This was my second time at this resort, and my husband's first. I knew the resort was safe, a short distance from the ship's port, and all inclusive, which meant we had to carry little money with us on shore.
Sunset Beach Resort Rating:
We did our own transport, and caught a taxi at the pier for $6pp round trip (which is cheaper than the transportation through the website). It was actually a small bus, and they filled it with more people going to Sunset. It takes about 5 minutes to get to the resort from the pier.
The resort is manicured and landscaped nicely. The pools are clean (though they could use a little maintenance (painting, tile work, etc). The slides are a lot of fun, and the walk-in pool is nice to sit and cool off. We found floats for the lazy river easily and made our way around once. The buffet of jerked chicken, hot sides, fruit, salad & sandwiches were served at noon. There was also a grill with hamburgers, nachos, etc. The food was very good. The bar is open when you arrive. The cups they serve the drinks in are only about 6 oz, but you can order more than one at a time if desired. The drinks were good.
The beach had a lot of seaweed, so I would suggest watershoes if you walk in it. There wasn't very good snorkeling unless you went around the rocks that defined the beach area. I give this excursion a 3 mostly because of the beach. It's okay, but the water is not as clear and pretty as you think it should be. Maybe its because its so close to where the ships come in. We haven't seen the water in other parts of Jamaica, so we don't know. We took out a kayak (free) and also took a quick sailboat ride (also free - but tips are encouraged for the driver). We enjoyed laying on the beach, listening to the sea and relaxing after lunch.
We had arranged for the cab to pick us back up at 3PM, and he was promptly there. Plenty of taxis are coming and going, so you could leave anytime you wanted - if you didn't pay the round trip price that morning.
We went back to the pier and shopped around a bit, and was back on the ship way ahead of schedule.
We enjoyed Sunset, but next time we might try a resort further away from where the ships dock, or maybe something different altogether. However, its a safe excursion, great for couples or families. We were NEVER hassled by anyone going to the resort, at the resort or when we were shopping at the pier. The security is pretty tight at the pier. No one gets in or out without their S&S card, and they only let in the JUTA cabs.
We had a nice day in Jamaica. It wasn't our favorite excursion of the cruise - but it was nice.
We booked our own excursion through Moby Dick tours online to reserve a spot and time. We met them at the appointed time at the pier, paid our $45pp, and they bused in an air-conditioned bus to their boat across the island. The driver told us about different points of interest on the island as we traveled. We had about 23 on our excursion, but they said they can take around 40 on an excursion. Mark, the owner, is very nice, professional and he and his staff are always there with you while snorkeling or at Stingray City.
We snorkeled first. The reefs were gorgeous! We got some awesome pictures. We also got to see Mark feed a Moray eel that lives under a rock in the area. After about 45 minutes of snorkeling we went to Stingray City. They had told us how to conduct ourselves (shuffle your feet in the sand so as not to step on them, etc), but you have no reason to be afraid of this experience. These animals are just amazing! They are silky soft, and its just very emotional to look into their eyes as you hold them. Its an adventure you won't soon forget. Be sure to kiss one for 7 years good luck!
Moby Dick dropped us off in town and recommended a good fish & chips place to eat that was right on the waterfront by the ships. Great food!
Chankanaab National Park Tour Rating: Not Rated
We did not pre-book an excursion at Chankanaab. We just caught a taxi at the pier ($10 one way per taxi, not per person) and went to the park. It was about 10 minutes from the Puerta Maya pier where the Carnival ships port. It was $26pp to get into the park which included a free t-shirt and a soda or water, all access to the beach and sea lion show. Of course, it doesn't include the dolphin experience, but you can watch others doing it.
We enjoyed the snorkeling here. Its very rocky along the shore of this beach, which makes for good snorkeling. We brought our own snorkeling equipment, but there is a place to rent it. The access to the water is by stairs that are built all along their beach. There is one area where you can walk into the water, but the bottom of this area is a little rocky (small rocks) so water shoes are good. But it is shallow there, and good for kids to play or learn to snorkel. There are a couple of places to eat. We shared a chicken nachos and got 2 soft drinks for about $12. The sea lion show was cute, and short.
We stayed at the park from about 10:30 til 1:30 and caught a taxi back to the pier where we dropped our stuff off at the ship and then went back to shop at the pier. Puerta Maya has some pretty good shops, and its a very outdoor pretty shopping area. We bought some of the bamboo sheets that the ship advertises. They shipped them back to the states for us, and they arrived a few days after we got home. They are very nice sheets!
We probably spent more money shopping in Cozumel than any other place. We enjoyed Chankanaab, but may try another beach next time - just for a different experience. Cozumel is a very friendly place, and one that we never feel threatened or unsafe. Any excursion you do on your own here will be fine. Just pay attention to time, and get back to the ship when you should. The island isn't that big - so that should never be a problem.
We love to visit Cozumel.