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Max'smom & Dad Cruise on the Radiance: My Diary w/ pictures

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Hi Everyone!

Just getting back from the April 16th (5 night) sailing of the Radiance of the Seas. I love to post a diary type review of our cruises and include pictures......so here goes!!!

We are Max's Mom and Dad (aka Jane and John).....early 60 ish couple. We've been cruising with RCI for almost 26 years now.....started on our Honeymoon (Song of America!). We like to try and get 4 cruises in a year. We chose the 5 night Radiance cruise because it fell during my Spring Break.....I'm a teacher. We haven't cruised since December and we were going stir crazy after a long, cold winter. We watched the prices on this one and when they had a price drop about a month out....we booked an E1 on the hump. The prices went down even more a couple of weeks later, so we upgraded to D1 midship.

Our fun began early on Friday morning, April 15th, as we tried our best to miss our 6 AM flight from Raleigh-Durham to Tampa. Got held up in a huge security line. They were calling our names to get on the flight and we were trying to get our shoes back on and run to the gate. We made it with absolutely NO time to spare. They shut the door and off we went.

We got to Tampa around 11:00 AM, called the hotel shuttle and got right over to the Intercontinental and were able to check in immediately. Very nice hotel, mostly used for business travelers. There is a Shula's restaurant in the hotel, so we had lunch there. Another roll call buddy was also staying there so after lunch we went up to the rooftop pool and met them. We enjoyed seeing Sheryl and her daughter Emily throughout the cruise.

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Later that evening, some former cruise buddies, who live in Tampa picked us up and we went out for a barbecue dinner. Very yummy! After dinner, they took us on a tour of Tampa, and we really enjoyed that. Tampa is a beautiful city. It's so much fun to keep up with former cruise and CC buddies. You just never know when your paths will cross again.

This review will be a work in progress.....I'll keep making subsequent posts until I finish. Hang in there with me.

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Hi Jane -

 

Yes, tax season is over! Except for the 40 or so on extension. And the 6 corporates I can get back to now.

 

So here I am back on cruise critic looking forward to your upcoming photo diary on the Radiance.

 

I assume you know that the Brilliance is returning to the US and will go out of Cape Liberty for a few months.

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Saturday.....April 16, 2011......Embarkation

Had breakfast at Shula's at the hotel. The hotel called a taxi for us and we headed to the port around 11:00. The Port of Tampa is very nice and it was a pleasant experience checking in. Porters whisked our luggage away as soon as we drove up.....no muss, no fuss! Bayonne needs to take lessons from these people.

We breezed through security and check in. We are Diamond Plus members, so there was no waiting at all. Unfortunately boarding was held up a little bit because the ship had not been cleared by immigration. Evidently some woman did not present herself to immigration on the ship that morning, so they had to find her. She ran up quite a bill in the on board shops and then refused to pay it. They finally found her and held her up long enough so that she would miss her flight. SO we had to wait just a little bit to board, but it was only about 40 minutes.

We were one of the first ones on and it felt so good to be on a Radiance Class ship again. They are our absolute favorites. We couldn't get into our cabin until 1:00, so we parked ourselves in the Centrum area on Deck 5 and just relaxed. Actually, I went on up to Chops and made dinner reservations, then checked out our dining room table. By that time...it was time to go to the cabin.

We had cabin 9050.....a D1....midship and it was quite nice.

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Our welcome basket was there and it was also quite nice.

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The balcony was just the standard balcony.....not much room.....AND......we had the pleasure of being the parking space for the window washing equipment. That was not stated on the deck plans, so that was a surprise. It was a little annoying, but not a big deal.

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Hi Jane -

 

Yes, tax season is over! Except for the 40 or so on extension. And the 6 corporates I can get back to now.

 

So here I am back on cruise critic looking forward to your upcoming photo diary on the Radiance.

 

I assume you know that the Brilliance is returning to the US and will go out of Cape Liberty for a few months.

