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Saturday, January 11, 2020

[Day 3] Harmony of the Seas - Cozumel

On Day 3, we arrived in port, and I stepped out on the balcony to see an old friend of mine...

Disney Fantasy

It's the Disney Fantasy!!

Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

Balcony cleaning...

Disney Fantasy

Now on our original itinerary, the Harmony of the Seas was scheduled to be at sea today. However, due to stormy weather in the Bahamas, we skipped Perfect Day CocoCay and sailed south to Cozumel. This was unplanned Cozumel day for which Rachel made last-minute reservations for Mr. Sancho's.



Rachel is the planner of cruises. She reads people's reviews. Gets the info. So she told us that we needed to get off the ship early and head to Mr. Sancho's before everyone else. So we listened.

Fantasy and Harmony

Editing games. Do you prefer the turquoise sky...

Fantasy and Harmony

Or the purpley-blue sky? I can't decide.

Fantasy and Harmony

Harmony of the Seas is such a big ship, that she's difficult to photograph on the pier...

Cozumel

The Disney Fantasy is not a small ship. The Harmony of the Seas is just massive!

Cozumel

Remember, the Disney Fantasy was a runner-up to Harmony. At one point, we were kicking ourselves for not booking. ONE DAY we will do a Merrytime Cruise.

Cozumel

If Bubba Gump's is a novelty for you (there's one in Santa Monica, so not special for me), it's at the International Pier in Cozumel. If you're sailing to Cozumel, be aware that there are multiple piers. Royal Caribbean docks at the International Pier. It's actually unusual for Disney to be docked at the International Pier - usually they are over at Punta Langosta with Norwegian and MSC... interesting. And then Carnival has their own pier in Cozumel, Puerta Maya.

Cozumel


There's a Margaritaville here, now, too. My parents are huge Parrot Heads. Once, we were docked in Cozumel at Puerta Maya, and we took a cab to Punta Langosta just to go to Margaritaville. If you do arrive to Cozumel via Puerta Maya, now you can just take a short walk over to the International Pier.

Cozumel

At this point, the family was getting annoyed with Victoria on Vacation slowing down to document everything, so I had to speed it up. We took a cab (quoted $18 at the port, but the driver only asked for $17 when he dropped us off. Stove gave him $20.) to Mr. Sancho's where we were among the first to arrive. We paid the remaining balance and were ushered to a table under an umbrella by the beach where we were introduced to our waiter, Jose.

Mr. Sancho's is all-inclusive, which means food and drinks are included (no alcohol for kids under 18, though).

Mr. Sanchos

It was windyyyyyy! Red flags all around.

Mr. Sanchos

Mr. Sanchos

Yes, we could have our pick of loungers... but also, it was so windy (and chilly because of the wind), that it was just uncomfortable to be by the water.

Mr. Sanchos

Mr. Sanchos

Perfect time for empty-beach photos - great call on the early arrival, Rachel!

Mr. Sanchos

Mr. Sanchos

The wind was just downright not enjoyable. It was at this time that Stove and Judy just DISAPPEARED! I think Stove went looking for the bathroom? And Judy, I don't know, where were you?? So Rachel and I were stuck with all of the stuff, being pelted in the face by wind, and Rachel wanted to run up to the pool and claim some loungers. Seemed like a viable plan, so I sent her on that mission and held down the fort. Then our drinks arrived and Stove shortly reappeared.

Mr. Sanchos

This drink is the Mr. Sancho's special. I honestly didn't really drink much of it because it was still very early in the morning. But the bartenders kept asking me if I wanted a drink, so kept getting drinks, taking a few sips, then abandoning. You've probably picked up on this by now, but okay, I'll admit it.... I, Victoria, am a Drink Ditcher. Don't worry, we tipped our bartenders well at the end of the day (also by the end of the day I was no longer ditching).

Mr. Sanchos

Mr. Sanchos

Rachel successfully secured the loungers, and we relocated to the pool. It turned out that we could not bring Jose with us.... he was assigned to the beach area. Our apologies, Jose. It wasn't you, it was the wind.

