Paradise Beach Cozumel 2019 shore excursion review

In:
18Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

If your cruise ship is visiting Cozumel, Mexico, then you will very likely be in the market for somewhere to cool off and enjoy the beautiful waters that Cozumel is famous for. Picking the right beach for your family is more a decision of what you want to do, rather than a scientific examination of which beach is superior.

For many years, Paradise Beach has been a popular choice for cruise ship visitors who want an inexpensive, yet uncompromising beach day in Cozumel.  We decided to head back to Paradise Beach for that exact reason and see if the value proposition remains a compelling choice.

Description

Paradise Beach offers a simple approach, where each guest pays $3 admission and then everything else available is priced a la carte. Unlike many of the other popular beaches in Cozumel, Paradise Beach relies on offering a low-cost of entry to entice guests in.

The drive to Paradise Beach is fairly quick, about 10 minutes from where Royal Caribbean docks in Cozumel via taxi. The cost of our taxi ride was $30 for the six of us.

Upon entry, you have the choice to sit near the pool or beach.  You can move freely between the two areas, but it is up to you where you want your family's "home base" to be located.

A vast majority of the seating is located near the beach, as most guests seem to gravitate towards a beach day.  There is seating with or without shade, and the staff is quite accommodating as to where exactly you would like to sit.

The beach is quite nice and clean, although the left side of the beach has far more rocks than the right side.  If you are interested in snorkeling, the left side is your choice.

Paradise Beach also offers an aqua park add-on option. Like many other beaches, you can buy full day access to the aqua park and enjoy the various inflatables.  Unlike neighboring Mr. Sanchos, I did like that the inflatables seemed to be significantly closer to shore.

If the pool is more your fancy, Paradise Beach offers a rather enormous pool to enjoy.  They advertise it as the largest heated pool in Cozumel.  

Unlike the beach, there is not nearly as much seating with shade by the pool.  If you are okay with a bit of sun, there are some seats underneath trees that should provide partial protection.

The pool is not very deep, and there are shallower areas that were probably designed for lounging, but younger kids will find it a good spot for them.

Spending the day at Paradise Beach, you are likely to want to enjoy some food and drink while visiting.  As mentioned earlier, the food and drink is priced a la carte.  There is a new all-inclusive option available, but compared to other all-inclusive options in Cozumel, I did not think it was a terrific value.

Chips & Guacamole, along with Bloody Mary

Chips and Salsa

Mexican Breakfast

Veggie and fish tacos

Chicken and beef tacos

You will be assigned a waiter for your stay at Paradise Beach, and your waiter can bring you any food or drink you need.  Placing the order is done via the waiter's tablet device and then a few minutes later another waiter will bring your order. 

There is a good mix of Mexican food, along with American favorites. Picky eaters should find plenty to enjoy, while there are still some good Mexican choices available too.  

Comments

Paradise Beach remains a great beach option for those that fall into one of two categories: you only want to spend part of the day at the beach/pool and/or you are not interested in an all-inclusive experience.

The beach is well-maintained, offers ample seating with plenty of shade (or no shade) and the aqua park option should keep most families busy with things to do. 

Their pool is massive and quite lovely.  The fact it is heated stands out as a very nice option, as some of the pools we have been to around Cozumel are downright frigid.  

We found the food to be pretty good, and on par for what you can find at most beach resorts on the island. The taco truck stand and mojito cart are particularly good choices if you want something a little better.

The biggest issue with Paradise Beach is if you happen to be there on a day when there are a lot of ships in port.  Paradise Beach is one of the best-known spots in Cozumel, so it is no secret of what it offers. As a result, it has the potential to get crowded.  On the day we visited, there were only three ships in port and Paradise Beach was doing pretty well with folks enjoying the experience.

If you want a beach/pool day and you are looking to really indulge with food or drink, you would be better off at El Cozumeleno or Nachi Cocom.  But if drinking your weight in tequila, or eating a ton is not in the plans, than Paradise Beach is a very compelling choice.  It is the perfect add-on if you perhaps want to go downtown first to shop and then cool off with some beach time.

How to book: No reservations required or available. Just show up. Website

Royal Caribbean adds Navigator of the Seas to new app

In:
15Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Navigator of the Seas.

Navigator now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Friday Photos - February 15, 2019

In:
15Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Friday! We are celebrating the start of the weekend with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos.

First up is a photo by Bob (aka Sailor_to_Cruiser) of Empress of the Seas next to Oasis of the Seas in Cozumel.

If you enjoyed the previous photo, here's the exact same set up but from a different vantage point! Matt Banville shared this photo of Empress and Oasis in Cozumel.

Next up is a photo of Labadee, as seen from deck 11 on Freedom of the Seas by Melissa.

Kinny Lee took this photo of a full moon while sailing on Allure of the Seas.

Next up is a shot of the Loft Suite on Allure of the Seas. Photo by twangster.

Gina took this photo of Vision of the Seas in Cozumel.

We wrap up with this beautiful photo of Grandeur of the Seas off the coast of CocoCay by Michael Kho.

Thank you to everyone for sharing photos.  You can submit your own questions by using this handy dandy form.