 

 

Hey, Dave!

Nice to see former cruise buddies stopping by! Yes ....we heard about the Brilliance. Very happy about that! I know you are glad tax season is over!

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The Port Authority is taking control of Cape Liberty from the inept Bayonne Redevelopment Agency. Expect major positive changes shortly; those guys know what they are doing. The best run agency in the country.

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So as soon as we get settled in the cabin with our carry ons, we head to the Windjammer for lunch. I usually fix myself a salad with whatever the carving of the day might be. The Romaine lettuce in the WJ was the freshest I've ever seen.....it was that way all week. Made a good salad! It was pretty crowded so we found a spot outside in the aft seating area. It was a beautiful day.

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This was our view during lunch:

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After lunch we went back to the cabin and my luggage had arrived so I put all that stuff away. John's did not arrive......more on that later.

We just rested until it was time for Muster at 4:15. We took the elevator down to Deck 5 around 4:10 and found a place to sit comfortably until the very last minute that we could to go out on deck. We don't like to stand for very long out on the deck, so that works for us. Actually.....they made the customary announcements about Save the Waves, and behavior, and other stuff earlier in the afternoon, so they only had to show you the life vests, then the Captain came on and dismissed everybody....very quick muster drill. Yay!

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Our roll call thread was a really good one......especially for a 5 night cruise. We made arrangements to meet at the Sky Bar right after muster and we had a great turn out. Almost everyone came. We were all ready to get the party started. It was really neat to put names to faces and we had a good time at sailaway.

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What a great group of folks. We made plans to meet a couple more times during the cruise.

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H Jane! Cant wait for more of your diary! Thanks for sharing. Counting the days until Oasis.

 

Dave- I cant find any information on Port Authority taking over Cape Liberty, any help? Share a link to?

 

Good to see you both posting! Jane, glad you enjoyed being back on a Radiance class! Im dying to get on one! :D

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John did not go to the Sky Bar with me.....he stayed in the cabin waiting on his suitcase. Well.......instead of the suitcase he got a knock on the door and..........you may have guessed it........got called to the naughty room!!!:eek: He was not a happy camper.....since this is the first time in 26 years of cruising that we did not pack something "illegal" in our suitcases, and this is the first time that we were called to the naughty room! They said he had an iron in the suitcase, so he said....OK.....you show me where it is!! Well, they looked all through the suitcase and couldn't even find anything that came close to resembling an iron. As I said.....not a happy camper....but we soon forgot about it and went on with having fun. The Loyalty Ambassador called to find out what happened. He had to stand in line for quite a while as many folks were called to come and open their suitcases. He saw lots of alcohol, bottles of water (that may have had alcohol in them).....all kinds of stuff. I think they are very dilligent during Spring Break time.

After all that.....we were quite ready to get in the Concierge Lounge for cocktails. We went up there around 7:00 and met Juan Diego, the Concierge. What a sweetheart! He really took care of us, always remembered our names and is really a top notch Concierge!

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We immedaitely met some great folks in there who were on their second leg of a B2B and cruise on the Radiance often. We enjoyed visiting and talking with them the whole cruise. As a matter of fact, we met quite a few folks that cruise on the Radiance often and they were all trying to get their last voyages in before she leaves Florida. Here is a picture of our new friends, June and George:

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While we were in the CL we went under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (not sure if that's the name of it) but it was a beautiful sight. These pictures are not very good because I was taking them through the CL windows.

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So.....after enjoying cocktails in the CL......we go to the MDR for dinner and see who our tablemates will be. We always ask for a large table, because we thoroughly enjoy meeting new people. For me.....that is one of the best parts of the cruise experience. We had table 437 on the main floor of the dining room. It was a table for 8 directly in front of the Captain's Table. Great location. Another couple was there and a gentleman cruising by himself. The other three folks never showed up. So we met Jan and George from Florida:

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And Frank.....also from Forida:

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And then of course, there was us:

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We have always....in all these years.....been extremely lucky with our tablemates and this cruise was no exception.

