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legieza

Help a newbie out before I lose my mind! lol

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We are taking the Carnival Fantasy to Costa Maya and Cozumel out of Mobile. 

 

First- if we choose not to book an excursion at one/both of those places is there plenty to explore at port on foot? Beaches to access? What do people do? It’s an arm and a leg for excursions! (There’s 7 of us, 5 count as adults) Give me ideas of what you recommend to do!

 

I cannot for the life of me find anywhere what drinks are included if I dont do a drink package. I pretty much only drink water with lemon, coffee, and alcohol. I’m not sure that the alcohol package would be worth it for me though because I dont drink very much- though I would More if I was paying $50 a day for it. 😂

 

How much so pictures cost? Will I  really want 5 prints and a canvas? lol Or do people usually just buy one or two? I’ll be taking my own photos as well. 

 

Help! I’m sure I have lots more questions and the FAQs on line hasn’t helped. lol 

 

Thanks in advance!

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Plenty to do in Cozumel without an excursion. Not sure about Costa Maya but I'm sure you could find a beach there.

 

From Carnival's FAQs: Please note: The following beverages are included in the price of your cruise and are served in the main dining room and 24/7 in the Lido Restaurant: non-bottled water, lemonade, iced tea, hot chocolate and non-specialty coffee and tea. The following beverages are available through Room Service at no additional charge: juices (orange, tomato, apple or grapefruit), regular or decaffeinated coffee, hot tea, iced tea, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, regular and skim milk.

 

Not sure about cost of photos.

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13 minutes ago, legieza said:

I cannot for the life of me find anywhere what drinks are included if I dont do a drink package. I pretty much only drink water with lemon, coffee, and alcohol. I’m not sure that the alcohol package would be worth it for me though because I dont drink very much- though I would More if I was paying $50 a day for it.

Non-bottled water (tap water), lemonade, apple juice, orange juice, iced tea, milk, and select coffees are available for free during select times of the day. You can always buy bar credit for the amount of alcohol you think you will drink, and then you will not receive a "bill." Almost like cheers, but not...!"

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There is a beach at Costa Maya. Add I remember,  it's pretty rocky.  They're is no beach at the port at Cozumel.  I highly recommend Nachi Cocum.  It's all all inclusive. It's about 10 minute cab ride. You book outside of Carnival and it's about 60 or 65 for adults.

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12 minutes ago, Butterbean1000 said:

There is a beach at Costa Maya. Add I remember,  it's pretty rocky.  They're is no beach at the port at Cozumel.  I highly recommend Nachi Cocum.  It's all all inclusive. It's about 10 minute cab ride. You book outside of Carnival and it's about 60 or 65 for adults.

Im really nervous about booking outside of Carnival. I cant get stranded in Mexico! 😂 

 

I wish Carnival had a credit line or card or something where i could make payments on excursions. lol 

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I understand,  but we've been to Nachi about 4 or 5 times. You leave when you want.  Like I said,  it's only a 10 minute ride back to the port. We enjoy shopping at all the port shops also.  There are also a couple of bars there,  also.  A walk or a short taxi ride down to the neighboring port,  (can't think of the name) there is more shopping.  There is the Mega store.  Kind of like a Mexican wal mart only better. 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, legieza said:

Im really nervous about booking outside of Carnival. I cant get stranded in Mexico! 😂 

 

I wish Carnival had a credit line or card or something where i could make payments on excursions. lol 

Buy carnival gift cards, I’m buying 100$ at a time and that will pay for our cheers, bubble package and give my daughter spending money. It’s about all I can afford at a time so when I have enough I’ll pay for it with the cards

Edited by desiree741

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You could book an excursion for each person separately, so it would be kind of like a payment plan.  Maybe one per paycheck, for example. You run the risk the excursion could sell out before you have purchased for everyone, but it is easy to cancel excursions on Carnival’s website and get refunded.

 

In Costa Maya, take the tram to Mahahual. $4 per person.  There is a seaweed problem right now so some clubs have fencing in the water to hold it back. If you keep walking away from the ship and it clears up a good bit and smells better.  The tram guys try to make you follow them to a certain beach club, but just ignore them and walk til you see pretty beaches and clearer water.  We went to El Fuerte hotel (I think that is the name). Chairs were free if each person spends some money. We spent $56 for lunch and soda for five.  In the picture below, you can see how close it is to the ship.  The taxi ride back was $2 per person. 

 

 

1D48699E-7EB0-400B-A1AB-1A79182BBE26.jpeg

2B8D31CB-38A2-4E1F-8737-5142FCFEA250.jpeg

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Cozumel is an easy port to grab a taxi and head to a beach. We go to either Paradise Beach or Nachi Cocom. 

