Cruise Good, Ports Mediocre
Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: March 03, 2013
Ship: Norwegian Dawn
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Reviewed: 5 years ago
Norweigan Cruise was a good cruiseline, but the ports are mediocre overall. Expectations going into the ports was to do snorkeling in both Roatan, Honduras and Belize City, Belize; potentially bottom fishing but no other plans for Costa Maya, Mexico; and fishing or other aquatic activity in Coxumel, Mexico.
We didn't do snorkeling in Roatan bc we didn't have the best weather and seas looked a little rough. Rented a car and drove around half of the island. Nothing to really see or do other than in West Bay or West End towns other than a lookout spot. Roads were rough but not terrible. Recommend just getting a taxi to either West Bay or West End and do snorkeling or diving (can do zipline or other things similar things if desired).
Belize City has beautiful bay area but walking around city was not done since safety warnings were given to us by many different people. We did a 4 hour snorkel excursion that booked in port for $50/person (boat ride to barrier island, snorkel equip, 3 free rum punch drinks). Guides were friendly and spoke English mostly since former British colony. Drinks were cheap in the port area as well. Snorkeling gear of ur own is highly recommended and would say if you can do scuba diving it would have been even better since some of the reef life was at ~50 ft of water.
Costa Maya, Mexico port is a tourist trap that charges higher prices for food and drink than in the US. Took a $3/person bus to the city about 3mi south called Mahahual. Went to the Coco Corona restaurant and ate good ceviche with big portion for $15 (shrimp + octopus), $22 for the large size. Had a great deal on corona and pacifico beers (6 for $10). They give u free use of the beach and chairs with meal or drink purchase. Taxi ride back to the city was $2/person + $3 tip. City of Costa Maya has only about 1,000 people so nothing real close otherwise. Tequila stores in the port were charging more per bottle than you would pay for in the US. As with any Mexican shopping negotiate like crazy on prices and you will get for half price with most things.
The cruise's fishing charter was booked for Cozumel so booked with a guy in port. Worst choice possible! Waste of $350 (and that was after talking him down from $450). The group had shirts on with an email address and a whole slew of other things that seemed like it should be decent. After buying they said they were taking us to their office which turned out to be a trinket and nick-knack shop in the port. They then walked us over to the barracuda hotel to be picked up (where we paid the other half of the cost). From there we luckily caught one Mahi Mahi, but the captain/guide wasn't fishing in good areas nor in standard ways. We were in 4-10 foot swells with the lines skimming the surface. Fishing in the south side of the channel between the island and the peninsula seems to be illegal since it's a national park. The north side of the channel was where we were but no other boats. We requested bottom fishing and the method was to throw line over by hand connected to a spool. 2 reef fish of about a half pound each were caught but not thrown back as they wanted to use them for bait. The crew then basically pleaded for a tip at the end of 4 hours of an expensive boat ride. Shirts on the group said their website was www.eldoradocozumel.com which is a nonexistent website. DO NOT TRUST THE COZUMEL PORTS EXCURSIONS!!!!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Enjoyed being able to eat at any of the 3 included nice restaurants anytime. Fish was generally the best plate for dinner.