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Our waiter and assistant waiter were great! There were absolutely no problems at dinner the whole cruise. We were served quickly and cheerfully. The food was exceptionaly good on this cruise. I enjoyed everything I ordered. We usually don't eat any beef at home, so I went a little beef crazy this week! Tonight I had the Prime Rib and it was quite tasty.

After dinner, we went to the casino and made a sizable donation! Sheesh! Those slots sucked down a lot of money very fast! Got a little discouraged so we went to bed!

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Hi max'smom--

 

Yay! Love your reviews! We sailed the Radiance a few weeks ago and had a great time. Can't wait to read more about your trip.

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4-17-11......Sunday.....At Sea

Woke up around 8 this morning....got dressed and went to the Concierge Lounge to fill up my travel mug with coffee. Hung around in there for awhile to wait for John to get showered and dressed. We go to breakfast every day in the special area of the MDR for Diamond and Diamond Plus C & A members. Breakfast is wonderful there. That is one of the best perks that we enjoy through C & A. We had a leisurely breakfast and Sheryl and her daughter Emily from our roll call joined us.

Juan Diego invited us to a special event at 11:00 for Suite Guests. It was held in the Hollywood Osyssey. Very nice party with mimosas and hors d'ouvres. The captain and the ship's officers attended. We met the Captain.......Captain Liz. The regular Captain had to leave the previous week because of a medical emergency, so Captain Liz, the Staff Captain, took command. She is awesome. She is hoping to get her own ship some time this year. I beleive she is 40 and her parents are Danish and Japanese. She has been with RCI for a long time. It was a treat to get to meet her. She was highly visible and approachable throughout the cruise.

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We hung out there for about an hour enjoying mimosas and chatting with folks.

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Had lunch again in the WJ and then did some serious reading and napping! At 3:30 we had a cabin crawl scheduled with our roll call group. We met in the Lobby Bar and got started from there.

The first cabin we went to was on Deck 4 just down from the Lobby Bar. It was on Ocean View cabin and made up for 4. it was cabin 4024. Here is a picture of that cabin.

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Here's the group getting a look at that cabin:

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Next we went up to Deck 9 to our cabin.....9050......D1...midship.

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They were all impressed with the window washing equipment!

Next up.....a couple more cabins on Deck 9........

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Next up was Cabin 9576.....D2...hump cabin. The hump cabins on the Radaince class ships have larger balconies. This one was nice.

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From here we walked all the way to the aft for a look at another D2 corner aft cabin. Super nice balcony with a super view.

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Last stop on the tour was a GS....1032. Beautiful suite. We made plans to meet back here on the final sea day to say goodbye.

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We had a great time at the cabin crawl.

I went back to the cabin afterwards for more serious napping......one of my favorite things to do on a cruise!

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So it's back to the CL tonight around 7:00. Met up with more interesting folks, had drinks and good conversation. This was formal night, but we did not bring real formal clothes with us, so this is the night we chose to go to Chops. I'm ready to chow down on some more beef tonight!!!

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Chops has a new menu and there are some really nice changes. I had the new Oyster appetizer and it was wonderful. I also had the Chops salad and the petit filet. Sooooo good!

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And of course.....the mud pie for dessert!

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Did a walk through in Starquest on Deck 13 after dinner and then on to bed. We needed to be up and out early in Cozumel.

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4-18-11.....Monday......Cozumel

Up early this morning....same routine.....coffee in the CL.....breakfast in the D/D+ dining room and off the ship. Here is beautiful Cozumel. it's a gorgeous day.

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Here's our ride:

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We make that long walk down the pier and through the shopping area to the taxi stand. We take a taxi out to our favorite beach here in Coz......Nachi Cocum. It's a $15 taxi ride. It's always a good idea to try and share a taxi in Cozumel to where you are going because it is priced per taxi not PP. So when we drive up to Nachi, who should come in right behind us but Sue and Julie from our roll call! We made arrangements to share a taxi back to the ship.

