We arrived in Cozumel at 1:00 ship time (11:00 Cozumel time). One of my daughters and her husband booked an excursion through the cruise ship to see the Tulum Ruins. They were off the ship as soon as we docked with the ship excursion and boarded the ferry to the mainland. Their excursion was seven hours, and they reported that it was very interesting and that they enjoyed it a great deal.
The rest of us left the ship at 1:30 ship time, stopping to buy water on the pier and then heading to get a taxi. My brother told me that Chankanaab was a good choice for us and not to bother booking with the ship. Taxis are available at the pier. I was told to negotiate price before leaving the pier, which was $12 for a taxi for all five of us (4 adults and 1 toddler). The ride took about 10 minutes, and we paid admission at Chankanaab. The $21 adult admission covers use of showers, changing rooms, restrooms, swimming pool, shallow children's beach area, deep water swimming area, the sea lion show, use of palapas, lounge chairs, and various paths to exhibits such as the crocodile area. Many other activities are available at an additional charge such as kayaks, snorkeling, dolphin encounters, and scuba. Food, souvenirs, and sunscreen, and water toys are available for purchase at the park.
With only 3 hours at the park, we did not try any of the optional activities. My daughter, who did a cruise ship beach day a few years ago, said Chankanaab has much better facilities. We did some swimming, some sunbathing, watched the sea lion show, and let the baby have fun at the shallow beach. I wish our itinerary had given us more time at the park, but Chankanaab closes at 4:00 Cozumel time so once we got there, we really only had about 3 1/2 hours there. It was enjoyable but we needed more time to take advantage of the other activities.
Getting a taxi back to the ship was easy. They have them lined up at Chankanaab waiting. We negotiated fare back to the ship, which was $11 this time. This was a nice day and very economical. The ship wanted $236 for four adults for a day at Chankanaab, which did include food. We ate on the ship before we left, bought bottles of water on the pier, and did the whole excursion for $122, which included purchasing a photo of the sea lion kissing my grandson. You could spend a lot of money here if you did more of the optional activities, but we had a very nice time with the basic amenities. The beach is beautiful, and I would love to go back to Chankanabb if I had more time on the island.
Our time in Key West was fairly short so there wasn't time to do too much and we chose to plan our own tours while in the port. Our party of six split up. One couple chose to rent bikes at the pier and ride around Key West on a self planned tour. The bike vendors are set up right at the pier and it is easy to rent from them. They paid $12 per bike for the day and reported that it was a great way to see more of the island in a small amount of time. They printed maps from the Web at home and planned the tour in advance. They toured both the Hemingway House and the Truman White House. The Hemingway House was their favorite tour, especially the cats. They also went to the southernmost point.
Having the bikes was a real asset for getting around town quickly.
The rest of us chose to get off without a ship booked tour. We took some nice photos at the pier and purchased our own tickets for the conch train tour at the pier kiosk. The same tour is sold by the cruise line, but we liked doing it on our own much better. The cruise line train was packed but did leave from the pier. We had to walk about a block to the train station, but we enjoyed the walk, taking photos along the way.
The conch train tour was very enjoyable. The driver provided narration that was easily heard by everyone on the train. The driver showed us the southernmost point, the Hemingway House, the Truman White House, shotgun houses, zigzag houses, and multiple other portions of the town. The train stopped midway during the tour and people could get off, purchase beverages or souvenirs, and visit restrooms before continuing the tour. There were stops near two or three of the sites that allowed you to get off if you wished and get another train later. We wanted to hear the narration without breaks so we did not get off at those stops. If you want Hop On Hop Off with more stops, the trolley also operates from the kiosk at the pier. After our conch train tour, we did a little shopping in town, took more photos, and headed back to the ship. It was a nice day in a very enjoyable port.