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

KansasEMT's Port Reviews of Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, Costa Maya
Norwegian Jewel cruise in March 2014
Member Name: KansasEMT
Cruise Date: March 2014
Embarkation: New Orleans
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: KansasEMT's Norwegian Jewel Review
Cozumel
Parasailing Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

We were instructed to meet at Aqua Safari Pier, which was a little tricky to find. The complete instructions said it was across from McDonald's - should be easy, right? The McDonald's had since been shut down. Our boat was 20 minutes late, which would not have been a problem except that when it did arrive, a large group of parasailers was also on board. We had 90 minutes to get back to the ship and if each person was going to parasail, we weren't going to make it. Fortunately, only two groups did the parasailing and everybody's experience was cut a little short. Great for time, not so great for getting our money's worth out of the experience. We sailed for about ten to fifteen minutes per group. It was exhilarating. I would have liked to have the opportunity to have pictures, but it's rather difficult to do that high in the air. Other operators always wanted their extra money for pics, but these guys were basically three dudes, a boat, and a parasail. We did make it back to the ship in time, just would have preferred more parasailing time. The other issue is the weight limit: 350 pounds per group. DH and I had to lose a total of 70 pounds just to do the excursion. Other operators don't have such restrictive weight limits.




Scuba - Beginner Rating: Not Rated

We LOVED this! There were five in our group - two couples and a single guy. The instruction didn't take too long, just a quickie safety demo of maybe 10 minutes. We "dove" right from the beach and our dive master gave each of us a quick safety test in shallow water before diving. One of the people in our group didn't want to SCUBA after the shallow water, so she was allowed to float on the surface along with us (she basically snorkeled while we SCUBA'ed). All four of us who did the activity came up all smiles at the end. The area had showers, lockers, an outdoor bar & grill and a cantina cabana. The food was amazing - fresh mahi-mahi for me and a big ole beefy, beanie burrito for him. We were offered massages at pretty reasonable prices, but turned that down since DH isn't really a massage person. We all were given credit for the dive towards PADI certification if we wanted to do that. We were allowed to take our sweet time at the "club" and cab fare was provided to take us back to the pier at our leisure. Our dive master, Enrique, did a fantastic job making sure we were all safe and had a good time. He seemed to enjoy our post-excursion enthusiasm. If you're interested in SCUBA, but not certified, go do this.




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Belize City
Cave-Tubing Adventure Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

Although not all tour operators are the same, the river is. If you've never been inside a cave, this could be pretty cool. We were met outside the tourist area and shuttled in a van to the tubing area. We didn't have to carry our tubes, as some groups did. We were led on a hike through the jungle, with "King David" (our guide) showing us some cave basics, some critter basics, and some Belizean information. The hike did involve some pretty steep steps, which would be quite rough on bad knees. We crossed the shallow river and the bravest of our bunch (about 12 of us) were allowed to take a very "refreshing" (a.k.a. COLD) dip in the water. We had a tour-guide-trainee go with us. I wasn't very impressed with her, as she would only exclusively interact with about four people in our group, ignoring the other eight. Charlie's did not provide lockers, but we were allowed to leave our dry clothes in the van. Once in the river, our guide tethered our inner tubes together, unlike some companies that required the person in front to hold the back person's feet with their armpits. EWWWW. Once into the river, all the different tour companies converged, crowding the cave river. Voices carry and echo throughout the cave, and with ten different tour operators all trying to talk over everybody else, it just wasn't the peaceful event I had imagined. King David (our guide) had done all his talking during the hike to the river, so he wisely shut up and allowed us to try to enjoy the caves. What made the tour worthwhile was that some of the other tour groups left the river earlier than we did and we were left to enjoy some peaceful river tubing without all the noise, crowding, and splashing. King David was also very mindful of when each of us had to be back to the ship. On the ride back to the pier, some of us still had some time and he allowed a few to stop and shop in Belize City (he dropped off the rest of us and doubled back to pick up the shoppers). With a less crowded river and a smaller group, this would have more stars. The factors that dropped my rating would apply to any cave-tubing excursion in Belize. It was the other tour groups that dampened the fun, not ours. We were very satisfied with Charlie's Cave Tubing.




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Roatan
Zipline Adventure Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

We chose to do a zip & dip with an eco-walk excursion through South Shore Zip Lines. FIrst of all, sixteen of us were crammed into a run-down thirteen-passenger van for the fifteen minute ride. We were given a very brief safety demo, then off to the lines. Oh, these lines were long, high, and fast. It was exhilarating to fly through the jungle. Our guides did a few tricks on the third line and offered to let us do either a "superman" flight or upside down. The kids in our group and I were all quite enthusiastic about flying upside down. Once we went, some of the older people in our group decided to try some tricks. We all loved it! The guides were efficient, enthusiastic, and loads of fun. They hollered and cheered for each of us. They also kept our large group moving quickly through the zip lines. The views were outstanding, we were thrilled with the zip-line experience.

Since we were the only two who chose to eco-walk through the suspension bridges, we got a solo tour with a guide who wasn't so enthused. It almost seemed like she drew the short straw of having to take us through the jungle. Not worth it.

We changed into our swim wear for the van to take us to the beach. During the ride, we were told that our excursion would be over in 90 minutes. When we booked, we were told that we would hang at the beach until ready to leave, then a shuttle would take us back to the pier when we were ready. Nope. The others in our group were offered two times to end the trip, and they chose the latter. We weren't given a choice. With 90 minutes, we didn't have time to snorkel, ride horses, or leave the little beach area. We drank some beers and swam for a while before our guide arrived and crammed all sixteen of us back in the van for the ride back to the pier (with three hours to spare - no enough time for another excursion). The beach was great, but we would have loved to add a little something more and would have had time, except for the departure time. If you're going to book through South Shore, do the zip lines . . . and go back to the pier for a different adventure. Don't waste your time and money on the eco walk or beach. But if you want to zip line - book through South Shore. The guys were fantastic on the zip lines!




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Costa Maya
Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Rating: Not Rated

Erick was our tour guide of about 12 people. We were the youngest in the group, but the rest weren't exactly geriatric. They were quite young-at-heart. Erick gave us some history en route, which was fascinating. The ruins were thoroughly explained to us, Erick kept things incredibly informative, and we traveled at our own pace. The terrain was suitable for the less-than ideally mobile, but was not wheelchair or stroller accessible. We saw a spider monkey, got to explore the ruins, and learned a whole lot about ancient Mayan culture. On the way home, Erick let us stop at a local pineapple shack to buy some local pineapple and pineapple juice. Oh, so happy! The other tour groups had massive amounts of people, ours was small and more intimate. I highly recommend The Native Choice.




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