Paradise Beach is $3 to get in, then another $18 or so if you want to use all the water toys. They have a huge pool and a beach. If you go, stay to the far right as you face the water, there are fewer rocks there. To the left is pretty rocky.

They do ask that you spend $10/person on food/drink. There are always taxis ready to take you back to the port. 

As someone has already said, you book with Nachi ahead of time online. They only allow 130 people in per day, so you are not right up beside the chair next to you. I haven't checked the price lately, but it's an all inclusive. Plenty of taxis there too, or they'll call one for you. No need to worry, just give yourself time to travel back to the port - and leave time for shopping!

In Costa Maya we always take the bus to Mahahual, the next town that has a decent beach. It's about a 10 minute or less drive. Grab a chair on the beach and the bar/restaurant across the street that 'owns' those chairs will wait on you all day. We love it.

Have fun!

 

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48 minutes ago, legieza said:

Im really nervous about booking outside of Carnival. I cant get stranded in Mexico! 😂 

 

I wish Carnival had a credit line or card or something where i could make payments on excursions. lol 

 

 

no reason to be nervous, there are tons of taxis everywhere. We never book with Carnival and have never had any issues. There are shuttles to the beach as mentioned above. They have beach massages for about $30 an hour, more expensive where the shuttle lets you off. We don't do all inclusives and if don't drink probably not worth it for you to spend $55 for tacos. You can go to Cozumel beaches ala cart. There are taxis at the dock area. You do not need to pay CCL's inflated pricing

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Posted (edited)

The port at Costa Maya has shops, bars and a huge pool that is free.  Many people spend the day right there. I believe they have a dolphin swim as well.

Edited by wesorbeth

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3 hours ago, legieza said:

Im really nervous about booking outside of Carnival. I cant get stranded in Mexico! 😂 

 

I wish Carnival had a credit line or card or something where i could make payments on excursions. lol 

 

Being nervous about straying away from Carnival excursions is very common, don't feel bad. If it helps, tons of people book excursions directly with independent companies without any problems. Many of them have been doing it long enough to know the importance of cruise schedules. But first and foremost, you do what makes you most comfortable. One of the benefits of booking independently is that it's often much cheaper than through Carnival, but then again, Carnival comes with the advantage of not leaving without you, and a lot of people don't mind paying for that peace of mind.

 

You can look around the Costa Maya & Cozumel boards in the Ports of Call section. You might find some more information about things to do there. Here's a link to that section, then just find your two ports: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/456-caribbean/

 

Carnival has a MasterCard. You earn points through purchases that can be redeemed for a statement credit. If you use it to purchase anything with Carnival, you get double points. As an added bonus, if you use it to purchase Carnival excursions, you'll get a 10% credit back on your statement, so it's equivalent to 10% off the excursion.

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14 hours ago, desiree741 said:

Buy carnival gift cards, I’m buying 100$ at a time and that will pay for our cheers, bubble package and give my daughter spending money. It’s about all I can afford at a time so when I have enough I’ll pay for it with the cards

Great idea!

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Posted (edited)

Just got back from this sailing a few weeks ago. We did excursions in both locations, but we've been to Cozumel many times. Both locations have a large port facility just off the pier where you can easily spend the day without venturing far from the ship or spending a lot of extra money.

 

Costa Maya has one of the largest of these port areas, with shopping and dining and other activities available right there (including a dolphin swim as someone mentioned). There's a huge pool that is free to use, and I think there's even a swim-up bar available from it. We didn't spend any time in this area as we made reservations at Maya Chan, a small resort about 20-30 minutes down the road. Maya Chan is owned and operated by Americans who have been on many, many cruises and cater to our demographic; they have great communication and will refund your money for just about any reason (they just want you to be happy). Next time we go I may consider staying in the port area (just because we didn't really get to explore it this time) but we did enjoy Maya Chan.

 

Cozumel also has plenty of shopping and dining available just off the pier, but Cozumel is one of the safer and easier places to venture out on your own from if you've a mind to. The port has a very organized and robust taxi service with established and posted fees to most anywhere on the island. One suggestion I'd offer is to catch a cab to the Money Bar; this is a small bar/restaurant not far from the port where you can sit in the sun (so long as you're willing to buy something to eat or drink from them while you're there). It's not a big place and is pretty laid back. There isn't a traditional beach to sit on (much of the Cozumel coastline is rocky) but there is sand where the lounge seats are and stair access down into the water if you wish to snorkel or swim.

 

If you do venture away from the port areas (and I do recommend it, at least in Cozumel), just be sure to keep a watch on ship's time, give yourself plenty of time to get back to port, and have fun!