President's Day Weekend Sale offers bonus instant savings

In:
14Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's President's Day Weekend Sale is offering guests up to $200 instant savings on cruises booked, in addition to 60% off second guest and kids sail free offers.

The President's Day Weekend Sale is valid on sailings booked between February 14 - 18, 2019 on sailings departing on or after March 14, 2019.

It includes:

  • 60% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest, and 30% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guest.
  • Up to $100 onboard credit per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $25 for Balconies and $50 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites
  • Presidents’ Day Weekend Sale offers up to $200 instant savings per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $200 for Suites
  • Kids Sail Free
    • Provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Cuba, Europe and Hawaii sailings departing between March 1 – December 15, 2019.
    • Offer excludes Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 16 – 30, 2019), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 13 – 22, 2019) Summer sailings (Sailings between May 15 – August 31, 2019) and 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019).

Offer open to residents of US, Canada, Puerto Rico and select countries in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean working on plans for port in Freeport, Grand Bahama

In:
14Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

It looks like Royal Caribbean is exploring the possibility of developing a cruise port in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Photo by DandA

Tribune Business quoted Bahamas Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, who indicated Royal Caribbean in partnership with Mexican port developer, ITM Group, is looking to acquire the Grand Lucayan and develop a proposed water-based, adventure-type theme park at both the resort and Freeport Harbour.

It looks like ITM Group and Royal Caribbean are looking to develop a new port in Freeport that can handle four new cruise ship berths in Freeport Harbour, which would double the port's current capacity.  The proposal has generated some concerns that the new port would come at the expense of cruise ship visits to Nassau.

D’Aguilar dismissed these concerns by stating, “Nassau will always stand on its own.”

Tribune Business quoted D’Aguilar, “I disagree with the view that, because Royal Caribbean and Carnival are building ports in Freeport, that will have a negative impact on Nassau. There are 90 ships in construction, and demand is growing significantly for cruise vacations."

Navigator of the Seas first sailing canceled due to upgrade delays

In:
13Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today it has canceled the first sailing of Navigator of the Seas following a multi-million dollar upgrade, due to construction delays.

In a statement to RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com, Royal Caribbean confirmed it has canceled the Sunday, February 24 sailing of Navigator of the Seas, which would have been the first sailing back for the ship. Royal Caribbean said the reason for the cancellation was due to, "poor weather conditions have affected the progress of the ship’s outer decks."

"Although it is important to complete the ship on time, it is most important to ensure that we deliver 100 percent on our promise to provide the memorable experiences our guests enjoy with Royal Caribbean."

"Any decision that disrupts our guests’ vacations is a difficult one to make, and we realize this is disappointing news. We are providing our guests with compensation for their cruise fare, prepaid onboard amenities and airline cancellation fees. "

Guests with reservations on the February 24 sailing will receive future cruise credit as well.

The new plan is for Navigator of the Seas to return to service on the previously scheduled 9-night Southern Caribbean cruise departing from Miami, FL on Friday, March 1.

Navigator of the Seas is currently receiving its major modernization in Freeport, The Bahamas, which will add new water slides, dining options and revamp its pool deck.

Video: Symphony of the Seas secrets

In:
12Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Hey, friends! We’re back with another RoyalCaribbeanBlog Video to kick off the week, and we are sharing our favorite hidden secrets about Symphony of the Seas!

Symphony of the Seas is incredible, and we scoured the ship to find (and now share) little known secrets… from spots to underwater speakers to unique entertainment, and SO much more. 

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

If you have cruised on Symphony of the Seas, what is your favorite secret about the ship? Share your ideas in our comments!

Fun facts about Symphony of the Seas

In:
11Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas offers guests quite a bit to see and do onboard, and the ship itself is a marvel, when you consider just how large it is and how much work and coordination is required to make it run flawlessly. Here are some fun facts about Symphony of the Seas that put into perspective the sheer scale of everything on this ship.

Fast Facts

  • At 1,188 feet long, Symphony is twice as high as the Washington Monument
  • Weighs 228,081 gross registered tons (GRT), which is more than 17,000 African elephants
  • Symphony is made up of 500,000 individual parts
  • 5,518 guests (double occupancy) and 2,200 crew representing more than 70 different nationalities
  • 18 total decks (16 guest decks)
  • 2,759 staterooms, including 188 suites and 28 more balconies than the next largest ship in the fleet (Harmony of the Seas)
  • Approximately 5,200 restaurant seats across 23 dining venues
  • 7 distinct neighborhoods: Boardwalk, Central Park, Entertainment Place, Pool and Sports Zone, Youth Zone, Royal Promenade, Vitality Spa and Fitness Center
  • Symphony’s Central Park has more than 20,700 lush tropical plants
  • 25 pools, whirlpools, FlowRider surf simulators and waterslides are on board

