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Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Debs Hill, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Praying Colonel

    Praying Colonel DIS Veteran

    Aug 16, 2004
    Also on the Fantasy last week, here's what we (DW and I) did:

    --Grand Cayman: We did the Boatswain's Adventure Marine Park. They took us in a bus to the park where we toured the turtle farm, had a buffet lunch of BBQ chicken, Caribbean-style mahi mahi, cole slaw, fried plantains and tea/lemonade. After that we had about an hour to swim and play at the water park, or we could snorkel in a man-made lagoon with turtles and other fish. There was also a dolphin tank across the road that we could visit if we wanted to, but we chose to snorkel. After that we loaded up on the bus and went back to the ship.

    This was a big hit! The turtle farm was interesting, the lunch was better than I expected, and it was a lot of fun to swim with the turtles and fish. The only downsides were we had to stand in the sun for about 30 minutes before they let us on the (not-so-air-conditioned) bus, and it was too short. The bus left the port area about 12:15 and left around 3:30 to take us back. I wish we'd had another 1-2 hours to snorkel some more and then visit the dolphin tank. But otherwise we thoroughly enjoyed it, more than we expected.

    --Costa Maya: We did the ATV Jungle Beach Break. We piled into a large truck that reminded us of the truck you ride in Kilamanjaro Safaris, then they drove us out to their private beach area way out in the middle of nowhere. We got a safety briefing then jumped onto ATVs and rode through the jungle for about 35 minutes. We took a water break, then drove on fairly level, good road along the coast for another 15 minutes or so. We stopped for some photos, then we rode back to the beginning point. We had about an hour to swim, lay in hammocks or sit in their outdoor bar area. We got free chips and pico de gallo and could order from their cash bar (good prices--$2 beers, $4 mixed drinks).

    This was our favorite excursion of the 3. Again, I wish we'd had more time; the truck didn't leave to take us on the excursion until about 1:45, and left the excursion area about 4:50 to return us to the ship. I wish we had another hour or so. But the guides were very helpful, the ATVs worked great, it was fun to ride around in the jungle and see the coast, and their beach area was very beautiful as we sat and relaxed. I highly recommend it if you want an active excursion.

    --Cozumel: We did the Dune Buggy Beach Snorkel excursion. We walked through the port area where we got checked out on our dune buggies, then we rode through town and up the highway to a "Mayan Ruin," which was a small building which we were told was only a small part of it, and most was underground. From there we walked to another marshy area where we could look at crocodiles and fish, or climb an observation tower and see the area. After about 20 minutes of this we rode to the beach area where we were given snorkel equipment and led out to a reef. After that we had lunch (chicken fajitas, rice, beans, chips and salsa) served to us and we were then given the chance to change. We then drove to a lighthouse for about 15 minutes of exploring, then drove back to the port.

    This was our least favorite excursion of the 3. The ride out from Cozumel was fun, and the beach was pretty. But we thought everything else was "less than magical," to be kind. The stops at the "Mayan Ruin" and lighthouse were not advertised as part of the excursion and seemed lame and wastes of our time. (The lighthouse visit felt like it was planned to give vendors a shot at us.) The snorkeling equipment didn't work properly and our guides didn't offer to help us--they gave us the option of taking the boat back in or swimming back. When we got back in we tried to trade out our masks for ones that worked, but couldn't find anyone to help us. The food was of very poor quality. The ride back took what seemed forever because one of the dune buggies broke down (another one had broken down earlier, too). I can't recommend this excursion.
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  3. runskyhy

    runskyhy It's not less monkey, it's Moe Monkey!

    Jan 26, 2009
    Last month we took:

    --Grand Cayman: Grand Cayman Island Tour
    --Cozumel: Cozumel Highlights and Mayan Ruins
    --Castaway Cay: The Getaway Package

    I enjoyed all of them. I thought the Cozumel one was a lot of fun! I made a detailed summary of them (with photos) here if anyone wants more details.
  4. jmrbc9900

    jmrbc9900 Earning My Ears

    Jun 30, 2012
    Going on this trip April next year with a 3 year old. Any suggestions for things to do? Right now at least she hates sand but loves the water (we carry her across the beach & to the water.... Hoping she will outgrow this soon!)
  5. fredgirls

    fredgirls DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2009
    SJCruiser - just wondered...in solving the clues to the amazing cozumel race do you learn anything about the island? I know my kids will love this but just wondered if there's some local interest to learn too? :goodvibes thanks.
  6. Dizney73

    Dizney73 DIS Veteran

    Dec 2, 2007
    We just returned from the June 23 Western sailing. We had a great cruise and fantastic weather!

