Things to do in Cozumel on your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
18Jan2018

If your Royal Caribbean cruise has a scheduled stop in Cozumel, Mexico, you might be wondering what there is to see and do in this popular Caribbean cruise port. 

Cozumel is the fourth busiest cruise port in the world (by passengers), with many cruise lines offering stops in this eastern Mexico destination.

Many Royal Caribbean ships call on Cozumel as part of their Western Caribbean itineraries. Most Royal Caribbean stops at Cozumel are for part of the day, and if you are trying to decide what to do in Cozumel, here is your guide.

Cozumel Overview & Strategy

Cozumel is an island off the eastern main land of Mexico.  It's a large island with a main city of San Miguel. Cozumel is well known for its beaches, scuba diving and shopping.

Cozumel is located in the tropics and has an average high of 85°F (29°C). Spanish is the official language, although you will find anyone working in the tourist areas to speak enough English to make communicating simple enough. Taxi drivers can sometimes struggle with English, but they know enough keywords to understand where you want to go.

If you are new to Cozumel, you will find no shortage of things to do in Cozumel.  Since Cozumel is an established and old cruise port, the variety of choices over the years have swelled to offer cruise guests a lot to consider.

When trying to figure out what to do, here are a few things to think about.

Weather

Depending on the time of year, the temperature and humidity may play a major factor into what you choose to do.  Temperatures remain constant throughout the year.  Daytime highs are in the 80s in every season and nighttime lows will range from the high 60s to mid-70s. With the exception of a few cold fronts in December and January, plan on a warm day in Cozumel.

The months of November through March will see the most temperate and comfortable temperatures, which means ideal conditions for doing lots of walking, touring and generally being outdoors.  These are the best months for seeing Mayan ruins and walking around downtown.

The rest of the year will see higher temperatures and humidity levels, which makes them an ideal time for swimming and diving.  You can still work in the ruins and other cultural experiences, but a swim break in the afternoon makes a lot of sense. April and May are warmer months, but still part of the dry season.  June through October constitute hurricane season in the Caribbean, which means the wet season arrives in Cozumel.  Expect sunny starts to the day, with increasing heat and humidity into the afternoon.  Pop up showers and/or thunderstorms will appear and disappear quickly.  Rain is short lived in the wet season in Cozumel, but can be heavy at times.

Trying a couple of things

Since there are so many things to do in Cozumel and the island is so small, consider multiple activities during your day in Cozumel.

Most Royal Caribbean stops in Cozumel are generally 8-12 hours in duration.  This leaves plenty of time to do a few activities while in port.  

In the warmer months of the year, you might try doing some sort of activity in the morning hours, and then head to a beach for lunch and swimming.  Taxi service in Cozumel is so plentiful, that getting around is not only simple, it is also economical.

If you choose to go to the mainland, there are beaches and shopping in Playa del Carmen in close proximity to the ferry.

Where you dock

Photo by DunkelBierJay

There are two main docks in Cozumel, and Royal Caribbean ships will dock at the International Pier, which is located south of San Miguel and is about a 5 minute taxi ride away.

As you disembark your ship, you will walk through a shopping plaza that offers a variety of shops, bars and restaurants.  This is an enclosed area that was created exclusively for cruise ship guests.  The shops, restaurants and bars in the port area are open when ships are present in port and offer many souvenirs that can be found around the island. Your best bet is to save this area for when you return, as much of the shopping is similar to what you may find elsewhere in Cozumel, and prices tend to be higher than in San Miguel.

If you booked an excursion with Royal Caribbean, you will see a meeting area set up for tours past the dock, but before the shopping plaza. You will be escorted from this area to your shore excursions.

You can tour the port area as you see fit, or walk through it to get to the exit and gain access to other things to do in Cozumel.

Getting around Cozumel

As you exit the port area, you have a variety of options to consider for the day. A taxi stand is located at the exit of the port area, where you can take a taxi to anywhere in Cozumel.

