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Cruises to Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen (Calica) (Photo:posztos/Shutterstock)

About Playa del Carmen

Go back 20 years or so, and Playa del Carmen was little more than a fishing village on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach along this coast. Playa then grew into a haunt of backpackers, scuba divers and privacy-seeking Europeans put off by Cancun's high-rise resorts. And, although it does still attract those visitors, it has now blossomed into a full-fledged tourist destination complete with its own luxury resorts, dozens of restaurants and enough clubs and music venues to keep night owls occupied for weeks.

However, its central position between the tourist hotspots of Tulum to the south and Cancun to the north has led to rapid, unchecked development. Where once the village was contained, stretching just a few blocks from the main ferry terminal and the beach, today there are hotels and resorts completely surrounding the town for miles in both directions.

Despite its sudden popularity, though, Playa del Carmen clings firmly to a laid-back atmosphere that's missing from Cancun. You won't find any glass and concrete behemoths here; three-story buildings are the tallest the law allows, and many structures are still made of stucco or rough wood, some sporting a thatched roof and others sheltered beneath layers of red clay tiles.

Local Mayan culture and history are prevalent here as well, infusing some parts of town with a rustic yet exotic charm. Beach bars and T-shirt shops might dominate portions of the landscape, but walk a mere five minutes away from the main tourist area and you'll find yourself in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by brightly colored houses with wrought-iron doors, immaculate gardens and multicolored flowers cascading down from their balconies.

Venture a little further outside the city limits and you'll see that Playa del Carmen's modern amenities are really just a garnish. The main dish is the town's proximity to important historical and ecological landmarks, including several stunning collections of Mayan ruins, two eco-archaeological parks and thousands of cenotes, the systems of hidden caves and natural springs, which ancient Mayans regarded as doorways to the spiritual world. After spending an afternoon in the area, many visitors find it easy to believe that the entrance to heaven does indeed lie right here in Playa del Carmen.


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  • 17 Night
    Cruise to Playa del Carmen

    Leaving:
    Rome
    Visiting:
    Positano, Taormina ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
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    • Itinerary
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    17 Night Cruise to Playa del Carmen (Calica) Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    • Day 2
      Positano (Amalfi)
    • Day 3
      Taormina (Messina)
    • Day 4
      Mgarr
    • Day 4
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 5
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Playa del Carmen (Calica)
    • Day 8
      Antibes
    • Day 9
      Sanary-Sur-Mer
    • Day 10
      Minorca
    • Day 11
      Barcelona
    • Day 12
      Minorca
    • Day 13
      Bandol
    • Day 14
      Saint-Tropez
    • Day 15
      Monaco (Monte Carlo)
    • Day 16
      Bastia
    • Day 17
      Portovenere
    • Day 18
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    JollyJacqTar
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Singapore to Bali
    Read More
    Mr.Bond
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Encore 24 day cruise was a great success!
    Read More
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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 10 Night
    Cruise to Playa del Carmen

    Leaving:
    Rome
    Visiting:
    Positano, Taormina ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
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    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    10 Night Cruise to Playa del Carmen (Calica) Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    • Day 2
      Positano (Amalfi)
    • Day 3
      Taormina (Messina)
    • Day 4
      Mgarr
    • Day 4
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 5
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Playa del Carmen (Calica)
    • Day 8
      Antibes
    • Day 9
      Sanary-Sur-Mer
    • Day 10
      Minorca
    • Day 11
      Barcelona
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Chilver
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Very good but could be better
    Read More
    Laurielew
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    The best food of all the small luxury cruise ships
    Read More
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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 10 Night
    Cruise to Playa del Carmen

    Leaving:
    Rome
    Visiting:
    Positano, Taormina ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
    Hide Cruise Info
    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
    • Cabin Comparison
    • View All Prices
    • Fare Includes
    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    10 Night Cruise to Playa del Carmen (Calica) Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    • Day 2
      Positano (Amalfi)
    • Day 3
      Taormina (Messina)
    • Day 4
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 5
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 5
      Mgarr
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Playa del Carmen (Calica)
    • Day 8
      Antibes
    • Day 9
      Sanary-Sur-Mer
    • Day 10
      Minorca
    • Day 11
      Barcelona
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    John117
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    Enjoyable cruise with great weather
    Read More
    JRLebovitz
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Our first luxury cruise; celebrating 35th wedding anniversary. Wonderful!
    Read More
    Cabin Comparison

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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 21 Night
    Cruise to Playa del Carmen

    Leaving:
    Barcelona
    Visiting:
    Valencia, Seville ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
    Hide Cruise Info
    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
    • Cabin Comparison
    • View All Prices
    • Fare Includes
    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    21 Night Cruise to Playa del Carmen (Calica) Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Barcelona
    • Day 2
      Valencia
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 4
      Seville
    • Day 5
      Casablanca
    • Day 6
      Tangier
    • Day 7
      Motril
    • Day 8
      Cartagena (Spain)
    • Day 9
      Ibiza
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      Golfo Arranci
    • Day 12
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    • Day 13
      Positano (Amalfi)
    • Day 14
      Taormina (Messina)
    • Day 15
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 16
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 16
      Mgarr
    • Day 17
      Cruising
    • Day 18
      Playa del Carmen (Calica)
    • Day 19
      Antibes
    • Day 20
      Sanary-Sur-Mer
    • Day 21
      Minorca
    • Day 22
      Barcelona
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    YVR_Linda
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    Standards have slipped and your suite selection is essential
    Read More
    nancyriegle
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Encore Delivers new Delights and Familiar Favorites
    Read More
    Cabin Comparison

    Compare Cabin Prices

    No Results Found
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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 17 Night
    Cruise to Playa del Carmen

