Mexican Riviera with the Martini Mariners: Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by mngazer
Overall Member Rating
Mexican Riviera with the Martini Mariners
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
We arrived at LAX a day early and took the Prime Time Shuttle to Doubletree hotel. We booked both ahead via internet. The shuttle was right there, but failed to tell us it would drive around the airport until it filled the shuttle. With tip, the shuttle was about $40. Doubletree was a good choice for a hotel. It is showing its' age with wear and tear but the staff was great and the rooms large. The do have a restaurant on site and we had dinner and breakfast there.
Sunday morning, the hotel shuttle (free) took us to the port which is about 5 minutes away at 10:30 a.m. The cruise line tells you More not to expect to be on the ship until noon but we were checked in and eating lunch bey noon. We were in our cabin promptly at 1 p.m.
We were immediately greeted by our cabin steward, Zena. She was awesome and set the standard for the entire trip. Some trips, we never even know who our cabin steward is, Zena seems to appear out of thin air whenever we left our cabin. We did not need for anything. We asked that our mini bar be kept stocked with diet coke and water and it was. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and our linen changed twice.
We chose main dining. Our head waiter was again, awesome. We were with a group of about 16 people and we had two tables. We switched up the tables every night, buy she knew us by the second night and had my wine waiting for me no matter where we sat. She was quick to bring our extras every night as we like extra vegetables and some of our friends liked two meals (they were growing boys).
The ship was as great as I remembered. She is none the worse for wear for being 7 or 8. Our cabin was clean and almost sparkled. I did not see wear in the hall carpets or in the walls. The public areas were kept remarkably clean. This ship had truly, one of the best staffs we have ever experienced. In the grill, tables were cleaned as soon as some one got up. The buffets were kept full and clean. The food was delicious. And although the ship was full, we never had a problem finding a deck chair or getting on and off the ship. We were really impressed!
Our goal on this trip was to return home and not need a vacation to rest up from our vacation. We did not plan to take any organized tours or excursions and we succeeded in doing this. We were surprised at how much fun we had and this will go into our books as one of our favorite vacations. We were never stressed by the need to go to bed so we could get up early, or skip anything cause we had somewhere to be. We made no plans until we woke up each day and it was great!
We loved all three ports and have some new sayings. "Lady, almost free!" And "Don't buy from him...Silver for one week". Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We decided not to do the glass bottom boat ($10. each) to see the arch and Lovers beach as we were tendered right next to the rock formation and we knew by looking at Lovers' beach that it was not what we were looking for. We wanted beach chairs and refreshments and there is nothing at Lovers' beach. Also, I have heard swimming can be dangerous with the currents.
We opted instead to take the water taxi $6. round trip) across the marina to Medano Beach. We found ourselves some beach chairs and umbrellas and settled in for the day. I have to warn you, it was kind of like spring break at the beach. There was a disc jockey and lots going on but we enjoyed it. The bars all have 2 for 1 drinks all day. I enjoyed mango daiquiris ($6. for 2) and my husband had Corona's (2 for $4.00). We had awesome chicken nachos for lunch. They were plenty for two and they were good and authentic. We spent about $45.00 with tip for 4 hours on the beach. We were hounded constantly by vendors, but if you smiled and said no, they moved on. Be prepared to tip the shuttle driver, they expect a dollar or two. You can walk to Medano beach from the ship, but it is hot!! I would recommend taking the water taxi.
There was shopping right at the pier if you don't feel like walking into town. And I know there is more to do in Cabo, we chose not to do anything but beach it.
The sand here is not white, silky sand. It is more like coarse clay sand. That being said, it was clean and the water was great. It was not stony as the name implied, but had more of a sandy bottom. This beach was just the opposite of yesterdays beach. It was very quiet and not a whole lot going on. We walked about half way down the beach and found a restaurant that had chaise loungers. They were set up off the ground. We set up camp here for the day. We drank mango daiquiris and coronas, again for really low prices. We had awesome octopus and shrimp Ceviche and fried fish tacos for lunch. There were vendors here but they were not as pushy. We bought homemade coconut cookies from vendors. We really took a chance and had fresh oysters, opened to order, from a vendor for $1.00 apiece. They were sweet and cold and no, we did not get sick. We purchased some opal silver earrings and a slide to match and an ironwood sculpture. We spent more here than anywhere and with everything we bought, ate, and drank, we spent about $100.
Halfway through our day, excursions showed up from the ship. Turned out that several tours concluded here. The ship guests were horseback riding behind the restaurant, there were ATV's, Kayaks, and Banana boats. I don't know what the guests paid, but they were all available to anyone, even if you were not with the tours.
We headed back to the boat around 3p.m. and hit the flea market by the boat. There is plenty to buy here and very reasonable. We bought a few things here, including some metal wall art that we were afraid would not fit in our luggage, but did thank goodness.
We were back on board by 4 p.m. This was our favorite day in port. It was so relaxing and the water was so nice. The food was great and the beach was so easy to get to. If you like quiet, this is the beach for you.
We dropped off our purchases and took a shared van to down town and walked over to the Malecon. It is a kind of boardwalk that runs along the ocean. Across the street is all shops and restaruants. We had planned on swimming here, but this is not a swimming beach. The ocean has a very strong current here with large waves. There was no one on the beach or in the water. We were dissappointed that swimming was not to be but we really enjoyed the walk on the Malecon. We covered the entire length. There are incrediable metal sculptures about every 50 feet or so. They are all different and fun. There are sand artist and they are creating huge sand sculptures that you will find hard to believe that someone could create. There are vendors, although I suspect they are not allowed to push their goods on the Malecon cause they would see the police and run. And the police are everywhere, on every corner.
We found an area where all the local artist are selling their paintings. We watched a man paint with his mouth. His arms were deformed and useless but his paintings were beautiful. We purchased one of his paintings for $20 and he was the only person we did not try to barter with. His paintings were worth $20.
At the end of the Malecon, we settled in an open air restaurant and enjoyed Shrimp, Scallop, and Octopus Ceviche again. It was delicious. We had Shrimp tacos and again, it was plenty to share. Loved the $5.00 Mango Daiquiris and $2.00 Coronas. Total bill was $55. including tip.
My husband decided to Para sail right there off the beach. It was $40. and no, he could not get me to join him. I videoed it.
We decided to brave it and take a public bus back to the ship. We walked one block in from the Malecon and jumped on a blue and white bus, asked for Marina and ship. The driver said no problem and 10 minutes later, deposited us across the road from the port. Cost, $1. each.
Did I mention the streets by the port are treacherous!! Be careful crossing. Use only the cross walks. There are 4 lanes each way of heavy, fast traffic.
There is shopping at the port but we found it very expensive and not too impressive. We did not purchase anything here. We were back on board at 4 even though the ship was here until 7. We hit the hot tub and then had a nap before dinner. It was a good day.
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