The cruise that took my husband from never wanting to cruise again to loving it!
First a little background, we went on our first cruise to see if we would like cruising. It was a short three-night cruise to the Bahamas. I was in love with it on day one, my husband, on the other hand, enjoyed some things but not everything. On our second cruise, we went with a few other people, and it took till the second day before my husband would leave the cabin. We had a great time on both cruises and had no issues with either line. The thing my husband didn't like was the crowds of people on the lido deck, the concert like atmosphere and such.
MY SELFLESS HUSBAND KNEW I LOVED TO CRUISE AND SO FOR OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY, HE TOLD ME I MAY CHOOSE AND BOOK A CRUISE AS MY GIFT!!!
Knowing what he was gifting me, I wanted to find the best cruise I thought he would like. And so the search began.....
Mexican Rivera November 2018
With so many cruises to choose from I had a hard time keeping my goal of finding a cruise, my husband would love. You see, I would love to cruise on the biggest ships with the most adventures and activities there is. When you have choices like bumper cars or sky diving and escape rooms, bowling, zip line and so much more It's easy to get sidetracked. In the end, even though I knew my husband would go on any cruise, I choose I stuck with my plan.
1) I knew he would prefer not to spend a whole day traveling to departure port. So I searched all ports on the Pacific west coast.
2) wanted warm weather. So searched cruises leaving from California, we only had seven nights so that limited us to where to cruise.
3) choosing the cruise line. Do we go with the cheapest? Do we go with the biggest? (that was an easy one) was there a specific line more catered to my husband's likes?
I had heard that Holland America had a more mature cruise atmosphere, so even though there were no adventurous activities like the big ships have, I thought we would give it a go. On top of not having the activities, I wasn't super keen on cruising in the Pacific. I love the Caribbean. But I was going back on a ship and somewhere warm, and if my husband loves it, then it will be worth it.
The cruise port was easy to get to we dropped off our rental car at the Manchester Grand Hyatt rather than a typical car rental agency because it was close to the port and it would be easy to catch a cab to the port. This drop off made This was extremely easy to do, and we were on our way to the port in 5 minutes. Tip: carry small bills if you are taking a taxi, the driver claimed he didn't have enough change the ride was about 7$ and all I had was a $20 so he got an excellent tip after giving me 5$ change. The Hyatt is in walking distance if you want to save cab fare and you have the time. But I didn't feel like rolling my luggage down the street.
time to sit before they called our boarding number and we lined up for boarding. I have to say this was the only time any confusion and guidance were lacking. There were too many lines merging into the boarding line and so people blocked areas and the poor man taking your boarding number was a little frustrated. Once on the ship, they told us our cabins were ready, so we went ahead and dropped off our things in the cabin and went to explore. The prior cruise was a themed cruise, so they had part of the decked roped off for the unloading of stages, etc. That made for minimal seating the first little while.
The one thing I super enjoyed about Holland America was when ordering a drink I could order both mine and my husbands on my cruise card. Every other ship will only allow you to get one at a time or have both your and your husband's cruise card. The other thing was they gave you cans of soda, not fountain. I also found the service was far more superior than the other lines I cruised. You were treated the same whether you had a soda package or not. The other ships I saw didn't give you the same service if you were not tipping them. The service alone would make me consider giving up the activities you get on other ships.
that trip. We don't consume alcohol but sure did have many Mocktails and lattes every day, It also included bottled water, plain or sparkling. For the first time, I saw my husband enjoy the deck as soon as we embarked. There was no music blaring or crowds of people to get around. In fact, there were no vast crowds anywhere on the ship that alone made the cruise a favorite for us. I also can't say enough in this article about the service it was incredible. The only thing I would change was the food. It was good but not exceptional. I love to try new things, and I found there was nothing that stood out. I have great memories of my other cruises dining experiences, trying new things but none on this cruise.
Port of Cabo San Lucas
I wish we had done this port differently, but nothing can ever be perfect. We originally booked a camel excursion, but when I found out from reviews, the actual camel ride was like 15 min I canceled it.
