It was my husband's fall break from school and my dad and his wife could fit this cruise into their schedule so for the first time we were able to take a cruise together. We had been looking forward to it for many months. We flew ... Read More
It was my husband's fall break from school and my dad and his wife could fit this cruise into their schedule so for the first time we were able to take a cruise together. We had been looking forward to it for many months. We flew into San Diego a day earlier and got a night at the nearby Best Western prior to embarkation.
Embarkation went smoothly. After checking in, we had to wait about 40 minutes before we could get on the ship but they had a decent waiting area with plenty of seating so it was not a big deal. Once we boarded the ship, we were able to go right to our rooms to check them out. We got side by side balcony staterooms and had our room steward open the balcony partition between rooms so that we could enjoy each other's company during the cruise. Our room stewards were Rohman and Ron and both seemed fine. One thing I didn't really like was that I felt a little shamed for asking for an extra towel to be inside our bathroom at all times so that if needed, I wouldn't have to ask for it. I got the lecture about how they want us to re-use the towels to save water. I get it but I'm also asking for one extra towel and shoot! I'm on vacation. If I want to use an extra towel, can't I? What I did learn super quickly though was an extra hand towel was needed to keep the sink area dry because every time we reached between the soap and the faucet, water dripped everywhere. They really should use hand soap dispensers - kind of like they do in the shower with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. If the dispenser was right over the sink itself, there would be no mess of drips everywhere.
We then went up to lunch in the Lido Cafe otherwise known as the "buffet." I would give it an 8 out of 10 for lunch. I found the desserts to be lacking in flavor though. And, the ice cream was good but twice I wanted a waffle cone and twice they said, no more. Wait until next time. I think whoever makes them needs to make more if they are this popular. I liked the salad station though. It was nice to be able to have salads made up however I wanted them. We pre-purchased a soda card and a drink card before boarding and they were both very useful. In fact, I don't think we actually zero'd out the soda card by the end of the cruise.
The dining room was nice and we had great waiters. Supardi and Eki where wonderful and always greeted us with a smile, and gave us what ever we asked for. And, my thing is Creme Brulee. I asked for it every night but one and I got it every night but one. Thank you for that!! Now that is an awesome fulfillment of a request! The options for appetizers and soups and salads were a little bit lacking I thought. Maybe they have cut down on choices over the years? We also enjoyed our wine guy. His name was Ron and he was great. I only ordered wine once but my dad and his wife got a wine package and he was super friendly and not pushy which is what I like!! These 3 got extra tips from all of us!
Entertainment...well, I hate to say it but I was totally bored by the HAL performers on the ship. That is the first time in 11 cruises (other lines as well as HAL) that I've ever had to say that. Too bad. We opted to skip the second night they performed too. Now, the hired help - Comedians...they were awesome! Both kept me laughing and left me wanting more. Went to all three shows of theirs. The entertainment in the lounges was good, however seating was lacking if you got there even one minute after it started. That actually annoyed me. The four of us did enjoy the game nights in the different lounges though.
We originally pre-purchased two shore excursions from HAL but ended up cancelling the one for Cabo because it was a beach/resort day and we found out it wasn't even on a swimmable beach and to see the pictures online left a lot to be desired. We went out on our own and purchased a resort day online before leaving - for a whole lot less, and at a nicer resort on a swimmable beach! In Puerto Vallarta we also purchased HAL's resort/beach day and it was actually very nice! My only complaint was that it should have started and hour or two later so that it ended later. Many in our group never got to eat lunch in a restaurant at the resort because the seating was limited and we had to get back on the bus at 1:20 and the restaurants didn't open for lunch until noon. If you weren't there waiting in line right at 12:00, you didn't get a table. The excursion should have gone from 10-3 or something along those times. The resort itself though was super nice with multiple pools and a private beach with kayaks to use. The all-inclusive aspect at the resort was nice too. They had nice towels and free drinks! In Mazatlan, we caught a taxi to go to the Golden Zone to shop. It was SO HOT though that about 1 hour into it we had enough. Sweat dripping down your back just isn't fun. In the future, I would do a water related excursion - at least this time of year. We also went to the newer Wal Mart and picked up some extra bottled water and a few other little items.
My husband likes to bake so picking up about 5 bottles of Mexican vanilla was "the thrill of the hunt" for him! I think he ended up with different brands too.
So this next part is why I gave this cruise 3/5...On the last sea day, my husband started feeling sick in the morning. Not the ships fault, but what made it really hard was that our stateroom flooded! We were away from the room, and when I came back to change, the door was open, there were huge fans all around as the water had come out into the hallway, and our room was flooded almost all the way over to the balcony. No one could tell us why and how it happened but something about the pipes in the bathroom. So my husband went to Guest Services to tell them what had happened (Rohman had told him to since he couldn't handle the catastrophe) and they followed my husband down to the room, looked at the situation and then said, "well, we'll wait and see!" Ok, our bed had been upended. Our luggage which had been stored under the bed, was next to the balcony and every item of furniture was pushed over to the door of the balcony. All the water had been shut off. It was totally unlivable! And they say, "let's wait and see????" Nope, not good enough! So we were basically displaced outside of our cabin for a few hours while they decided to "wait and see." Finally, they found us and gave us a new cabin to go to which was nice because it was a suite. Great! But at this point my husband was really feeling awful and slept the day away in the suite which meant I had to get out of it so he could rest. Moving all of our stuff to the suite was all up to us too so that was all kinds of fun. I entertained myself the rest of the day - outside the new cabin and by 10:00 that night...I was now sick! Not a fun way to end the cruise. Disembarkation was quite chaotic and both of us felt awful and had to look forward to the journey home feeling that way.
***on another note, we heard from other cruisers onboard that the ship had an issue with A/C in multiple cabins. There was none!!! Why didn't they get moved to available cabins?? These people went all week with no A/C and many of them were elderly people! That seems unacceptable to me! Many had to beg for fans! And there weren't enough! Maybe it had something to do with just coming from Alaska but even so, these systems should have been checked out before getting to the Mexican Riviera where for the most part it was extremely hot in every port! If it had happened to us, my husband said it would have been our last cruise!! Read Less