We are planning a cruise on the Norwegian Sea. I would like to see Tulum but am hearing really negative reviews concerning the trip from Cozumel. I hear people are throwing up alot because it is so rough. Also, we stop in Cancun but it is farther. I am also wondering about restroom facilities at the ruins. Are there any? Are they clean and adequate?
We were on the Sea in January and went to Tulum. We decided to go from Cozumel, primarily due to the many posts about the ship missing Cancun due to bad weather.
Tulum was beautiful and we greatly enjoyed it. We didn't use the restrooms at Tulum, so I can't comment on their cleanliness. The bus stopped at a jewelry store/manufacturing facility, and we were encouraged to use the restrooms there. I'm sure it was partly to encourage people to stop and buy jewelry, but the restrooms were clean.
A box lunch was fed on the bus, but we weren't very impressed. It consisted of a piece of fish (like salmon?), between two dry pieces of bun. It also included a plastic container of fruit, and something else that I didn't try, along with a bottle of water. Next time I would probably pass, and bring my own snacks.
After the tour, there was about one hour to shop in Playa del Carmen prior to the ferry ride back to the cruise ship. We bought quite a few souveniers, and felt that the shops (at least the ones we were in) were preferable to the flea market in Cancun. However, this tour doesn't allow you any time to spend in Cozumel, We caught the ferry right off the dock and never even got into Cozumel.
The ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen was EXTREMELY rough. Luckily, none of the six of us were seasick, but I did make the comment that if we didn't get sick there, I didn't think we had anything to worry about. If you are prone to seasickness, take precautions. Our weather might have been even rougher than usual, however. The cruise was unable to sail away from Cozumel until about 2 hours after its' scheduled departure due to high winds. Watching the local pilot trying to get on the ship was quite an experience.
If you decide to go I hope you enjoy it. The combination of the ruins with the sea below was beautiful. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable and gave us lots of information about Tulum and the Mayan culture in general.
Thank you for the information. Please, can you tell me how long each trip took (to Tulum etc) and how long you were able to spend at Tulum? Was that enough? Are there restroom and refreshments at Tulum?
At times like this I really wish my memory was better, but I'll try to dredge it up. I think the ferry crossing from the dock at Cozumel to Playa del Carman took about 25-30 minutes. There was about a 10 minute walk through Playa del Carman to the bus. The bus ride was probably about 45 minutes. We did stop at the jewelry store/factory for a restroom break, and they let us look around for probably 20 minutes. We then rode the bus the rest of the way to Tulum.
From the parking lot at Tulum it's about 1 mile to the entrance to the ruins. You can either walk, or there is a shuttle "train" pulled by a tractor that costs about $1.00. We took the shuttle as a couple of our party weren't in very good walking condition. There were restrooms available at the entrance, where they had the usual tip jar sitting. We spent approximately 1 hour at Tulum, and thought it was sufficient time. The guided tour lasted about 30 minutes, and then they allowed time to wander on your own.
There is a beach below the ruins, with a fairly steep path down to the water. We didn't go down to the beach. There were some people in the ocean, but it was a fairly cool and windy day. I don't think anybody from our tour went down, but I could be wrong.
We boarded the shuttle back to the parking lot. There were some shops in the parking lot area, but we didn't take time to look around at all. Some of them may have sold snacks. I seem to vaguely remember ice cream, but we didn't get anything there. On the bus ride back you were offered beer or a couple of kinds of soft drinks. We slept on the bus on the way back, so I really don't have a very good idea of how long the ride was.
There was probably 1 hour to spend in Playa del Carman. We shopped quite a bit. I know my sisters stopped for an ice cream cone, but it was pretty expensive. There was a bar (Carlos & Charlies??) just off the main plaza, and a Senor Frogs right off the pier. We don't drink, so I'm unsure as to exactly what was there. There is also a McDonalds right on the pier, if you're craving fast food.
I was much more impressed with Playa del Carman than I was with Cancun. The vendors weren't near as pushy. Let me know if you need any more info.