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Sailing into Cozumel was very exciting for this Mexican first timer. A mariachi band could be heard in the distance and I had a beach day planned on Paradise Island!

On thumbing through the shore excursion guide in my cabin, it was hard to go past this particular excursion to an island located 45 minutes off the coast of Cozumel by boat.

While it may seem ludicrous to go from one boat to another, for only USD$70, you can relax or participate in a range of activities on this island, enjoy a buffet lunch and all inclusive beverages for three hours.

Apart from the all-inclusive factor..the concept of lying on a pristine beach for a day is always my idea of heaven!

Liz and Sandie decided on a day away from their retired cop husbands and joined me for a girls day in Paradise.

We embarked on our journey across to the island and excitement mounted as we spotted it in the distance…was that white sand and palm tree lined island a mirage?

Disembarking the vessel in quite intense heat, we were very keen to just hit the beach but, the organisers had other plans with everyone needing to line up to take professional photos before being briefed about the island.

The last thing anyone felt like doing was wasting time in a long line to take a photo in the hope that we would purchase it before returning to the ship but, we were all very thankful that we were the only ship in town that day, as line would have been never ending otherwise!

Briefing over, we head straight to the beach bar to enjoy our first (of many) cocktails.

My choice? Tequila Sunrise…and boy do they like to free pour their spirits! My psychic powers told me that there may have been some truth when Cruise Director Jaime said we will have difficulty walking straight after this shore excursion!

White sun rockers (we dubbed them this because they were akin to a low rocking lounge and more than a tad difficult to get in and out of) lined the beach and we secured the perfect position…right near the bar.

Not that we needed to be concerned with our proximity to the cocktail-making hut, as beach waiter Jose was more than willing to bring us what seemed like a never-ending stream of drinks whilst we lay there and soaked in the sunshine.

Feeling brave, I headed straight for the beach activity area and somehow managed to climb up onto the floating trampoline.

Now a trampoline is difficult to balance on at the best of times…when you add the element of water to that…well you get the picture.

There may have been no grace involved in my foray in the beach activity area but I had a fabulous time letting my inner child break free!

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Words: Natalie Aroyan