He said Ms. Behar was like a second mother to him. She frequently welcomed him to her house when he was spending time with her sons, and she would often invite him to tag along on family outings, he said.
The Behar family had traveled to Mexico to celebrate Mr. Behar’s birthday, he said.
A neighbor of Ms. Shamis, Richard Weinstein, 52, said he had known her since December 1999, when she and her husband, Arkady, moved into their gated neighborhood at the same time as he did.
The couple had immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union, Mr. Weinstein said. Over the years, they invited him to their home several times to eat. Ms. Shamis introduced him to some classic Eastern European recipes; in particular he recalled that she had made him borscht, a traditional vegetable soup.
But Mr. Shamis died in February, Mr. Weinstein said; he said he remembered seeing Ms. Shamis afterward, and she spoke of a desire to travel.
“When I found out this news, I was shocked,” Mr. Weinstein said of the bus crash. “I couldn’t believe it. Here she is, she suffered such a tragedy with her husband. Now she looked like she was starting to have a good time going on trips and all, and this had to happen. It’s very sad.”
The tourists were on vacation aboard the cruise ships Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, which are operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, the cruise line said.
The ships had docked at the port of Mahahual on Mexico’s Caribbean coast some 220 miles south of Cancun, and the tourists had boarded the bus for an excursion to the ruins of Chacchoben.
The accident occurred about three miles outside of Mahahual, state officials said.
Unlike the highly developed tourist region around Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, the southern coast of Quintana Roo is much wilder, with pristine Caribbean beaches, extensive jungle and the pockets of Mayan ruins.