Captain Bryan does have an afternoon excursion, but you might want to check on The Buccaneer - their larger catamaran that leaves at 10:30. It costs about $5 more - but both of these would be options if you are worried about the time factor. I will say, however, that the 9:30 excursion (which is the one we took when we are the Rhapsody) is scheduled to accomodate the ships in port. In fact, we waited for 4 people that were scheduled to go with our group that were on a diferent ship and running late. They have a live helpline on their website (www.grandcaymancruiseexcursions.com) that might be able to address your concern.
All of the tour boats (cruise or non-cruise) go to the same spot for the stingrays. There will be about 5-6 boats there with about 20-30 on each boat (maybe more). So, the only issue with it being busy is when you are on the boat, but they shouldn't be booking for more folks than the boat can fit comfortably. Everyone is told to stay close to their tour boat (hang out in front of it, to make sure you aren't left behind) and you kind of stand around and wait for the sting rays to swim by.
No matter what you decide, it is an awesome tour and an experience of a lifetime. The only thing we did that was cooler (on the same cruise last year), but a different kind of "cool" was to swim with the dolphins in Cozumel.
Star Princess - December 2006
Adventure of the Seas - April 2005
Caribbean Princess - July 2004
Golden Princess - March 2003
Disney Magic - October 1998
Thanks again for all your help and advice. I am still working with Capt. Byran on a time. They emailed me back and said they did not see a problem with us making the 8:45 am meeting. I am still a little worried. Snickerd thanks for your advice again. We are planning on doing the Dolphin excursion in Cozumel. I am working on that; except, I am having a problem with the park emailing me back. Our daugher is interested in the Royal Swim and my son is interested in the Encounter. We would like to book these excursions but our travel agent said we would have to wait and check with the cruise line (since the royal swim is not offered through the line). Therefore, we are trying to book this excursion on our own as well. Any suggestions? We have heard from others that we should plan the whole day at the park... is this true? Boy this vacation is hard to plan.
Good luck with working out the details of your Stingray Excursion.
As for the Dolphin Encounter and Royal Swim at Chankanaab: Since you are having some difficulty with connecting through the park itself, you might want to consider ShoreTrips. They are an excellent company and I know they offer both Dolphin experiences in cozumel. Here is a link: http://www.caribbean-shore-excursions.com/Cozumel.htm
Nancy, you have done such a wonderful job helping me through our first family cruise. Your suggestions have been GREAT !! Thank you so much for taking the time from your schedule. This has made it so much easier for me. The sites that you have suggested are super.
I did check on the site you suggested they only offered the royal swim and not the encounter. I made reservations with cozumel insider but the 2:30 pm dolphin encounter scares me a little. Our ship leaves at 6:00pm from Cozumel; do you think this will give us enough time to watch the video and catch the taxi back? I think if I book the dolphin encounter for my son through the cruise line they had a 12:00 pm encounter swim. However I still need to get my daughters royal swim in. Her reservation was made for the 12:00 pm through Cozumel Insider. HELP!!! What is your suggestion? Any one else......
Okay, this is a pretty easy logistical problem to solve. If you are concerned about the time factor: First, I believe the dolphin encounter through the cruiseline is scheduled for 9:30. It will require a taxi ride to the park, then the encounter and allows for time afterwards to explore Chankannab on your own - before taking a taxi back to the pier at your leisure. The dolphin swim and the encounter are at the same place. Since you will already be at the park, hang around until your daughter's dolphin swim, then head back to the ship after her experience (or stay at the park longer as you could easily spend the day there if you chose).
However, I also believe you could do the 2:30 encounter without difficulty. The actual dolphin encounter is only an hour in length total. The cruise lines 3 hour excursion time includes an allotment of time for the taxi ride and visiting the park for awhile on your own.