We booked all of our excursions through Carnival and booked them while on the boat...had a lot to learn since we were first time cruisers. But we did not feel cheated and we had a great time at each port. We had a group of 18ppl in 8 cabins ranging in age from 13 to 60.
Cozumel port #1...the oldest guests just took a (large) cab ride aound the island - they got lucky and had a great cabbie who was basically a tour guide and showed them historical sites, hurricane damage, etc. they enjoyed it tremendously and it cost less than $20 total; my DH took the two teenagers on the Horseback riding excursion then went to Carlos & Charlies to wait for the rest of us - they had a good time but the teenagers enjoyed the tequila shot more than the horse riding
; the rest of us (all adults) did the Deluxe Sail and Snorkel which gave us sail time, snorkel time, beach time, buffet lunch, and free drinks
good choice for first timers.
Progreso port #2...the older gen and a couple of 30-somethings did the cab ride thing again since it was a hit in Cozumel - again it was cheap and they got to see alot of Progreso and Merida; the youngest couple and the youngest teenager did the Carnival Kayaking excursion - they enjoyed it but said it was too short and left them looking for what else to do in port, they ended up back on the ship and two took a nap
; the rest of us did the Merida city tour and Mexican Rodeo --- LOVED IT! Had the BEST sorbet you could ever imagine while in Merida, had some shopping time while in Merida and visited a few historical buildings then off to a ranch to eat a Mexican Buffet (many loved the lime soup so try it although it sounds yuk), watch folkloric dance recital, then a Mexican Rodeo. I would do that one again in a heartbeat.