Port Adventures in Cozumel, Mexico
A Disney Cruise Line Port of Callby Amy Wear, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 08-18-2017
Most of Disney Cruise Line’s Western Caribbean sailings include a stop in Cozumel, Mexico. Along with a brief Holland America honeymoon cruise stop, our family has had two Disney Cruise visits to Cozumel.
Dolphinaris in Cozumel
In November 2015, we spent this port of call together as a family during our Disney Wonder Western Caribbean sailing. We chose to do the Cozumel Ruins, Chocolate Making, and Beach Break at Playa Mia. My husband was enthused about touring the ancient ruins while the rest of us were more interested in time at the beach.
The ruins were not a hit with myself or our girls. It was very warm and buggy and for young kids it felt like an eternity to stand around and listen to long dialogue on the history of the Mayans (keeping it real, folks!). My husband, on the other hand, thought it was very interesting, and couldn’t wait to do the full Mayan Ruins tour next time.
When we finally finished at the ruins, it was a lengthy bus ride to Playa Mia. We couldn’t wait to go enjoy the beach and pool facilities, but first we sat through a presentation on the ancient practices of chocolate making. The chocolate was very bitter and not something that would appeal to most kids.
Finally, we had about 90 minutes to enjoy Playa Mia. We focused our time playing in the water and enjoying the beach, all the while feeling envious of the people who chose to do the full day excursion at Playa Mia. The water was beautiful and our time there was much too short!
When we compared notes with our table mates and other guests who had chosen the full day beach break at Playa Mia, the consensus was that the buffet food included with their tour was absolutely terrible. The price was also about double the price of our excursion, so I’m not sure I’d recommend that option either. I will say that we bought a pizza there to share and my gang thought it was delicious.
When we sailed the Disney Magic with my parents in late 2016, we decided to split up for the day to focus on what each of us would enjoy. Dad and our older daughter, Abby, decided to enjoy the day together on the ship while the rest of us headed out on port adventures.
My husband was geared up for his full day Ruins tour and mom had also decided to join him. Before we finalized our port adventure selections, I emphasized to them the full description of the transportation involved in doing this excursion. First you take a boat ride to the mainland. Then you have a walk through a shopping venue followed by a long bus ride to the Ruins. This did not deter my mom or husband.
Disney Wonder in Cozumel
As it turned out, they had a fabulous time on this excursion. They found the boat ride to the mainland very enjoyable and didn’t mind the bus ride or walk through the marketplace either. While I’m always skeptical of port adventures that claim to include lunch, they were very happy with their boxed lunches. My husband also found himself sharing his banana after an iguana lunged toward him for it!
Meanwhile, our eight-year-old daughter, Kayla, had requested to do a dolphin excursion. Compared to $100/person to swim (very briefly) with dolphins (which would necessitate a full family affair), I was pleased that Dolphinarus offers a Dolphin Kids experience for kids under age 10.
Parents are required to book the Dolphin Observer option and accompany their kids, but this was a “bargain” at $150 for the two of us. Kayla was thrilled with the experience and I felt that our guide spent a generous amount of time ensuring that each child had ample opportunity to touch, feed, and interact with the dolphins.
The very short taxi ride from the shopping mall to Dolphinarus was a bonus. It was also a nice touch that as soon as we arrived, each child was handed a small gift bag containing a small stuffed dolphin.
As is common on excursions in the Caribbean, no photography was allowed while parents were accompanying their kids for the dolphin interaction. Of course, those who had an extra adult accompanying them had the benefit of being able to take photos – though only from a distance.
It's no secret that they want you to buy one of their photo packages at the exit, but I must admit that the photographers do a very good job. I purchased one framed photo of Kayla with a dolphin that is a priceless memento from our day.
This was another excursion that mentioned “lunch and snorkelling gear included.” Well I didn't see anyone snorkelling or doing anything in the water that didn't involve dolphins. We also did not find the food edible and were happy to get back to the ship for a late lunch. Thankfully, I never leave a ship without enough prepackaged snacks to get us through!
I do recommend taking extra precautions in a port like Cozumel. Be sure to check out my Top 10 tips for Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures so you are fully prepared for your adventure. I explain in more detail why I only advise doing tours through the cruise line, particularly in this port. Check out the link below for all of my tips, including my caution about the Cozumel marketplace that you must walk through with your tour group. Vendors will try their hardest to get you into their stores. Just be sure to keep up with your group and not miss your tour! If you do want to shop, usually you’ll have an opportunity after your port adventure, just before re-boarding the ship.
Updated 08-18-2017 - Article #1424
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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