Opinion“Don’t Swim Here”: Cruise Passenger in Costa Maya Warns After Port Authority...

“Don’t Swim Here”: Cruise Passenger in Costa Maya Warns After Port Authority Demands Ship Card

A reader shares a scary standoff with cruise port officials after being found in a restricted area

“But there aren’t any signs saying I couldn’t swim here!”  These were the words a woman said to the security official after he blew his whistle and threatened to detain a group of cruise travelers.

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Three cruise ships in Costa Maya port
Costa Maya cruise port with three ships docked. This image shows the proximity of the port’s pools to the shore. On the far left you can see one of the pools right along the oceanfront.

It could have been big trouble for a certain cruise passenger and her family visiting Costa Maya on a Carnival cruise.

A loyal reader of Cruise Fever recently sent us a letter about an experience at the cruise port in Mexico. 

After almost having her cruise card taken away by the local Port Authority, she wanted to tell her story, so others don’t make the same mistake.

This is her cautionary tale. 

Seeking Peaceful Water for a Swim

The woman’s vacation to Costa Maya took an unexpected turn when her search for a refreshing dip turned into a tense standoff with a Port Authority official.

The Carnival passenger and her family, opting to skip the Mayan ruins excursion, arrived at the port to find it bustling with cruise travelers. 

After all, there were three cruise ships docked in Costa Maya that day.

Seeking a break from the scorching heat, the family made their way to the port’s pools.  But the pools were not only very crowded but “cloudy” as well.

Pool and oceanfront at Costa Maya
Main pool in Costa Maya cruise port on left. Prohibited swimming area along shore on the right.

“It was so hot, I just wanted to jump in,” the woman said. “But all the pools were packed with people and the water looked…well, not very inviting.”

She then discovered a quieter area by the water’s edge with inviting lounge chairs and a seemingly accessible section to the ocean just a hundred feet from the pier.

“There were no posted signs,” she explained, “and it looked like a perfectly good spot to go in.”

Lack of signage at Costa Maya, waterfront pier and cruise ships
This photo shows metal posts along the oceanfront but a lack of signage saying the area is restricted.

Putting on her snorkel gear, the woman jumped into the crystal-clear water teeming with fish.  Soon after, a few other passengers started to wade in the water along the shore as well.

However, the woman’s peaceful escape was short-lived.

Confrontation with Port Authority

“Suddenly, I hear my husband calling me frantically,” she recounted. “A port authority guy was blowing his whistle and stomping towards us.”

The official accused the woman, and a group of fellow swimmers who had joined her, of trespassing in a restricted area.

“He demanded our ship cards, yelling that it was illegal to swim there,” the cruise traveler said. “But there were no signs, and we all left the water as soon as he told us.”

Despite the commotion, bystanders advised the swimmers not to surrender their ship cards, arguing the lack of signage.   

“We looked all around the area and there was not a single sign in sight that said the area was off limits,” the woman stated.

The situation escalated as the port authority official remained insistent in demanding the group give up their cruise cards.

“I calmly told him that if the area had been posted or if there were some type of sign to not swim in the area then I wouldn’t have.”   

“And I also noted that I got out as soon as he blew his whistle, indicating that I was following what he wanted us to do,” the woman wrote.

“But I told him that he could not have my ship card.”

Costa Maya ocean and pools with wall along ocean front
The wall along the oceanfront in Costa Maya.

A Subtle Escape

In a moment of quick thinking, the woman transformed herself into a seemingly inconspicuous tourist.

“‘I grabbed my floppy hat, sunglasses, and wrapped a towel around my shirt,’ she said with a laugh. ‘Then, we briskly walked away towards the crowded pool area.'”

The Port Authority official had taken a short cut to the pier behind the checkpoint, where all cruise passengers would have to walk.  Presumably he was attempting to follow any of the group to their ship once he spotted them.

The woman, with her husband and son, weaved through the port marketplace to try to get back to the ship.  

The family saw the official who had demanded their cruise cards on the pier, watching every passenger as they passed.

“I saw him up ahead and began praying that he wouldn’t see us,” she said.

Fortunately, an elderly man driving a mobility scooter suddenly was having steering issues and diverted the security official’s attention.  The family picked up their pace and walked right past, unnoticed.

“Not everyone was as lucky,” the woman revealed. “‘One of my fellow swimmers was not so lucky, and he spotted her and followed her all the way up into her ship–I wonder what came of it?!’”

Shaken but unharmed, the woman and her family opted just to stay on the ship the rest of the day.

“We decided that we were not leaving the ship for Costa Maya again and ended up having the best time on Carnival Celebration,” she concluded.  “And the pools on board were gloriously clear!”

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Opinion“Don’t Swim Here”: Cruise Passenger in Costa Maya Warns After Port Authority...

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