Rates for the taxis are posted on a sign, with most rates being flat fees that depend on the destination.  Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive in Cozumel.  Even at the most remote areas of Cozumel, vendors are happy to summon a taxi for tourists when needed.  Most often, you can simply walk to the street and find a taxi passing by eventually.

A taxi ride to downtown San Miguel will cost about $8.  Once in San Miguel, it is an easy city to walk around without need of public transportation.

Popular things to do in Cozumel

Beaches

Perhaps no activity is more popular in Cozumel than going to the beach.  Activities such as swimming, snorkeling and especially scuba diving are very popular choices for activities in Cozumel.

There are many beaches in Cozumel to consider, with Royal Caribbean offering shore excursions to some and many more available to try on your own. If you want to swim, you want to stick to the west side of Cozumel. The eastern side of Cozumel is far too rough for swimming (and in general is quite rural and undeveloped).

A taxi can take you to any beaches on the island.  Here are a few of the more popular beach choices

Cozumel became a tourist destination in the 1960s when Jacques Cousteau highlighted the area as a great spot for scuba diving.  Ever since then, Cozumel has been a highlight for anyone looking to dive. If you are looking for scuba diving or snorkeling, try the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park.

Culture

Cozumel is rich in history and Mayan culture.  The island was once a central part of the Mayan Empire.

Mayan ruins dot the island and the mainland.  Visiting these Mayan ruins is a premier shore excursion for those looking to see the history of this island.  

You can visit any of the Mayan ruins by booking through Royal Caribbean or on your own via a third party. If you are looking to visit the Mayan ruins on the Mexican mainland, such as Chichtzen Itza or Tulum, we recommend to book the tour with Royal Caribbean directly because of the long commute times to these sites.

Speaking of shore excursions to the mainland, a high-speed ferry transports guests from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and it has a reputation of inducing sea sickness.  Be sure to take motion sickness medicine as a precaution. We recommend Bonine as a great once-a-day choice for preventing and/or treating sea sickness.

Our recommendations for Mayan ruins include:

Cozumel also features a number of resorts that combine Mexican culture and heritage with recreation.  These eco-parks are just as much about Mexico's vibrant fauna and flora as it is about enjoying some time in the ocean.  

In fact, many of these shore excursions allow guests

There are lots of other things to see and do in Cozumel that can give you a glimpse beyond tiki bars and margaritas, for a look at the real Cozumel. 

Shopping

A simple and robust choice is to go to downtown San Miguel to peruse the many shops in town.  Shopping in downtown Cozumel offers plenty of touristy gifts, along with some authentic Mexican goods.

For about $8 per taxi, you can reach downtown San Miguel in perhaps five minutes.  Once you arrive in San Miguel, there are a number of streets that intersect in a pseudo-grid layout. The main thoroughfare, Av. General Rafael E Melgar, runs along the ocean and is where a bulk of the shopping takes place.

There are many shops up and down each street, and you should explore the side streets extending away from the ocean.  In general, the touristy shops tend to be closer to the ocean.  As you walk into the city and away from the ocean, the shopping opportunities become more authentic and expand in variety considerably. Going three to four blocks away from the ocean is a great strategy for finding some lesser-frequented shopping choices.

Cozumel is known for jewelry, Mexican artisanal handicrafts, leather goods, and plenty of tourist souvenirs (T-shirts, towels, bags, etc). You can also find Mexican vanilla and tequila around the island. Royal Caribbean will confiscate any liquor you purchase in Cozumel, but return it to you on the last evening of the cruise.

While the Mexican Peso is the official currency of Mexico, all shop owners happily accept the U.S. Dollar.

Food and dining

There are lots of great dining choices all over Cozumel.  You will find familiar restaurant chains, alongside local restaurants that serve up more authentic Mexican cuisine.  

As you might imagine, Cozumel restaurants offer mostly Mexican cuisine although there is a heavy amount of Tex-Mex food that caters to the American visitor.

