There are better places to do a beach break than Progreso. If you like seeing Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza is very impressive. The ship has an excursion that goes there. It is a two to two and a half hour bus ride each way, but it is really amazing to see.
We went to the Dzibichaltun ruins. We went with an individual operator that offered to take 8 of us in a small bus with A/C for $60. It was only about 20 minutes away and for us first timers was pretty impressive. What clinched it for us was that the guy was willing to let us pay when he got us back to port (insurance that we catch our ship!) The ruins themselves cost $7 each for those 13 yo and over. Then there were guides that offered their services for $15. Since we had small children along, we opted not to use the guide, however when DH and I go back, I would like to do it again with the guide. So, for our family of 8 we had a nice shore excursion for $95 total and 40 minutes travel time!
Rhapsody of the Seas - long ago, in a galaxy far away!
Ecstasy - Jan. 2007
Conquest - Sept. 2007 cruisemates 4Bs
Ecstasy - Jan. 2008
We, too, have visited Merida several times. We went to the town square. There is a beautiful old church, the governor's palace, a museum, and many other amazing old buildings. There are pigeons on the square and benches to sit and enjoy the scenery. We rented a car with another couple which made our own excursion very reasonable.
We have also been to the Dzbilchatun (spelling ???) ruins. They are nice if you have never seen any ruins, but Chichen Itza is much larger and amazing to see. My husband had to talk me into making the long drive there, but I was so glad that we went!!!! It covers a large area and each structure is different from the others.