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Old April 28th, 2006, 11:57 PM
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Default 1st Carnival cruise--need help w/ excursions, W. Caribbean

Hubby and I have taken one other cruise and are looking forward to our first Carnival cruise at the end of May (Ecstasy). We're overwhelmed by the options when it comes to excursions. I'd love to hear the advice of experienced cruisers.

I'm not adverse to shopping, but I don't like kitschy souvenirs. Should we skip shopping? Or where should we go? (We have friends who enjoy a nice cigar. Is this a good itinerary for picking up cigars they'll enjoy and can't find at home?)

Just hanging out on a gorgeous beach also sounds good (we loved Disney's Castaway Cay). Should we go for the beach club excursions? Is it faster/just as easy to grab a cab to a beach club?

We've even toyed with the idea of just staying onboard. Would we kick ourselves? Are Progresso/Merida and Cozumel not to be missed?

I'm also a bit worried about the fact that we're only in port for 8 hours, so I'd want to be absolutely sure we could get to/from the ship in good time.

We're not adverse to hopping a cab ourselves, if we have a little guidance.

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated.

J
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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My husband and me went on a 4-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami on the Imagination, last year. The 2 ports of call were, Key West and Cozumel.

We weren't able to do much in Key West for lack of time, being that the ship docked there for about 6 or 7 hours. We took the Conch trolley, which was okay. In Cozumel, we did the Tulum Maya ruins tour, and that was awesome (at least I thought it was). Cozumel has beautiful, blue, crystal clear waters, and it's total paradise.

I'm sure that with whatever excursion you take (whatever the ports of call are), you'll have a fantastic time.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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Haven't been to Progresso yet, DF and I will be there in June, in Cozumel, shop, do the ruins and we are going to do the Fiesta Party Boat this time.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 10:27 PM
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Default First Carnival cruise, need help with excursions

We took a cab to Paradise Beach in Cozumel (about 15 minutes away.) We had a great time and it's free. Waiters come around for drinks or eats and they are not pushy at all. Got a banana, strawberry smoothie and the best chicken nachos I ever had. They have lounge chairs and umbrellas, but be mindful, I got a wicked sunburn on my left thigh because I didn't put sunscreen on my legs. Really enjoyed it and it is convenient and reasonable.

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Old May 1st, 2006, 12:44 PM
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Thanks for the feedback!
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Old May 1st, 2006, 03:52 PM
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I took the same cruise earlier this year. Progresso is not a good port in my opinion. There is an extremely long peir to get to a small shopping area. If you actually want to go to the town/land, you must get transportation as it is at least three miles.
I rented a car and drove to Meridia, which is not real far, but once downtown, there is little parking available. The down town area is very busy and is worth seeing. The beach at Progresso is no better than Galveston, perhaps worse.
My advice is to take an excursion into town, either Progresso or Merida and not try going on your own. It is just too frustrating.
Cozumel is rebuilding, but still wonderful. I think not only should you kick yourself if you miss this port, I will volunteer to do it for you!
We have been there many times and this past time we took a cab to Paradise beach. IT is clean, safe and very nice.
The Ecstasy is a great ship that you should really enjoy.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:05 AM
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Default Excursion

You are right, you always want to be back on the ship in plenty of time before the departure. I set my watch by the time that the Purser has on the ship before I depart. The ships will leave you if you are not back by the appointed time. Some people exit and do the excursion, and some stay on the ship. I like the excursions where you receive a tour because I see something that I would probably not see on my own. Since there is a small length of time to do the excursions, and it is nice to have a guide who knows what to see and where to go. I sometimes get off the ship and walk in the shops close to the ship. I never venture to far away on my own, I like walking around in groups (for safety reasons).
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:44 AM
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If you want to experience some amazing snorkeling then i would highly suggest that you book a ships excursion in Cozumel to the Palencaar Reef - this place is unbelieveable. The snorkeling is easy and the water is crystal.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:36 PM
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cozumel has been one of my favorite stops! We rented a car last time, the island is so small you can't get lost. Do some net surfing and you can fund some good maps of the island. Chankanaab national park is very nice too $12 entry fee. You can book a dolphin swim here cheaper then through the cruise line. I have never done one though, captive creatures make me sad We booked our cruise this summer to specifically go to cozumel and they switched it to costa maya, which I heard wasn't half as nice
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Old May 4th, 2006, 02:38 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Very helpful.