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Nachi Cocum is a private all inclusive beach. You need to make reservations ahead of time and we made ours through Island marketing. The cost is $49 pp with a $12 pp deposit. You pay the balance in cash when you get there. That includes all you can eat and drink and a very beautiful beach to hang out on. They limit the number to 100. Not sure how many were there this day but it was not crowded. There is a large pool with a swim up bar and hot tub. Very nice.

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We found a very nice place to sit under a palapa. Manuel was our waiter. He would bring us anything that we needed. We used to live in Mexico and became quite fond of a beer there called Pacifico. We happily ordered those all day. Here is our little spot...near the pool....very quiet and relaxing.

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The food here is very good. We got some chips and salsa. They have excellent guacamole. For lunch I got chicken tacos, John.....who doesn't like Mexican food....got hot dogs. I also had a flan type dessert. Here is our tray of food!

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Salud!!!!

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We are enjoying ourselves here!

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As an added bonus today.....there was a wedding on the beach at around 1:00 or so. We had ring side seats. Here are a few photos:

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The water was fabulous today! Very refreshing.

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It was a great day at Nachi. The only thing that was not quite right was that after the wedding party got there, our waiter got tied up with them and he forgot about us. We didn't get as good a service after that. If you go to Nachi Cocum, be sure and ask for Carlos. We have had him before and he was there today, working very hard. Our roll call buddies, Sue and Julie had him for their waiter and they got fabulous service the whole day. We met up with Sue and Julie for the cab ride back to the ship around 3 o'clock. Great day!

This one is for you. Franca!!

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Back to the ship:

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I'm going to take a break for the evening and will be back to continue in the morning. Thanks for reading!

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Wow Jane, you look more formally dressed on your way to Chops than most people are in the main dining room. :D You both look very nice, and we are enjoying your review. :)

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Great review! We were on Radiance a couple of weeks before you and absolutely loved the ship! Glad you had a blast!

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Jane,

Great pictures... we did have so much fun...many, many thanks for posting these.

Give my best to John.

Sue

p.s. We go back to work Tuesday:(!

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I thought the exact same thing! You look formal enough for me and you look beautiful by the way!

 

Enjoying your review. It is fun seeing another ship. Cant say we will ever get to the CL or the special Bfast area, so it is fun to see it through others!

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Thanks for the review and pics! It's great to see the cabin crawl and ship photos. I've never been on Radiance class and have Jewel booked ( one of those humps!) so we are excited to get a look!

Looking forward to your next port-

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Thanks for the great review. We love Radiance and will on her April 30. :)

 

In the pics of the cabin crawl you show pictures of a D2 corner aft. Might it be 9256? Sure hope so as that's our cabin on our upcoming cruise.

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H Jane! Cant wait for more of your diary! Thanks for sharing. Counting the days until Oasis.

 

Dave- I cant find any information on Port Authority taking over Cape Liberty, any help? Share a link to?

 

Good to see you both posting! Jane, glad you enjoyed being back on a Radiance class! Im dying to get on one! :D

 

Stacey - Here is a link to an article that appeared last June. Maybe, with no more references, the deal fell through. I doubt it since the PA usually gets what it wants. The link originally appeared in a discussion on the Celebrity boards about the future of Celebrity in the NY area (same issues that RCI is having).

 

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/06/bayonne_officials_approve_port.html

 

 

Jane - glad you waited until after the bad part of tax season is over to post this thread, always like your photo essays. Sorry for the minor sidestep, now on with the beach and beer-bottle pictures. :D

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Lovely photos! Takes me back to last summer when we met on Serenade. We just booked a cruise on the Mediterranean, can't wait until October! :D

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Jane, love the pictures of Nachi Cocum. Can you tell me, was it rocky under your feet walking into the ocean or smooth sand all the way? We have only been to Mex once, not my fave place at all- and I have been searching on what to do when we stop there in June. Your pictures just sent NC to the top of the list [hoping the walk into the ocean is smooth!] Also, how far was the taxi drive from the pier? And, when you said entrance fee includes drinks, is that cocktails or....something else like fruit punch?

