Last September I went on a cruise that left a day late due to a hurricane. Since we lost a day and did not go to one of the ports we were givin half price off a future cruise witch I just used this may.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico Ã¢â‚¬â€ This easygoing resort town south of Cancun likes to party. So one day after Hurricane Emily hit the shores, whipping palm trees up from their roots, smashing windows and flooding the promenade, Playa Del Carmen already was getting itchy feet.
Hang ten: Surfers hit the water to take advantage of the waves produced by Hurricane Emily.
Scott Eslinger, Beaumont Enterprise via AP
"Today I will hit the surf Ã¢â‚¬â€ and drink some beer," says Bo Ward, 18, of Jacksboro, Texas.
Ward, who was vacationing with 13 friends when Emily hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 4 hurricane, spent Sunday night and most of Monday inland in a crowded school that was turned into a shelter. But they were back at their all-inclusive Grand Royal Real Hotel Ã¢â‚¬â€ in swimming trunks Ã¢â‚¬â€ by noon Tuesday. (Related story: South Texas readies for Emily)
"It was humid and boring in the shelter," Ward says. "Thank God the world has returned to normal."
With electricity back on, music wafted from loudspeakers onto the main tourist streets. Ice-cold beer was on sale. Restaurants were doing brisk business.
Down Fifth Street on the main promenade one block up from the ocean, store owners were busy sweeping up glass, pulling tape and boards off windows and sawing off broken tree branches.
About 30 miles north in Cancun, nearly all the large hotels were functioning normally. But farther south along the Riviera Maya coast, many smaller hotels remained closed Tuesday with computer systems down and no running water.
Emily hit Deseo, the legendary hip hotel here, particularly hard. Lounge chairs on the sundeck were ripped to shreds. The patio was flooded. Winds created havoc throughout the rooms.
Nonetheless, says Andres Vazques, a front-desk clerk, the hotel's manager expected to reopen next week.
Laura Triay, the manager of Best Day Travel on the Riviera Maya, says about 10% of the company's reservations for the rest of the month had been canceled because of the hurricane. Best Day, one of the region's largest tour companies, owns three all-inclusive hotels here and two in Cancun. It also runs more than 30 excursions throughout the Yucatan for approximately 15,000 tourists a month.
Tourists arriving Tuesday and today would have their itineraries changed to avoid the main archaeological sites at Tulum and Xcaret, which were closed, Triay says. Instead, they were being taken shopping in Cancun.
Everything would be "back to normal" by the weekend, she says.
Jose Angel Ramirez, a representative of the town's tourist police, says that all the ruins were closed for cleaning and repairs but that no damage to the pyramids was reported. They were all expected to reopen "within a few days."
Cancellation policies vary. Best Day's Triay says that in most cases, her company would accommodate requests for postponements or alternate travel plans.
Other tour operators and hotels were less flexible. Mosquito Blue, a top-end hotel, had no running water or air conditioning on Tuesday, but Maria Noel Maldonado, the front-desk manager, says anyone with a reservation who didn't show up starting Tuesday would be charged for the room.
"That's our policy," she says. Guests who stayed through the storm were charged the full rate. "Now, everything is fine," she says. "The danger is over, so there is no reason to cancel anything."
Flights were on schedule at the Cancun airport. Buses also were running on time. Cruise lines expected to resume their normal schedules this week. Even the ferries to Cozumel, a small island south of Cancun where Emily hit hardest, were launching every hour. Cozumel still lacked electricity, but the beaches, says Isaac Hernandez Dominguez, who was selling ferry passes, "were just as lovely as ever."
Harman is the Latin American bureau chief for USA TODAY and The Christian Science Monitor. Contributing: Jayne Clark. Ã¢â‚¬Â¢Emily gathers strength, 2A