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May 26 - June 2, 2012 From Reality to Fantasy

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Dawncala, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. MrsKP

    MrsKP Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for finishing your report! I love your photos and your family is adorable!
     
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  3. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Costa Maya Coastline

    While playing Goofy’s Golf we had a perfect view of Costa Maya off the back of the ship. The Fantasy had docked already and we were able to watch them prepare for the 11:45 debarking. The pier is incredibly long so they were busy setting up a tram to transport passengers down the long pier to the customs area. I don’t know if the tram belonged to Costa Maya or if Disney brought it with them. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had it stored under the ship just for this port.


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    Part of the very long pier leading to the Costa Maya port area

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    At the back of the port area we could see what looked like a Mayan pyramid

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    The tram is connected and ready for passengers

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    The lighthouse and village off in the distance

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    Some passengers waiting for the tram to return and others choosing to walk
     
  4. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Quick Lunch at Cabanas

    I took a couple of quick photos at lunch. This one of DS illustrates how hot and sweaty he was after our putt-putt game.

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    One hot, sweaty and hungry boy. Time to carb-load.

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    As the saying goes...there is always room for jello
     
  5. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Extended Port Hours

    Originally Costa Maya had the shortest shore time. (4 1/2 hours) We learned that occasionally DCL extends their hours in certain ports so that crew with free time can take some shore leave. This was one of those times so the Fantasy was now scheduled to stay docked in Costa Maya until 1:00 AM. (nearly 12 full hours) Passengers were welcome to stay ashore as well, so our family didn’t feel a need to hurry off the ship. We wandered out around 12:30.

    Here are a few photos I took of the back of the Fantasy as we headed into Costa Maya. We decided to take the tram which made for a quick trip down that very long pier.


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    Dumbo and Timothy look so small on the back of the ship, but in reality Dumbo is 8 feet tall and 2,300 pounds.

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    Looking back on the ship from nearly the other end of the pier.
     
  6. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Costa Maya Port Plaza

    The tram dropped us at the far end of the pier near the arched opening leading into the Costa Maya port plaza. We didn’t have to show our passports or cruise cards here, but there were many armed guards patrolling the area.


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    The plaza area was flying the flags for Mexico, Costa Maya and Disney Cruise Line

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    Armed guards quietly patrolled the plaza

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    The port area is a mix of history and commerce. I would have liked this photo better without the Hard Rock sign in the background.


    The main plaza was lined with pitched grass roofed huts filled with jewelry, clothing and many types of souvenirs.

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    The kids were still not happy about the humidity so DD found a shady spot while I took photos.

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    The plaza fountain with the viewing tower behind

    Just beyond the fountain there was a tower. It was about four stories tall and offered great views of the plaza, the surrounding countryside and the Disney Fantasy docked under the sunny blue cloud-filled skies. We took several panoramic photos.

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    View out the front of the tower towards the pier area

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    View out the back of the tower. the small brown building toward the left center is the guard gate where you need to show your credentials.

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    Looking back down towards the fountain
     
  7. sandkpendt

    sandkpendt Earning My Ears

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    Is the fountain a hidden Mickey??
     
  8. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Wow! I didn't notice that. It is very Hidden Mickey like. Good eye.
     
  9. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Costa Maya at 19 KM/H

    We didn’t have any excursions planned for Costa Maya, but we were told that we might be able to rent bikes or golf carts at the port plaza if they were available. They are on a first come-first serve basis, but since we were the only cruise ship in port today we had no difficulty walking right up to rent.

    They were offering golf cart rentals for $40 USD for 2 hours. We thought that would be enough time to see some sights so we went for it. DH signed some paperwork, handed over the cash and got the basic “how to” about operating the cart. In no time we were on our way at the blistering speed of about 12 miles per hour (or 19 Kilometers per hour). The cart roof offered some protection from the sun, the breeze felt good on this hot day and we were ready for an adventure.

    Just past the customs guard gate were some additional restaurants, souvenir shops and that big stone pyramid we could see from the ship. We stopped for a few photos. The pyramid looked quite ancient so we assume it was the real deal.


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    More souvenir shops

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    Hard Rock Costa Maya and outlet malls

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    Ancient Mayan Pyramid

    Next we drove down a long brick road leading away from the port plaza. We passed many small concrete houses and other buildings. Some looked like they were currently lived in and others looked like they had been abandoned for quite a while. We had learned that Hurricane Dean damaged the area in 2007 and that much of the pier and plaza had to be rebuilt. We assumed that many of the abandoned buildings we were passing had been damaged too and just not rebuilt.

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    Taking a photo of us in the golf cart mirror

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    A side street of concrete housing

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    A nearby hotel

    At the end of the road we came to a T intersection. We realized we weren’t paying close attention when we were given directions to the village so instead of turning left we turned right. (In our defense we were just following the golf cart ahead of us who turned right first. We were hoping that they had actually listened to the directions.) After cruising to the right for about five minutes the golf cart manager drove by in his truck and instructed us to turn around because we were headed away from the village. Then he drove off to catch up to the other cart. We actually saw him checking up on us several times during our rental. (which, after going the wrong way already, I was OK with)

    What we saw to the right.