J
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Old May 4th, 2006, 07:28 PM
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My first cruise 4-24-06 to 4-29-06 on the Inspiration -FUN!!! We did all the exploring on our own. The cruise director gives you tons of info on where and what to do. We hit the road and got a taxi to Paradise Beach. Cozumel was hit hard (taxi driver info) and the only tourist are the cruise ships. It was the first time in 8 months they got to use the pier. We hit the shops (some were okay same stuff different block) early in the morning. Less people and heat. Then went to the boat to drop off the goods and EAT. Then packed up the snorkels and hit the beach for the second half of the stay. Have fun
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Old May 5th, 2006, 01:32 AM
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Bonni: Are you saying that you were on a Carnival ship that was allowed to use the dock in Cozumel? If so, that is great news!
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Old May 5th, 2006, 11:37 PM
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We went on our first cruise in November (Grand Princess to Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman.) Since it seems there was always a Carnival ship wherever we went, I thought I'd share our port experiences.

Costa Maya -- the ship docked at a pier. We walked through the outdoor shopping mall, then headed left (south?) for a maybe a 20-minute walk to the beach. There were buses and taxis -- in fact, as we walked, we were asked several times if we wanted a ride. We weren't trying to save money -- I think they were really cheap. We just wanted some exercise. There were lots of shops and restaurants there. We had a great lunch and enjoyed the afternoon at the beach. We could even see the ship off in the distance while we swam, just like in the commercials.

Belize -- we bought an excursion to the ruins and were really glad we did. The ship got in late and we got back late but because it was a Princess excursion, they waited for us. We had wonderful guides and enjoyed the trip.

Grand Cayman -- we didn't do an excursion here. Tendering to shore took ours because there were EIGHT ships in port and only so much room for the tenders at the dock. By the time we got on shore, we only had a few hours before we had to be back so we shopped and had another great meal.

Cozumel -- still tendering back in November. We did an excursion to a private beach, including meal and drinks. The meal was good; the drinks were mediocre (I was drinking beer, that's how watered down they were!) It was kind of cloudy that day and to top it off, my husband broke his ankle while running in from the water (stepped in a hole.) We didn't know that it was broken until a month later. Fortunately, this was the night before the last day at sea so it didn't ruin things for us too much (except we missed lobster night! ) Again, the guides were great!

I would do excursions again, I think, but I would plan a little better in advance. The best ones were gone by the time we decided to do some. Those in my family who went on excursions had pretty good experiences all around.

Have a great trip! We never considered ourselves "cruise material" but we had a great time and we're going to Alaska in August!
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Old May 7th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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LisaK, read your post on pellancar reef. I'm looking for a place to take the kids(5/7/12) snorkeling. Is the snorkeling off the beach or do you need to go out by boat to get to it? Heading out on the Fascination July 10, first ever cruise and looking for lots of info. Thanks
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Old May 7th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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LisaK, read your post on pellancar reef. I'm looking for a place to take the kids(5/7/12) snorkeling. Is the snorkeling off the beach or do you need to go out by boat to get to it? Heading out on the Fascination July 10, first ever cruise and looking for lots of info. Thanks
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Old May 9th, 2006, 06:28 PM
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To: centralcalicruzer

Reference docking in Cozumel.

DW and I just returned (Sunday, May 7th) from a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise on Miracle. We were among the lucky ones to get to dock in Cozumel. The primary docks are still several months away from being back in service but they have patched up the first half of a badly damaged pier that they call the "International Dock. It is three or four miles up the coast from the primary docks and there is room for only one cruise ship at a time. Miracle docked there on Tuesday the 2nd of May. They told us that the dock is being shared and that Miracle will be docking there on alternate cruises. That means that the Miracle cruise that left two days ago will be tendering in Cozumel but the May 14 cruise should be able to dock there.

Gazelle2
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Old May 9th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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That's great! I talked to my stepdaughter on Saturday and she said her ship (she works on the Ecstasy) had been able to dock last week too, so it looks like they will be alternating on the docking. Hopefully by our cruise in August they'll have the other pier open too and more ships can dock. That's what I have been hearing anyway.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 10:22 PM
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when we cruise my mom and i do a half and half which is we do a couple
hour tour go back to ship for lunch and then relax for the rest of the day
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