not many people there and it was nice to have so much space (in comparison to the ship pools). We walked over to the Rum Cake Factory and then caught a bus back to Georgetown.

Cozumel
We booked the El Rio Secreto through DCL. We met at 9:15 in Diversions. We were the first group off the ship at 9:45. They met us at the gangway and took us directly to our personal ferry. The only guests onboard the ferry were from the Magic. The ride over was a little choppy, but I personally loved it as it was rocking me to sleep. A lot of people got up and moved to the back, so DS and I had the whole front to ourselves. The guides from El Rio Secreto met us as we came off the ferry and took us to our destination via van. This was the most amazing part of our whole cruise. The secret river is absolutely gorgeous. I would highly recommend this to anyone. After our tour, we had a nice lunch and about 1/2 hour to sit in the hammocks and relax. We then caught the van back to Playa del Carmen where we had about an hour to shop. Then we again had our own ferry back to the pier at 5:00. We were back on the Magic by 5:45.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:21 PM   #54
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Just off the March 30 to April 6 sailing of the Magic.

Key West
We just walked around on our own. We walked to the Southernmost Point, and stopped for the obligatory key lime pie. DS (13) was uncomfortable here and the amount of smoking really bothered him. Key West is definitely a drinking town.

Grand Cayman
We booked Boatswain's on our own. It was $56 for two of us to book directly through their website (they had 20% off for the time we were there). The shuttle they offer has odd times, so we asked some locals how to find the bus. We took the bus for $2.50/pp. There a ton of turtles, and since we had access to the whole park, we spent quite a bit of time in the swimming pool. There were not many people there and it was nice to have so much space (in comparison to the ship pools). We walked over to the Rum Cake Factory and then caught a bus back to Georgetown.

Cozumel
We booked the El Rio Secreto through DCL. We met at 9:15 in Diversions. We were the first group off the ship at 9:45. They met us at the gangway and took us directly to our personal ferry. The only guests onboard the ferry were from the Magic. The ride over was a little choppy, but I personally loved it as it was rocking me to sleep. A lot of people got up and moved to the back, so DS and I had the whole front to ourselves. The guides from El Rio Secreto met us as we came off the ferry and took us to our destination via van. This was the most amazing part of our whole cruise. The secret river is absolutely gorgeous. I would highly recommend this to anyone. After our tour, we had a nice lunch and about 1/2 hour to sit in the hammocks and relax. We then caught the van back to Playa del Carmen where we had about an hour to shop. Then we again had our own ferry back to the pier at 5:00. We were back on the Magic by 5:45.

I really wanted to do the Secret River. My DH is not thrilled about wearing the wet suits because of the ick factor. Did the wet suits seem clean? Were they at least dry when they were given to you? How cold is the water? How hard is it to go through the cave for 50 year olds? I am a little claustrophobic how long does it take to get through the one spot that looks really low on the pictures? Was there lockers to keep your stuff? If so where do you keep the key? Did you feel your things were safe there? Thanks
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:08 PM   #55
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Thanks for the info on Nachi Cocum. Will definitely book that for next year. Sounds very nice.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:16 PM   #56
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:41 PM   #57
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I really wanted to do the Secret River. My DH is not thrilled about wearing the wet suits because of the ick factor. Did the wet suits seem clean? Were they at least dry when they were given to you? How cold is the water? How hard is it to go through the cave for 50 year olds? I am a little claustrophobic how long does it take to get through the one spot that looks really low on the pictures? Was there lockers to keep your stuff? If so where do you keep the key? Did you feel your things were safe there? Thanks
Yes, the wet suits seemed clean. After we took ours off, the rinsed them in a solution (I don't know what it was though). The suits were dry when we got them. I think partially because we were one of the first tours of the day, and we had a small group (6 people). There were some larger groups (12) going in when we were eating lunch. The thing that kinda made me squeamish were the water shoes. They were wet and squishy when we put them on. However, once you are in the cave, you forget all about having a wet suit and squishy shoes on.

You are asked not to touch any of the formations, as the oils from your hands stops their growth. The terrain in the cave is quite bumpy and you have to step over and around many formations without using your hands to hold on. When we had some bigger steps, however, our guide held our hand and we often took turns helping the person behind us. You don't want to have bad knees or a bad back while walking in there. They will ask that several times before you go in.

We spent probably close to 2 hours in the cave. Our guide (Alanis) was incredibly thorough. I think it probably helped that we had a DCL crew member from Port Adventures with us and they wanted to make a good impression. Most tours are about 1.5 hours.

There were only two places where we had to duck our heads and it was for only 3-4 steps forward. There were no really small, enclosed spaces. We just needed to duck our heads because of low growing stalactites.

They will provide you with a locker, lock and key. The key is on a rope that you can hang around your neck (I wrapped it around my wrist) and tuck inside your wet suit.

The water in the cave is between 62-66 degrees F. It was cool, but the cave is very humid and it felt really good to get in the water and cool off. You are not submerged in deep water for the whole tour. You will be in ankle deep, knee deep, no water at all, and then finally deeper water where you will float along. I was worried about being cold, but wasn't at all. In fact I was really hot before we got into the water due to the humidity.

The cave was amazing. It is so peaceful in there, so quiet and pure. I felt very safe the whole time. I commented to others in our group that no where in the US would they allow you to go into something so raw and beautiful. I cannot recommend this excursion enough! It was the best $109/pp that we spent on our trip!
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:03 PM   #58
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Alexander
Just one more question. Any idea why they said no bad knees?
Thanks for the info, including the squishy shoes
I will have DH read your reviews and then we will discuss it. It sounds like an amazing time.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:31 AM   #59
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Alexander
Just one more question. Any idea why they said no bad knees?
Thanks for the info, including the squishy shoes
I will have DH read your reviews and then we will discuss it. It sounds like an amazing time.
The terrain is pretty uneven and even slippery in spots. There are places you need to step down that you cannot see where you are putting your foot. I think they just want to make sure that if you have bad knees you are okay walking in those types of areas.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:58 PM   #60
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The terrain is pretty uneven and even slippery in spots. There are places you need to step down that you cannot see where you are putting your foot. I think they just want to make sure that if you have bad knees you are okay walking in those types of areas.
Thanks Alexander!
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