 

As for pictures, that's up to you. Carnival gives you LOTS of photo opportunities, beginning at the terminal in Mobile; you can get professional pictures taken against different backgrounds every night on board the ship, all around the ship during the day, and with a cast of crazy characters at each port as you debark on the piers. My wife and I have always found at least a couple that we wanted to buy, and this last cruise (for my daughter's high school graduation) I think we bought 5-6 photos (something like two 8x10s and the rest 5x7s). They're not cheap (I think ours came out to about $125), but I'd won some money in the casino so I was splurging a little. You don't have to buy any of them but sometimes it's fun to get your photos taken and some of them turn out pretty good.

Edited by Bahbert

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, legieza said:

We are taking the Carnival Fantasy to Costa Maya and Cozumel out of Mobile. 

 

First- if we choose not to book an excursion at one/both of those places is there plenty to explore at port on foot? Beaches to access? What do people do? It’s an arm and a leg for excursions! (There’s 7 of us, 5 count as adults) Give me ideas of what you recommend to do!

 

I cannot for the life of me find anywhere what drinks are included if I dont do a drink package. I pretty much only drink water with lemon, coffee, and alcohol. I’m not sure that the alcohol package would be worth it for me though because I dont drink very much- though I would More if I was paying $50 a day for it. 😂

 

How much so pictures cost? Will I  really want 5 prints and a canvas? lol Or do people usually just buy one or two? I’ll be taking my own photos as well. 

 

Help! I’m sure I have lots more questions and the FAQs on line hasn’t helped. lol 

 

Thanks in advance!

First of all, relax. You don’t need excursions, and you don’t need the drink package. In Costa Maya, although there is plenty of shops, a very crowded pool, and restaurants right there in port, take my advice and keep walking. Walk all the way through that cruise line developed shopping village, and come out where the tour buses pick up. Take either a shuttle or taxi to town (both $6pp) and head to Mahahual Beach, only about 5-10 minute ride from port. You can actually see your ship from the beach. There are beach clubs to hang out at. We hung at Krazy Lobster, only for the price of our Coronas all afternoon. Another good area that I heard of is Tropicante. You will have a glorious day with a crystal clear aqua water beach. But be aware, that if it’s stormy, or a storm recently passed through, the water gets riled, and seaweed increases. There was none there when I was there, but I know this can happen. As for Cozumel, it’s a great shopping town. We’ve walked all over without any concerns. There are numerous souvenir shops, jewelry shops, all the usual shops. There is also a huge store called Mega. That place has everything! It will be on your right while walking into town. I think it’s quite a long walk from a Carnival and RCCL pier, but NCL docks right downtown. I’ve sailed there on all three lines. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the way. Now, for drink package. My hubby and I are not big drinkers, so we buy drinks as we go. Maybe 3-4 each per day. I also purchase coffee at the coffee bar once or twice a day. Don’t forget to ask them for a coffee punch card. After 6 cups, you’ll get one free. But there’s always the free coffee in the buffet area. I also order bottled water from the Fun Shops prior to cruise for a very reasonable price of around 4.95 for a case of 12 bottles. If you are in a port area prior to cruise, you can carry on one 750ml bottle of wine each, plus a 12 pack of soda. So, in trying to give you an idea of what we spent on last cruise in March, for 7 days and 2 people, about $350. That included an increase in price on a spa service I booked prior to cruise. Although, for me, that total was pretty much covered in its entirety by all the bar credits I redeemed from my Carnival Mastercard prior to cruise ($300) And we never book specialty restaurants. There is SO MUCH complimentary food, there’s never a need to. So, you can have a great time on a budget, as we do. Oh, and we rarely buy photos, unless family is with us, then I may buy one or two.

Edited by grandmarnnurse

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23 hours ago, jbethel11 said:

Non-bottled water (tap water), lemonade, apple juice, orange juice, iced tea, milk, and select coffees are available for free during select times of the day. You can always buy bar credit for the amount of alcohol you think you will drink, and then you will not receive a "bill." Almost like cheers, but not...!"

 

I must have missed this. When and where are select coffees available for free?

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We drink tap water from our room sink, the lemonade type drinks at the buffet and pool deck, and the coffee available almost all the time in the lido buffet.  We also buy the 12 packs of water from the ship gift shop, but we never drink it all.

 

Bring insulated bottles that screw completely shut and fill them up with coffee from the buffet before bed. They stay warm enough for the first cup in the morning so I don't have to wander around in my jammies or worse, get dressed for my first cup.

 

If you will only have one or 2 drinks a day don't even think about a package.

 

I rarely buy any of the cruise photos but I know people who use it as their annual portrait package, so that's up to you. They have lots of photo stations set up on formal night.

