Our cruise in about 30 some odd days. Newbie. Virgin cruiser. First timer, etc. I am a little concerned about getting the shore excursions I want, i.e., the dolphin thing and definately the Mayan ruins. In Cozmel from 7am to midnight, so plenty of time! I envision everyone boarding the ship, and rushing, like a pack of wild animals, to the shore excursion counter - if one even exists!!! Am I over reacting? Exactly what should I expect, in detail?
I have NOT done a shore excursion in Cozumel (but will be there from the Paradise the week of April 18th). However, I did spend a week on Cozumel a couple of years ago with my teenage son. We did it completely independently and on a budget, and had a blast. Personally, I think Cozumel is so geared to tourists and so easy to get around - taxis everywhere - English fairly well understood - that I wouldn't worry.
You could most likely do everything you want independently. But if you want to do the ship-organized shore excursions, just book them as soon as you get on the ship. There is lots of information on Cozumel on-line, and tons of guidebooks are available. Go to virtualtourist.com and search for Cozumel info if you would like feedback from travelers, rather than travel writers. My personal favorites from our trip (which you can read about on the virtualtourist website are: the beach park at Chankanaab, and a side trip via ferry and bus to the ruins on the mainland at Tulum. You probably would not have time for both in one day on the island, but they are both wonderful.
If you don't have the dolphin swim ALREADY reserved, it may be too late. That is the one excursion that always sells out. With Princess you can reserve your shore excursions ahead of time online. Doesn't Carival offer the same level of service?
It will also be less expensive if you make your excursion plans indepentantly from the ships excursions.
you might be out of luck on the dolphin swim, those book up months in advance. Go to the dolphin discovery web site that kado posted. Don't try to do too much in one day. 2 excursions is pushing it, especially getting to and from the ruins,it involves taking a ferry. I think the average tour time for an excursion to the ruins is like 4-6 hours. If the dolphin swims are all sold out, you could book a ships excursion to the ruins, i say to book a ships excursion because it takes a long time to get to the ruins and it involves a ferry ride, if something happens and you have booked your trip on your own, they will not hold the ship for you.
Playa del Sol and Channunkaaub Parks are great places to spend the day - swimming, relaxing on the beach etc. Both easy to get to by cab.
Go to the pursers desk first day to book your shore excursions. Unfortunatley Carnival doesn't let you pre-book your excursions.
Unless Carnival changed recently, you cannot book on line and need to book on the ship. However, I believe you can see the available excursions on line in most cases. Once you get to your room they can be booked using the interactive features on the tv, or you can in fact go down to the shore excursion desk and drop off the form . They are kept in a first come first served order and tickets will be delivered to your room probably the first evening out.
I would opt to go to Chankanaab Park on your own. YOu can book a dolphin excursion while you're there. YOu can go snorkeling on your own as well. They rent equipment, or bring your own.
There's plenty of taxis waiting to take you anywhere you want to go. They've done this before. They're just waiting for you!
It is a bit scary when it's your first cruise. But we don't usually do the ships excursions because they tend to be more money. With the help of these boards, you can figure out what to do before you leave.
Have a great time!
There's pics. posted in the photo gallery of Chankanaab Park so you can see what it's like there. We loved it and plan to return. I think it says, Cozumel/Progresso in the gallery.
Carnival doesn't offer booking of shore excursions prior to sailings.
You do want to get to the shore excursions area/desk and pick up a listing of all the excursions with descriptions and decide and put your orders in the box there. That way you know you'll get what you want just in case there is a limit to the number of people that can be booked.
What we did on our last cruise (March) was we booked almost all our excursions online with independent tour operators....In cozumel we did do a Carnival tour which was the only one we did book on Carnival. It was the Jeep/Beach/Cavern tour and we got to drive our own jeep thru Mexico (Playa Del Carmen) and swim in the caverns and hang out in La Playa beach. It was a nice tour and we'd do it again.
As for the dolphin encounters I would book ASAP as like everyone said they do sell out. We booked one and the lady bumped us up to the next one which would have been too close to when we'd have to back to the ship so we had to cancel it. Just be careful with the times, etc...when booking your own independent tours.
I have been to Cozumel on Carnival. What ship will you be on, and what other ports will you stop at? This will help me give you the scoop. Don't be afraid however, you can sign up on board for your excursions and there is not alot of pushing and shoving. If you are on the Celebration, you might consider swimming with the dolphins in Calica. There is an excursion that goes to the ruins and then to a snorkle sight where there is a dolphin swim available. The line there looked very short to me.