My family took our first cruise this year and we had such a marvelous trip! I am a server and I was astounded at the impeccable service we received (courtesy of our fabulous server Theoca and her assistant server Kadek). The food was delicious-too delicious, I think I gained 10 pounds. Our server in Palo (Hristo?) was amazing as well. I loved seeing all the different nationalities working together. Our host Kim made us delightful towel animals every night and stuck my son's sunglasses on them,cute. He even thought to replace our dirty wine glasses in the room (since there was an empty wine bottle in the trash every morning) :-) The nightly shows were very entertaining-"dreams" even made me tear up. We always found something to do-from foosball, ping pong, and soccer on the top deck, to 80's dance party in wavebands.
The Port Adventures are well set up-all transfers were seamless. Castaway Cay was a paradise. The only negative comment I have about the entire trip was that there is way too much screen time available to kids in the Oceaneers lab. They offered many programs, but once my kids see a computer screen, they cannot even hear when dinner is called, much less an activity. I wished the computers had a time limit per seating to break them away. This made me not use the kids club as much as I wanted to, and therefore, took away from my relaxation time.
We hopped off the boat nice and early and went straight for the double kayaks with our kids. We paddled around for half and hour near the cruise boat, it was really fun. We didn't tell the kids till we were back on shore that we were paddling past small sharks! We skipped the sting ray experience, although that looked cool as well, and we saw a rope course over the water and Pelican's Plunge-a neat water slide into the water. After a little snorkeling and swimming we checked our kids into kids club on the island(finally, no computers!) and my husband and I just about ran to Serenity Bay-just for adults. We threw our rafts in the water, plopped down, and floated down the beach-absolutely the best part of my vacation. We went parasailing out of 'Marges Barges' right off the back of a power boat. The view was beautiful and the sailing smooth and comfortable(no pinching harnesses). The only drawback was the $. It was literally almost $10 a minute! And then they asked for a tip!
We did the Xel-Ha snorkeling/river tubing trip. It was quite a ways from the Cozumel port-had to take a 40 minute Ferry ride(bring the Dramamine for that!) then walk through the streets a little to a taxi that took you the rest of the way there. The transfers were seamless and our guide Juan was perfect. He even told us to use our snorkel flippers for paddles while on our tubes. You could easily spend a few days at this park, but we only had time for a short slow tube ride down the river, some zip lining into the river, and snorkeling back to where the restaurants are for an all inclusive authentic Mexican lunch. The fish were gorgeous, although I didn't get to snorkel that much because my 6 year old was crying most of the time. (I think he was overtired and wary about the river water-solely because it wasn't a pool)