If you are looking for local cuisine, try some of these restaurants:

Bars and all-inclusive resorts

If you want to enjoy a few cocktails or cervezas, you will find no shortage of them in Cozumel.  In fact, as soon as you leave your ship you will run into many bars.

Many of the touristy bars in Cozumel have a party atmosphere and you may hear lots of stories about some of them.  Most of the bars located in close proximity to the ships cater exclusively to tourists who often are looking to consume a lot drinks.

Popular spots to get your drink on are

You will also find a variety of bars and restaurants in San Miguel.  In short, you will never have to go very far to get a margarita, beer or other frozen concoction while in Cozumel.  Moreover, the price of these drinks should be significantly cheaper than Royal Caribbean's onboard prices.

If you would prefer to lock in your drinking cost, there are a few all-inclusive resorts.

These resorts offer day passes, where guests can purchase passes and have access to everything the resort offers, including drinks, food and entertainment.

Swimming with Dolphins

Another very popular activity on Cozumel is swimming with Dolphins.  Excursions involving dolphins is a very popular Caribbean excursion, and Cozumel offers a few different choices.

A number of businesses offer the chance to swim with dolphins in an event many consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime.

If you have been to Cozumel, share with us in the comments what you enjoyed doing there!

Royal Caribbean offering instant savings bonus on cruises booked this weekend

In:
18Jan2018

Royal Caribbean is offering up to $100 instant savings on cruises booked this weekend, on top of its current WAVE Season offer.

Guests that book a Royal Caribbean cruise between January 18 - 21, 2018 on sailings departing on or after February 18, 2018 are eligible for the Seeker Sale offer (excluding China departures).

The Seeker Sale offer includes:

  • 30% off cruise fare for all guests’ in the stateroom.
  • Instant savings determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View on sailings 5 nights or less
    • $50 savings for Balconies and $75 savings for Suites on sailings 5 nights and less
    • $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View on sailings 6 nights and longer
    • $75 savings for Balconies  on sailings 6 nights or longer
    • $100 savings for Suites on sailings 6 nights or longer
  • Up to $100 onboard credit
    • 5 nights and less
      • $25 OBC for Interior and Ocean View
      • $50 OBC for Balconies
      •  $75 OBC for Suites on sailings
    • 6 nights or longer
      • $50 OBC for Interior and Ocean View
      • $75 OBC for Balconies
      • $100 OBC for Suites

30% off is combinable with NRDB (Summer Bonus) OBC, Free Gratuities, Kids Sail Free, Free Upgrades, promotional OBCs and instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Seeker Sale is combinable with NextCruise offers, NRDB OBC, and restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military) but is not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. 30% off bookings made for China departures are combinable with NextCruise offers and Crown and Anchor balcony/suites discounts only. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.

Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.

Royal Caribbean Fourth Quarter 2017 Earnings Call Scheduled

In:
18Jan2018

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on January 24, 2018 at 10am to discuss its fourth quarter 2017 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site,www.rclinvestor.com. To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas to begin sea trials

In:
17Jan2018

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is preparing for her first set sea trials.

The Saint-Nazaire Tourism Board announced the first sea trials for Symphony of the Seas is scheduled for Friday, January 19 at around 5 or 6pm.

Sea trials are subject to weather conditions, which can alter the schedule if the weather proves to be uncooperative for the testing.

Delivery of Symphony of the Seas to Royal Caribbean is scheduled to occur in March 2018.

The Casino on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
17Jan2018

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 233 is available for downloading, where Matt and Pippa discuss everything you need to know about Casino Royale on Royal Caribbean ships.