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    The small sign out front said this was a restaurant, but it looked deserted.

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    There were what looked like potted plants for sale here, but no sign of people.

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    A small restaurant and convenience store

    Back on the correct path now we quickly found ourselves at the lighthouse we had seen from the ship. From there you turn right into the main village. (If you turn left you will find yourself very wet)

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    There was a really nice view of the Fantasy from the lighthouse.
     
  10. melissajx3

    melissajx3 Earning My Ears

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    Great Trip Report! My family & I are doing this cruise next year, so it's exciting to read!

    I was also wondering what type of camera you used? You're pictures are great!
     
  11. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thanks! You're going to have a wonderful time.

    The photos in this trip report were taken with a combination of a point and shoot Canon Powershot ELPH 310 HS or an Olympus E-510 DSLR with either a 42mm or a 150 mm lens.

    If you're looking for a great pocket camera the ELPH has been amazing. It has a ton of pre-set modes for capturing fireworks, quick motion, etc... and it has some cool special effects modes too. Plus it takes short videos.
     
  12. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    The Tourist Village

    To the right of the lighthouse was the start of the main village. There are two main roads in the village; a southbound and a northbound, and both are one-way only. The roads were paved and lined with hotels, stores and restaurants.

    About every 50 feet local men would wave to us to try to get us to stop at their beach front restaurants where they were offering food and drinks, beach chairs and free parking for our cart. With the Fantasy being the only ship in port today they were definitely trying to compete for our business. They were persistent, but not rude. Since we had really only begun to explore we politely declined the invitations and drove on.


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    Looking down the south bound street

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    One of the more expensive looking hotels

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    Another hotel

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    Looking inland there wasn't much to see
     
  13. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    The Fishing Village

    Upon reaching the end of the paved roadway we encountered another restaurant owner offering us a beach to relax on while he served us food and what he claimed were “the best margaritas in Costa Maya”. We stopped to chat with him because with the paved road ending we weren’t sure if we had to turn around or not. His name was Kiko and he politely told us that the dirt road was the beginning of the fishing village and the paved road area was meant more for “tourists”.

    He said many of the restaurants and stores in the paved area were run by the cruise lines (although he said “not Disney”) and so the local economy didn’t benefit much if we spent our money over there. He said that in the fishing village tourist money went directly to the residents who owned and ran the businesses. We’re not sure how much of what he said was true, but we thanked him for his time and decided to continue down the dirt road to see what was there.


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    End of the paved village road and Kiko's place.

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    Looking down the long dirt road

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    Pretty views to the left

    A short way up the road we encountered some men selling jewelry. We chatted with them for a few minutes and they showed us their selection. There were many pretty hand-made hammered silver bracelets. They told us prices, but when they saw us hesitating they sweetened the deal by a few dollars and seemed happy to negotiate. I decided one of the silver bracelets would be my souvenir from Costa Maya. I like to get one small thing from each port as a souvenir, and I don’t feel it needs to have the port name located on it anywhere and I knew I’d wear this. DS picked out a shark’s tooth necklace. We settled on a price, thanked the men and set off to explore further down the road.

    This road was also mingled with what seemed like fairly new hotels and condos, more modest homes and some deserted buildings which had probably been damaged by the hurricane and left abandoned.


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    A fairly modern, yet tropical restaurant with what looks like an ATM out front.

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    New looking beach view condos


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    Colorful house. Looked lived in, but definitely has seen better days.

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    Cute little rental cabins with satellite dishes

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    A local furry resident hanging out in front of what was not much more than a shack.

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    I loved the stone bases on these. I'm guessing they were destroyed by a storm, but it looks like the one on the right side of the photo has been rebuilt.

    The road was also filled with pot holes ranging from barely noticeable to moon crater. DH dodged the cart back and forth attempting to avoid the deeper holes. I held on for dear life while the kids shrieked and giggled in the back. Occasionally we had to simply slow way down and creep through a minefield of them, bouncing erratically the entire way. At one point we caught up to another cart of Fantasy guests and we raced them for a bit. As much as you can race someone at 12 miles per hour that is.

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    Most of the areas with beach chairs down here belonged to the hotels across the road from them.

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    We passed the ATV excursion rental site

    About 20 minutes down the road we reached a big curve and decided it was time to turn back while we could still see the Fantasy. Taking that curve would have put her out of our sight.

    We spent the next 30+ minutes driving back the way we’d come, stopping occasionally for photos and to hunt shells on the beach. DS really wanted to climb a palm tree (check), and DD wanted to find a giant conch shell (check) and we accomplished both.


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    This is how far away from The Fantasy we got.

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    DS, DH & Perry wait in the cart while DD looks for shells.

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    DS climbs his palm tree. You can see the ship in the background is a little closer now.
     
  14. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Kiko’s on the Beach

    By the time we got back to the paved road of the main village we were all thirsty and hungry. Since Kiko had been so nice earlier we decided to stop at his restaurant for an afternoon bite and to try those margaritas.

