We had previously gone on 3 Caribbean cruises and we wanted to see the Mexican Riviera. We had done 1 NCL in the Caribbean and had a good experience.
For this Mexican Riviera cruise, it was cold the first 2 days and also on the end day coming back up. Taking this trip in the winter you need to realize that it will be too cold to swim in the ship pool for first 2 days. The end day was also too cold to walk on deck. This may be obvious for someone from California who knows California winter is not toasty, but we are not from California and frankly, we want our vacation to be hot, hot, hot from day one.
It did not get warm enough to be on deck or swimming in pool till the third day. The Star also does not make sure the pool is heated upon departure. It wasn't warm enough to even be in it for 2 days. They kept displaying the pool temp as 84 degrees on the closed circuit tv but it wasn't true. I've lots of experience with pools and this one was mid 70's for 2 days, which is too cold to feel comfortable.
Our cabin had blood stains on all our sheets and pillows. When we asked for exchange, we got different blood stained ones.
Our toilet area stunk like urine. When we asked them to address this, they just put cleaner in the toilet. We think the entire bathroom/cabin was in need of a thorough cleaning. They just don't seem to do this.
The 3rd day into the trip my daughter pulled up my sheet on my bed and saw a large round yellow stain on the mattress covering under the sheet. Of course, it was urine. When I pulled up the mattress covering, the mattress had the same stain on it. This means that neither the mattress covering nor the mattress had been changed since the urine incident. So each time the service changed the top sheet, if indeed it was changed, they ignored the urine shouting at them on the mattress covering and mattress.
When I asked for all new items, they gave me new coverings but they just flipped the mattress upside down so the urine stain was on bottom. Not exactly what I had in mind. I even told him not to do that but I guess he didn't speak any English.
This poor job of cleanliness is a definite downside. We were grateful to be home where it was clean. That's kinda odd when you pay what we did for the room.
It may be the auto-gratuity (free-style cruising) has removed any motivation beyond putting a chocolate mint on the pillow. My take is that it is so difficult to challenge the gratuity that it's not worth it. I think the room stewards are now the bottom of the caste there and they don't even know what our understanding of cleanliness is. My guess is that with other gratuity based cruises, the steward needs some more skill or understanding in these areas to get a good tip.
In addition to the poor cleaning, they don't seem to be putting money into keeping the cabin fresh. I think they need to do that. Our mattresses were also old and had lost their comfort. The drawers made ear piercing noise upon opening them.
We went with Rosie who is mentioned in other postings. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a really nice tour as others have mentioned. We recommend this for Acapulco. Note that if you're a large person, it may be a hassle getting in/out of the van she drives. It is not a tour bus.
We took the Los Gatos beach excursion. DON'T DO IT. The transport was a bottleneck. Each local little boat belongs to a certain company and they will ignore you on the way back if you did not come thru them. The worst part of that is that a boat from another company will not move out of the line of transport until they get their passengers. So we went nowhere for a long time.
The beach was mediocre and crowded with locals. The fish at lunch was advertised as fresh catch. Mine was inedible.
Beach Escape. This was beautiful. DO THIS. You go to an all-inclusive that is comfortable and beautiful. The beach is wonderful, the food is magnificent and they have even better choices and freshness than the ship. The only down side is that you are not guaranteed an umbrella or chair. Again, this is kind of odd with the amount of money you pay. You just have to be toward front of group going in.
Cabos San Lucas
We did the whale excursion. We saw a half dozen. Whales are starting to head home so this is starting to wind down. Cabos San Lucas is beautiful, so anything to get you out and about in the bay is probably worthwhile.
We enjoyed most the shows. The magician was not so great. He tried to mix his version of humor into the show but he better not quit his day job to become a comedian. He also didn't seem to tailor his humor to families even at daytime shows.
We enjoyed Versailles because you don't have to book it, it's beautiful and food is good. We really have no complaints about the food served.
In the future, we'll head directly to the Riviera via plane. We'd fly to either Puerto Vallarta or Cabos San Lucas. It takes too much from the vacation to travel to the warmth via cruise. More likely, we'll stick with the Caribbean.