Western cruise - beach excursions

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by lmb, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. lmb

    lmb DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2006

    We'll be traveling with a 1 and 3 year old and I was wondering whether it would be best to do the Grand Cayman and Cozumel Beach excursions or whether it's easier and less expensive to take a cab to a beach? Thanks!
  2. FatCat

    FatCat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2007
    I have been doing a lot of research on this as well.

    Here are some facts I have figured out.

    Grand Cayman.

    The beach the DCL takes you to is Seagrapes with is at the far North End.
    They have roped off area for chairs
    You get a bottle of water
    All other items are a la carte

    What I want to know...

    Are you subject to returning to dock area at one scheduled pick up time?
    Or are there potentially a few buses. Want to know if I am locked into sitting 4 hours + on beach.

    What I have discovered...

    There is another popular publich beach area called Royal Palms that is about half the distance to the Seagrapes area.
    Both places you can take a cab to at avg. $5 per person.
    Once you get to the public places you can rent chairs/umbrellas etc.
    You will then have the ability to take cab back at leisure.
    I have read that these cabs(vans) wait to be full sometimes before leaving.
    There is a website for Royal Palms which gives lunch menu




    The DCL excursion brings you to Playa Mia which was originally called Playasol.
    It is aboard a motorcoach. The DCL package includes a roped off section for
    DCL members with chairs and umbrellas($5 deposit on umbrella).
    It includes soft drinks, open bar. buffet.
    It includes use of all there standard water activities.
    A la carte for rock climbing, motorized water, massages, hairbraiding, snorkeling gear.
    There is a pool
    There is a mini zoo
    There is a playground
    This excursion pacakage is shared by many for the all inclsusive section

    What I want to know.

    Are towels included in DCL package? In the a la carte prixing outside DCL it listd $3
    Are you subject to returning to dock area at one scheduled pick up time?
    Or are there potentially a few buses. Want to know if I am locked into sitting 4 hours + on beach.

    What I have learned

    Playamia can be booked on your own.
    Aprox $15-$20 cab ride
    $15 entry fee gives you access to chairs(not umbrella)
    $15 entry fee gives you access to all standard water activity
    (does not include motorized stuff or snorkel gear)

    There is a premium beach package that also includes the buffet and open bar.
    There is a fiesta beach package that includes open bar and no buffet
    It appears that main difference between doing this yourself is price comparison and the section for DCL.

    Depending on your group some of you may want the beach all inclusive package and some may just want the entrance fees.


    The other two popular destinations on your own are

    San Francsico
    Paradise Beach

    Personally now I am leaning toward playamia for the following reasons.

    1. Pool
    2. Do not want to be hounded for using free chairs to order stuff
    3. Flexibility of packages ( have party of 9)
    4. More young kid activities confrimed at Playamia

    I am not sure if we want to book with DCL or do on own yet.

    Any insights or opinions welcome.
    Also any corrections to my research. It is all from reading.
    No first hand experience.
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  4. shruley

    shruley DIS Veteran

    Jan 6, 2005
    No info, but I am interested in the answers and reviews of any of the beaches. I am traveling with a 1 year old and 4 year old. Also would love to hear from anyone who has actually gone to the beach with these ages...was it fun/enjoyable? DD 1 will be young but is a very laid back baby.

    I am planning on booking on my own always, though, for the flexability of going and returning to the boat whenever we want.
  5. lmb

    lmb DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2006
    Thanks for all of the useful info. I'm also worried about being locked into staying for 4 hours with the kids at this age.
  6. lmb

    lmb DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2006
    Any insight into the safety of taking toddlers in cabs without car seats in grand cayman or cozumel. I've been in some cabs on vacation which were downright frightening (pre kids)
  7. FatCat

    FatCat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2007
    I have been doing some more research and I think I am set on doing the DCL excursion to Playa Mia.

    Some more info I found.