The casino on Royal Caribbean is an enticing hub of activity, where you can try your luck throughout the sailing. From slots to table games to tournaments, there are a variety of activities to consider.  To help discuss all of the options, Matt invited a former casino dealer on Royal Caribbean to talk about the casino experience.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 233. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS, Stitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Guide to Royal Caribbean 2018 new cruise ships and refurbishments

In:
16Jan2018

It looks like 2018 will be a pretty big year for Royal Caribbean with a lot of changes, but no change is bigger than the anticipated arrival of a new cruise ship and refurbishment of quite a few others.

Each year, Royal Caribbean plans on changes to its fleet of ships and if you are considering a 2018 cruise, then you are certainly going to want to consider some of these ships that are getting new upgrades or are joining the fleet for the first time.

Here is what you need to know about the cruise ships joining Royal Caribbean's fleet and which ships will be upgraded this year.

New cruise ships in 2018

There is just one new ship joining Royal Caribbean's fleet in 2018, but it is going to be a big deal (emphasis on "big").

Symphony of the Seas

It is quite likely that of all the new ships to debut in 2018 across the cruise industry, very likely you will hear quite a bit about Symphony of the Seas.

Symphony of the Seas is the fourth Oasis class ship in the fleet and will become the largest cruise ship in the world, with 16 guest decks, encompassing more than 230,000 gross registered tons and carry 5,500 guests at double occupancy across 2,759 staterooms.

Symphony of the Seas will feature many of the amazing features that made her sister ships famous, as well as offer own unique features.  

Symphony of the Seas will call home a brand new cruise terminal in PortMiami, designed specifically for this ship. The new terminal will not only look impressive, it will feature something the cruise line calls, "frictionless arrival".  When guests arrive to the port, they can use their mobile phone to check-in and board the ship with just a security checkpoint between the curb and the ship. A redesigned check-in experience will eliminate lines and bypasses the counter. The new process will leverage a combination of facial recognition, bar codes and beacons to make boarding fast and frictionless.

Once onboard the ship, there will be some new dining options to try, like fresh New England style seafood at Hooked Seafood restaurant, game day favorites at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, or authentic Mexican fare at El Loco Fresh.

Symphony of the Seas will be the first Oasis Class ship to offer laser tag at sea in Studio B. An epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience. State-of-the-art technology and special effects will transform Studio B into the ultimate laser tag arena as family, friends and foes battle over the fate of the last planet in the galaxy.

Symphony of the Seas will also offer signature entertainment onboard that has distinguished the cruise line from all others.  The hit Broadway musical "Hairspray" is coming back to Royal Caribbean on Symphony of the Seas.  "Flight" is a brand new show in the Royal Theater that takes you through the history and future of flight. HiRo in the Aqua Theater is a new show that combines cutting-edge technology, future-forward choreography, unexpected stunts and highly innovative, physically extraordinary acrobatics.

There is plenty more to love about Symphony of the Seas, including The Perfect Storm trio of water slides, dancing robot bartenders at Bionic Bar, virtual balcony staterooms, Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods, and Voom high speed internet, just to name a few.

Symphony of the Seas will debut in April 2018 and offer an initial European season prior to coming to Miami in November 2018.

Cruise ship refurbishments in 2018

Royal Caribbean is always looking to add more value to their ships and in 2018, four Royal Caribbean ships are getting upgrades, refurbishments and some nice changes.

Here is a list of what you can expect to see changed in the coming year.

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas is going into dry dock in about a week to get its propulsion fixed, which should rectify a problem that was first identified last summer.

The work being done is limited to fixing the propulsion, so while the ship is getting work done, there is nothing exciting to report on when the ship returns.  Of course, a fully operational propulsion system is always a good feature to have onboard.

Adventure of the Seas

Adventure of the Seas will undergo a 30-day refurbishment at the end of January to add new features and updates.

Royal Caribbean will add Izumi Japanese Cuisine, new inside and oceanview staterooms and a Suite Lounge to Adventure of the Seas as part of the work being done.

Majesty of the Seas

Adding to a busy January for ship work, Majesty of the Seas will also get some work done in January 2018. 

