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Our family went on the December 20-27, 2006 Mexican Riviera cruise on the Island Princess. We had been impressed with our Sun Princess cruise (Alaska - 2006) and had high expectations for this cruise, but were somewhat disappointed with the experience overall. Having said this, there were some great times we will always remember. Here are some details, good and bad: We drove from San Diego and parked our minivan in long term parking at the San Pedro port facility. No problems. Our embarkation went very smoothly and we were very pleased with our rooms, 2 adjoining balcony rooms with doors connecting the rooms (A708 and A710). Very convenient for families with older children. Two twin beds in one room, 1 queen in the other room. The beds were comfortable, but let me tell you the pillows were either (a) as flat as pita bread or (b) they were, like, totally half-empty, like they had lost most of their stuffing. Either or both combined will cause neck cramps the next day - trust me. We requested some pillow assistance and got this orthopedic u-shaped pillow that felt like two stale jellyroll cakes with a valley in between. When you're on a relaxation cruise, a small detail like this can make a difference. My mother-in-law requested down pillows and got them. Memo to me! Okay, next. The bathroom was pretty small, but the shower was dreadful due to a 8 or 9 inch metal handrail on the right-hand side of the shower stall that hits you in the side if you take your shower, as I do, facing away from the shower head. Water pressure was fine, though. If you'll be taking more than one shower a day, say, before your shore excursion and then again before dinner, ask your room steward at the beginning of the trip for 4 towels per person, each day. After checking into our room, we went to the Horizon Buffet for lunch. The Turkey and Gravy were quite good. My son had Chicken Adobo and Pasta Bolognese, which he liked. The beef on the Beef Kabobs was so tough it was impossible to cut with the butter knife. The salad bar was comprehensive and will please the health conscious. But overall, the food was fair, cafeteria-style, like Las Vegas buffet fare, but more like Circus Circus than the Bellagio. Some of the selections were downright gross (like hardboiled eggs, cut in half, placed down on a pan and covered with Thousand Island dressing). Most were ordinary (French Fries, Fried Shrimp, Beef Goulash). Some were pretty good (Seafood Skewers, Pasta with Sausage Sauce, Chicken Kiev). Breakfast foods were the usual: different sausages, ham, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, an omelette bar, fruit. The fresh breads and rolls were consistently delicious. You could make a fine lunch with the bread, cheeses, salami, and fruit. Desserts? Mostly of the Cool-Whip Mousse or Jello variety. Don't even try the mealy brownie. My daughter enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies, however. Peanut Butter cookies not bad, either. We chose the Anytime Dining option. On the first night, we were slow to be seated, and the food was slow to arrive, maybe because it was the first night and there was some chaos. Food was okay, but my son was served the smallest shrunken chicken breast in the universe, 3 bites tops to eat it! Can't remember what I was served (how unmemorable!), except that the apple strudel I had for dessert was gluey. Refills of iced tea were hard to come by, and here again is a little detail that you shouldn't have to worry about on a Princess cruise. Now, if the Dining Room or the Horizon Buffet prove for you to be less than enticing, we highly recommend Sabatini's Restaurant, which offers a long, multi-course Italian dinner with fantastic, friendly service and lots of interesting culinary specimens. There is a cost per person of $20.00. Air-cured beef, spaghetti with seafood, caviar, lobster, rosemary chicken, lots of exotic stuff, served course by course over a long period of time. Probably not for young kids. Coffee was about what you'd get at your basic gas station, so please order tea with your dessert! Even better than Sabatini's was The Bayou Grille. This restaurant charges $15.00 per person, and an extra $5.00 if you order the lobster tail. My wonderful father-in-law said this was the best meal he'd had on this cruise (we dined here our last night), and everyone at the table, young and older alike, enjoyed this spicy, tasty dinner. The Gumbo had quite a bite and was filled with seafood and fresh okra. The filet mignon was outstanding with a capital O; the Jambalaya was thoroughly enjoyed by my somewhat finicky 14 year old daughter. She also loved her steak as well as the sauce it was served with. My son and husband gave the grade of A+ to their lobster tail dinner. Of the desserts, the chocolate one got the highest rating. Our server Carolina, from Poland, was delightful. Funny, helpful, patient, perfect! Here the coffee served with dessert was just right! We saw the ship's captain dining here with his crew a good sign! A great place for families, or for honeymooners. Don't miss this experience. The youth activities on this ship were not as good as those on the Sun Princess (Alaska, 2006). For one, there is no arcade on this ship, which really disappointed my 11 year old son. Second, there were few outdoor activities for the 11-13 group, such as basketball, mini-golf, etc. On the Sun Princess, there were organized, outdoor group activities supervised by the ship's youth activity staff. But on this ship it was indoor stuff, like T-Shirt Graffiti, Foosball Play, Night at the Movies, Casino Night, and Talent Show. The Ping-Pong Tourney was outside, but that's it. What helped my son and his overly-anxious mother was the use of walkie-talkies we purchased before the trip (Motorola Talkabouts, about $40.00). The walkie-talkies allowed my son to go with some buddies to the pool or to the basketball court and let me know when he was leaving to return to the youth center. The walkie-talkies worked about 85% of the time, and if you like to be able to check up on your kids while you are at dinner, or relaxing in your stateroom, I HIGHLY recommend getting a set of walkie-talkies before you leave. I believe the ship rents them out as well, so you may want to look at the ones the ship provides. I got the feeling the teen center activities weren't that fabulous, since many times I saw teenagers sitting on the stairs near our stateroom