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My family and I just returned from a week at the Moon Palace Sunrise 6/17/02 - 6/24/02
We are mid/late 30's and our children are 5 & 8.
We booked through Apple Tours and flew Southeast out of Baltimore. The flight was uneventful and the plane was typical charter - smooshed rows. We arrived on a Monday and zoomed right through customs and immigration. We all had passports which in my opinion makes traveling much easier. The apple people were outside the airport waiting for us, put us in the mini-van and off we went. We were in the airport 30 min tops.
I knew there were two Moon Palaces - Nizuc (the older) and Sunrise. Since I made no requests I figured I'd probably get the older side. I was wrong. Apple Tours is a huge presence there and those who book through Apple all get Sunrise - they don't even have a desk on the Nizuc side. I was thrilled! We arrived at the hotel about 12:30 with absolutely no check-in line. The lobby is absoltely stunning. Our room was ready immediately. My only request at the desk was to be away from the plant - they checked and it was. The bellman put our suitcases and us in the golf cart and off we went. We had a great location - 2 buildings over from the pool right up by the beach behind the presidential suites - a beautiful view out the window.
The hotel is gorgeous and service unbelievable. I believe you get back what you give out and we found the staff to be extremely friendly and helpful. After all the things I'd heard about the food I was afraid we'd starve to death while there. It was unfounded. I found the food to be fabulous - you could always find something you'd like. Even the kids ate well there as there is a kids menu available. My absolute favorite was the Japanese restaurant and the sushi there.
We took a few tours. We did the submarine tour from AquaWorld which was great for the kids to see first what was under water before they actually got in with all the creatures. The only annoying part was after you pay then they ask you for 20pesos/pp for some kind of fee for the reef park.
The included tour was to Xpu-Ha Palace and Tulum. We all went snorkeling and it was a great first experience for the kids. My kids don't like those snorkeling masks so I had bought them really good swimmers goggles which worked well for them. My dd was a little more timid - she was 5 after all so she stayed by the steps which actually had tons of huge algae eating fish which excited her to no end. It did absolutely pour for a few hours while we were there so we went and ate lunch then decided to go swimming anyway - that ended up being a lot of fun. After that we went to Tulum. If I were to make any recommendation it would be to take a taxi to Tulum and go snorkeling at the gorgeous beach and huge reef. We had tons of fun there and could have spent the entire day in the beach.
We also went to Xcaret for more snorkeling, the underground river and swim with the dolphins. People say the river is very cold but to us it felt about 72 which is not cold in my book. Me and the kids swam with the dolphins and that was the favorite part of their trip. For future reference - I would not take the apple tour I would just take a taxi there. The bus picks you up at Moon Palace where you drive to downtown Cancun and wait at a restaurant for 30 minutes to drive south past moon palace about an hour to Xcaret. Also they told us when we signed up there would be a bus at 4:30 to take us back - there was only a bus at 9:30 which for us is too long of a day. We ended up taking a taxi back and realized we should have just done that in the first place. I have mixed feelings of Xcaret - all told for the four of us we spent about $500 there that day, if I were really pinching pennies I wouldn't think that was worth it - but there were a few standouts that made it very memorable.
We hung out at the pool a lot. I never had a problem finding a spot in the shade. The pool is huge and gorgeous. We are early risers and were probably at the pool around 9. The weekends are more crowded there. There are only a few negatives - the weather, the kids club and the beds. We couldn't control the weather anyway but it was a little disappointing to have so much rain - be prepared for rainy day activities. It rained an all day deluge for one day and most of the day for 2 others. We can have fun regardless and we ended up not letting the weather stop our fun. The kids club was a bust. We sent the kids for the morning on the rainy day to get them to do something. It is over on the Nizuc side and was about the size of a walk-in closet. No big deal if it's sunny and they take the kids out but on a rainy day it's claustrophic with not much to do and my kids wouldn't go back. I read in their info there were video games there and there weren't. My 3rd and final complaint was how hard the beds were. We are used to sleeping on a pillow top mattress and I swear those beds were as hard as the marble floor. If I were to go again I would somehow bring egg crates to soften the bed.
It was a wonderful trip to a beautiful resort. Some of the freshest fruit I had ever eaten in my life. I'm still dreaming about the pineapple. None of us got sick and we drank the bottled water, ate the fruit, veggies, seafood etc. The water pressure is great, the grounds immaculate, the service second to none.
Thanks to Amy for this trip report ...