My husband (51) & I (47) have been on about 15 cruises and this is our 2nd HAL cruise - last being on the Zuiderdam when I turned 40. Our other cruises have been on CCL, Princess, RCI, NCL, etc. We have been to the Mexican Riviera many times.
We drove from Central Calif on Friday and stayed at the Holiday Inn Bayside about 3 miles from the ship pier. We got transfered to the pier about 1:15 and were onboard in about 30 minutes.
Our VB balcony was a decent location near the aft and was a nice assignment from our VH guarantee booked just a couple of weeks before the cruise departed. The cabin was fairly clean with the exception of sand on the couch and stains on the carpet. Our room steward Rio was very nice and friendly and always remembered our names. We had towel animals most nights. I appreciated the large drawer under the bed and the two underneath the couch. We did rent two DVDs to watch and although everything in the booklet shows delivery we had to go to guest services to pick up and drop off because we were told it would be 1-2 hours and didn't want to wait.
We attended the cruise critics meet & mingle on Sunday morning.
We have never had open dining before and we decided to try it. The first four nights we had the SLOWEST service I have ever experienced on a cruise. These were all at different tables in different sections of the dining room. There were no smiles, no friendliness and the meals took well over 2 hours. Our tablemates complained to the maitre'd the first night and he put us all at a table by the window with a reservation the 2nd night with the same issues. We tried to get reservations at Canaletto's but couldn't until Friday night at 8pm. The 5th night we finally got a great waiter in AA from Bali and we enjoyed his fabulous service the last 3 nights when we requested his section with our reservations. Many people we spoke with had similar slow service in open seating.
As we had been to these ports before we just walked around the Malecon. My husband did the hike on the first day and really enjoyed it but said it should have been rated a 4/4 in difficulty due to steepness.
In Cabo we went to see the Dreams Resort as I have clients getting married there next summer. The weather was nice in both ports but a little cool in PV so we didn't go in the ocean.
We enjoyed the 2 production shows and the Joel Mason Elton John show. There was a comedian one night in the smaller lounge that was very funny as was the Marriage Show. During the Marriage Show, the cruise director Michael, actually announced to the audience that he preferred men - not a surprise by the way.
The other lounges played primarily music that catered to the majority over 60 crowd with the piano bar, string quartet, trio for dancing, etc. The nightclub was lightly attended but we did dance one night there when they had music from different decades from the 70's & 80's.
The Explorations Cafe was nice but the books I wanted to read were considered "Reference books" and couldn't be removed from the library.
We didn't use the spa or any of the cooking shows or computer classes so can't speak to those.
Overall the experience was positive and I will definitely cruise HAL again but maybe in the Caribbean where the crowd will be a bit younger and maybe more lively entertainment options.