The pool is nice and large. It has fixed tables in the pool for beverages (and food??), and a swim-up bar. The pool water was veryyy cold. It got a lot hotter and sunnier later in the day, and Rachel and I tried to get in, but it was just so cold that we opted to wade in at the beach instead.

Mr. Sanchos

Mr. Sanchos

And on the two sides of the bar that were not swim-up, there were swings!

Mr. Sanchos

When Judy was M.I.A., she was investigating these lounge beds. They were up for grabs, but you were asked to pay an additional gratuity, and I'm not sure what that was.

Mr. Sanchos

Mr. Sanchos

When I'm shooting into the sun, I try to hide the sun behind an object and let jussssssst enough peek through to create a lens flare. Oooph! What a dirty lens -

Mr. Sanchos

This is ANOTHER pool with a swim-up bar. It is the mirror image of the pool we were at.

Mr. Sanchos

I very much appreciate that there is a person under water for this shot.

Mr. Sanchos

The resort is very large. There are actually two different sides - two beach areas and two pools with swim-up bars. There's also an entire spa area that I did not explore. They kind of direct you to a side of the beach when they walk you in and introduce you to your waiter, but you're free to wander.

Mr. Sanchos

The southern side of the beach has dining tables, but no thatch umbrellas.

Mr. Sanchos

Notice that on both sides of the beach, the loungers are pushed up all the way to the water. There really isn't a beach to play on - most of the beach is taken up by tables and chairs. So if you're bringing the kids with the sand toys and want to build sand castles by the ocean, this isn't the place to go (for that I would recommend Playa Mia).

Mr. Sanchos

And they also have a few little merchandise stands, but they were not aggressive at all about selling the merchandise.

Mr. Sanchos

I was super pumped about now not crowded it was, so I was spending this time to get a lot of footage. I had ideas for some fun shots that I needed a subject for, and I kept asking Rachel, but she told me she needed a beer first. So I was just wandering and shooting until finally she said, "Okay, I'm ready. Where did you say we were going? The swings?"

Mr. Sanchos

Thanks, Rach.

Mr. Sanchos

Time for food! They had a serve-yourself buffet area, so we went over to get plates. They had tacos, beans, rice, and chicken wings. Back in our early years of cruising, we had the mindset that we paid for food on the ship, so we should eat on the ship and not in port (also Rachel and I were kids, so we weren't very experimental yet). Now, I actually really look forward to a meal off the ship... often the best food of the cruise.

Mr. Sanchos

In addition to the buffet offerings, you can also order food from the menu. The Shinglebells all love chips, salsa, and guac! I'll give the win to the fancy guacamole from Sabor, but the Mr. Sanchos guac certainly didn't disappoint.

Mr. Sanchos

Also from the menu, I ordered carne asada tacos. My go-to taco. Very good "authentic Mexican" taco.

Mr. Sanchos


We spent the afternoon lounging by the pool and swinging at the bar. The crowd did pick up later in the day, but it wasn't crazy - I think we lucked out with this unscheduled Cozumel day because there was only one other large ship in port, the Disney Fantasy. I would recommend this anyway, but if you're in port with several other large ships, you definitely want to reserve Mr. Sanchos in advance and arrive early.

We had a really great time at Mr. Sanchos. It's a great option for a resort day in Cozumel, and I would recommend this for people who want to relax by the pool, dine, and drink. If you're looking for big thrills or kid-friendly resorts, there are better options. It's a good spot for adults, teens, and chill kids that are content with a pool. I will definitely return here, and I'm really glad we made the last-minute decision to book.

Mr. Sanchos

We headed back to the ship about two hours before sail away. It's very easy to grab a cab from Mr. Sanchos. I would guess that the cabs run pretty consistently between the pier and the resorts whenever there are ships in port.

Cozumel

Maybe next year, Disney Fantasy!

Cozumel

Now back to our ship.

Cozumel

One reason we were in a hurry to get back on board is because there was Friends Trivia (why is Friends popular again?? I've seen so many teenagers wearing Friends shirts lately... they probably weren't even born when the show first aired) at the On Air Bar at 4:30. Rachel has watched Friends multiple times. It is her show of choice when she is at home sick or recovering from gum surgery. So she was very confident and wanted to play.

