Thursday, January 5, 2017

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Valor- Cozumel

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Valor

Chalk it up to Chankanaab
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This was an unexpected surprise along the Cozumel coast full of dolphins, sea lions and more dolphins. Plus this national park was loaded with gorgeous beaches and water and tons of history! We had a day full of fun in the sun! 

The Carnival Valor was supposed to be in the port of Cozumel from 8AM-4PM but as I woke up at 7:15AM and looked out the window, we were already pulling into the pier. We did not have a formal excursion to Chankanaab but we did not want to waste too much time getting ready or getting off the ship to maximize our time in Cozumel. 

Our morning view... We are very close to Cozumel! 

I woke the kids up and we all got ready to go get breakfast. We ate our breakfast while the 1st group of passengers got off the ship. We made our way down to the gangway to get off the ship by 8:45AM. As we got off we observed the water and the other ships in port before making our way to the back of the pier and "mall" area to get to the taxi stand. The locals were ready for us and the hoards of cruisers coming to Cozumel island and we got in a taxi to go to Chankanaab very quickly. This taxi ride was $12 for 4 people and we shared a large van with another group. 

Natalie and the Carnival mermaid!

At the Royal pier was Allure of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas!

The kids LOVE Cozumel!

Traditional Life-preserver photo!

Luke LOVES maps so Chris was explaining where we were and where we came from!

We got to Chankanaab and purchased the basic entry fee for $21/ adults and $14/ kids. This allowed all 4 of us to get into Chankanaab for only $70. This included the sea lion show, the entry to the pools and beach area, entry to the Mayan Ruins area (not real ruins but still very interesting) as well as entrance to the dolphin park. If you wanted to swim with the dolphins it was an additional cost but we just wanted to check out the park in preparation for our July and September cruises. Tip- If you ARE wanting to swim with the dolphins, be sure to get an earlier time as this place filled up crazy FAST! 

The Dolphin Discovery Cozumel people were BIG Star Wars fans!
They had a dolphin named Luke!
We later learned this dolphin has since passed!

Hello from Dolphin Discovery Cozumel inside Chankanaab! 

After we got into the park we wandered around a little and explored the dolphin park before going to the early sea lion show. This was very neat as the trainers told us all about the sea lions and had these amazing creatures perform all kinds of tricks. We liked the dancing of the sea lions but LOVED the singing of the sea lions. This venue was very well laid out and we were able to enjoy this show from the shade! At the end of the show we were able to get a kiss from the sea lion as well! 

This sea lion really liked to dance!

Kisses from the Sea Lions- Natalie was in heaven!

After the sea lion show we waited in line for the "Dolphin Experience", which turned out to be more of a tour of the dolphin pools. Tip- They do NOT allow cameras of any kind in this area and they are pretty strict about it. I tried to take a picture of the ships back at the pier and nowhere near the dolphins and a Mexican authority came and told me to put it up! This was a really neat tour as we were able to see nearly 30 dolphins of various sizes, including a mom dolphin with her baby and even walruses. If your time allows, I would not miss this "dolphin experience" tour. It is offered at 1PM and 3:30PM local time! 

The pier was just miles away from Chankanaab!

The dolphin experience area at Chankanaab!

At this point it was after noon and Luke was hungry so we made our way back to the main giftshop and got him and Natalie some chips. Then we ventured into the Mayan area to travel a maze-like path through the history of this Mexican culture. It was really neat and full of statues and other historical things plus a crocodile exhibit towards the end. After wandering along the paths for nearly a hour we made or way to the beach area.

More maps inside the Mayan area!

Haha... I am sure they LOVE kids climbing on these 100 year old historical steps!

These crocodiles were DRY! 

Overlooking the fish pond area! 

Chankanaab even offers a SPA on the beach! 

Cozumel is known for it's gorgeous waters and these beach areas did not disappoint, plus the sand was sugar thin. This area did NOT have a walk-in beach area but rocks and cliffs instead. This was not appealing to the kids so we made our way back to the pool area. This pool had 2-4 different depths, a swim-up bar and even some splash areas. The kids LOVED it and so did Chris and I. We played in the pool for quite some time before going to the very small "lagoon" area that DID have a walk-in beach area. However, it was a VERY rocky entrance and both Luke and I fell a few times.

The snorkel and beach area. Lots of shaded areas (which we learned fills up FAST)!

The snorkel and swim area! 

We really enjoyed looking at the many crabs on the rocks! 

Natalie found another hammock! 

Time for the pool! 

This pool was PERFECT for families with kids of all ages! 

Luke LOVED playing baseball with this spout- those behind him with the drinks... NOT SO MUCH! 

They even have a STARBUCKS on hand! I was impressed!

At this point it was mid-afternoon and we were all tired and hungry so we went back to the changing rooms to get back into our regular clothes. Tip- The snacks at the gift-shop were CRAZY overpriced and I would recommend bringing your own if possible! These were $4+ for a small tin of Pringles. As we were walking back to the changing room I saw a pair of Crocs that looked like Luke's so I looked in my bag and sure enough they were not there. THEY WERE LUKE'S... thank you to the stranger who placed them outside the and room and not in the trash!