    Grand Cayman...I booked The Island Tour through Captain Marvin's. We pulled up to the Governor's mansion, the Old Homestead and stopped at 7 mile beach. We the visited Hell and the Sea Turtle Farm. We were the only ones on the tour and it was fantastic to have our guide all to orselves! She told us all about the formation of the rocks in Hell and took photos of our family for us. My kids, ages 6 and 3, LOVED the Turtle farm. You could tell that our guide visited often as they treated her like she worked there. My 3 year old loved feeding the turtles! We held the turtles and had lots of photos taken. It was a great little tour ... about 2 hours. We spent an hour at the turtle farm. Cost was $30 pp and they didn't charge for my 3 year old. Captain Marvin's was just a short walk left from the port a few storefronts closer to the port than the Dairy Queen.

    Costa Maya... Tropicante. :beach:The port area looked really nice. Lots of shops, bars and a big ol' pool. I read about the Tropicante here on the Dis and decided it sounded like what we wanted. We followed Steve's (the owner from Texas) directions to walk outside the port area and grab a cab next to the Hard Rock to the Tropicante. The cab ride cost $6 plus tip there. When we arrived we checked in at the restaurant and were lead to our beach front loungers with umbrella. They brought some chairs down for the kids as well. We ordered some drinks margaritas and beers for mom and dad, and virgin drinks for the kids. The beach area was wonderful with a great view of the ship. There were no waves and the beach was flat with no large drop offs so the kids could just walk in the water and play at the water's edge. I packed a few sand toys and the kids happily played for hours! My 6 year old loved walking out into the water and being able to touch far out! For lunch we ordered chicken nachos and the heart attack platter ( battered and fried mini burritos, shrimp, fish and onion rings). It was all fantastic! Our server came directly to our loungers to take our orders and even delivered our drinks to us while we stayed in the water! Cost of MANY drinks... at least 8 beers, a margarita, 2 virgin drinks, a bottle of water an the food was $43! I simply can not say enough how wonderful this beach area was for the children! There were vendors selling their items up and sown the beach. We did buy a few things... bracelets, little turtles... but all were respectful and walked away when we told them no thank you. Steve, the owned came over and sat with us for about 15 minutes or so. He was very nice to talk to and said he just liked to visit all of his guests. A cab was easy to get on the way back. It cost us $8 back to the port but our cab drove us directly inside the port area so we didn't have to walk from the outside cab stand!

    Cozumel... Nachi Cocum:beach: I booked Nachi Cocum onlineearly to get the early bird discount. It cost around $110 dollars? Again our 3 year old was free. It was a fairly good drive (abot 15 minutes)in an unairconditioned cab. It is rather secluded and thoughts of where we might end up started filling my head! But finally we arrived at our destination. After the token Mexican hat photo (which I bought since it was too good to resist!... frame and picture for $25) we were lea to our beach front chairs. The water was beautiful but the beach had a steep slope to it to get to the water. The ambience was wonderful but after about an hour or so the kids only wanted to be in the pool! And may I just say that the pool is beautiful with the most stunning view of the ocean through the palms. We ordered lunch which came with the booking and it was delicious... even my free 3 year old recieved a meal. We ate pool side at a table with an umbrella and it seemed like our own personal paradise! Drinks were unlimited and we took advantage of that for sure. The strawberry margaritas were fantastic as was the local beer. Our attendant was great and brought us refills before our drinks were even empty! Theu did put a jumping trampoline out in the ocean. My kids were too small but we watched others swim out to it and play only for a worker to ask for additional money for its use. When we were ready to go we simply asked for a cab at the bar and in about 5 minutes one was their to take us back to the port. It cost $16 each way for the cab. Nachi Cocom was beautiful and peaceful but the steep beach area was not kid friendly. My daughter loved the pool but we all preferred the beach at Tropicante at Costa Maya! Cost wise we definitely got our money's worth in food and drinks!

    Hope these help. :thumbsup2
  7. TIGGERmetoo

    TIGGERmetoo DIS Veteran

    May 9, 2008
    Thanks for all the info!
  8. debpintrader

    debpintrader Earning My Ears

    Mar 31, 2009
    I love all these reviews! Keep them coming please. My first ever cruise is coming up in November on the Fantasy. The Western Caribbean sounds like it has a lot to offer so I want to choose wisely. :)

  9. lark

    lark DIS Veteran

    Aug 5, 2004
    We did the pirate encounter in Grand Cayman. It was ok.

    The pirate ship they use is pretty neat. You take the tender, and then you walk a bit to the pier, where you board the ship. The walk is not insubstantial for little ones -- maybe 400 or 500 yards. It was really hot when we went. There is basically just enough room for everyone to sit on the ship.