    Navigator has gather time on board Magic at 11:10
    (Note: -1 hour time difference in Cozumel)
    DCL Excursion states leaves 3:30 -4:00
    There are several pseudo open air market vendors selling pretty much
    same "stufff" in the touristy areas. You must haggle.
    Bus has A/C

    I sent the company an info request for extra pricing questions.

    My situation is I have a 2 & 5 yr old.

    My major decisioning factors for doing DCL excursion were

    1. Motorcoach. Easy safe seating with A/C
    2. My situation would be $164 for excursion $59 adult $46 child 2 yr old free

    If on my own. ~$35 cab round trip and $45 entry fee with no package

    $164 - $35 - $45=$84

    So yes I am locked into Disney Transfer but I prefer method of transportation.
    I need to make up $84 should I do it on my own.

    I would probably do at least $50 a la carte dining and drinks. So I am calling $34 peace of mind and ease fee. Who knows. If all goes well I may have a 2nd drink.

    3. Party of 9 total. Sort of gives everyone a piece of what they want.
    4. Vendors peddling trinkets eliminates my need to go into town.
    5. Extra kid activities pool, ceramics, pinata, small zoo, playground
    6. Gonna skip Grand Cayman Beach now and possibly due submerged boat.
    7. Grand Cayman Beach stuff is more costly on average.
    8. I have option to spend ~$15 and leave on my own

    When I get the pricing for the a la carte things I will post.
    I found one list from 2006.

    E.G. massages, hair braiding, rock climing, jet ski etc...
  8. FatCat

    FatCat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2007
    I received the following information from Playamia concerning the DCL beach excursion.

    At Playa Mia Grand Beach Park® you can enjoy lots of fun activities, such as, kayaks, paddle boats, water trampoline, parasailing, wave runners, snorkeling and scuba diving, hair braiding, temporary tattoos, rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline, Hobiecats, freshwater swimming pool, floating mats and Aquatic Iceberg, to name a few.

    Firstly, we highly recommend the following tours which are available on board Disney Cruise Line. You may contact the Shore Excursions Department of the cruise ship for purchasing, pricing, availability and description information regarding the tours. The tours are exclusive to the cruiselines and are available thorugh the Shore Excursions Department of the cruise ship.

    The differences between the cruise package and our premiun package are:
    Disney package: special section, does not included snorkel gear (but, you can bring your own gear)
    Premiun package: does not have special area, snorkel gear included.

    Extra costs are:

    LOCKERS are available for daily rental: $ 5.00 USD refundable deposit required and $ 5.00 rental per locker.

    OUTDOOR MASSAGE: $ 40.00 USD for 30 minutes or $ 75.00 USD for a full hour.

    • With Iguanas $ 12.00 USD
    • With Iguanas – Including Frame $ 20.00 USD
    • With Birds $ 10.00 USD

    HAIRBRAIDING: •Price ranges from $ 2.00 USD up to $ 50.00 USD or more depends on hair length and if beads or flowers are included.

    TEMPORARY TATOOS: •Price ranges from $ 2.00 USD to $ 35.00 USD

    BUNGEEE is available for $8.00 USD for 10 minutes.
    ROCK WALL CLIMBING is $ 8.00 USD per climb. Shoe rental is $ 2.00 USD.
    (Minimun weight required 80 pounds and maximun 150 pounds)

    We have the following guided tours available from the Playa Mia® Marina:

    •Snorkel Gear $ 15.00 USD Unlimited Daily Rental
    •Snorkel tube $ 5.00 USD

    BANANA BOAT rides are $ 15.00 USD per person per trip. Each round trip is approximately 15 minutes. Minimum age of 15 years is required.

    GLASS BOTTOM BOAT tours are $27.00 USD per person per tour. Price includes marine park taxes, bottled water, soft drinks and professional guide. Tour is approximately 1&1/2 hrs. Subject to availablility.

