We sailed out of San Diego on April 14, 2009 on the Ryndam's Mexican Riviera cruise. As usual, the staff were exceptional, the ship a little tired but still very nice and clean. Our first two days at sea were great and Puerta Vallarta was super. We had selected the Trainer for a Day excursion and spent a wonderful day swimming with dolphins and sea lions. I highly recommend this excursion. Be advised however, that you cannot wear sunscreen to protect the dolphins' skin so wear a t-shirt to avoid sunburn. Our next stop was Mazatlan. Mazatlan has never been one of my favorite cities so no comment about that. Next we went to Topolobampo and, despite advise from several others, we signed up for the Copper Canyon shore excursion.
First, it cost $800 for the two of us; it was 19 hours of boring, bumping and jostling. There is a 2 hour bus ride to the train station. This wonderful day starts at 3 a.m. The staff want you up at 3, then they hold you in the theater until 4:30. The trains were not Holland America cars and were very bouncy and moved constantly from side to side and front to back. There were broken windows in our car. The worst were the toilets. Just let me say that you didn't want to use them after the first hour! The train trip took over 6 hours to the stopping point. There was a good lunch served at one hotel and then we went to the second hotel to look at the Copper Canyon, which is supposed to be 6 times larger than the Grand Canyon. Well, to see it's actual size, you would have to be in space and there was absolutely no color to the canyon. Granted, being from the beautiful state of Colorado, I am biased but the Copper Canyon was a huge disappointment. After two hours on top we boarded the train for a return 6 hour, plus 2 hour bus ride back to the ship. Unless you want to be treated like a refugee, say on board and enjoy the ship and save your money. For beauty, come to Colorado and take the Durango/Silverton train.
I will say, the Holland staff does have a pre-trip meeting and warns of the above items, but it still doesn't give the complete story. After we returned, we did talk to the short excursion staff and they basically looked bored and acted as though it was our fault for complaining.
The rest of the cruise was wonderful and we came home with very positive feelings about the trip. This was not our first Holland cruise and won't be our last, but we will definitely be more selective about our choice of shore excursions.