Royal Caribbean has not officially announced this refurbishment, but a number of sailings have been canceled to clear time for the work to be completed.

The work is to begin following the January 19, 2018 sailing and extend through all of February.  The first Majesty of the Seas sailing following the refurbishment will be March 5, 2018.

Royal Caribbean has not announced what work will be done.  There has been plenty of rumors floating about, but it is safe to bet the work will include some necessary maintenance, and perhaps adding of enhanced features.

Brilliance of the Seas

Brilliance of the Seas will undergo a dry dock for maintenance work in the second quarter of 2018.

There are no sailings scheduled between Friday April 20, 2018 and Tuesday, May 1, 2018. 

No word on what work will be done, but it is expected to be mostly a maintenance effort to keep the ship running in great condition.

Independence of the Seas

In April 2018, Royal Caribbean will send Independence of the Seas for an extensive refurbishment, where she will receive a number of upgrades and additions.

When Independence of the Seas returns to service, she will offer these new upgrades and features:

  • A larger interactive aqua park, Splashaway Bay, featuring wild waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and drench bucket
  • Addition of Izumi specialty restaurant (with table side Teppanyaki grills)
  • New lounges
  • Panoramic Ocean View staterooms to be added
  • Improved ice rink
  • Revamped Royal Theater
  • Trampoline Park
  • Escape room
  • Laser Tag

Mariner of the Seas

Mariner of the Seas will receive a massive majover this year that will see Royal Caribbean invest over $100 million in upgrades and changes.

The six-week drydock in Cadiz, Spain, will take place in May and June 2018. The updates will coincide with the June 2018 opening of the newly constructed dock at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean's private destination, which will play a major role in the Mariner's itineraries.

If you are wondering what work will be done on Mariner of the Seas, so are we.  Royal Caribbean has not announced yet the scope of changes coming to Mariner of the Seas. 

Vision of the Seas

Vision of the Seas is scheduled for a dry dock in the fourth quarter of 2018. There appears to be a gap in sailings between November 1 and November 13, 2018.

No word on what work will be done.

Which ship addition or refurbishment are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments!

Royal Caribbean creates interactive quiz to help travelers discover their adventure personality

In:
16Jan2018

Royal Caribbean has created a new first-of-its-kind quiz to help those that want to travel to discover more about who they are and what places around the world would most likely energize and excite them.

Through March 2018, visitors can go to MyAdventurePersonality.com to play with and see which adventures are best suited for them.

The 13-question quiz draws on various personality types, and specifically assesses a person's underlying motivations and interpersonal needs that most affect their travel preferences. Once complete, quiz-takers receive a unique description of who they are as a traveler, along with insight into destinations and activities that best suit them – from relaxing on a Caribbean beach to dogsledding across Alaska.

Travelers can share their results by tagging @RoyalCaribbean and #ComeSeek on Facebook and Twitter, and invite their friends and family to learn more about their own adventure personality.

Co-created with Myers-Briggs, the new tool serves to guide adventurers in planning more fulfilling vacations than ever before, and maximizing their value for spend as well as their precious time off.

"Royal Caribbean encourages everyone to act on their wanderlust. Now we've created a fun, engaging tool to help travelers do just that by digging into their adventure personality," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer, Royal Caribbean International. "It's exciting that Royal Caribbean is the first in the travel industry to partner with CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company. By combining our nearly 50 years of experience with the research expertise of Myers-Briggs, adventure seekers of all ages not only can better understand their adventure makeup but also their fellow explorers. It's also worth mentioning that there's roughly a zero percent chance of a wicked Nor'easter in the Caribbean Sea."

Video: Royal Caribbean Adventurist Shay Mitchell: Explores St. Thomas

In:
16Jan2018

Actress and avid traveler Shay Mitchell is Royal Caribbean's "Adventurist," the adventure adviser and storyteller for the world's most adventurous cruise line, Royal Caribbean International.