    PARASAILING is $ 60.00 USD per 10 minute flight. Price doubles for tandem*. $ 15.00 USD for an observer traveling in the boat.
    * Tandem available depending on weather conditions and weight of persons.

    We also have WAVE RUNNERS for rent:

    We have late model, two-seater wave runners that seat one to two persons. Minors under 18 years of age require the accompaniment of an adult. Following are the different pricings:

    15 MIN. = $35.00 USD
    30 MIN. = $60.00 USD
    45 MIN. = $80.00 USD
    60 MIN. = $110.00 USD

    No reservation required for activities.

    Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. Thank you for your interest in our park. Hope to see you soon! May you have a safe & fun trip!


    International Sales Department
    Playa Mia Grand Beach Park®
    Cozumel, Quintana Roo, México 77600
    e-mail to: info@playamia.com
    or visit our website: www.playamia.com
    Phone: 52 (987) 872-9039
    Fax: 52 (987) 872-9039
  9. Tiggerfan14

    Tiggerfan14 Mouseketeer

    Oct 20, 2005
    subscribing :cool1:
  10. drknight

    drknight Mouseketeer

    Apr 7, 2004
    I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but we were at Playa Mia in Oct 06 and I would NOT recommend it to anyone. Sure, the coach transfers are nice, but the whole place was very run down. There was a good bit on construction going on, so it may be better now. The food was a little scary. I was a little nervous eating lukewarm chicken that had been sitting out in an open air buffet all day, but luckily we did not get sick. The open bar was a rip off. They have very nice bars(that had better looking drinks), with stools to lounge on, but they are only for cash customers. The open bar is a pink block building with walk up service only. My kids did enjoy getting slushes(virgin strawberry daiquiris) all day. The reserved section of chairs is just that...a rope tied around about 1/3 of their chairs...there was really no advantage. The activities were a joke. The iceberg had most of it's handles broken, so none of my kids were able to climb it. The water trampoline had a broken ladder, making it impossible to get on without help, and when they did, they had a hard time jumping, because the top needed repair also. The paddle boats were ok. We did go parasailing (because everything else was so disappointing) for an extra charge. It was the highlight of the day..not Castaway Cay(our excursion there was canceled due to high winds), but it was still fun. My main complaint is that Disney would use the beach for their "Beach Break" excursion. I felt like no one from Disney had actually been there in a while, or there is no way they could support a place like this! I did complain to DCL, but got no response. We are returning to Cozumel in 08, and as of now, we will probably stay on the ship.
    Anyway...I would definitely search the trip reports for more recent info on Playa Mia before booking it. As I said, there was some construction, so maybe it has improved.
  11. drknight

    drknight Mouseketeer

    Apr 7, 2004
    Just checked their website...in fine print on the first page is this:

    Playa Mia is currently open for business.
    We apologize for any inconvenience due to our remodeling work.

    Just my opinion...but proceed with caution.

    btw...the zoo was not open when we were there.
  12. slk

    slk Mouseketeer

    May 5, 2007
    Thanks for the info
  13. FatCat

    FatCat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2007
    Good to hear a first hand review. I have found good and bad reviews concerning Playa Mia and Paradise beach which seem to be the two most popular.

    Has anyone been there recently? I agree that bigger is not always better.

    So can anyone that has been there recently Post Re-Furbishment give some info?

    Thanks much.
  14. FatCat

    FatCat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2007
    OK I totally contradicted my earlier postings and have decided for Cozumel to go with Nachi Cocom. This is partly to trip reviews in June 07 and July 07 not given the newly renovated Playa Mia a high rating.

    Here is the info I got from Nachi Cocom

    Greetings from Cozumel Cruise Excursions,

    Thank you for your interest in our Cozumel Beach Break Excursion at Nachi Cocom. We currently show availability for the date you have requested. This is the perfect way to spend your day in Cozumel, enjoying all the wonderful amenities of this tropical paradise.

