Friday, November 14, 2008

Carnival Cruise: The Excursions

The cruise started at 4 PM on Day 1. Day 2 was what they called an "ocean day" or "fun at sea" day. Day 3 was the first excursion. Is was into Cozumel. Cozumel had the most options as far as "paid excursions". It seems you can pay money, either ahead of time, on the boat, or once on shore to go on planned excursions to safely navigate the tourist trap that is Cozumel.

The excursions start at about $50 and go up from there. They have horse back riding, Segway riding, playing with dolphins, submarines, etc. I didn't purchase any excursions so I can't give you more details. I know some of them were rather extravagant and sounded interesting albeit a bit overpriced. I think it was cheaper if you didn't prepay at the ship and paid the hosts directly. I know the Submarine excursion was $91 per person at the shop and $99 per person on board the ship.

Anyway, enough about excursions. We just decided to go navigate the well oiled tourist trap that was Cozumel. I don't think I ever saw Cozumel. By the time I walked a mile towards the city I had been accosted so many times by cab drivers, people trying to sell me scooters, people trying to rent me cars, people trying to sell me shirts, people trying to sell me hats, and people trying to sell me hotel tours that I had had enough. In hindsight, I probably should have rented a cab into downtown Cozumel. However, other people on board with us said that downtown was more of a tourist trap than the area where we were at. It almost embarrasses you to be from the USA.

We went back to the beach and found a bar serving Mexican food and snacked and drank and watched other people from the boat do line dancing. I'm all about watching people. I love talking to new people. When I am lucky enough to find an inteligent person, it's doubly good. At the bar I found that one of the waiters (I should mention that anyone that can speak two or more languages gets kudos in my book) was into different beers. I got him to recommend me some Mexican beers. He brought me some that were rather tasty. Some I had had before. Dos Equis Amber, Negra Modelo are beers I have had many times. He brought me one called Victoria which was quite good but that I had never had.

You have to be back on the ship or it leaves without you. They give a few calls on the intercom to see if anyone knows where you are, but I think you only get 15 minutes or so. I'm not sure. I bet there is a booming comuter airline business that can shoot you over to Progresso so you can meet your ship the next day. The ship leaves Cozumel at 6 or so and the next morning you are at Progresso.

I liked Progresso a lot better which is proof positive that you should never ask people you work with about ports of fun. Everyone here at work said that Cozumel was a lot better and they wished (for the most part) that they had stayed on board during the Progresso phase.The reason I liked Progresso is because it was less of a tourist trap. It still was, but it wasn't as "Americanized". People were more genuine. They still tried to sell you everything they had, but you could tell they were people and not tourist traps. I had fun talking to some of them. A lady kept trying to braid and bead my wife's hair which my wife adamantly refused, but I turned the tables and asked the lady why she was only asking the women. At the end, I paid her $6 to braid and bead my hair. Only one strand. She said she would do all of my hair for $20 but I wasn't feeling that adventurous.

In Progresso, the bars had an "all you can drink" special for $35. I assume this was all you can drink before the ship leaves. I didn't participate in that although it was tempting. I got one of the waiters at the beach bar in Progresso to share with me some very good tequila. That was before I got the hair beaded.

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