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Old 06-09-2012, 08:44 PM   #31
tammyg1515
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We were on the April 28th Fantasy cruise. In Grand Cayman, we went to the Seven Mile Beach via a bus, and I would NOT recommend it. We were packed into a bus in the heat and humidity and had to wait until the bus was full before we would leave for the beach. The person who we took the bus from had on a Port Authority polo shirt and we thought this would be a reputable company - boy were we wrong. The bar place they dropped us off at was shabby, to say the least, and beach was narrow and had a nice-size drop into the ocean. Next time, we will take an excursion.
This was our second trip to Costa Maya and I have to say we LOVE Costa Maya. Our first trip we did the Dune Buggy Excursion and it was 'the best'. We also went shopping in the small fishing village of Majahaul and it was great. Plus we had a beer and salsa and chips at a bar on the beach - a great experience and I would highly recommend.
Our last trip to Costa Maya, we did a scuba tour via Disney. Very reasonable at $125 per person. We did not have any extra time to shop in Majahaul and had just a few minutes to check out the shops at the port. The sales people at the shops are pushy and can be obnoxious.
Costa Maya was devastated by a Hurricane Lee in 2007 and the folks in the village (Majahaul) can really use the help.
In Cozumel, we did the Xplor excursion via Disney. It was pricey at $199 a person, but was very adventurous. We had a blast and food was excellent
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:20 AM   #32
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we are flying from australia to take this fantasy cruise in nov and we are dying to do the chacchoben ruins tour, as we're not big on beach time/swimming as we have plenty of opportunities to do that here, but very little opportunity to explore mayan ruins.

would love to hear from those of you who experienced it.. what were your thoughts on the site/excursion etc. we are planning on only doing it with disney as we don't want to get left behind (really tight time frame).
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:16 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tammyg1515 View Post
We were on the April 28th Fantasy cruise. In Grand Cayman, we went to the Seven Mile Beach via a bus, and I would NOT recommend it. We were packed into a bus in the heat and humidity and had to wait until the bus was full before we would leave for the beach. The person who we took the bus from had on a Port Authority polo shirt and we thought this would be a reputable company - boy were we wrong. The bar place they dropped us off at was shabby, to say the least, and beach was narrow and had a nice-size drop into the ocean. Next time, we will take an excursion.
This was our second trip to Costa Maya and I have to say we LOVE Costa Maya. Our first trip we did the Dune Buggy Excursion and it was 'the best'. We also went shopping in the small fishing village of Majahaul and it was great. Plus we had a beer and salsa and chips at a bar on the beach - a great experience and I would highly recommend.
Our last trip to Costa Maya, we did a scuba tour via Disney. Very reasonable at $125 per person. We did not have any extra time to shop in Majahaul and had just a few minutes to check out the shops at the port. The sales people at the shops are pushy and can be obnoxious.
Costa Maya was devastated by a Hurricane Lee in 2007 and the folks in the village (Majahaul) can really use the help.
In Cozumel, we did the Xplor excursion via Disney. It was pricey at $199 a person, but was very adventurous. We had a blast and food was excellent
Thx for the update on the dune buggy tour in Costa Maya. We are trying to figure out if we want to do the buggies in Costa Maya or Cozumel next year on the Fantasy...not sure if there is any difference or not.
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:36 PM   #34
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Anyone ever done the dolphin swim in Costa Maya ? Since it's at the end of the pier, I was thinking that would be easy enough to do.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:24 PM   #35
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I need to put a plug in for Captain Marvin's in Grand cayman. We went to stingray city through them and I can't say enough about how wonderful it was. The guy who was in charge on our really went above and beyond.

In Cozumel we booked a beach excursion through DCL and hated it. I have forgotten what beach we to but it was crowded, food not good, touristy. We could have done a lot better (probably cheaper too).

But check out Captain Marvins!!
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:11 AM   #36
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The Sea Trek on Grand Cayman was really good. A bit creepy goodings down the ladder. But once you get to the bottom, it is awesome. Tons of fish that swim right up to you.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:47 AM   #37
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Easy Costa Maya

So, we're kinda going for the Corona commercial route, we decided on the Tropicante in Mahahaul on the Malecon. After reading all the incredible reviews on Trip Advisor, looks like a nice, relaxing place to spend a few hours.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Peninsula.html

Here's to toes in the sand, cold drink in my hand...
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:49 AM   #38
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I recently returned from the Fantasy Western, and did the Tropicante in Costa Maya. If it helps, here is my take on it...




My family was on the Fantasy Western Caribbean this week (6/9 - 6/16), and having been to the Chacchoben ruins previously, and with not a lot time in port this go-round, we wondered what to do.

