Just got off the Grand last Saturday (1/28)
Apparently, the cancellation of Grand Caymen is 2 fold. The Grand is down a generator, so they don't have reserve power should something breakdown (and they don't want to risk that) and also, their schedule into Caymens is such that they were the last in, and frequently tours were missed due to how long it took to get off.
I wish you all better weather than we had. MANY tours were cancelled - being a scuba diver, I have never understood the reasoning of cancelling a dive because of the rain - what? am I afraid of water??
With the cancellation of Caymen, many of the Cozemel tours were moved to Playa (like the Tulum tours among others) and a few things opened up for Cozumel.
The first stop I was to scuba dive, but that was cancelled and my friend's clear kayak was cancelled. This is the only port where you are actually at a dock and can just WALK off the ship.
Due to Hurricane Wilma, there has been MUCH damage to the ports (cozumel was virtually destroyed). The "shopping village" is really not much more than a tourist trap. You can get MUCH better prices on anything and everything in Playa, as you are actually in a real city.
Belize was wet also and most tours cancelled again - however, there was a VERY good pharmacy just off to the right of the major jewelry store as you get off the tender. Other than the pharmacy, don't buy from the first shops you walk to -- the further you go along the little shopping strip, the better the prices on the same items.
No, you do not need a prescription to buy from the pharmacy, however, I always travel with my prescription bottles (keep them on the ship) so if I were ever to be stopped in customs, I can prove that I am just buying refills at a GREATLY reduced price. BTW, I have never been stopped.
What I suggest for anyone wanting to take advantage of great prices at the pharmacy - write out a list of your medications, generic name, dosage and prices - that way you won't get confused.
With the change in itinerary, my friends were originally scheduled for Tulum in Cozumel, but did it in Playa -- I went diving. There is no diving arranged through the ship - you must find your own. You can walk down the main street about 5 or 6 blocks to the first large intersection - turn left and go down about 6 more blocks to "DIVE HA" -- very good operations, and while I have my own equipment, it appears that their rental gear is in very good condition.
Be very careful about diving in the Cenotes -- depending upon how long it takes to get off the ship, you may NOT have enough time to catch the last tender. Due to the VERY high swells, the tender operation was very long and disorganized. Several people were almost injured (severely -- think loss of toes when the ramp between the ship & tender bounces up & down!!) The first tenders to the ship were too small and had to return to the shore - the next ones out were larger (300+ passengers) but then had to go to the other side of the ship.
Due to the very large size of the tenders, it takes FOREVER to load & unload.
Cozumel uses the same tender service (Princess has contracts with them) but it was much more efficient and fast, despite 7 ships being in port at the same time.
Cozumel suffered a great deal of damage, but is rebuilding very quickly, and you have plenty of opportunities for last minute shopping -- but keep in mind that the pharmacy in Belize has the BEST prices and Playa has a much better selection of shops (including a Walmart!)
If you had tours scheduled through the ship, I would recommend that you head straight to the tour desk (deck 5) and wait for them to open so that you can change things around as needed. The longer you wait to go to the tour desk, the longer the lines and shorter the selections of tours available.