It's only 12 miles from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. You can see one, from the other, on any clear day! The stop at Playa is intended for Shore Excursions only. If you don't book a Shore Excursion on the mainland, you cannot disembark at Playa...
If there is room on the tender you can book a tender ticket without an accompanying shore excursion. We've done it. Some people on another board (whom and which shall remain nameless) questioned my veracity.
If you jump off at Playa, you take the ferry across to Coz. About 45 minutes, and I think it's $8. If the seas are a bit rough ... and they can be in the strait ... it can be a less than pleasant ride.
If you don't get off at Playa, the ship just goes to Cozumel port.
Thank you. I wondered how this worked. Just a ferry ride away. There is a place I want to go to in Playa, but after going there once, I don't want to stay. So I can get what I need and take the ferry to Cozumel.
I never thought I would take a short cruise, but the opportunity is right.