We were docked in Cozumel, Mexico for a long day (8 am – 6 pm) in late January. This was our first port to visit on our Carnival Glory cruise. We chose the Passion Island Catamaran shore excursion. I spent awhile on Carnival’s website, as well as various cruise discussion boards, reading review after review before settling on this one.
The majority of reviews for the Passion Island Catamaran trip are positive. The few negative reviews, however, are VERY negative. We decided that the positives outweighed the negatives for us – and purchased tickets for the first trip of the morning. Our tickets were $69.99 for adults (price as of 1/2013) and our daughter was free since she’s under 5.
Boats of approximately 150 people at a time are sailed by small catamaran to Passion Island throughout the day. We lucked out in being on the very first boat of people to arrive on the island. The boats are fairly small with an upper deck and a lower deck. (Not really a catamaran in my opinion, more like a small ferry.) The ride is about 45 minutes long so I would imagine the upper deck would be pretty windy and leave you exposed to the elements. We sat down below and were pretty shielded from everything – though the other side of the lower level got a continuous soaking from seaspray.
As I said, we were the very first boatload of people to be unloaded on an empty island. I believe this added to our positive experience because we had first pick of where to sit, food, etc. I was impressed with the facilities on the island. The large beach had plenty of loungers that you can drag wherever you like. Behind those sun loungers are more chairs, tables, umbrellas and even hammocks. You can use kayaks and other ocean equipment (trampolines, slides, etc) for free. They have other items available for rent if you so choose. We were able to borrow a big bucket of beach toys for our daughter for free – minus the small tip we gave to the guy who gathered it for us.
We settled on two chaise loungers under an umbrella. Almost immediately came a pleasant greeting from an employee who introduced himself as our waiter. He kept us stocked with drinks throughout the morning and was extremely friendly.
Food is served continuously in a big open air building behind the beach chairs. Despite the early hour (we were on the island by about 9:30 am) we were starving. We got to choose from a menu including Mahi Mahi, BBQ chicken wings, rice, pasta, chicken nuggets, fries, chips, fresh salsa and fresh guacamole. We thought the chips, guac and salsa were DELISH!
All food and drink are included in this excursion, with a few exceptions like frozen drinks. Those are available but you must pay for them. Free drinks include soda, purified water, beer and a bunch of mixed drinks.
Next to the food hut are a few stores, a massage hut and some relatively clean bathrooms. A couple of people approached me on the beach asking if I wanted a free shoulder massage and a simple, “No thanks” was all it took for them to move on to the next person. We saw a couple of huge lizards on our way to the food area – looks like they live under the shopping huts!
Our stay on Passion Island ended far too quickly for us. After just three hours it was time to reboard our boat and head back to port.
A note on tipping – as with other excursions, there are many people who will hopefully work hard to make sure you have a great time. Tipping is NOT mandatory and at your own discretion. We tipped our waiter as we packed up, left a small tip for the bathroom and food attendants, as well as the guy who got us the beach toys. As we got off the boat we tipped our guide (Leo) and also the boat crew. Even a small tip goes far, and we felt that every employee went above and beyond. They had a great and helpful attitude and kept us happy and safe. Use your own experience as a guideline for who you tip and how much.
We loved our morning on Passion Island and would go back in a second! We arrived back at the dock around 1:30 pm. We actually popped back on the ship, showered and grabbed a late lunch. We headed back out again to check out the shops and had several hours to wander around before re-boarding our ship.
This review was NOT compensated. It was funded with by our own bank account and reflects an honest account of our individual experience. All opinions are 100% our own.