Remember that this is written in the point of view of an American cruiser.
We’re already in Cozumel
We were woken up at 8:00 am with the Cruise Director, Gene Young, announcing that the gangway was open and we could leave for Cozumel at any time from deck four. Getting up, we got dressed, and headed to the Marketplace Buffet for some breakfast. We really didn’t have a lot of plans for the day, we’ve been to Cozumel too many times, and after my stink from the Bearded Firework last time, we didn’t want to get in the water.
The breakfast buffet is nothing special. They have an omelet station that usually has a long line, but they have sunny side up and over easy eggs that are pre-made. I’m not really very fond of them, they look like they’ve been sitting there a while. The bacon is really good though, plus they have sausage. They only have white toast, not whole wheat, but they do have a large variety of breads and pastries, plus some cereals like fruit loops and granola, but no Raisin Bran. There is also yogurt with some toppings, and also some cold baked apples and prunes, which are good. There’s enough to eat that you won’t starve.
Going into Cozumel
After breakfast we went back to the cabin to put on sunscreen and fill our water bottles with ice, water, and electrolyte flavor packets that we brought with us. MSC will not allow you to bring canned or bottled soda onto the ship, so the flavor packets are the next best thing. We were actually docked right in downtown San Miguel, this was the first time we’d docked here. It’s a very convenient dock, right by everything that we normally have to pay a taxi to bring us to. It was an easy walk down the dock, through the port area, and right into town. Listen to the Cruise Director and do not bring any sort of food off of the ship. They have a food sniffing dog in the port area as you pass through, and he will find it. We saw lots of food that had been confiscated.
Now, Cozumel is not my favorite port. Our original itinerary was Ocean Cay, MSC’s new private island instead, not Cozumel. We did not find out until we were already on the ship that Cozumel had been substituted. A $50 onboard credit was given to us on the ship, but it was still a disappointment. We would have rather had Ocho Rios, Jamaica as a substitute. I don’t book ships to Cozumel anymore.
And one of the reasons why, besides the Bearded Firework sting, is that when you walk down the streets of Cozumel, EVERY SINGLE shopkeeper will try to lure you into his business with a promise of something free. I hate that. Once I went in and took the free charm and walked back out, and got a scolding from the shopkeeper. Just practice shaking your head no right now, because you’ll be doing it plenty. It does get annoying pretty quickly.
We walked through a few shops. It was very hot and humid, but there was a breeze so it was bearable. I bought a few small souvenirs. We found a Mega Store and went in. Upstairs there is a huge shopping area like a Super Walmart. You can’t take your bags in, you have to check them. Everything is listed in Pesos though, so we didn’t stay. Later on our waiter told us that he had shopped there, and they did take American dollars, so if you want to shop there, take a converter. It looked like they may have had some interesting items, and the waiter said they were cheap. Also, along the route to the Mega Store, there is a small straw market. We stopped, but if the prices are not marked, I won’t shop. One of the funny things we saw was a carriage driver holding a bucket under his horse while it did its business. Guess that’s how the streets stay clean. Never thought about it before.
And an outdoor mall
Right across from the cruise port there is a small outdoor mall area with a number of souvenir stores. Salespeople weren’t quite as pushy there. The prices may have been a bit more, but I’d pay more just to shop in peace. And while we were there, the heavens opened up, and it started raining hard. Thankfully, we were under a roof, and could continue shopping.
Back to the ship
Once the rain let up we decided that we’d better head back to the ship. We showed our passport and ship card to the agent, and headed back down the long dock towards the ship. It was actually much cooler after the rain, and felt very pleasant. This is also a good place to take pictures of the ship. MSC provided wet towels for the face and fruit water outside the ship for returning guests, which is nice.
And then it was lunchtime. We headed to our favorite outside table area. I ended up with a hotdog and fries again. They really are good, but I wish that they had more toppings. They have ketchup, mustard, and relish. I’d love to see some chopped onions, at least. For dessert I had a little tin of chocolate mousse, which was also very good.
Exploring the ship some more
I discovered the children’s area and game area for the first time after lunch. I never saw this area crowded the entire cruise. Mostly it was empty. Maybe it got busy at night. Then I decided that I needed to go to the gym. It’s not a large gym for a ship this size. Actually, it’s pretty small. Since this was a port day, it wasn’t crowded, and I went in.
They have several elliptical machines and treadmills. The treadmills have a screen to make you feel like you’re walking on a beach or another local. The gym doesn’t look out on the water, but on the pool deck. There were also free weights and about 7 weight machines.
Then it was time to shower and get ready for dinner. One think that I have noticed abou the shower is that there is a sewer smell coming out of it when you open the shower door. Once the water is going down the drain, it gets better for a while. Just keep the shower door closed and it’s okay.
We had been trying to decide on whether or not to try and change our table to a different waiter, but I liked our waiter even though he was slow, so we decided to try him one more time. We got to our table right at our 5:15 pm dining time, there was no wait at the door this time. The same waiter was there, but this time he was friendly and prompt, and did a much better job. We were glad that we decided to come back.
Two different couples were at the table, and it was a less awkward meal. I had lambchops, which were good, and he had a seafood soup, which he liked. Dessert was cut up fruit with ice cream and mint. It wasn’t bad. So dinner was saved, we didn’t have to change tables. I really do like the waiter, he’s very friendly.
Since dinner was quicker and we got out early, we decided to change our show reservations to the earlier show at 6:45 pm. The show this night was called Pax, and was about Pablo Picasso and Flamenco dancing. We really didn’t enjoy it much, the performers were good but the shoes tapping on the stage with no music were annoying. Another thing aimed at the European audience, but not our cup of tea.
Time for decaf and dessert and relaxation
After the show, we sat on the back deck of the buffet and got some decaf coffee and dessert. The desserts in the Marketplace Buffet are very small, but most are very good. And this way you can sample different desserts without having too much. And if you don’t like it, you’re not wasting much.
Changing our clocks back?
And then it was time to go to the cabin and relax a bit. We were actually told to change our clocks back an hour before bedtime. We’ve never had to do that on a ship before. They always stay on the home port’s time. So, this was a bit confusing to us. But, we got an extra hour of sleep before our big day tomorrow in Belize. We’re going to take an excursion to the Xunantunich Mayan ruins that includes lunch in Belize. We’ve done this excursion before on Royal Caribbean, and we loved it. We’re going to need an early start since we have to tender in Belize. I can’t wait!