2018 Royal Caribbean Beverage Package Info, Tips, Pros & Cons

In:
15Jan2018

A Royal Caribbean beverage package offers the choice to enjoy an unlimited amount of drinks for a fixed daily price. This post offers tips for saving money with these drink packages and our reviews of the various plans.  

We will get to what each version of Royal Caribbean's Beverage Packages include and whether the Royal Caribbean Drink Package is worth the money below.  Our tips and opinions are based on our first-hand experiences with the drink packages, and the current versions for this year.  

Before we get to the dollars and cents, let us cover some basics.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, Royal Caribbean's drink packages are a fixed daily cost plan offered on all Royal Caribbean ships so guests can budget their beverage costs in advance and (potentially) save money.  The various plans provide guests with unlimited drinks that can be used at any bar or restaurant on Royal Caribbean ships (and private destinations).  The drink package benefits are available on the guest's SeaPass card or WOWband, which any waiter or bartender can verify they have the package.

Royal Caribbean guests wishing to purchase a drink package can do so either prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner web site or once onboard their ship. Once purchased, you must pay for the package for the duration of your cruise.  If purchased during your cruise, guests will pay for the remaining nights of their cruise.

Let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of the 2018 Royal Caribbean drink package…

The drink packages can be redeemed at pretty much any restaurant or bar on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship or private destination.  There are only two places a drink package cannot be used: room service and stateroom mini-bars.

A lot of information exists about Royal Caribbean drink packages, with most of the focus on whether or not the package makes financial sense.  In fact, our most popular articles concerning Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol packages include Are the unlimited drink packages worth it, Answers to common Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol package questions,  Should you buy the unlimited alcohol packages. Frequent users of Royal Caribbean's drink packages become pretty adept at getting more bang for their buck on the packages, but with some advance planning, first-time Royal Caribbean cruisers can also make the most of the packages.

From time to time, Royal Caribbean sometimes offers discounts to its guests on the drink package price. These discounts are offered selectively and can vary in terms of how much the discount is and for which sailings they are eligible.  Nearly all discounts we have seen are offered prior to the cruise on the Cruise Planner web site. These discounts have the potential to add to the potential value a guest can get from a drink package, but remember any discount does not necessarily make the value proposition a drink package offers a "slam dunk" deal.

Before even booking a drink package, you should determine roughly how many drinks per day you think you can and will drink over the course of your cruise.  For some folks, 5-6 drinks per day is easy, while others may think that is a lot every day of a cruise.

That is probably enough background on Royal Caribbean's drink packages.  You likely still have some more questions, and we will dig into them below and get them answered.  For a simple system, it can be surprisingly complex, do not feel bad if it takes some reading before you fully understand how the drink package works and whether it is a good for for your party.


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Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: January 14, 2018

In:
14Jan2018

Welcome to this week's round-up of all the Royal Caribbean news and happenings.  Hope you are staying warm and are ready to cozy up to some great Royal Caribbean fun.

Grandeur of the Seas had to go in for immediate repairs to fix an issue with her rudder earlier this week.

During a sailing, Royal Caribbean notified guests that Grandeur of the Seas was experiencing a technical issue which limits the operation of one of the two rudders used to steer the ship. As a result, the ship would be delayed in returning to Baltimore by two days.

The repairs took place on January 11, with the ship returning to Baltimore on January 13.  This caused the current sailing to be extended by two days and the next sailing to be shortened by two days.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 232nd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we talk about what to do if the price of your Royal Caribbean cruise drops.

Getting the best possible price for your cruise vacation is a goal every savvy traveler seeks, and on this week's episode, Annette and Matt talk about how to find price drops and what to do if the price does indeed change.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Orlando Sentinel listed five new cruise ships slated for Florida debuts in 2018.

Eat Sleep Cruise listed 10 signs you are addicted to Royal Caribbean.

Cruise Habit explained cruise line transfers that get you to and from your cruise.

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