Friends Trivia

She did very well. Didn't bring home the grand prize keychain, but put up a good fight.

Friends Trivia

We went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner, and I heard screams coming from outside... runners?! Nope. Not sure what it was.

Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

That evening, we had a reservation for Jamie's Italian, located in Central Park. Rachel had actually made us two reservations for Jamie's that week because based on her research, she thought it was going to be one of our favorites. Last Christmas Cruise on the Navigator of the Seas, we dined at Giovanni's Table, which is Royal's other Italian restaurant, before the collaboration with Jamie Oliver.

Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian

To start out, we were brought the "Famous Meat Plank." It's a charcuterie board that runs the length of the table and is elevated on cans of sauce. The presentation is cool. And I'll go ahead and say that the meat plank is the best part of Jamie's Italian. Just look at the smiles on Judy and Stove -

Jamie's Italian

Our server at Jamie's was the most encouraging that we encountered this cruise as far as, "Order everything! Try everything!" That used to be the attitude of all of the servers in the main dining room, but the "order as much as you want" vibe left Royal Caribbean and most other cruise lines maybe a decade ago? No other restaurant that we dined at had that attitude.

So we just ordered all of the appetizers that sounded interesting and shared via the plank in the center of the table.

This is the crispy squid. I appreciate that this is offered here. It's pretty unique to the restaurant, not something that is offered in the main dining room.

Jamie's Italian

The Tomato Bruschetta was disappointing. Italian restaurants should always have an exceptional bread. There was also the ultimate garlic bread on the menu, so maybe that was exceptional. Overall, not limited to Jamie's, there was no good bread on this ship. (Bread critique by Judy. Judy loves bread. With Cheese.)

Jamie's Italian

Here's the Creamy Burrata. So. Much. Cheese.

Jamie's Italian

Garlicky Prawns -

Jamie's Italian


So again, for our pastas and main courses, our server encouraged us to order all of the things. As much as we wanted. We could share it all.

I got the short rib. Did. Not. Like. I didn't care for the sauce... which was necessary because the meat was so dry. Short rib is either really good or really bad, and in this case, it was really bad.

Jamie's Italian

Mom got the lasagna which she enjoyed, but later she would eat lasagna in the main dining room and call it just as good as the lasagna at Jamie's.

Jamie's Italian

Rachel got the Lamp Chops Scottadito. She said it was "just aight." She was annoyed because right after dropping off our food, our server went M.I.A., and she was out of red wine, and "lamb and red wine go together like peanut butter and jelly."

Jamie's Italian

I'll go ahead and say it - we didn't think any of the pastas were very good.

Famous Prawn Linguine -

Jamie's Italian

Penne Pomodoro -

Jamie's Italian

Truffle Tagliatelle -

Jamie's Italian

Okay, now the presentation of the desserts was beautiful, but as far as taste, very disappointing.

Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian

Our overall opinion of Jamie's Italian was that it was pretty good, but we weren't blown away. Also, we really appreciated our server bringing us everything, but ultimately that's why we canceled our second Jamie's reservation and didn't return... we had already tried everything. I also got a little resetless at the end... I don't enjoy sitting for super lengthy amounts of time for dinner, and this was starting to drag out.

When comparing Jamie's Italian to Giovanni's Table, it is our opinion that Giovanni's Table wins hands-down. Mainly because Giovanni's Table serves filet mignon and octopus. We prefer Giovanni's menu options and food quality.

6 comments:

  1. AWW; So sorry that dinner was disappointing! Mr Sancho's looks remarkable despite the windy and cold conditions. We also have dined at Giovanni's and thought it was GREAT!; Love those pics and keep em coming!

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    1. I wouldn't say it was disappointing, just not fantastic. We liked the experience, but thought the food should have been better.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Glad to read you enjoyed Mr. Sanchos. It's been years since I've been and we are booked for this April. Looks like they've added a second pool.

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  4. Loving your trip report! To answer your question, I believe “Friends” is popular again because of it’s emergence on Netflix. I’m a secondary teacher and I have seen many students rocking Friends gear lately!

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