After stopping at Starbucks and checking in back home with the Wifi, We went to Di diamonds where I either wanted to upgrade my Crown Of Light ring or have two missing diamonds replaced. Big waste of time, this is not a good DI diamonds store, I was treated very poorly because I didn't want to spend over 5000.00 dollars, but I will save that review for another time. Also if you are expecting bargain Mexico shopping, this isn't the port. We found Cabo prices not much different than USA prices. Maybe we didn't find the right shops I don't know. We did get our Mexican Vanilla there just in case I wasn't able to get it in any of our other ports, and I wasn't going to leave Mexico without my Vanilla. If I were to go again, I would find an excursion to do. The restaurants, however, are good we ate at Baja Cantina on the pier, and it was the freshest nacho's I ever had they were homemade not bagged.
Port of Mazatlán
We choose to do the hop on hop off tour. We didn't have a stop in mind, so we stayed on the bus for the full route and saw the city then choose the stop we wanted. We got off at the cliff divers, but they weren't there that day, so we went to find a restroom (there is none up top the hill) ended up missing the next hop on bus and had to wait for another. (Tip: don't stop here if you need a restroom) Then we wanted to get something to eat, so we ask the tour guide for a recommendation, and at the next stop, they arranged for us to be escorted and seated at the restaurant. I say escorted not that it isn't safe I felt very safe there, but because he explained to the service staff we had to catch the next bus, and we knew no Spanish. After a fantastic Mexican meal we asked the bus guide if we had time to go to the aquarium and they said "very little," but if we were back at the stop for a particular time, we could make the last bus to the ship. Needless to say, we missed the last bus not sure if it was hearing the correct time wrong or not, but when we went back, there was no hop on hop off bus stand. (Tip: Due to the accent of another country or yours when needing specific times use a visual object. 3:14 could sound like 3:40 big difference.) But no need to worry while waiting for the bus we had many taxi cars asking if we needed a ride. Having no cash on hand and little language ability we were able to snag a truck passing by and a driver that spoke English, he then stopped a taxi explained we needed to go to the bank machine then get to our cruise ship. We were back aboard in plenty of time with an adventure and a story to tell. After all that I do recommend the tour, I had a great day.
Port of Puerto Vallarta
This was our favorite port of the cruise, and If we were to go vacation on the Pacific side of Mexico, we would go here. We booked a jeep safari tour for this and somehow managed to get a jeep to ourselves. The best day on our cruise, Pepe our guide was excellent. There were no worries as he navigated the line of Jeeps thru the city and countryside. You must know how to drive a standard and have a drivers license to operate the jeep. (Tip: when driving in Mexico, you must be assertive.) We stopped at a little village outside of Puerto Vallarta and learned about the village. Then on to a tequila factory for some education, I think all excursions in Mexico stop at a tequila factory at some point on the tour. In between the stops we cruised with the top down around the countryside and enjoyed the beautiful day. Our last stop of the day was the beach. We learned a bit about a turtle hatching program they had and even got to hold baby turtles that hatched that morning. We had some free time to roam the beach, swim, have something to eat before the tour ended and we went back. Since we had some time to explore before we embarked on the ship, we walked over to Walmart and visited a mall across from the cruise port.
Something to note is we didn't book any excursions before the cruise we checked the TV in our cabin and booked thru the remote the night before we reached port. However, with that said I do recommend if you have your heart set on something you don't want to miss book it as soon as you can. Tours do fill up.
Holland America Eurodam
As for the ship itself, We never felt crowded, and there were even spots on the very top decks that we were the only ones. We had the entire deck to lounge all by ourselves. Service in the beverages category was superb, food service a little less so. Dive In eatery is very slow, but worth the wait, just when you think they forgot about you your order was ready, I didn't care for the pizza, but the main dining was pretty good. We have never as of yet tried a specialty restaurant but will someday. The Main Buffet was good in some ways and not good in others. Line ups to get food was slow and a little confusing with the layout. The salad station was the best, and the drink service was even better. If there were a few activities like pool tables or bowling or mini golf, something or anything, then this would have been the perfect ship for me.