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Home > Destinations > Mexico > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Mexico - Trip Reports

Moon Palace, Cancun


Booked thru AAVacations over a month in advance for our family of 4; children ages 17 and 11. Never again will I use this agency. Had trouble getting credit for under 12/free stay promotion. Had to book travel first at full price then make numerous phone calls to AAVacations for measly $218 credit; each time being told to call back to verify it had been posted. They were apologetic about THEIR mistake but to date still have not received credit and am beginning to believe this will not happen. Plus, AAVacations reissued travel documents two days before departure upon because of hotel portion error; upon receipt of new docs we discovered our return time had been changed to the earliest departure flight...without notice to us. Could not get it changed, flights were booked/overbooked. Basically our seats were given to someone else. Had to get up at 3AM to catch Olympus shuttle back to airport at 4AM where we waited as the very first passengers in the entire airport for over an hour and a half before AA ticket agents showed up for work. Check-in & customs was very smooth and simple after that, even after arriving back home at DFW.

Have stayed at Moon Palace four yrs prior, Sunrise side. Thoroughly enjoyed that stay and that's why we chose to return to this quieter property south of the hotel zone with our children. There is no choice on which side of the Moon Palace you will stay. This trip we were put on Nizuc which turned out to be the older, smaller of the two. This only after being first refused at Nizuc, taken to Sunrise where we were on their arrival list and shown into the hotel to the front desk. Upon check-in there, front desk clerk says there has been a mistake, we are supposed to be at Nizuc and we were summarily sent back. No explanations or apologies were given for this but we didn't let it bother us too much even when we requested to stay on Sunrise side but turned down due to full capacity there. Check-in was quick, the ID wristbands were applied with warnings not to remove else pay $100 each. Directed to exit the lobby by side entrance to waiting golf cart/bellman to take us to our room. Was accosted by a Guest Services staff member who wore a Chaza Travel nametag. She tried to persuade us to sit down for an 'orientation'. Suspicious this was the infamous timeshare people, we told her we wanted to get our rooms first and would check in with our Olympus Tours agent as we'd been instructed to do (to verify our arrival and contact info on return times, etc). She became angry and rudely told us he only wanted to sell us side tours and that our free, included tours could not be booked by him. We were taken aback by her aggressive behavior and repeated we would go to our rooms first and check back later. We wanted to escape her; it was later confirmed Guest Services is the first step in the timeshare program this resort chain seems to push on any guest over the age of 30. Also note: Guest Services is not manned by actual hotel employees. They may own Chaza Travel for all we know but they will tell you they are not part of the hotel staff, especially if you have a problem. The title Guest Services has a totally different meaning at this property. We learned this later thru yet another annoying incident during our stay. That was the "free" bus service that is advertised as an included benefit. In truth, they have 4 set times of 4 hour spans in which you can catch a bus to their other resorts in the hotel zone from Moon Palace-Sunrise lobby. You must ride their bus and obtain a hand-drawn, xeroxed copy 'ticket'. Without this ticket you will not be given a ride back to your hotel, despite your identifying wristband. Only a schedule was given us at the 'orientation' that we did return to receive as the agressive GS rep was correct in that we could only book the included tours thru them. They gave us a packet with various info about the hotel (maps/restaurant listings) & the bus schedule, but no mention of bus ticket requirements. We took a taxi on our first day ($16 US, one way) as the earliest Palace bus is at 12 noon; only to be refused a ride back even though it was the appointed return time. The bus had only 6 passengers on it! Another couple had lost their ticket during the day and they were also refused. Inquiry at the front desk at Cancun Palace ended in making us very angry. We were told by "the manager" that the bus service wasn't included in our package! We took a taxi back to our hotel (Nizuc) and went to "Guest Services" who commiserated but said we would have to talk to Customer Relations, located at a desk directly across from them. Customer Relations also proved a fruitless effort to obtain so much as an apology for the false advertising and/or lack of accurate information regarding their in-house bus service. Jenny (CR rep) did not apologize even after she pointed out the statement on the schedule that it was first come first serve. We pointed out in return that nowhere on it did it say a ticket was required. We asked her to explain. She could not. Her response was, "That's the way it works."

All Palace resort entrances are now gated too with guards. If you're not a guest you don't get in. The beach along the hotel zone is public but we witnessed a Palace security guard run off two people who were, we assume, from another hotel. We can understand this due to abuse by other hotel guests who must be trying to use their facilities. But from the condition of the Sun, Beach and Cancun Palace resorts in the hotel zones, no one is missing out on much. They are aged and badly in need of renovation. And there is a shortage of adequate protected/covered areas on the beach. Suggest anyone staying at Palace bring their own beach towels as well because you could get yours easily stolen unless you travel with a companion who will take turns guarding it for you. We felt compelled to do this and save ourselves further frustrations. Replacement cost is $20 each and you must trade the towel for a towel card on each use.

If you love the beautiful aqua blue water, do not stay here. This area of the sea is blocked off by a coral reef and is stagnant. It's gray-green, murky and stinks if the breeze is not blowing the smell away. Despite this, our children had to wade in and immediately started having a severe itching skin reaction to the heavy cover of seaweed in the water. At least we think it was the seaweed. Several other guests we talked to experienced this as well. One person mentioned it was some form of bacteria that lives in the seaweed. We don't know but recommend you stay out of this water. Our kids did not suffer any lasting effects from it at least. For beautiful clear water, choose a beach in the hotel zone, or north from Moon Palace to the public beach called Nizuc Parque (not affiliated with Palace Resorts), or further south at Playa Del Carmen.

Overall, Cancun is a beautiful place to visit and there is lots to see and do for everyone. Again, if you are a water lover, choose another hotel. We enjoyed our side trips to the various Mayan ruins. Just be aware that you need to carry plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat and sunglasses. Tulum would be best for a first timer; about half a day. Chichenitza is an all-day trip. It is very hot with little available shade and a lot of walking in high heat/humidity; poor food. Would also recommend a side tour to Xcaret ecological park. Our whole family really enjoyed this even if there wasn't as much sea life as depicted on the brochures. It has a wonderful sea turtle hatchery program and the underground river float is fabulously cool and refreshing and both are included in the price of the entrance ticket. You can make the float trips as often/long as you like; they provide free locker bags for your belongings. The Tortugas restaurant at Xcaret was superb even though the wait was longer than most. It was worth it; avg $12 pp prices food only. Bar none the best food we had the whole trip. More snorkeling, swim-with-dolphins, snuba, scuba diving, etc. can be obtained for extra costs there as well. This also is an all day trip but one where you can 'do-it-all'. Our Olympus tour guide to Xcaret was not very good, we've had better/more entertaining. Again, if you're on a budget, take your own drinks. Everywhere it seemed a canned soda was $3 each; water $1 bottle.

Thanks to PT for this trip report ...
June 2004

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