Roatan and Costa Maya Revisited

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May 20th, 2018, 10:05 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Roatan and Costa Maya Revisited

It’s been years since we were at these ports. And we were in for quite a surprise. They’ve changed.


Which goes to show that you can keep coming back to the same ports again and again, and get a new experience.


Roatan began as a mystery. We knew who’d done it—the MSC Armonia whacked the Coxen Hole dock just weeks before. But we weren’t sure our Allure of the Sea’s maiden voyage to the port was going to happen.


After all, we had nothing to go on. Royal Caribbean stayed silent. No emails came, no press release issued. Only rumors that the port stop was canceled “for the season.”


Once on board, though, the crew confirmed we’d stop there. And stop there we did.


A big chunk of the pier lay eerily submerged, but there was enough still standing for the Allure to shimmy up and tie down.


A pier built up. It’s attractive, with native dancers to greet you, a cigar roller to show you how it’s done, local coffee and chocolate vendors to show off their wares and water so spectacularly clear that you’re tempted to bend down and pet the pretty striped fish.

There’s also the usual Diamonds International, some boutiques---and even zip-lining.

All in all, it’s good for an hour or so.

The town of Coxen Hole is a short walk, but a few things you should know, should you decide to venture out:

· The sidewalks are amazingly narrow—they barely fit two trim people walking side by side.

· The island may not be affluent, but its people are among the most friendly we’ve seen on a Caribbean isle. We were met with smiles and hellos everywhere.

· There’s a supermarket in town that’s air-conditioned, with a good supply of first aid and health products, and they take U.S. dollars.


Note: Coxen Hole is one of two cruise ports in Roatan. The other is Mahogany Bay, a private beach resort developed by Carnival—and a lovely one at that. To get there, you’ll need to take a Carnival or Princess ship.


Costa Maya, the biggest improvement. This port was only recently expanded and we hardly recognized the place. You can swim the dolphins, swim with fellow cruisers or swim with the boozers (there’s a swim-up bar).


You can get a massage by the sea. Buy a trinket for $1 or spend hundreds on silver.


And while perhaps not quite an authentic Mexican experience, with some cerveza and tequilla, fajitas and tacos, and swimming and shopping, you could happily spend hours here and still want to come back. - Musing About Cruising
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May 20th, 2018, 09:45 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Thanks for the update.
We mostly take cruises in winter just to have time with family and get away from cold weather, so except for nice beaches, not too concerned about ports, but it is nice to know what is there.
How was the Allure? We have been on three RCCL ships, but all older, small to mid-sized.
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May 21st, 2018, 04:33 PM
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This was our fourth time on the Allure, and we've also been on the Harmony and Oasis (although we prefer the Allure). The big ship experience isn't for everyone, as it can get crowded at times, such as the buffet at breakfast.

Some of the advantages of the Allure:

* "Mamma Mia" was fabulous--a joyous experience that will make you run for the nearest karaoke
* The ice show and aqua shows are also top-notch--especially the aqua show with the high diving
* Like the other big ships, there's just so much to do that you can't cram it all in seven days. Miniature golf, rock-climbing, surfing, ice skating, ping-pong, riding the full-size carousel...and a large solarium for getting away from it all, with nooks and crannies in the sun or shade

The "neighborhoods" are a lot of fun. We've been staying on the deck with Central Park (in an ocean side balcony) and enjoy strolling in there for drinks at happy hour.

That's just a tidbit. I would encourage you to try it once--it's a quite different experience from the smaller ships. (We've sailed on Celebrity, HAL and Princess.) Personally, I'm partial to Princess--I prefer smaller ships and think the food's better. But, mixing it up is good too. - Musing About Cruising
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