    You putter around a bit -- and the ship goes around the Fantasy, which is sort of neat. They give out soft drinks and "rum punch" in plastic cups. The ship is commanded by some locals dressed in pirate costumes who do a bit of a show -- they call the kids scalliwags and threaten to mop the deck with their hair. Then they put two parents on trial and tie them up to a mast and pour ice on them. It's a cross between mildly amusing and lame. Really, though, it was all just very hot, and we wanted to swim.

    Eventually -- too long really -- the ship lays anchor and you can jump off various parts of it into the ocean (or climb down a ladder). This is the best part. There is one very high part of the ship you can jump off -- maybe 15 feet -- into the ocean. This was really fun. You are required to wear a vest to swim -- like the snorkel vests they have at castaway cay. I would recommend bringing some wipes, because you have to blow them up.

    The day we went, the ship had mechanical issues, which caused a slight bit of delay, led to some deisel fumes wafting over us, and required us to tie up to another boat to help us back to port, but the guys running the tour were pretty good about it. It wasn't much of a disruption.

    I wouldn't do this again, I don't think. It was basically 2.5 hours of bleh for 40 minutes or so of swimming in the ocean and jumping off the ship, which was very fun.
  10. SJCruiser

    SJCruiser Mouseketeer

    Jun 9, 2009
    There are just a few things about the island and ancient culture of Mexico (e.g. Quetzalcoatl). The most educational stuff on the Race is when you go to the museum where you have to find answers to about 15 questions. Part of them are in the marine life room, and most of the rest are in a nautical history room that covers Explorers, shipwrecks, etc. I would have liked to spend more time in the museum just reading about the display items, but we were on a race, so got our clues and left!
  11. fredgirls

    fredgirls DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2009
    Thanks so much! I think it's a clear winner for our family. We're not very competitive but we love the show and the kids will think it's great! As the whole cruise is a surprise I won't tell them 'til we get to port! What's one more secret!:goodvibes
  12. Callymum

    Callymum DIS Veteran

    Oct 30, 2011
    If anyone has done the Jeep Excursion in Cozumel then please post if its good or Bad.:confused:
  13. sherpasmom

    sherpasmom I dream in Disney

    Apr 7, 2008
    I'm interested in the Tulum versus Chacchoben question mainly because one of my primary reasons for this itinerary is to return to Tulum which I felt was magical the first time I visited :cloud9: I want my daughter to be able to see the same, but I may be biased since I adore history? :confused3

    I visited the Tulum site on an RCL cruise and have been wantint to return ever since....fab day (but yes long!)
  14. goofymama

    goofymama DIS Veteran

    Apr 14, 2005
    I didn't personally do it, but my table mates (2 months ago) did and they raved about. They were a family of four/ 2 daughters aged 12 and 14.
  15. bluebulldog0312

    bluebulldog0312 Earning My Ears

    Sep 10, 2011
    Great information! Thanks for sharing!
  16. ssjones

    ssjones Mouseketeer

    May 2, 2012


    Sep 5, 2001
    Great information everyone. We will be sailing in April and was mostly interested in the Costa Maya excursions. We have been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman several other times and know what we want at those two places.
  18. micheleq

    micheleq DIS Veteran

    Jan 6, 2008
    We were on the Magic for President's Day week this year (2/12) and did the following:

    Grand Cayman - Nativeway Tour (on our own as DD5 was only 4 and too young for the DCL excursion) Stingray Sandbar, Coral Gardens & Starfish Snorkel. So much fun! Chris our Captain & CJ the first mate were great with my kids -- they were the only children on the boat (14 of us total). We held the girls to meet the Rays & they each did a little snorkeling. DH & I took turns in the water/on the boat with them.

    Cozumel - Nachi Cocum. Relaxing, great day. There were some sand toys there for the kids in case anyone wants to know.

    Our next cruise is the 5 night out of Miami, so two of the same ports - Cozumel & CC. I'm thinking we'll do Salsa & Salsa in Cozumel (fabulous reviews on Tripadvisor) and maybe fishing on CC. Anyone have reviews of those? We tried to get spots on the fishing excursion at CC and the woman at the booking desk told me it sells out very quickly.
  19. raceboymom

    raceboymom Earning My Ears

    Oct 4, 2012
    We took our children ages 3 and 5 to 7 mile beach in Grand Cayman and they loved it. Castaway Cay is also great for little kids. They have bikes with seats on the back for kids. The kids loved this as well.
  20. Donald & Daisy Duck

    Donald & Daisy Duck <font color=red>I even put ketchup on my tag!

    Jul 23, 2006
  21. disney honeymooners

    disney honeymooners Disneyholic

    Oct 30, 2008

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