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Home > Member Reviews > Jenn_K's Port Reviews of Castaway Cay, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya

Jenn_K's Port Reviews of Castaway Cay, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya
Disney Fantasy cruise in September 2012
Member Name: Jenn_K
Cruise Date: September 2012
Embarkation: Port Canaveral
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: Jenn_K's Disney Fantasy Review
Castaway Cay
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We love Disney's private island. Relaxing on a clean beach, plenty for the kids to do... If they don't feel like playing on the beach there is a splash pad and dig site they can check out. They also move the kids club to the island if you want some adult only beach fun.

Food and beverages stations within a short walk. The water slide - Pelican Plunge - is FUN ! There are character meets and photo ops throughout the day. Shops and bars all take your key card as payment.

Paradise!

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Cozumel
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Cozumel - the port area anyway - is mainly just a touristy shopping mall. I have been to Cozumel for vacation before and know that the island offers much more then just shopping - and the ship offered many active excursions but we just toured the shopping area.

It's okay - nothing struck me as being a must have.

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Grand Cayman
Turtle Farm Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We really enjoyed the turtle farm. We booked directly through their website -- as the savings was enormous. When I emailed -- they said they would have transport for us at the port, just to ask anyone to point us in the right direction. There was some confusion -- as different people pointed us in many different directions! However there is an information building right in the port and we should have went there first. They were so helpful. They called the turtle farm for us and had them send our ride. Since it was just us and another small group who booked direct that day -- they picked us up in their personal cars. They said for over 10 people they would have used a bus.

The turtle farm was about 15 minutes or so from the port. The employee who drove us was very informative on all things Grand Cayman. We had a very nice chat during our ride.

We had all access bracelets for the day. There were no "tours" given for those who purchase direct -- it is self-guided. We were told that if we wanted to jump in on the tours given to those who booked through the cruise line we could do so. We decided to just do it on our own.

We decided to walk around the turtle tanks first -- check them out. There were turtles of all ages / size in various tanks, We walked around the holding tanks for maybe 20 minutes -- just checking them out and petting them. I find when I was looking at the sea turtles they were all talking to one another in "Crush" voices Dude! Totally !

Then we found another set of tanks -- where you can get in with the turtles or pick them up (or both !)

The ones you could wade with were more "Squirts" then they were "Crush"

This was so exciting and probably my favorite part of the trip.

After we toured the tanks we went over to an area where they had a beach and if you wanted, could get snorkel equip and snorkel with fish and turtles. My son is a bit young for this so we just dipped our feet in the lagoon and went on our way.

The man who worked "The snorkel shack" had a tiny gecko that he was showing to the kids.

After that we made our way to the swimming lagoon and water slide area.

At the far end -- by the waterfall, there is a glass wall so you can view the "predator reef" that is on the other side of the wall. You can see sand sharks, fish, barracuda and other sea life.

The water slide was awesome. I thought it went really fast!

We just spent an hour or so lazily enjoying the water. Our tummies were rumbling so we went over to their bar/grill called Schooners. It was quite Americanized food wise -- but you could try some sea turtle if you were brave (sorry Crush). I am not brave! I had a quesadilla. Food was good -- pricing probably equaled your local chain sit down place (think Chili's or Ruby Tuesday). After that it was time to go back to the ship.

All in all is was a great way to spend a short "in-port" day and something everyone should see once!


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Costa Maya
Beach Break Rating: 5+ out of 5+
I rate this experience up there with Disney's private island .... LOVE Mahahual!

I was a bit bummed that we had short port day in Costa Maya I think we had maybe a total of 5 hours in port. Our original plan was just to hang out at the port, because there are shops and a pool there. It was a nice port -- but we only walked through...and right out of the gates.

We started to see this place pop up on the message boards and decided it sounded a little bit better then a cruise-line manufactured port. The place: Tropicante Ameri-Mex Grill in the town of Mahahual. http://www.sandalsandskis.com/Tropicante.html

The plan: emailed the owner -- Steve prior to sailing, to reserve some loungers. This is FREE of charge, if you promise to eat and drink from his restaurant. Steve was great to deal with, emails were answered with great attention to detail and within 24 hours! He let us know how and where to hail a cab and how much we should be paying for the cab as well. He answered all of my questions and even gave me a tequila lesson -- which was to be continued once I arrived!

The weather is looking great and I can't wait to get to our destination. We take a 5 min stroll through the port -- as it is not clearly marked how to get out. I suppose they want you to stay and spend your money there.

We walk a block outside of port -- everything seems safe -- and speak to a cab driver about taking us to Tropicante. He takes us ($2 per person) and we arrive in about 5 minutes, safe and sound. The driving in Mexico does leave you a bit nerve racked. I wonder if they do that to boost tequila sales once you get to your destination

We walk from the cab right to the beach, speak to our waiter who walks us to our loungers and just drink it all in for a minute. This is a beautiful tropical paradise right on the beach. If I looked to my left I could see our ship. Deceiving though -- because the walk would have taken a good 45 minutes to an hour. The kids went right to playing in the sand and water, while the adults ordered a few cold beverages

Steve, the owner, chatted with us a bit. He was always visible for the whole time we were there chatting with all of his guests and making sure everyone was having a fantastic time. Aside from food and drink, you can also get a massage, snorkel, banana boat, and many other activities. We were just happy to eat, drink, and play in the water. The food was good. Though it was mostly Mexican fare, it was American enough to please pickier eaters too.

I was sad to leave - and would definitely recommend this place to anyone in the area, or cruisers looking to have an amazing beach day.


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