Our family of four wants to take a five to seven day cruise to Mexico. We want to have plenty of time on the cruise ship, but also have more than one day to check out a couple of Mayan sites. What are our options? Most of the cruises seem to dock in Cozumel in the morning and leave that afternoon. Are there land/sea packages, and where do you find them?
That's a good idea! I guess you'd give up the first part of the trip, so you'd want .to book on a cruise where they visited a Mexican port first and then had enough time somplace else to make it worthwhile.
That brings up an interesting question: Any cruises that originate in Mexico and return there? We're very flexible about where we fly to get on the ship. I read someplace that they were building facilities at Cancun (or Playa Del Carmen?). Anyone know when the first cruises will start leaving from there?
Find a ship whose itinerary has a day at Playa and a day at Cozumel. The ferry ride from Coz to Playa is about 45 minutes so you could get in two days.
You could also take a hotel room in Playa for the night so to get an earlier start the second day.
Another thought is to "do" Tulum, then Coba, then drive (and drive and drive), find a hotel and then hit Chichen Itza first thing in the morning. The drive, and drive, and dive and catch the ferry to Coz. Otherwise, it's almost an impossibility unless you fly to Chichen Itza.
Not to split hairs, but if you're interested in Mayan sites, you actually want a "Western Caribbean" itinerary rather than a "Mexico" or "Mexican Riviera" itienrary. The latter tend not to go near Mayan sites.
MV Grand Princess has a new "Western Caribbean" route that calls at both Cozumel and Costa Maya, so it would provide two full days in the Mayan region. It also visits Princess Cays (the line's private island) and Georgetown, Grand Cayman (which really is a unique -- and very worthwhile -- port of call). The ship is operating this itinerary every other week for the rest of the summer, and will shift to every week as of in October. I think that Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have instituted a similar route, but I don't have the details.
I have not seen many itineraries that spend a whole day at Playa del Carmen. Most itineraries that stop there seem to do so only briefly to drop off passengers going on shore excursions before proceeding to their main port of call at Cozumel.
You probably would have to pay at least as much as a full cruise to purchase just part of a cruise because the cruise line would want some sort of compensation for the unusable space. If a published itinerary does not provide as much time as you want in the Mayan region, a land tour might be a better option.
Have a great vacation, whichever way you decide to go!
Thanks for all the feedback. I have a couple of options to examine now. I've started to look at both fly-in options as well as cruises that have multi-day stays in the region (Princess, Royal Caribean). If I can't find something that works, I might also just need to scale back my expectations and maybe visit Tulum with a shorter trip. While I've always wanted to see Chichen Itza, the rest of the family is more enthused with the cruise portion of the trip. I predict that my boys will/would be fascinated with Chichen Itza, but I don't think that a lot of different ruins would work for them at this age.
Based on your comments about your children, it sounds like the cruise probably would provide the best balance for right now. It certainly woudl be better -- and a lot easier on their Dad's patience -- to give your children a taste of the Mayan ruins and have them wanting to go back for more on another vacation than to saturate them and have them chafing at the bit to do something else before your vacation is half over. You can always return to the region on a future family vacations if they take an interest, or even after they start college if they don't.
Just thought I would follow up on this post and let everyone know what my family decided. We considered the idea of joining the ship in Cozumel and also looked into ships that docked for two days in Mexico on the Yukatan peninsula.
We threw out the direct flight because it seemed like you missed too much of the cruise and ended up with complicated and costly air travel from our location. From previous experience, I want to keep the travel as simple as possible for my family.
For the two night stays, we identified Celebrity's Horizon, Zenith, and Mercury; Royal Caribbeanís Enchantment of the Seas; Carnival's Celebration and Carnival Pride; and the Grand Princess. The Grand Princess would have been my first choice but was sold out for the dates we wanted to go. The Pride also looked great, but doesn't launch until next year.
The advice not to cram too much into one trip made a lot of sense to me. So instead of a two-night stay with a dash across the peninsula, I just booked a more conservative cruise on the Carnival Inspiration out of New Orleans. That means that Chichen Itza will have to wait for a future outing. Iím hoping that Tulum will whet the boyís appetite for more Mayan culture and we can focus this time out on the cruise experience and enjoying New Orleans. BTW:- anyone have any suggestions on hotels? :-)
Thanks for all the help in researching the options! We havenít been on a cruise in a long time and then only on a small ship 1/3 the size of this one. Cruising seems to have changed a lot in that time. Too many really good choices!