    So many cruise passengers just want to get away from the throngs of people, and relax on a sandy white beach with crystal clear water. In short, just looking to spend some time in their own little slice of paradise. Our beach club will give you that and more.

    Your Beach Break is located along a stretch of Cozumel's most beautiful beach and is open daily from 9am-5pm. The club has the nicest beach in Cozumel by far! The facilities include a spectacular beach, beautiful swimming pool with swim up bar, a spacious Jacuzzi, a beautiful palapa restaurant, comfortable beach chairs, palapas for shade on the beach, bathrooms and outdoor showers. Jet Skis rentals can be arranged directly from our water sports department upon your arrival. (approx $60usd/1/2 hour) Along with parasailing at $55usd/ flyer. This can be arranged upon your arrival. Snorkel gear, kayaks,floats are also available from the watersports shop for rental.

    Upon your arrival you will be given a warm welcome, information regarding the facilities, and preferential seating on the beach! All Island Marketing clients are guaranteed beach lounge chairs:) Take a nice long walk, bask in the sun, swim, snorkel, or just kick back and relax.

    Your All Inclusive Beach Break Package includes an open bar with unlimited domestic drinks that include: Pina Coladas, Rum Punch, Margaritas, Sex on the Beach, Daiquiris, Beer, Soda's, Juices, Bottled Water, and other tasty concoctions. International brands such as Jack Daniels and many others are also available with this exclusive package. Soft drinks in glass (Jet Spray) Coke, Fanta, Sprite and Purified Bottled Water are also available.

    Your lunch is a tasty 3 course meal served A La Carte and at your liesure during your day at the beach.

    To make this truly a special experience for those looking to enjoy some privacy and seclusion at our beach club, admission is limited to approx. 100 guest daily.

    This exlcusive beach break package is specially priced at $49.00usd /adult, $29.00 usd for kids 12yrs -17yrs, $12usd for children 4-11yrs. Children 3 and under are free. Note to parents: the drinking age in Mexico is 18 years and is strictly enforced.

    Our Cozumel Beach Break at Nachi Cocom cannot be booked from your ship and is booked online and in advance through our reservations system.

    Our special beach break allows you to get away from the long lines, packed buses and over crowded beaches associated with Cruise Ship organized beach clubs excursions.

    The club is located approximately 10 miles from your cruise ship pier and is a short 15 minute taxi ride. Due to port regulations and agreements with taxi unions we cannot provide transportation for you. You can easily arrange a taxi from your terminal for under $15 for up to 4 people. Vans can be arranged for larger groups. This is very safe and simple to arrange from your cruise port, and there will be a line of cabs waiting to bring you back to your ship when you are ready to leave. There is absolutely no risk whatsoever of missing your ship.

    Due to this excursion's popularity, and to ensure your preferential seating (which is limited) please be sure to reserve your space on this excursion ASAP.

    A $12 usd/ adult,$7usd/child (12-17) and $5usd (4yrs-11) Deposit is required in order to secure your reservation (fully refunded in the event your Ship does not make it into port. Please refer to our Terms of Reservation by visiting our website The balance is due at time of excursion in cash or traveler check only
  15. cyndifan

    cyndifan Mommy, are we there yet, are we there yet, are we

    Jun 2, 2007
    There's an excursion to Xcaret available from Cozmel. Here's the 'official' blurb:
    Xcaret Eco Archeological Park
    Embark on a 45-minute ferry ride to Playa del Carman before taking a bus to the stunning Xcaret Eco Archeological Park on the picturesque coast of Mexico. Immerse yourself in the region's timeless splendor as you explore ancient ruins, go swimming in an underground river, stroll the botanical gardens or simply soak up the sun and scenery while basking on a white-sand beach.

    There's also a nice thread from someone who's actually done this excursion. Lots of details & pics:

    Our DD will be 5.5 at cruise time & we're seriously considering this one.

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