Trip Report 1997
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
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