After flying out to the east coast the day before and staying at a nice hotel very near the POM (thanks Priceline!), we embarked on a 7-day cruise to Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. We arrived at POM at about 11:00, checked in and were on the ship in 45 minutes. Really a pretty simple process.
Once on-board, we went straight to Rosie's to have our first lunch, walk around the ship a bit and wait for our rooms to become available. It's really pretty exciting to be on the ship with the knowledge that you're leaving the "Real World" behind for the next 7 days. Our group virtually took over the aft wrap arounds on the right side of the ship - we were stacked with one couple in each and it was pretty neat to talk to each other from one another's balconies. These cabins are truly worth the extra money - loads of room to stretch out, both inside and out.
I'll detail each individual port in the port reviews section.
The service level my wife and I received was consistently good, if not great. Our steward was definitely not one of the social types. He just kept our rooms very clean and did what was asked of him (ice, empty the fridge, extra towels, etc.)
In the MDR, our wait staff was very friendly and did everything they could to keep us happy. We even requested to have bananas flambe' prepared for our table one evening and they came through! Thanks for all your efforts. Unfortunately, the food was inconsistent on this trip. Cuts of meat were regularly delivered over or undercooked (I know it's difficult to get perfect, but raw chicken isn't acceptable).
We attended several shows and some were good, some were not. The comedian we saw was truly average at best. Just basically made fun of people in the front row. We saw a song and dance show, however that was entertaining. We usually see pretty high levels of entertainment on Carnival.
All in all, we have a great time on vacations, whatever we do and Carnival surely has excellent value. You really can't beat waking up in a different port on most mornings.
Thanks for another memorable vacation!
After tendering to the cruise center from several miles off shore (about a 15 minute ride), we met with our tour run by Hammerhead. They run a pretty nice operation. We checked in, got our snorkel gear, bought a dozen Belican beer from the Wet Lizard next door and were on our way. The staff taking care of us were quite professional and our guide, Henne (hope I spelled it correctly) made the trip both entertaining and safe. She explained a bit about Belize City and the surrounding area, was very funny at times and had her staff explain what needed to happen to be safe and have a good time
45 minutes later, we made a quick stop on Caye Caulker to place the lunch order for those that bought it and the get some sardines for the Sting Rays later on. We sped on to the reef about a mile off shore and were guided through a truly magical part of the world. LOADS of different species of fish and even an eel! After the reef, we went just a bit north and were surrounded by probably 30-40 sting rays and even a barracuda!
To finish the trip, we went back to the island to have lunch. Our group decided to look for something a little less commercial than the lunch spot offered by the cruise and proceeded to wander through this wonderful little island. We eventually would up at Rose's restaurant and had very good burritos, conch ceviche' and local beer.
We highly recommend this excursion to anyone wanting a bit of fun in the water as well as get away from generic cruise terminal areas with Diamonds International, etc.
The area around the cruise terminal area has many shops and an neat pool with a swim-up bar. I'd suggest, however, in venturing out into the local area by taking a cab into town. There are many beaches, restaurants and activities in town.
We booked a fishing boat(Marlin Rayana)to take a group of four on a deep sea fishing trip. After convincing us to extend the trip by going to an island that would be about 45 off shore, they proceeded to have engine problems! We had to troll about 1/2 mile off shore because they didn't want to get stranded. Now, I understand fishing trips can be hit and miss. However, we were switched to this boat by the tour company (Costa Maya Tours) a few days before due to supposed mechanical troubles. It just put a damper on the trip. Not having even ONE NIBBLE didn't help the situation.
On a more positive note, the women in our group rented beach chairs and umbrellas at Pez Quatro and had a blast! They had a person literally spoil them all day (I think his name was Adolpho - ask for him!). The cost was $35 for the day and it included unlimited drinks, small appetizers and amazing service. Well done, Pez Quatro!!!
Perhaps we're a bit biased, but we were able to experience the friendly people of the island and wander through some authentic Mexican parts of town.
Don't get me wrong, if you stay on the main street next to the water, you'll get your typical touristy things (McDonald's, etc.). However, if you want to experience some unique spots, we'd definitely recommend the Carnival excursion called Amazing Cozumel Race.
We usually don't book excursions directly with cruise companies, but something about this one intrigued us.
We met our tour guides at the end of the ship pier and were explained a bit of what to expect. The company paid for our cab rides into town and we were taken to a shopping center to organize, get final instructions and sent on our way. Now, you can make this as competitive as you wish, and most of the people there had at least SOME amount of competitiveness in their nature. However, you can just go at your own pace as well.
We won't spoil any of the clues for you (although, make sure at least ONE person in your group is prepared to snorkel), but you'll be sent through many different parts of town and even well off the coast. It's all walkable and truly an enjoyable time to be had.
That being said, Georgetown is a pretty place! The main part of town curves around a little cove and has what you would expect to see in port. Del Sol, Diamonds International, Jimmy Buffet's, etc. We wandered through town, did a bit of souvenir shopping and wound up at Margartiaville for lunch.
Once again, be prepared to pay more than you might be used to for food and drinks ($17.50 USD or a 20 oz. margarita with glass, for example). However, what a party! the DJ at this place gets everyone in the party mood and our group of eight were no exception. Free tequila shots, beer chugging contests, scavenger hunts, etc., made the atmosphere one to remember.