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Home > Member Reviews > 2Okies's Port Reviews of Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel

2Okies's Port Reviews of Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel
Carnival Magic cruise in January 2014
Member Name: 2Okies
Cruise Date: January 2014
Embarkation: Galveston
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: 2Okies's Carnival Magic Review
Snorkeling Rating: Not Rated

We chose Carnival's Maya Key + lunch. We have our own snorkel equipment. After the ship docks at Roatan, we walked right off the boat, up the pier, and into Carnival's shopping port. We saw many Carnival employees holding up Carnival excursion signs, and we just had to find ours. We had about 30 minutes before we were to leave, so we walked around some of the shops. Then, we followed the guide who walked us up the hill (the same hill that leads to Carnival's Beach), and down a path right to the ferry boat (maybe a 2-3 minute walk). Then the ride over to Maya Key was about 10-15 minutes on the ferry. (We could see our ship from the island.) Immediately after getting off the boat, an island employee briefed us on the different things the island has to offer - a ruin/nature walk, shark encounter, sea lions, animal rescue area, and the beach. There is a small gift shop with t-shirts & a few souvenirs. The facilities on the island are very nice, and the island is landscaped beautifully with lovely tropical flowers.
We walked down a path to the other side of the island (very short walk) and found a couple of chairs to put our beach bag & towels. We grabbed our snorkel gear & headed down the long pier towards the reef we had read about here on Cruise Critic. There is a gazebo type structure at the end of the pier where we could sit & put on our fins & masks before entering the water via ladders at the end of the pier. The water here is about 5'. There were guides sitting on the pier that told us how to follow the water bottles they have as markers out to the drop off. Then you can go left or right and follow the reef wall.
I have to say this was probably the most beautiful reef I have seen anywhere! It was absolutely gorgeous. Once you get out to the reef, it is 100% reef in such beautiful, colorful formations. We were disappointed it was so cloudy, as the colors would have been more vivid if there had been sun. There were 1000's of fish in all different colors, sizes & designs. Fascinating to say the least! We heard a couple of people say they saw lobsters & an octopus, but we could never find them. We saw plenty of other beautiful fish though. We could have stayed in there forever, but the hard rain that finally showed up drove us out.
My husband did the snorkel with the nurse sharks. They have about 13 sharks in a big penned off area, and it was $35 to snorkel with them. The guides fed the sharks while his group was in the water. My husband said they were longer than him, and he's 6'. He loved it, and got some great pictures. They didn't care if you took your own camera in the water to take pictures. There were also a few stingray in the pen, turtles, lobster, etc. My DH thoroughly enjoyed this adventure.
We had a few minutes while it quit raining that we did get to walk through the ruins and visit the animals.
The excursion provides a very tasty lunch under a pavilion with chairs & tables. As others have mentioned, you are given a colored paper bracelet at the pier before the excursion. As you go through the food line (buffet style) they will mark your bracelet - so you can only go through once. They had BBQ chicken, fried fish strips (which were very good) and a delicious homemade tartar sauce. There was also salad, banana chips, pickled onions and coconut rice & beans (which was also very good). We were impressed with the meal. A lot of excursion meals leave a lot to be desired, but this one was actually good.
We would HIGHLY recommend this excursion - especially if you want an EXCELLENT snorkel spot. If you are looking for a beach, and a place to swim, I wouldn't recommend this excursion. There is a very small beach with chairs, but the shallow water had a lot of grass in it.
Because of the rain, the ferry boats started coming out early to pick us up. They delivered us back to the port. We went back aboard the ship to wash off the salt water & change clothes, then went back out to shop at the port. We had plenty of time to leisurely shop and picked up a few good items to remember Roatan.

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Belize City
Snorkeling Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

Sergeant Cay Snorkel
The excursion ferry picked us up right at the ship so we didn't have to tender ashore & then catch another ferry. This was very convenient. The ferry was a double decker type ferry w/an open top on the top deck. It was probably a 20-25 minute easy ride to the reef which is out in the middle of the ocean, and probably 15-20' deep in most places. They insisted we wear the snorkel vests, which I was personally kind of glad for because the current was pretty strong and I'm not a very strong swimmer. They had 2 guides in a kayak, and 1 with a life preserver out in the water. They do try to keep you all together, and there might have been around 40-50 on our excursion. So, sometimes, we were getting kicked in the face or brushing up against someone else. More crowded than we would like. The reef formations out to the breaks were hit & miss, and I saw few fish. We had snorkeled the day before in Roatan at Maya Key - and this Belize snorkeling was in no way as beautiful. My husband did snorkel out closer to the breaks and he said it was starting to get more pretty, and there were more fish. However, the current was so strong, so I didn't even attempt to go out that far. After about 45 minutes, I came back to the ferry boat. My husband stayed out until it was almost time to head back - probably about an hour in the water.
We thought we had read that this excursion went to an actual island, but we never docked on land. We did pass a very small island that looked like it had a beach, some chairs, maybe a restaurant or bathroom facilities. We asked one of the guides about it, and he said that on some excursions they do take guests to that island. I guess ours wasn't one of those excursions. ??
We rode on the top deck on the way back, because we finally did have sunshine in Belize, and the warmth felt good. They served rum punch on the way back to the ship. The entire excursion took about 3 hrs. We were back about 11:30am.
After the excursion we went to our room, cleaned up, and took the ship ferry into the mainland to shop at the little port of shops that Carnival has built. There is a little shopping area right at the port. Its basically like all of the other "Carnival" ports with many of the same shops & restaurants. There are a few local type market shops thrown in. There was one doorway we saw where guards were standing by the doors and the "real Belize" was on the other side and men were out there trying you to come visit the "real Belize". I don't think the guards would keep you from going through that door, but are there to keep them from coming into the port area. However, we didn't go into that area. I don't know that I would advise it unless you have a "plan". We did have a friend we met on the ship that did go into the old Belize, because he was looking for a place to dock his sailboat if he was to sail it down from Houston. He said he didn't have any problems with a taxi, etc. But, I would be cautious entering the town without a plan.
We shopped around for a bit, bought a few souvenirs and caught the ferry back to the ship.
We just wanted to let people know that there is a small shopping area, and we did have time to enjoy some time on the mainland after our excursion - just to say we actually stepped foot on Belize land! There were a few bars, for those that like that sort of thing, too.

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Port Rating: Not Rated

We have been to Cozumel numerous times, and we decided this time, to just have a relaxing day shopping along the main road. My husband hasn't been back to the "old town" of Cozumel in about 30 years, so he kind of wanted to see how things have changed. (A lot by the way!)
After we debarked, we walked through the Puerta Maya port area & caught a taxi and asked to be taken to the far side of city of San Miquel ($8). He dropped us off where the shops start, and we walked the entire way back to the ship that day (about 4 miles in all). We went in shops that interested us, walked around the town square. We found a cute little place along the shore to stop for a light lunch & watch the sailboats. It was very relaxing.
We have to say that Cozumel probably has the most beautiful water of any of the Caribbean ports we've been too (except maybe Grand Cayman). The water in Cozumel is the most beautiful shade of blue, and is so clear.

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