Our first port stop is Cozumel, Mexico. This is the port where there was a bombing on a tourist ferry a couple of weeks ago. There was some chatter on Cruise Critic that perhaps NCL would eliminate this as a port of call, but that did not happen. I visited here many years ago, taking the ferry to Playa del Carmen and then a bus to some Mayan ruins. I’m glad I did that then because I would no longer feel safe taking that ferry!
My husband is not a snorkeler but I do love to, so I signed myself up for a snorkeling excursion with www.cozumelcruiseexcursions.net. We were scheduled to snorkel at El Cielo. I really didn’t care where we snorkeled which turned out to be a good thing!
The ship docked at the Punta Langosta Pier. I had received confirmation from the tour company along with directions for where to meet our guide. There are 3 cruise ship docks in Cozumel; we were at the most centrally located one. We were to meet up in front of Hooters. The ship drops you off at a large shopping area; Hooters is located on the lower level. I arrived about 15 minutes early; too early for the tour guide. I did meet another woman that was going on the excursion.
Eventually, the person from the tour company showed up. He directed us to wait a little longer until Karla, our group’s guide, arrived. I was a bit surprised when she did get there; she was definitely not dressed for a snorkeling day! She told us that the conditions were too choppy for us to go to El Cielo. She said that we would probably be “feeding the fishes” if we chose to go there. I didn’t really care where we snorkeled so I asked her what the alternatives were. She said that we would work our way to the southern part of the island (where El Cielo was located) and that the weather and wave conditions would determine how far we could get. We would stop along the way to snorkel at several locations.
At that point, Karla left. We were directed to the boat by a local gentleman. He would be our guide. A different guy drove the boat. They brought the makings for guacamole on board, along with soft drinks, water, and beer. He told us that we would make 3 stops. At each stop the water would be deeper than the last. After the last stop we would have guacamole and chips.
Normally I don’t bother with a life vest but since I was snorkeling without a partner I opted for wearing one. My feet and legs cramp up sometimes and I really didn’t want that to happen with no one to look out for me. The snorkeling was fine; all of the stops were in pretty deep water. We stayed together as a group. Our guide carried a life ring which was our visual to find him. We would paddle along behind and if he saw a stingray, barracuda, or any other especially interesting sea life, he would signal us by waving his arms.
Our first stop was relatively long. There were plenty of fish but nothing out of the ordinary – no stingrays, darn it! There was a barracuda at our second stop, though I didn’t see it. I enjoyed the snorkel, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.
There were other tour boats of people in the same areas where we were. I felt like this was their normal routine; I wonder whether or not the boats ever get to El Cielo. After our final snorkel the boat was beached near a resort beach. We were given about 10-15 minutes on the beach while the “guys” made guacamole. When it was ready, we climbed back on board.
We were each given a styrofoam tray filled with guacamole and a bag of chips was passed around. Then, out came the tequila and some slices of lime. We were given the opportunity to do a tequila shot. Some did, some didn’t. I gave it a go; the tequila was pretty good. Then, it was time to head back to town. Just before docking, our guide told us that he and his buddy received no pay for their work; their only pay was the tips they received from the passengers. Sure, I believed that (not).
We were dropped off and I headed back to the ship. Along the way I had opportunities to buy items from the pharmacia – no prescription needed. Since I didn’t need any viagara, cialis, or pain medication, I ignored these opportunities.