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    Kiko's Bar/Restaurant/Hotel: AKA Machos

    DH and I ordered margaritas and Kiko made fresh mango smoothies for the kids. We also ordered guacamole and chips, a shrimp and conch ceviche and a plate of sliced mango. Everything was fresh made and delicious, especially the ceviche. (I’m not sure why we don’t have a photo of the ceviche)

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    Mmmmm... fresh mango smoothies

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    Freshly made guacamole. (slightly less than fresh chips)

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    Perry loves him some mango

    There was one other family from the Fantasy there and we had a nice time chatting with them while the kids explored the beach area. Our kids said they were still hungry so we ordered them some nachos and DH had another margarita. The nachos were a mistake though. They were not as good as the ceviche or mangos and the kids barely touched them. If I’m remembering correctly we were charged around $60 to $65 for the 10 items (food and drink) we ordered and we left a decent tip so the final bill was around $80.

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    Perry gets a snuggle from DD while DS dips his feet in the ocean.

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    My attempt at an artsy shot with DH's sunglasses and a margarita in a handpainted glass.

    Before we knew it we only had 15 minutes left on our two hour rental. We hoped we didn’t get lost on the way back. We floored it in our little cart back thru the village, past the lighthouse and down the long road leading to the port plaza. Luckily it was a quick process getting through the customs gate and we dropped off our cart with about two minutes to spare.
     
  15. castawaykf

    castawaykf Earning My Ears

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    This is a great TR! My boyfriend and I will be sailing on the Fantasy next week and your report is getting me totally excited!:goodvibes I really enjoy your photos
     
  16. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thank you! It's nice to hear people are reading this. Are you on an Eastern or Western cruise? I know you'll have a great time. The Fantasy and DCL are amazing.
     
  17. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Port Plaza Pool

    In the center of the port plaza is a huge salt water swimming pool. We brought swim suits with us and DS really wanted to go in. DD decided she didn’t want to swim in salt water so she and DH went to wander in and out of the stores. DS changed into his suit and took a swim while Lifeguard Perry kept watch and I took photos. I have to say it’s a pretty cool pool, and huge. It has a shallow end with fountains, is deeper in the center, and the Senor Frog restaurant nearby has a swim up bar area. I bet it gets pretty crowded when multiple ships are in port, but today there was tons of room to splash about.

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    You can see the swim up bar at Senor Frogs on the left. There are stools in the water and tables attached to the posts.

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    The shallow end of the pool and fountain area to the right.

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    Lifeguard Perry

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    DS makes a face after getting a mouthful of salt water.

    We aimed ourselves back at the ship around 4:00. We had just missed the tram so we walked back the entire length of the pier. It was a long walk, but at least there was a nice breeze blowing and we had a fantastic view of the Fantasy the whole way.

    After boarding we consulted our Personal Navigator and saw that there was another animation session starting at 5:00. DS ran off to see if his friends were in the pool and the rest of us went to get ice cream then we went to the animation class.
     
  18. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    I “Wishes” This Cruise Wasn’t Half-Way Over

    Tonight was the stage show Wishes. This show, new and exclusive to the Fantasy, is about “three best friends” who “go on a magical journey down the wishing well” where they meet a “host of Disney characters” who, through song and dance, “help them discover the connection between children who are becoming adults, and adults who stay in touch with being a kid at heart.” (Everything in quotes is taken directly from the Navigator description.)

    It was cute and entertaining, contained a mixture of classic Disney songs and new songs written especially for this show. Overall it was what all Disney shows are for me; a pleasant way to spend 45 to 60 minutes.
     
  19. heyshanny

    heyshanny Mouseketeer

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    Love your pictures and this trip report! My husband and I are doing the Western Caribbean on the Fantasy in Feb. glad you had a wonderful cruise!!
     
  20. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thank you. We are taking a kids-sail-free 8 night on the Magic out of Galveston in February. I hope we both have sensational weather.
     
  21. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Keeping All the Balls in the Air

    At 7:30 we went to The Tube to see the family show starring Michael Holly; a juggler and comedian. It was packed in there as usual, but he invited the kids to come sit on the dance floor so that opened up some seating for the grown-ups. He was funny, and he could definitely juggle, but what DH and I found most impressive was that he did it on a stage with a mere 8 feet (maybe less) between him and an all-glass ceiling.

    He did a great job engaging the kids and had many of them help him with his routines. Near the end of the show he asked for a volunteer to come up to help him juggle. Rather than jump up and down like a crazy child DS just raised his hand enthusiastically and he was selected. There were some hilarious interactions as MH (Michael Holly) tried to teach DS to juggle using giant beach balls. Eventually MH and DS juggled three balls back and forth for about 8 to 10 tosses. If I do say so myself, DS was rather charming on stage, and, as he took a big bow, he made his parents very proud.


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    Michael Holly teasing DS

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    Success!

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    Not a great photo, but it's the only one I have that shows the low ceiling of glass lights Michael Holly threw heavy objects up at...and consistently missed.


    Tip: Bring your video camera with you everywhere. You never know when your child will end up in the show and you can’t record it because you left the video camera in the room. (grrrrr!)
     

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