    Leaving:
    Rome
    Visiting:
    Positano, Taormina ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
    Hide Cruise Info
    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
    • Cabin Comparison
    • View All Prices
    • Fare Includes
    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    17 Night Cruise to Playa del Carmen (Calica) Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    • Day 2
      Positano (Amalfi)
    • Day 3
      Taormina (Messina)
    • Day 4
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 5
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 5
      Mgarr
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Playa del Carmen (Calica)
    • Day 8
      Antibes
    • Day 9
      Sanary-Sur-Mer
    • Day 10
      Minorca
    • Day 11
      Barcelona
    • Day 12
      Minorca
    • Day 13
      Bandol
    • Day 14
      Saint-Tropez
    • Day 15
      Monaco (Monte Carlo)
    • Day 16
      Bastia
    • Day 17
      Portovenere
    • Day 18
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    JoTreacy
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Amazing Cruise on Seabourn Encore
    Read More
    Eve 58
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Standards have slipped
    Read More
    Cabin Comparison

    Compare Cabin Prices

    No Results Found
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    View All Prices

    Compare Prices

    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
    Loading...
    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 21 Night
    Cruise to Playa del Carmen

    Leaving:
    Barcelona
    Visiting:
    Valencia, Seville ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
    Hide Cruise Info
    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
    • Cabin Comparison
    • View All Prices
    • Fare Includes
    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    21 Night Cruise to Playa del Carmen (Calica) Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Barcelona
    • Day 2
      Valencia
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 4
      Seville
    • Day 5
      Casablanca
    • Day 6
      Tangier
    • Day 7
      Motril
    • Day 8
      Cartagena (Spain)
    • Day 9
      Ibiza
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      Golfo Arranci
    • Day 12
      Rome (Civitavecchia)
    • Day 13
      Positano (Amalfi)
    • Day 14
      Taormina (Messina)
    • Day 15
      Mgarr
    • Day 15
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 16
      Malta (Valletta)
    • Day 17
      Cruising
    • Day 18
      Playa del Carmen (Calica)
    • Day 19
      Antibes
    • Day 20
      Sanary-Sur-Mer
    • Day 21
      Minorca
    • Day 22
      Barcelona
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Sunviking
    Sail Date May 2019
    Dubai to Athens on the Seabourn Encore
    Read More
    Accessor
    Sail Date Mar 2019
    Six star cruise? Not until things improve....
    Read More
    Cabin Comparison

    Compare Cabin Prices

    No Results Found
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    Compare Prices

    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

More about Playa del Carmen (Calica)

Why go to Playa del Carmen?

Pros: Still retains a laidback, village-y feel, if you know where to find it.

Cons: Can feel like a bit of a tourist trap.

Bottom Line: Beautiful beaches stretch along this coast but unchecked development is eroding its charm.

Playa del Carmen Cruise Port Facilities

The small port at Calica, roughly 6 miles south of Playa del Carmen, is no longer used by cruise lines. Instead, you'll arrive by ferry from the busy port in Cozumel, just 12 miles across the water. Three different companies -- Barcos Caribe, Mexico Waterjets and Ultramar -- all offer ferry service for as little as $8 round trip. The crossing normally takes between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the weather and the boat you take. (Catamarans are the fastest choice.)

Good to Know

Strolling along Fifth Avenue can be exhausting -- the amount of times you'll be asked if you want a massage, or marijuana, to come into a restaurant, to change money or buy generic drugs -- is tiring. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is walk along the beach instead.

Getting Around

On Foot: The ferry terminal is at the far south end of Playa del Carmen. Walk across the town square and you'll find yourself at the beginning of Avenida Quinta, the main thoroughfare.

By Taxi/Colectivo: You'll find taxis lined up beside the main bus station. An alternative and cheaper option is to jump in a colectivo, which is basically a shared taxi van. The driver waits until the van fills up, and then drops each passenger off at his or her desired stop.

By Bus: The main bus terminal is a two-minute walk diagonally across the town square from the ferry terminal. Here, you'll find buses to Tulum, Chichen Itza and further afield.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The Mexican peso is the official currency. However, most taxis and vendors will accept U.S. dollars, and guides are happy to be tipped that way. That said, your change will be given in pesos regardless. Credit cards are not generally accepted in small family restaurants or tiny shops, so ask if you're not carrying cash before you sit down or start browsing.

Several large banks are located on Juarez Avenue, just a few yards away from the ferry dock. Hours of operation are typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but 24-hour ATMs are common. You'll also find plenty of currency exchange booths in the area, some of which stay open as late as 10 p.m. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

Language

Spanish is the official language in Mexico, though English is widely spoken in shops, hotels and restaurants.


Playa del Carmen (Calica) Cruise Reviews

MSC Armonia
steveroytay
Sail Date: Dec 2016
A great walk about visit with lots to see. A little church with an alter view you have to see. lots of souvenir shopping and the best tacos ever - visit the taco stand in the food hall rather than a bar!...Read More
Carnival Conquest
brendacarr
Sail Date: Nov 2015
We enjoyed this trip very much, our favorite Island (next to Puerto Rico!). We had very little interaction with the birds, but that's okay, they don't need people poking at them all day every day. We rode around...Read More
Carnival Elation
kentuckyluckyguy
Sail Date: Oct 2011
We did this port on our own. Took a cab to town and booked a snorkel trip for a couple of hours. Did some shopping and Senor Frogs too. The public beach is beautiful and although seeing police and military with...Read More
Carnival Elation
Drcartman
Sail Date: Aug 2011
Playa Del Carmen is a nice area. Very pretty water here. The main shopping area is like a giant flea market, except everyone is trying to get you in their stores. Even the restaurants have people posted outside to...Read More
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