For Cozumel I highly recommend the " Fury Catamaran Sail and Snorkel"..to this day one of our all time favorite excursions...Happy research....=welcome to cruise @ddicts..."nice to meet you"..come join on the Main community forum too..and Hope you get lot's of info...:wave..Joanne
We will be taking that cruise the week before you. We'll wave to you as we disembark (ha,ha). I booked all our excursions privately. We are horseback riding with Banana Bank, Chacchoben Ruins with David/Ivan, snorkeling and shopping on our own, and the Dolphin swim. I'm not sure how much info. I can give out on these boards, so if you want more info. let me know thru email or something.
I took the same trip last year with my wife and two sons. We used Eagle Ray divers in Couzmel had a great time. The boys took a resort scuba course and the wife and I snorkled. The company is owned by a woman named Chellie who is an american who married a Mexican man then moved to Mexico. I am sure that there is no better time to be had, There was four of us, with three staff members from Eagle ray. Check them out at eagleraydivers.com.
While at Grand Cayman we took a tour to string ray city. We used a company Captain Bryans we were on a 50 foot sail boat that only had 20 people on it. You really can appreciate this when you find out that those other boats were charters from the cruise line and charged about 20.00 more than we paid. You have to walk about two blocks to the office of Capt Bryans then they will transport you to the boat after the trip they will drop you off at the cruise ship tender dock. The real value to this company is when string ray city is crowded with the "cruise Charters" the capt of your boat will take you snorkling and wait for the crowds to disapear that way you have the "city" to really enjoy.
This is not a comerical but just some great info that made our trip a great one. Also if you are thinking of eating at Sabatinis do not even think twice about it is a great meal. If you do go there and eat try and request for Ken to be your waiter.(if he is still there). This guy was great very funny and put on a great meal. My sons 16 and 20 still are talking about that meal and how much fun it was.
Email me if want to we had a great time and would happy to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you everyone for the information ! We are new to cruising and I was trying to figure out if it is best to book excursions through the cruise lines, private companies or just head out on your own.
If this is your first cruise, there are several advantages to booking through the cruise line (price is not one of them). Since you are already doing something new, using an option that is easier on you might be a good idea. As you become more and more comfortable with cruising, you then might start looking at booking some excursions yourself. Another advantage is that if a ship sponsored tour is late, the ship will wait for you. If a non-ship sponsored tour is late, and the ship leaves without you, you are on your own.
You said that "ruins" were appealing to you. In Cozumel, consider taking an excursion to Taluum. It is the site of an ancient Mayan walled city, located on the Yucatan mainland across from the Island of Cozumel. Your ship will no doubt have an excursion. It is an intriguing look at an amazing culture. How these large stone structures were built aligned with the sun, moon, and stars by a "primitive" culture 1,000 years ago amazes me. The only draw back to the excursion is taht it will take most of your day, since it involves a two ferry rides to / from the island, and about an hour bus ride to get to Taluum. It isn't something I would want to do on every trip, but it is something well worth doing once.
By the way, I also think that first time cruisers are best to stick to ship-sponsored excursions. They will typically cost about 10-15% more than those you can arrange on your own, but you are assured that they have been carefully screened and are safe. You are also guaranteed not to be left by the ship if one of their excursions gets delayed and is late. When you become more familiar with cruising and the islands themselves, you can "graduate" to arranging your own. For now, follow Cruzier's advice.