Trip Report–12/29-1/5 1997

Russ in Central Florida


OK guys…here is the Fantome report you have been waiting for…Just got

back to Tampa last night from Cancun and decided to post this today. I want

to preface my remarks by giving some demographics, so everything can be taken

in context: Couple, both 49, active; with their kids, daughter age 21 and son

18. We have been on multiple large ship cruises, but this was the first

Windjammer. We are an adventuresome family and enjoy new experiences, and

live in central Florida. We (incl., the kids) have traveled extensively,

including much in the Caribbean and in Central America. Having said all

that, I’ll tell you about our week on the Fantome.

First of all, everything depends on the weather. This has been the

problem in the past. There is only one deep port and that is Cozumel, so

that’s where you have to go to hide. Our weather was perfect every single

day, and so I know that that is what made our week great, and in fact the

Captain (Peter) told us so. The decision as to where you get the ship is

made by the captain about Wednesday before Sunday sailing and the

headquarters is supposed to notify the passengers or travel agents

beforehand. However, as long as you fly into Cancun, they will meet you and

further arrangements can be made. The only people on our cruise who didn’t

get the message were those who left early to spend extra days elsewhere, but

there were a few that weren’t explainable. We had not trouble being met at

the Cancun airport, arriving on American airlines around noon. The rec

director, Louise, from the ship met us outside customs, and arranged for a

van ($10 per person) to playa del carmen. Porters on tricycles then took

your luggage to the dock, and the tenders began picking us up at 5pm, taking

the luggage earlier. We spent the 4 hours or so on the beach at playa del

carmen–great day! Because of the weather, we were able to board the ship at

Playa del Carmen, and it was quite smoothly done.

We spent the night there, picking up the last passengers and sailed the

next day for Puerto Morales under full sail….great DAY sailing. We went

horseback riding at Puerto Morales which was done better than most places

I’ve ridden in the states, including swimming with your horse bareback in the

water, and galloping on the beach…beautiful. Donkey polo afterwards, and a

full lunch with complimentary beer and pop. Went back to Puerto and spent

the rest of the day on the beach, and had drinks and snacks at Los Pelicanos.

The 31st was New Year’s Eve and it was a blast on board. We had sailed to

Cozumel and dropped anchor just in front of downtown. We had fireworks and

dancing ’til all hours and it was just beautiful. New Year’s day found us

back at Playa del Carmen and we went to XCaret–a theme park where we swam

down an underground river, beached it, snorkeled, and stayed even for the

night show which began at 5pm and was one of the best shows of its type I

have ever seen with music, pageantry, Mayan dances, the whole ballet

folklorico Mexico, soloists, and walking around in underground caves. Not to

be missed!!

The next day was spent in Cozumel, dropping people off at the

downtown dock, and then if your stayed on board and sailed, you have photo

runbys in the tenders and we sailed from around 1pm to 6pm when we pulled up

and docked at the International port in Cozumel on the south end of the

island. We got off there and went into town for a great dinner upstairs at

Pepe’s and got back to the ship around midnight. Then we sailed to Cancun

and tendered into the dock at Fat Tuesday’s–nice beach but we took a taxi to

Playa Delfines and spent several hours there and then went to the Plaza

Kulkulcan for shopping, and back to the dock where my two kids went bungee

jumping into the water…quite a show!! The next day we sailed across to

Isla Mujeres and we rented a golf cart at the Atlantis dock and toured the

island and then spent the rest of the day at Playa Norte and at the Atlantis

beach before tendering back.

That night we sailed back to Playa del Carmen, and left the ship for the

dock and the bus to the airport at 8am, making our flights with no problems.

We left with great feelings for the captain, the crew, the purser, and

everyone connected with the operation. My family

and I have been to this part of Mexico before on several occasions

so we didn’t go to Chicen Itza, but if you have not

been to that you MUST go….it is now run as a flight rather than bus ride

and costs $120 apiece, but probably worth it. Lots of opportunities for the

snorkelers and scuba divers, also.

Again, let me stress that the amount of sailing, tendering, etc., is

totally dependent on the weather, because if the captain does not feel that

the passengers can board the tenders safely, or that seas are too rough, then

he will dock. This would be unfortunate, and would cause a lot of problems.

This is what WJ did not take into consideration with this route, though their

intentions were good. In fact, our captain said that the water between

Cancun and Isla Mujeres is some of the most treacherous he has ever sailed

in, in terms of navigation, depth of water, reefs, etc.

If anything, the entire crew was very anxious to make sure everything went

smoothly and that they tried to meet people at the airport. Disembarkation

was extremely smooth, except for some folks from New Jersey who got stabbed

with a 6 hour late Continental flight back to Newark, but most people got out

of the Cancun airport OK.

The food was GREAT, the drinks abundant, the music fairly loud, but the

Reggae great!! The ship was clean and the only cabin problem we had was a

missing shower curtain which was fixed in 10 minutes. I guess the only thing

I can’t get used to is not having a key to the lock on your cabin door….too

many regular cruises, perhaps. We will definitely cruise WJ again and had

one of the finest family vacations we have ever taken. My wife especially

loved it. Careful with the Mexican water and salads (normal precautions in

Central America) and don’t take less than 8 pesos to the dollar.

I will be happy to answer anyone’s questions by E-mail if you need more

information, and you can be as specific as you want and I will try to help.

I do realize, however, that if it had been rough seas, clouds, and rain, that

this report would have been totally different!!…..

Russ in Central Florida