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Home > Member Reviews > aloesch's Port Reviews of Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, Cozumel

aloesch's Port Reviews of Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, Cozumel
Norwegian Star cruise in December 2012
Member Name: aloesch
Cruise Date: December 2012
Embarkation: New Orleans
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: aloesch's Norwegian Star Review
Costa Maya
Beach Break Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
This was absolutely the perfect beach day. After doing a lot of research online, we booked an all inclusive beach day with Nohoch Kay. Best decision of our cruise!! We had looked at several of the options offered by the cruise line but they were overpriced and I was afraid they would be very crowded. Nohoch Kay only takes 42 people per day so you're guaranteed to have a relaxing and peaceful day.

We took a grab from the port for only $2/person. We were greeted immediately upon arrival by the owner, Jaime, and shown to our reserved chairs and palapas for the day. A server greeted us almost instantly with a food and drink menu. We were never without a drink the entire day. The servers practically tripped over each other to take care of us but in a non intrusive way. We were able to relax and really enjoy a peaceful day at a beautiful beach. We ordered snacks around noon and they were delivered to our chairs. We enjoyed some of the best ceviche I've ever had, incredibly guacamole, and yummy homemade chips and salsa.

We snorkeled for an hour or so, seeing some coral and a few fishes. There were several areas full of sea grass but the water was clear with good visibility. The beach was very clean and well taken care of. Around 2pm we went up to the restaurant for lunch. Jaime asked us a couple questions about our likes and dislikes and then asked if it would be ok for him to pick out our lunch. We were all thrilled with this idea and we enjoyed every thing we brought us. We ate shrimp tacos, fish tacos, fish and shrimp ceviche, and so much more. We were all stuffed, it was all so delicious!!

When we were ready to head back to the ship (and we waited as long as possible!) Jaime called us a cab. He got us a round of to go rum punches too. And all the staff came over to say goodbye and thank us for coming. We couldn't have possibly asked for a better day, we were so well cared for! We will definitely return if we find ourselves in Costa Maya again. In fact I'd go out of my way to return here!!


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Belize City
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
When we booked a cruise stopping in Belize, we immediately knew cave tubing was at the top of our list of must book excursions. The cruise line obviously offers cavetubing but at a much higher price with no extras included. Booking privately seemed liked the obvious choice but there are so many options out there. Cavetubing.bz is rated the #1 activity in Belize according to trip advisor and that is well earned. There were only a couple things they could do better which I'll mention as they come up here.

We were given very detailed instructions on how to meet them upon arriving in the port. We had no trouble locating them and were led down road to where their vans were waiting. They were dividing people up into groups and our group of 4 were paired with a family of 4 and 2 other older couples. They started the van to get the air going and provided us with cold water bottles. We all climbed into the van and set out for the caves (around a 45 min drive). Our guides,Jorge and Lionel, sat in the front 2 seats and narrated our drive talking about the culture and history of Belize. Unfortunately, those in the back two rows were unable to really hear the guide. Perhaps he should have sat in the middle? It was very disappointing because the things we did pick up on were very interesting.

When we arrived at the cave park, we were split into 2 groups of 6, those who were cavetubing and ziplining, and those who were only cavetubing. Our group was my husband and I and the 2 older couples. Jorge was our guide and he fitted us with lifejackets, helmets, and tubes, and we took off on the hike to the caves. The 2 couples with us immediately began complaining about the hike. Even the tiniest bit of research would have let them know that there was some walking involved. Our guide did his best to go slow and carry their tubes but they kept complaining. We very much enjoyed the hike ourselves, Jorge stopped to show us different plants and animals, allowing us to taste and touch as much as possible. Jorge noticed how much I love to take pictures so several times he offered to take my camera and take a picture of me and my husband.

When we arrived at the cave entrance, it started to down pour. Jorge helped us all down the steps to the water and helped us into our tubes. They use the best tubes available with comfy headrests. Once Jorge linked us all together we took off into the caves. Jorge pointed out every thing we were seeing, explaining the history of the caves. He is obviously very passionate about what he does and it clearly shows! He was amazing. My only complaint about the cave tubing was that one of the women in our group lit up a cigarette while we were in the caves. Our guide either didn't notice or didn't care but I was shocked. It seemed so inappropriate to smoke while in the caves but I didn't say anything about it.

Once we reached the end of the caves, we tubed down the river about 20 minutes and arrived back where we started the day. We were given time to change clothes and dry off before getting back in the van to head to lunch. Lunch was included at the owners private place and we were really looking forward to enjoying some traditional Belizian food. When we arrived at the restaurant, we were instructed to have one person from each group to get out and pay for the excursion at the counter. While we were paying, they handed out one small styrofoam container of food and a sippy cup of rum punch. They expected us to eat in the van while driving back to port. Apparently the family in our group was on a different ship and had to be back earlier. This was incredibly unacceptable. We were really looking forward to lunch, and while the food was good we were given a tiny portion and it was really messy and hard to eat while balancing it on our laps. They need to arrange groups by cruise line to ensure this doesn't happen. It was really a sour end to our afternoon

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Roatan
Port Rating: Not Rated
We booked a private tour with Victor Bodden tours for our group of 6 people. We were assigned Ron as our guide and we had the perfect day. We were able to do and see everything we wanted as well as some things we never even knew we wanted to see. Ron has lived on the island all his life and has been doing tours for 10 years. He was knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions. He really truly went above and beyond to ensure that we had an incredible experience. I wouldn't have changed a single thing about our day.