As we closed out our day a worker came and offered an incredible deal to get into the water with the dolphins. This was a package that offered 5 different activities with the dolphins, like kissing, pictures and etc for only $40 per person and only lasted 15 minutes. Natalie really wanted to do it but they could not guarantee we would be done by 2PM ship time (3PM local time) so we decided not to. Next time we go, I will ask for this package at the beginning of the day! We think they called it the "Impressions" package! 

We meandered around the park a little while longer before making our way to the exit to get a taxi back to the pier. We did not wait long for a taxi but the ride back to the Puerta Maya pier took over 30 minutes. Tip- If you take a taxi anywhere on the island know that about 2 hours before sail-away the roads are VERY congested, especially if there are several OR LARGE ships in port! Plan the ending to your day/ excursion accordingly! There were 7 ships in port including the Allure of the Seas (The 2nd largest ship in the world) which alone carries over 6K passengers. We shopped a little while in the Puerta Maya pier area before getting back on the boat around 2:15PM.

Natalie's perfect Christmas tree based off dolphins! 

Merry Christmas from Chankanaab! 

Back at the pier! 

This is always a sad day... time to sail HOME! 

The Carnival Victory arrived around 11AM. 

At this point we were ALL starving so we went to the Lido areas for all of our favorites. On previous cruises that offered Guy's and Blue Iguana, the times during port days were VERY limited. But on this sailing both options were opened extended hours, or what it seemed! I enjoyed and appreciated this!  Be sure to check your sailing's FunTimes for specific opening times! 

What happened next none of us were surprised by... THE POOL! This is where we stayed from 2:45PM to 5:15PM. The kids opted to not ride down slide on this day but rather went in and out of the pool and hot tubs! By the end of this time they were tired and pruny! We did get to watch sail-away from the Lido deck and see the NCL ships docked at the International Pier in Downtown Cozumel too!

The NCL Dawn leaving the International Pier.

The NCL Epic at the Internation Pier in downtown Cozumel. 

Downtown Cozumel! 

The Allure of the Seas!

The Carnival Victory and the Aida Luna at the Puerta Maya Pier! 

Chankanaab is the small white buildings pictured!
You can see it from the ship! 

Brother and sisterly love in the hot tub!

This is what the whole hot tub looked like... NO THANK YOU! 
I have never seen them this crazy! 

Time to dry off silly girl! 

We watched the sunset and then headed to the room to get dressed. Originally the kids requested to eat with the Kids Club but they changed their minds and wanted to eat with us. This was the 2nd formal night so Chris and I were hesitant but surprisingly we all got ready for FORMAL night within 40 minutes and enjoyed a GREAT meal together in the Main Dining Room. The kids did tremendously well with the wait for food and they both ate all of their food. At the end of the meal we enjoyed the Carnival waiters singing and dancing for us and we had one of our best meal times of our recent Carnival cruise experience.

One of the best sunsets in a LONG time! 

He LOVED the spaghetti each night! 


They loved waving their napkins around! 

Diana... our waitress was dancing on the tables! 

Formal night FUN! 

After dinner we went back to the room to change out of our formal clothes before going to the nightly show in the Ivanhoe theater. This was a family friend hypnosis show that we all enjoyed, even Luke. But it did require a trip the candy store afterwards. I had made a budget for the kids (and Chris) in the Cherry on Top Candy store of $10/ per person for the duration of the cruise. By the end of this night they each had reached about $8. Tip- As we were checking out I saw kids Natalie's age buying $15-20 worth of CANDY without an adult present so be sure to either turn off your kid's Sail and Sign card or put a limit on it! You can do this at Guest Services! 

Craziness going on in the theater before the show... haha, we're on a cruise, who cares, right?
No seriously, they were maintained! 

We sat in the Casino lobby and ate our candy and enjoyed telling Knock- Knock jokes to each other before going into a SUGAR COMA! We tried to hold out for the 10PM nightly show but none of us could make it so we went back to the room! We were all sound asleep before 10:30PM... so much for late nights on this cruise!

He was SO happy! 

She was so TIRED! 

But the sugar showed back up as we went back to our room... she as running like crazy! 

It was a great day of exploration and family fun but we were sailing back to Galveston by the end of the night! Our cruise was coming to a close real quickly but the next day would be another day full of fun and relaxation plus Dr. Seuss breakfast!

Keep Calm and CRUISE on! 

Stay tuned for our LAST day at Sea!

God is good... ALL the time! 

Click on a link to see our past cruising adventures:
Our Cruise Ship Experiences 2006-present

Carnival Legend- 2016

Caribbean Princess- 2016 

Carnival Triumph- 2015

Carnival Magic- 2015

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas- 2015

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas- 2014

Carnival Conquest- 2013

Carnival Conquest- 2006

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