I am one that likes to get off the boat and enjoy the local culture, so staying at the port, not venturing out of the shopping and pool area at the port, was not something I wished to do. Instead, I searched for something in Mahahual, the local town near the port, and happened upon a beach restaurant place where you can reserve your own set of chairs/recliners/umbrella on the beach. I would post a link, but I am not sure if I am allowed, so I will just suggest to do a search for the Tropicante in Costa Maya. The owner is Steve, and I sent him an email ahead of time with what we wanted, and he was quick to email back with our reservation.

Also, this place has free wireless and a free Skype phone to the States if you wish to check on things back home!

There was no fee to reserve a spot on the beach, I think you are just requested to buy something to eat or drink. We did, as it was quite warm on the beach and we needed a little something.

I must warn people though that this is not a Disney perfect place! If you are expecting Castaway Cay with perfectly manicured sand and brand new chairs and umbrellas, you will not find this in Mahahual. This is a natural beach, and things that are outside are being beated by the salt and sun. I have been to very nice beach hotels and condos in Florida with similar situations, and realize that the sun and salty air do a lot of damage to anything outside! So just remember, this is not a Disney set-up, but rather a "real Mexico" set-up, and you will be happy.

One final thing - if you have any extra new toys, Steve will collect them for the impoverished children in the area. My daughter collected a few things before our trip, and we dropped them off with Steve when we arrived. Also, if you ask, he can recommend which shops to visit if you are looking for something in particular. The silver jeweler that he sent us to had very, very good prices, compared to what I have seen previously at other ports. He also had some very nice gold jewelry, though it was a just a few pieces, but those prices were much better than what I get at home, and I did feel that the items were a better quality than what I have seen at other shops on the islands.

The one thing that might bother some people is that there are individuals that will approach you while you are on the beach, trying to sell you something. Just say "No, gracias" and they will go on their way. My daughter was actually fascinated by the different variety of people in this area of Mexico as opposed to other areas. You really see the Mayan ancestry (I am guessing that is what it is?) in some of the vendors that come up to you. You won't get that at the port's pool!

Anyway, Tropicante in Costa Maya, a great place for a real beach experience that is not built up with touristy things, and still has the flavour of Mexico!
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:56 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvavacation View Post
I recently returned from the Fantasy Western, and did the Tropicante in Costa Maya. If it helps, here is my take on it...




My family was on the Fantasy Western Caribbean this week (6/9 - 6/16), and having been to the Chacchoben ruins previously, and with not a lot time in port this go-round, we wondered what to do.

I am one that likes to get off the boat and enjoy the local culture, so staying at the port, not venturing out of the shopping and pool area at the port, was not something I wished to do. Instead, I searched for something in Mahahual, the local town near the port, and happened upon a beach restaurant place where you can reserve your own set of chairs/recliners/umbrella on the beach. I would post a link, but I am not sure if I am allowed, so I will just suggest to do a search for the Tropicante in Costa Maya. The owner is Steve, and I sent him an email ahead of time with what we wanted, and he was quick to email back with our reservation.

Also, this place has free wireless and a free Skype phone to the States if you wish to check on things back home!

There was no fee to reserve a spot on the beach, I think you are just requested to buy something to eat or drink. We did, as it was quite warm on the beach and we needed a little something.

I must warn people though that this is not a Disney perfect place! If you are expecting Castaway Cay with perfectly manicured sand and brand new chairs and umbrellas, you will not find this in Mahahual. This is a natural beach, and things that are outside are being beated by the salt and sun. I have been to very nice beach hotels and condos in Florida with similar situations, and realize that the sun and salty air do a lot of damage to anything outside! So just remember, this is not a Disney set-up, but rather a "real Mexico" set-up, and you will be happy.

One final thing - if you have any extra new toys, Steve will collect them for the impoverished children in the area. My daughter collected a few things before our trip, and we dropped them off with Steve when we arrived. Also, if you ask, he can recommend which shops to visit if you are looking for something in particular. The silver jeweler that he sent us to had very, very good prices, compared to what I have seen previously at other ports. He also had some very nice gold jewelry, though it was a just a few pieces, but those prices were much better than what I get at home, and I did feel that the items were a better quality than what I have seen at other shops on the islands.

The one thing that might bother some people is that there are individuals that will approach you while you are on the beach, trying to sell you something. Just say "No, gracias" and they will go on their way. My daughter was actually fascinated by the different variety of people in this area of Mexico as opposed to other areas. You really see the Mayan ancestry (I am guessing that is what it is?) in some of the vendors that come up to you. You won't get that at the port's pool!

Anyway, Tropicante in Costa Maya, a great place for a real beach experience that is not built up with touristy things, and still has the flavour of Mexico!
Can't wait! Thank you for your review!
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:01 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by alicia1506 View Post
we are flying from australia to take this fantasy cruise in nov and we are dying to do the chacchoben ruins tour, as we're not big on beach time/swimming as we have plenty of opportunities to do that here, but very little opportunity to explore mayan ruins.
I've done both Tullem (from Cozumel) and Chaccoben (from Costa Maya)

Although getting there is a huge hassle, the Tullem Ruins are far more spectacular than the Chaccoben Ruins in my opinion. But I am glad I saw Chaccoben as they are interesting.