 

Dave- Thanks for the reply and link! I searched and couldnt find it and I thought it was new news. You're right, who knows!? Jane, sorry, didnt mean to hijack the thread, just had to ask Dave!!

 

Cant wait to see more pics! Thanks for taking the time, Jane!

Edited by CruiseDivaNJ

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I'm back!

Thanks, everyone for the nice comments. I love sharing our cruise with everyone!

Suzy.....Yes....that corner aft is 9256.....great cabin and balcony. you'll love it.

Stacey.......The sand and out into the water is very smooth.....almost perfect. The AI includes all drinks...alcoholic and non alcoholic. The cab ride is no longer than 10 minutes....$15 for the taxi. You will love this place. I wouldn't go anywhere else in Coz. Stop researching!!

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4-18-11......Continued

Once back to the ship.....we got our ice cream, shower, and a nap. A little hard to wake up from that nap, but we managed and made it to the CL on time. Another great evening visiting with new friends.

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On to the MDR for dinner. Tonight they were trying out some new items on the menu and they all looked very good. There was a beef stroganoff, a new pork loin entree, and sole. Tonight I had the crabcake appetizer, Caesar salad, and the sole. It was very good. I tried a new dessert tonight.....a lemon meringue tart. It was great.

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Not much going on around the ship tonight. We wandered around a bit. Stopped in the Schooner Bar for a bit. The piano guy in there.....Kelley.....was fabulous. Tonight he was doing an Elvis tribute. He was so good and everyone was singing along. Don't miss this guy.

We made another sizable donation (drat) at the casino. ( note to slots: All I want to do is be entertained for a while.....you don't have to suck everything down in about 2 minutes!) Actually I did win $1700 on a quarter slot on one of our earlier cruises....but that was a long time ago!

Time for bed.....another early day tomorrow.

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I'm back!

 

Thanks' date=' everyone for the nice comments. I love sharing our cruise with everyone![/size']

 

Suzy.....Yes....that corner aft is 9256.....great cabin and balcony. you'll love it.

 

Stacey.......The sand and out into the water is very smooth.....almost perfect. The AI includes all drinks...alcoholic and non alcoholic. The cab ride is no longer than 10 minutes....$15 for the taxi. You will love this place. I wouldn't go anywhere else in Coz. Stop researching!!

 

 

Thanks, Jane! Im so confused, b/c I just read on the Cozumel boards that it is rocky. I wonder if it matters which part of the beach you settle at?

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4-19-11......Tuesday......Costa Maya

Up early again today....same routine.

This is our first time to Costa Maya and we loved it! Hope to come back real soon. We got here very early and then the Carnival Glory joined us, later followed by the NCL Spirit.

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The walk down the pier was a long one, but there is a trolley there to take you to the end of the pier.

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There is a very nice shopping area, pool, bar, restaruants right there. Looked very nice, but we were on a mission to get to another AI that we learned about here on CC. As soon as you walk out of the shopping area, there is a taxi stand. You tell them where you want to go, pay them right there and you're on the way. Today we were going to Nohoch Kay (pronounced No-hosh Ki with a long i). We got tickets for $3pp and took a nice air-conditioned bus out to the very end of the town and beach.....maybe about 10 minutes. We had to walk the last block and we walked right into the place. It's right past Pez Quadro.

Nohoch Kay is a small AI onwed by Jaime. He personally met us as we came up and knew who we were. He escorted us out to the beach so we could pick our spot for the day. They only allow 40 people in for the day. Here is our little spot:

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The weather was just perfect again.....except for the wind. Lots of wind. I understand it is almost always very windy in Costa Maya. It wasn't too bad, though.

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