My two sons, husband and I were booked on the Tulum/Xel-Ha combo on Jan. 1 off the Navigator. First I have to say that Tulum and Xel-Ha are well worth the trip from Cozumel to the mainland (a 50-minute ferry ride and then a 75-minute bus ride). Tulum is breathtaking - both for its location and its historical significance. Unfortunately, we didn't have nearly enough time to see it all. Xel-Ha is a destination worth at least a day, but we had only two hours to take in swimming into a cave, snorkelling, walking trails, shopping, and trying to walk the floating bridge without ending up in the lagoon. We barely made it back to the bus
The problem with this trip and any other excursion to mainland Mexico is the 50-minute ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen.
When you get your excursion ticket, RCI gives you a note stating (and I quote, mistakes and all): "When bad weather or if you are sensible to the sea movement, do not forget to bring seasickness pills..."
That is an understatement.
There were at least 250 passengers aboard the ferry catamaran and at least 50 men, women, and children threw up, myself included. I have never felt so nauseous in my life - with nowhere to go and nothing to do but endure the constant up and down movement over the sea swells.
What angers me is this:
1. RCI knows many passengers will throw up (the excursion staff confirmed this to me the next day).
2. The weather was bright and sunny and not "bad" so weather has nothing to do with it (in bad weather I can only imagine that it would be worse). The water did not appear choppy until we got away from the pier.
3. The Mexican catamaran company knows many will throw up - they hand out purple plastic barf bags a few minutes into the trip.
4. RCI allowed small children and even one baby (who screamed in agony the whole way) to board with not so much as a proper warning.
5. RCI does not provide Dramamine on the catamaran or at Playa del Carmen for the trip back to the ship.
I was livid with RCI, as were many others. I cannot believe that RCI cannot find another more pleasant way to get people to the mainland (some told me that the catamaran is known to not handle choppy water well).
If you absolutely want to go to the mainland and you get even a little queasy in cars or you know you get seasick:
1. Do not eat breakfast and do not eat the lunch provided.
2. Take a Dramamine in the morning (but you will sleep through the whole excursion).
3. Take Dramamine only on the trip back (but you'll sleep through dinner, or as in my case, you'll be stoned through dinner - our Mexican tour guide managed to scrape up two pills).
4. Sit at the back and in the middle of the catamaran. Seating is completely interior. The temperature is extremely cold but they have to keep it that way or many more would vomit. On the return trip, some sat in the upper level (not open on the trip over) and they said it was better than the lower level.
5. Either watch the television and don't take your eyes off it or lean over in your seat, look at the floor and push your head into the spongy seat in front of you.
I would have liked a more explicit warning from RCI but I realize that such a warning would keep people away from this excursion. They're damned if they do, and they're damned if they don't. They choose not to warn passengers.
Took this ferry ride, it is choppy, but if you are used to the water it was nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe it was better conditions then you had, but we had my mother with me, DEATHLY afraid of the sea and had no problems. Also, my 4 year old nephew and brother in law who hat boats, neither had an issue.
Guess it is what the water is like on that day, and to RCCL's defense, there is no way of knowing or changing this.
I posted the same message on another cruise board and people there have informed me that, yes, conditions are much better on the upper deck and that the non-drowsy variety of Dramamine would have made the trip much more pleasant. I did not know about the non-drowsy pills.
Still, I would have liked for RCI to more strongly suggest that passengers take non-drowsy seasickness pills before leaving the ship (they knew in advance of the choppy conditions - they admitted this to me the next day).
I would have liked for RCI or the ferry staff to tell those of us who were puking down below that conditions were much better on the upper deck. No one told me the upper deck was even open. You would think that it would be a service to their customers to tell them something that would help reduce their discomfort. But no. No one did.
I'm sorry you had a difficult time, but there is no way that RCL can "stronly suggest" the use of Dramine without opening themselves up to lawsuits. Can you imagine if one of their passangers became ill or or worse died due to allergic reaction to this drug. In the litgious society we live in, companies like RCL cannot be too careful. I have sailed many times and have been on quite a few tenders in choppy seas. If the seas were deemed too dangerous, the tender was cancelled. All in all, anyone who takes a cruise, no matter how large or small the ship, risks sea sickness.
I am truly sorry to hear about the bad ride you had. My hubby and I went to Playa del Carmen last year and on the same ferry ride you mentioned. I am somewhat apprehensive about going on my cruise (Brilliance of the Seas) due to having such a rough and rocky ride. I sure hope the cruise is a lot more smooth! Does anyone know how many stabilizers the ferry to Cozumel has? I am getting sea sick thinking that the cruise may make me feel very nauseous ( thinking about the terrible ferry ride) Trust me, I am sure that you are not the only people experiencing such bad luck. It sure leaves me concerned about our cruise. However, I will take a chance and actually look forward to our first upcoming cruise. Would someone please share their insight into the motions of the cruise and how it compares to the ferry crossing from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel and put my fears aside...thanx!!!
Let me reassure you that on the cruise itself you will feel almost no movement and most of the time you will feel like you are on solid ground.The ship is very stable and you get your sea legs very quickly (your body learns to make corrections for the slight movement). I never,ever felt queasy on the ship.
There was one night that the captain apologized for the choppy conditions, but it was more funny than anything else. No one was complaining.
I did see a few people with a little seasickness patch under their ear, but very few. They seemed to wear it for the whole cruise.
It took me about 24 hours before the ground stopped moving under me after the cruise I love that part... taking a shower in my hotel room and swearing the hotel was swaying ever-so-slightly
If one is to cruise, there is a certain amount of risk involved as regards to seasickness. The cruise lines, no matter which one, cannot promise you smooth sailing simply because they cannot control the sea. What it really comes down to is how rough the water is, not how big the ship is. You may cruise one week on a certain route and have calm seas and smooth sailing. The very next week , the same ship, same route , may have some rough and choppy seas, causing some discomfort to some of the passengers. So, one group might proclaim that that particular ship rides very smooth and comfortable while the other group says that particular ship rocks, rolls and rides rough, when it wasn't the ship at all, but whether or not the seas were rough.
I have crossed the Cozumel channel several times and I think I have seen sick people on most of the crossings. The water there is normally choppy and can be rough at times. I don't think one can hold the cruise line responsible. After all, you know ahead of time you will be on the water and there is a chance of becoming seasick.
As regards to whether or not the ferries have stabilizers, I seriously doubt that they do but I may be wrong. If you think you may become sick, take some of the over the counter medicine for it--better safe than sick. Above all, learn to Roll With It-- after all, it is a cruise.
It's the strangest thing...I get deathly ill with motion sickness in an automobile (unless I'm driving), but never when I'm on a plane, train, cruise ship or any other vessel on the water. Maybe the problem is that in the car I'm ususally going to work, grocery shopping, doctor's appts., vet's appts, etc, but any other mode of transportation equals FUN! I'm sorry for your experience, becasue I know how terrible motion sickness makes on feel, but I've also been on the same vessel you were on (twice) and no one was sick either time. I've already established the fact that I'm strange, but I don't mind rough seas and I really enjoy iding the tenders and catamarans.
Xel-Ha does have lockers. We were four and had to take two lockers. We stuffed about three big bags in each. If I remember correctly, they cost $8 (cash only), but they give you back $5 when you return the key. You're free to go in and out of the locker as many times as you want.