Food

  • 12 specialty restaurants with more than 350 different dishes served daily, including more than 40 created specifically with kids in mind
  • More than 200 candies at Sugar Beach sweets and ice cream shop on the reimagined Boardwalk
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade lets guests cheer on their home team at sea across any one of 31 big-screen TVs and play out their competitive spirit at the arcade
  • The Bionic Bar can serve up to 1,000 drinks per day with 21 mixers and 30 spirits from 2 robot bartenders
  • 42 bars and lounges where bartenders can mix and mingle 124 specialty cocktails, including 195 spirits
  • There are more than 120 different kinds of fruit and vegetables served weekly
  • On a typical 7-night cruise, an average of 32,000 lbs. of tortillas 15,000 lbs. of beef, 9,700 lbs. of chicken, 5,000 dozen fresh eggs, 100 gallons of ice cream, 2,100 lbs. of lobster tail and 2,500 lbs. of fresh salmon are used on board
  • 1,500 lbs. of coffee are made weekly – that’s 6 million coffee beans
  • There are 1,085 culinary staff of 51 different nationalities

Activities & Things To Do

  • The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, is a duo of racing slides where adventure-seekers spiral down a 92-foot drop in about 13 seconds
  • The slide is 10 stories high, towering 150 feet above sea level (45.7 meters)
  • About 300 LED lights shine overhead in the slide, adding to the thrill factor
  • The zipline crosses the open-air Boardwalk neighborhood at nine decks high
  • 2 signature rock-climbing walls flank the AquaTheater, standing at 43 feet tall (13.1 meters)

Art

  • The signature, high-tech Royal Theater seats more than 1,400 guests
  • New, original production “Flight: Dare to Dream” includes an impressive replica of the historic Wright Brothers plane with a 22-foot wingspan and the first replica of the International Space Station used on stage
  • The AquaTheater has a secret level, deck 4.5, where performers and divers access the depths of the theater; those same high-diving acrobats use two 10-meter, Olympic-height diving boards
  • More than 13,347 pieces of artwork on board, including Paradox Void, a 3-ton steel sculpture with 2,100 mirrors and 200 LED lights that interact with its surroundings, and Big Wonder, a color-changing art installation that spans 2,594 square feet in the adults-only Solarium

Ultimate Family Suite

  • 1 Ultimate Family Suite (room 1733) spanning two decks at 1,346 square feet
  • The suite accommodates up to eight guests across two bedrooms and living room
  • A Royal Genie, the ultimate insider to surprise and delight guests during their cruise vacation
  • An in-suite slide, where even the biggest of kids can slide from the top floor
  • Private cinema room with a 85-inch 4K Ultra HD TV with movie streaming, a popcorn machine and the latest gaming consoles – Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch, PS4 Pro
  • Complete with air hockey table, a building block wall, table tennis on the balcony, and Luckey Climber kid’s vertical maze

Explorer of the Seas makes maiden call to Newcastle, Australia

In:
11Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas made its maiden call to Port of Newcastle on Sunday, February 10.

Explorer of the Seas is the third largest cruise ship based in Australia. It’s estimated the megaliner’s visit injected more than $600,000 in a single day into the Newcastle, Hunter and Port Stephens regional economies in passenger spend alone.

Royal Caribbean’s managing director Susan Bonner said that Explorer of the Seas’ call is one of four to the Port of Newcastle for the 2018/19 cruise season by Royal Caribbean International and sister brands.

“Newcastle’s vibrant city centre coupled with easy access to world class beaches, coastal countryside and rolling vineyards makes it an incredibly popular port of call amongst both our Australian and international guests. We receive consistently positive feedback from our guests about their time in Newcastle, particularly for friendliness of locals,” said Ms Bonner.

“We’re delighted to be bringing Explorer of the Seas to Newcastle twice this season, returning on Saturday 16 February. Our sister company Celebrity Cruises has called at Newcastle twice already this summer, and looking ahead to next season, we can’t wait to bring our guests here on four occasions”.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: February 10, 2019

In:
10Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy weekend! We hope you are having a wonderful weekend, now it’s time to kick back, relax, and catch up on another week of Royal Caribbean news!

The big news this week came from Royal Caribbean UK in their search for someone to get paid the equivalent of a six-figure salary to travel the world as a ‘global experience hunter’.

Royal Caribbean International opened applications for its first ever Shore Explorer ‘Apprentice-Ship’.  Candidates can apply via Instagram for the opportunity to seek out and test extraordinary shore experiences around the world.

Their only daily task will be capturing their experiences on Instagram, Insta-Stories and IGTV.  Hopeful applicants must be 21 years or over, hold a valid passport and be able to travel this year and be a resident of the United Kingdom or Ireland.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 288th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, Matt shares the best reasons to cruise on a "smaller" Royal Caribbean ship.

This week's episode is all about the cool thing that you can only do on a smaller Royal Caribbean ship.

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

Cruise Habit answered the important question of how much a beer costs on every cruise line.

Reader's Digest listed 12 cruise misconceptions that need to end.

CruiseHive shared 20 ways to experience Havana, Cuba on a cruise.

Quartz wrote about how Royal Caribbean is betting big on Chinese cruisers (and not just in China)

CIO Dive reported on Royal Caribbean's costly digital transformation effort.

Cruise Miss listed her top four things to do on a Caribbean cruise.

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