 

For people who are thrifty or poor, you really don't have to spend extra money.  Just getting off the ship and walking around the port shopping areas is fine; there is a little artificial beach area in Cozumel.  If you really want a beach day it might be worth paying for an excursion, but if you just want to lie around in the sun, you might as well stay aboard (or just walk around port for a short time and return) and enjoy the pool while everyone else is away and you have it to yourself.  On sea days the pools are crazy busy so this can be a great hack for cheapos like myself.

 

I always think it's wacky to pay for excursions that include lunch. The ship includes lunch!  There will be food available somewhere when you get back on board.

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1 hour ago, coevan said:

regular and decaf 😎

 

2 hours ago, dsotm73 said:

 

I must have missed this. When and where are select coffees available for free?

To build off, they are available throughout the day!

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Posted (edited)

Cozumel is a small island. There is a 2 lane road that runs from downtown past the piers,  and goes all along the coast. There are numerous beach clubs, each a few minutes apart on this road. Look at Playa Mia, or Mr Sanchos for lively fun,  or if you want a quieter day Nachi Cocum.  Lots  of videos on Youtube.  Get a taxi, they will be plentiful at the port for about $15.  Nachi Cocum only has an all inclusive ticket, the others have  a choice of pay as you go, or all inclusive day pass for about $55. If the beach does not interest then take a taxi into downtown, about $8,  to stroll around shops and eat lunch at Pancho's Backyard. As far as excursions, look online at the trips Carnival offers to see what appeals to you. You can almost always buy the same trips for less than CVL sells them, at the port or pre book online. Be aware though if you are planning to go very far from the port with a private vendor then you have to be very aware of the all aboard time  and get back in plenty of time. This applies to any port, but especially in some of the very rustic ports with poor roads. If this is your first cruise and you plan to go far I would bite the bullet and pay for a CVL excursion, that way if you are late back, the ship will wait for you. If you are on an independent trip and are late, the ship will sail without you....   Cozumel and Costa Maya are essentially beach, watersports, snorkeling or souvenir shopping days, with some Mayan ruins available to visit , and small rustic towns existing only for tourists. 

Edited by emdia43

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At a resort like Paradise Beach there will be 20-30 taxis waiting to pick up guests and you recognize about 50 people from your ship leaving at an appropriate time. 

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Hey, dont get all nervous.  Its a whole new world and you will have a blast even with out excursions.  I am like you and I dont mind doing just ship hosted excursions.  Once we had the ship wait on us as the bus broke down a long ways from town.  Always remember that you are on the ships time.  Local time isnt always the same time.  There is plenty of shopping at the piers and I think Cosa maya has a show where these guys climb a pole and then hook a rope to their ankle and kinda fly down.  It is cool.  I always return to the ship an hour before they say i need to.  Aint leaving without me.  We are all different when we hit ports,  I am more of a wanderer and I like to sample local foods and drinks.  In cozumal i grab a cab and head down town and we walk around.  I always do lunch at la mission restaurant.  It isnt pricey and real good.  its across from the divers hotel, the cabby will know exactly where it is. There are a lot of barkers on the street, just dont pay them no mind.   Keep to the main street and you are safe. There is also a place close by the port that has a lot of outdoor minitures of temple and the like.  It was pretty cool and wasnt pricey and only about 2 miles away.  Just keep in your comfort zone.  I remember my first time i was very uneasy. But there will be a bunch of people on the ship and I got the straight up from them.  Yall will have a ball, no worries.  

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On 6/5/2019 at 7:00 PM, legieza said:

Im really nervous about booking outside of Carnival. I cant get stranded in Mexico! 😂 

 

I wish Carnival had a credit line or card or something where i could make payments on excursions. lol 

Nachi is an all inclusive that is open from 9-5. You get a cab at the entrance to the port area; they are all lined up and have a set price for each destination so that you don't get ripped off. It is our go-to spot in Cozumel. When you are ready to return to the ship, just tell your waiter and he will get a cab for you within 5-10 minutes. You control when you want to return; just allow enough time for the cab ride and the walk through the shopping area back to the ship - 30 minutes or so! 

 

Nachi is $55/adults [less for kids] for unlimited drinks and pretty much unlimited food. You get chairs under shady palapas, use of the pool and hot tub and the ocean! Extras include massage on the beach, snorkeling, parasailing and ski-do rentals. It is quiet, as they only take 130 people a day; unless there are 6 ships in port that day, there usually aren't that many. 

 

You need to make reservations in advance on line; 20% down and pay the rest when you get there. Here's the link: https://www.cozumelnachicocom.com/ 

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10 hours ago, jbethel11 said:

 

To build off, they are available throughout the day!

 

"To build off'"? WHERE are these free specialty coffees (of which you speak available? Or are you referring to the free swill on LIDO?

 

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