Had the Fantasy been in port longer, I believe I'd have booked Ian and Dave from Native Way Tours, rather than the DCL excursion. They have great reviews. I just didn't want to chance it. If I ever do a Western again, I think I might try them. Even with the shorter port times, they are supposed to be very reputable and careful about getting people back in time.

You are going in November, so while it probably could be hot, at least it should be better than the summer months. Because it was so hot when I went, my energy level was kind of low. Be sure to take several bottles of water.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:48 AM   #41
BrianH
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We just got back from the Western Carribbean. We absolutly LOVED the stingray and city tour. I have a 3 year old dd who was too young to do it through DCL, so we contacted NativeWay and they did the tour for us. It was fantastic. I would highly recommend them. All the kids (14 ds, 11 dd, 6 dd and 3 dd) loved the stingrays. It also goes to the Turtle Farm, which was amazing.

We did the Mayan ruins in Costa Maya, which was really neat. However, it was HOT. Be prepared for that. We did it through DCL, which was good because we made it back to port at the time the ship was supposed to leave. We would have been freaking out if we weren't with a DCL tour.

In Cozumel we did the Dolphin Encounter (you can also do the Dolphin Swim). The encounter takes about 30-45 minutes. After the time with the dolphins you can stay at the park where they have a fun place to snorkle and a fresh water pool to swim in. We loved this one as well.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:34 PM   #42
TXTransplant
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My son (7) and I are taking our first cruise in November, and we are stopping at all three ports. How strict is Disney on age requirements? Will the DCL website prevent you from booking an excursion if the child isn't old enough. My son will turn 8 just a month after the cruise. Is the age requirement more about size? I ask because my son is well over 50 inches tall and is the size of an average 10 year old.

To the previous poster...which Dolphin swim in Cozumel did you do? We have two to choose from (Dolphinaris and another whose name I can't think of). The one I can't remember the name of advertises a push/pull swim. I'm also struggling with the ethics around doing a dolphin swim at all, so any feedback you can give about the conditions there would be great.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:50 PM   #43
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We are considering doing the stingrays at Castaway Cay with the bike/float/snorkle add on - but I keep hearing Stingray City - has anyone done both to compare? This is our first time cruising.

We are also plan'g on doing the shipwreck snorkle excursion - I think that one is in Cozumel. My kids are 9 and 11. Has anyone does the shipwreck excursion w/ kids? I was just curious. Also, do you get to see anything wow-ish on the way out there? It looks well priced and I've read good reviews in the Passporter on both this one and the Stingray excursions - but it says Castaway is the way to go - ??
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:21 PM   #44
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There is no comparison between the sting rays at Castaway Cay and Sting Ray city at Grand Cayman. The rays at CC are captive, they are trained to swim onto a platform to be fed. Once fed they swim off and it's difficult to get a good look at them again. Our high light was seeing 2 barracudas swimming next to us in the enclosure. At sting ray city you encounter the rays in their natural environment. They will swim up to you, bump into you, you can feed them, the tour guide will hold one so you can look at them up close. It's all very cool. If the rays don't want to the interaction they swim away. You are in the open water and it was about chest high on me (I'm 5'2"). We love sting ray city and will be there again in a couple of weeks. We will not pay for the ray encounter on CC again.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:42 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePhantomsGirl View Post
I've done both Tullem (from Cozumel) and Chaccoben (from Costa Maya)

Although getting there is a huge hassle, the Tullem Ruins are far more spectacular than the Chaccoben Ruins in my opinion. But I am glad I saw Chaccoben as they are interesting.

Had the Fantasy been in port longer, I believe I'd have booked Ian and Dave from Native Way Tours, rather than the DCL excursion. They have great reviews. I just didn't want to chance it. If I ever do a Western again, I think I might try them. Even with the shorter port times, they are supposed to be very reputable and careful about getting people back in time.

You are going in November, so while it probably could be hot, at least it should be better than the summer months. Because it was so hot when I went, my energy level was kind of low. Be sure to take several bottles of water.
I toured the Chacchoben Ruins with Ivan and David in 2005, and it was a wonderful tour. Ivan grew up in the little house you see when you visit the ruins. I would love to do the tour with them again in December, but the Fantasy is in port such a short time that I'll probably book the tour with DCL.

I was seriously considering the Tulum Ruins tour from Cozumel...until I read about the Secret River.

I enjoyed the Stingray and Island Tour with Native Way in Grand Cayman, but don't feel the need to repeat it.
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