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Cruiseteach

Coral, 3-04-06 Part 5

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Day 9

Cozumel/Playa Del Carmen

Tendering was a total nightmare!!! The tender (Yup! singular- just the one) is huge, 400+ passengers, and takes forever to load- 45-60 min. The Patter warned that the seas would be rough here and they weren’t kidding! It was like being on a roller coaster, even next to the ship. You kind of got the hint as to how bad it would be when they finally closed the doors and the crew went up and down the aisles passing out blue plastic “emergency” bags. Didn’t need one, fortunately, but many folks did. The ride into Playa DelCarmen is long- about 30 min., and very, very rough. Once we got to the dock, it was announced that we might not be staying as the captain wasn’t sure it was safe to unload. The seas were that high. We were finally able to disembark, though and I was extremely glad. If we had had to go back, I might have needed that bag!

Once on the dock, the local tour guides helped us find the correct tour. (All the tours go here). We loaded into very nice buses and were off to Tulum. We had a great tour guide named Manuel. Very knowledgeable (and very handsome! :) ) What he didn’t know about the Mayan culture wasn’t worth knowing. We stopped first at a native craft place, a big building where local crafters can come and rent space. It was very nice and had good prices, but they need a better check-out system. We only had 30 min., which was really long enough, but try to tell that to some of the shop-a-holics. We practically had to drag some of them out of there. I did manage to buy a nice silver pendant and earrings.

Tulum is absolutely awe-inspiring. The guides tell you that you can walk in or take the tram for $1. Take the tram! It is a long, hot walk in. Before you go in, the guides tell you about a neat thing you can purchase: it is a Mayan calendar on handmade paper with your birthdate (or whatever other date you want) on it. It is beautiful and makes a wonderful souvenier. It costs $20, and you fill out the order form before you leave the bus. It will be all done and waiting for you at the end of the tour. The folks who didn’t do it were sorry. The tour itself is fairly short, but our guide was incredible. One of the things you will see was the inspirition for something in the first Indiana Jones movie, but I won’t spoil it for you. :) I wish we had had much more time there. When you come back to the bus , they hand you your box lunch, which I can only describe as vile. I drank the soda and tossed the rest, as did about everyone else.

Once back in Playa Del Carmen, the guide told us we could walk back to the pier and sit or walk back a couple of blocks to a small shopping area for 20 min. Big mistake!! The OCD shoppers disappeared for at least 45 min. It took forever to reload the tender, I suspect because they could see people still trickling back. The tender trip back wasn’t quite so bumpy, but again, took forever to unload once we got back to the ship. There were many people who were furious because there wasn’t enough time left for them to tender into Cozumel to shop. For some folks, this seemed to be their primary reason for taking this trip.

I loved Tulum, but most of the day was taken up by trying to get there and back again. Until they get this port situation fixed, I think Princess might want to reconsider this as a stop.

Rushed to get to dinner, but it was worth it. Had a rack of lamb to die for. Won $20 playing penny slots. Went to the 50’s and 60’s night. Fun!

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We did the same tour to Tulum and had the same issues with the tenders in January. It was a pretty bumpy ride over and we waited almost an hour past the time the ship was supposed to sail to leave PDC. At one point we were waiting on 80 people. We finally left and supposedly left 28 behind.

 

Tulum was awesome and we did get the Mayan calendar for our new granddaughter. My daughter was so jealous!

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CruiseTeach...

I love your review of the Coral, I'll be sailing on her April 13, I'm a teacher too and it coincides with Spring Break!

Thanks again for all the info and insight !

 

Pat

 

ps..one more year for retirement for me !

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