When we arrived in port, we easily found the kiosk for Victor Bodden and were led out to where Ron was waiting. After some introductions, we climbed into the van and Ron offered to drive us around the island first. We didn't really have any itinerary in mind so we were very flexible. Ron pointed out everything we were seeing. He drove us up to a beautiful spot in the mountains that looked down over our ship and the port. It was absolutely breathtaking. I'll add one of the pictures I took here so everyone can see. Roatan is an incredibly beautiful island and Ron was really proud to show it to us.

We drove around for an hour or two exploring the island. Then we went to Victor Bodden's private house so we couple pay for our tour and visit his private monkey habitat. We loved visiting the monkeys and enjoyed playing with them and taking lots of pictures. There were lots of other animals there that we enjoyed seeing and learning about as well. While we were checking out all the animals, Ron went and picked us a green and a yellow coconut and cracked them open for us to drink. He talked about the different flavors of them and then after we drank them, he split them open and scooped out the meat for us to taste as well. This was a really neat experience.

We then wanted to head to lunch so Ron picked out a local place called Half Moon Bay Resort in the West End of the island. We invited him to dine with us and he taught us a lot more about the island while we ate. This was a great local place with amazing food, we all loved it and the service was great. We wanted to snorkel after this so Ron had a boat pick us up at the restaurant. We went out about 15 minutes to a spot close to the reef. It was absolutely the most beautiful snorkeling I've ever done. The water was crystal clear, the reef was beautiful and healthy, and there were tons and tons of beautiful colored fish. We snorkeled for about 2 hours while Ron waited patiently in the boat. When we were finished, we decided we needed to head back to the ship. Ron stopped along the way at a road side stand and purchased us locally made cookies and pastries. They were delicious!

At the end of the day, Ron gave us his email address so we could contact him in the future. He promised to send us the recipe for the cookies we tried and offered to mail us local coffee whenever we wanted. It was such an amazing day, absolutely perfect in every way. I truly cannot wait to return to Roatan.

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Cozumel
Dolphin Swim & Encounter Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
We booked the Dolphin Swim Adventure and picked the 10am time. We were instructed to arrive at the park 30 minutes early to checkin for our swim. We took a cab from the port and arrived at 9:30am. We were told it was too early to checkin but that we should go put everything in a locker except our swimsuits and come back to the desk at 9:50am. When we went back to checkin, we were given wrist bands and instructed to wait "over there'. We stood in the general direction we were pointed and waited about 15 minutes before a trainer came over to brief us on the different interactions we would have with the dolphins. In the middle of the instructions, he was made to move the group of about 35 of us farther down the boardwalk to accommodate another group.When the instructions were finished we were divided into groups of 10-12 and given lifejackets and told to wait for our photographer to come join us and lead us out to the pen we would be in. The pier goes out in a big square from the boardwalk. He took us out one side and waited about 5 minutes before deciding we needed to walk all the way around to the other side.

We were finally assigned to a pen with 2 dolphins. There was a trainer in the water and one up on the pier. The second we were in the water, they randomly picked a person (my husband) and started rapidly giving him instructions to perform three of the six interactions we were supposed to get to do. He quickly kissed the dolphin, gave it a handshake, and had it reach up to touch his outstretched hand. As soon as he was finished, they moved on to the next person in line. It was so quick and manufactured, it was hardly enjoyable at all. We were standing on a metal grate in waist deep water, The grate was very uncomfortable to stand on barefoot and there were very strong winds while we were there making for strong waves. So it was very challenging to maintain your position on the grate with the waves constantly pushing out away,

We quickly worked our way through the first 3 of the behaviors and moved on to getting a belly ride from the dolphins and having the dolphins push you while holding on to a boogie board, About 3 people managed to do these before the dolphins quit cooperating. They decided to move us to another pen so we all exited the water and stood around for several minutes while they figured out what to do with us. They ended up moving us down several pens to an area with just one dolphin. They had us only enter the water one at a time and do the 2 behaviors. We only got through one person when the dolphin attempted to bite the guy in the water. They immediately had him get out of the water and spent a few minutes deciding what to do with us next. We were eventually assigned to a 3rd pen where we completed the different interactions.

As soon as we finished, they walked us back to the boardwalk and into the store to look at our pictures. We were dripping wet and wearing only our swimsuits. They instructed us to go through all the pictures and mark the ones that were of us. We asked if we could return to the lockers to get our towels first and were told they were too busy to wait for us. We did look through the pictures which were beautiful but they wanted $109 for a cd of all the pictures or $30 for one individual pictures. There wasn't a single picture of my husband and I together with a dolphin so it would have cost us $60 just to get a picture of each of us. We walked away frustrated and with no pictures of our experience. Very disappointing!


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