I woke up around 6:45am to have plenty of time to pack a bag for our excursion, as we would have to disembark the ship as soon as possible. After getting my camera gear together, I sat on our balcony as we slowly arrived in Cozumel, Mexico.
I had gotten up in the middle of the night and noticed that there were ships all around us, but they were too far away to identify beyond cruise line. One thing that kept me on my toes about ship arrivals in ports on this cruise was that many cruise lines had rerouted ships to various western Caribbean itineraries due to hurricane damage to eastern Caribbean islands. Meanwhile, online port schedules had not necessarily been updated to show these changes.
As we headed to the Punta Langosta pier, I noticed Harmony of the Seas was already docked at one of the other piers. This was my first time seeing an Oasis-class ship, and Harmony was amazing to see in port.
Additionally, Carnival Glory, which was docked with us in Miami, was docked at a pier. I also noticed Carnival Fantasy behind us, which had followed us from Costa Maya.
We eventually docked, as did the Fantasy. We immediately headed down to the disembarkation area, skipping breakfast.
Our excursion was the Secret River tour. As we walked across the pier, we were guided to a Norwegian employee who was part of the Shore Excursions team. We were given ferry tickets and stepped onto the ferry right beside us. It was very convenient and gave me a couple of minutes to get my camera ready for ship pictures.
As the ferry departed and headed for the mainland, I got many awesome pictures of Escape that I would not have gotten otherwise. As we turned out of the pier area, Carnival Vista was visible. This was my first time seeing Vista, and I took many pictures of her as well as she headed to the dock.
It was about 45 minutes between boarding the ferry and reaching the mainland. After disembarking the ferry, we were lined up on the pier by excursion group. We waited as a group for 20 minutes for passenger vans to arrive. We were then driven through Mexico and eventually down a long, bumpy dirt road. We finally ended up at our destination. There was a roofed area with lockers and bathrooms, as well as a seating area for lunch, and a shop that I’ll talk about later in this post.
Everyone was instructed to change into bathing suits. I was lazy and wore mine off the ship, which turned out to be the smart thing to do. Afterwards, we all took turns washing off with fresh water from the place we would be exploring. This washed away chemicals, body sprays, deodorant, etc. just as a regular shower would. Our tour guide explained that this was necessary because we would be, at times, up to our necks in the same water that was used by the entire peninsula for drinking, cooking, etc.
Everyone was given a sort of diving suit–courtesy of National Geographic–to put on. Walking sticks were available to those who wanted them, since we would be walking down a bumpy trail at first.
We walked down to the cave we would be exploring. Before entering, a local performed a Mayan custom for us. We then entered the cave. The water was shallow sometimes, and deep others. It changes based on rainfall and what part you’re in. We had an awesome tour guide, who lives in the area. Exploring the caves and hearing the science behind the crystals hanging down from the top was the highlight of the excursion for me.
Afterwards, we returned to the area where we had changed into swimsuits. We took off the National Geographic suits, and were served lunch. It was really good, and I would assume it was authentic. After lunch, we got back in the vans and headed back to the ferry stop.
Side Note: An NCL photographer followed the group along during the excursion, and took pictures of the caves and of everyone in the group, as a large group and by families/parties. These photos are available for purchase digitally (and as a hard copy, I believe) along with other souvenirs in a small shop at the area where the vans were. For this reason, I do not have any pictures or videos of the excursion itself.
When we arrived at the ferry stop, we had some time to kill before the ferry arrived. I can’t remember how long it was, but we had plenty of time to explore the streets, gift shops, and even briefly walk around a mall. We then headed back to the ferry stop, boarded, and were on our way. I took a nap for the first 25 minutes of the ride, and took pictures of the ships docked in Cozumel as we approached our final destination. I have to say that our ferry was relatively clean and nice inside. When we got back to the pier, it was around 2:30pm, and the all aboard time for Escape was 4:30pm. We walked around the shopping area at Punta Langosta, and since we had missed the churro guy walking down the street in Playa Del Carmen, we ordered some churros at a restaurant near the pier. Afterwards, we returned to the ship. I returned to the room to relax for a few minutes, and then grabbed my GoPro and went to the Haven Sundeck to film our departure. As we headed out to sea, I returned to our amazing aft balcony.
I went to the Manhattan Room for tonight’s dinner. I’ll be honest, I was lazy tonight and didn’t take a picture of the menu, but I can remember that I got a Caesar salad, smoked salmon, Tagliatelle pasta with Basil Pesto, and another salmon dish.
After dinner, I walked around the ship some more. There’s so many different areas on Escape that it takes a while to see them all! After walking around for a bit, I returned to the room and laid out on the balcony before going to sleep.