listening to their Ipods, or just vegging around in different parts of the ship. My daughter, however, disagrees with me. She enjoyed Casino Night, hanging out with other teens and the staff in the teen center. Being a teenager, she will not give me more information than that. When we got to our first stop, Cabo San Lucas, we signed up for the Cabo San Lucas Coastal Cruise. This was supposed to be a catamaran ride up the coast of Cabo, checking out the mansions and the beautiful scenery. I don't know about you, but when I think of a catamaran ride, I think of that cool, careening, ocean going vessel with a sail, close to the water, ocean spray splashing in your face and at your feet. The ocean going vessel we ended up going on was twin-hulled all right, but it was more like a giant 100 foot party boat on gargantuan hulls. If you wanted to be out in the fresh ocean air, you had to sit on top of the boats front in 70's style modular furniture, or wherever you could find a place on the ground to park your butt. Inside the boat, it was dark, big, empty, loud. The experience was boring to the max the entire time. Many others who went on this cruise expressed their disappointment that this was not the type of catamaran they had expected, either. We knew this by their comments and the fact that most of us wore bathing suits, expecting to make some type of contact with ocean water. We never did. Not only that, but the brochure said, Refreshments provided. We took that to mean a Coke or bottled water. But what that really meant was generously flowing pitchers of margaritas, or beer on tap, name your poison. Drinking was absolutely the main idea of this shore excursion, and had the brochure indicated that, non-drinkers with kids such as my husband and myself would have chosen something a little bit different. If you should dare to complain about a misrepresented shore excursion such as this one, you can expect to meet with an impatient, suspicious shore excursion desk manager. Buyer beware. Our next stop was Mazatlan. We signed up for the Shopping, Beach, Lunch, & Show excursion. We recommend this excursion to adventurous families. First, we took a hair-raising ride (we like hair-raising rides, we gave our driver a big tip!) in an open dune buggy-type taxi to see the Mexican Dancer and Pampantla Flyer Show. Very touristy, but fun for the kids. Refreshments provided, but not free-flowing. Then we walked to the resort, shopping for souvenirs along the way. Good deals on silver jewelry and t-shirts. Make sure you do a little negotiating. The resort (Playa Mazatlan, or something like that) was very nice. There are big umbrellas and plastic tables/chairs in the sand, perfect for friends and family to sit around, while running down to the gorgeous and perfect ocean for a little dip in the waves. Bring your camera to take paradise pictures at this resort. But be careful to put your camera away in its case, for if sand gets into your camera it will be a nightmare. We had a wonderful catered feast at this resort. Tortilla chips, guacamole, veggies, hot frijoles (beans), Mexican rice, pineapple tamales, barbequed chicken (my son's favorite), chicken enchiladas suizas (watch out for bones). We were so full after eating the lunch, we had no room for dessert (flan, rice pudding). Here you could get alcoholic drinks, sodas, or bottled water. You could swim in the ocean or in the resort's lovely pool (water kinda cold). It was the best kind of afternoon, great food, great photos, family memories big time. Our final destination was Puerto Vallarta. BOOK IN ADVANCE the Royal Dolphin Swim shore excursion for your whole family! We, of course, did not book in advance, but lucked out when the ship added one more of these excursions onto its schedule. If we had missed this, it would have been a huge loss! This excursion is very expensive, but worth every penny! Wear a one piece swimsuit, girls. Trust me. And guys, wear a suit that will not fall to your knees if you dive in the water. Actually, you will not do any diving, but you will be propelled out of the pool through the air by the combined strength of 2 powerful adult bottlenose dolphins! I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that you will never (in the U.S.) have the opportunity to spend so much Q-time in the water with healthy, friendly, fun, and well-trained dolphins. After your extremely mind-blowing visit with the dolphins, you can either tube down the park's undulating water slides, go see dolphin and/or sea lion shows, or lounge around at plastic tables watching the kids have fun. Lunch is provided and includes a strangely-textured hot dog, adequate burger, or pizza (big question mark). Fries were good, a little on the crunchy side. Condiments come in plastic packets. As long as you're going to spend upwards of $170.00 per person on this shore excursion, you might as well spend a hundred bucks more and buy some photos and the DVD ($50.00) the park will make of your experience. It's a very professional and individualized video account of the excitement, and you will have a great time showing it to your friends and family back home. The photos taken by the staff are also outstanding but expensive ($12.00 or $15.00 each). You only live once. Do it! Well, my seafaring, former deckhand husband and my beautiful and well-traveled mother-in-law both warned that as soon as we left Puerto Vallarta, the trip home would be bumpy, and they were right. The winds picked up, the ship rolled, the stabilizers had some work to do, but we survived without getting seasick. My mother-in-law takes ginger pills which you can buy in the ship's gift shop. The seas never got bumpier than Moderate and the wind never more energetic than 30 knots. Still, you may want to pack your ginger or motion sickness medicine in advance. Also, we were on Deck 12, Aloha deck, and we were told that the higher up you go in the ship, the more you feel the motion. We were on our way home. We didn't really go to the shows, since we had seen Tribute and Piano Man on our Alaska cruise. Both were pretty good. We didn't much like Scotty McLean (Scotland's Top Comic Magician), because his show wasn't that funny and consisted of merely 3 extended and elementary magic tricks. A few people got up and left during his show, and when the emcee asked the audience, at the end of the show, Did you like the show? a few people shouted, No! Sorry, laddie. Not so funny. The casino was a big dud, according to my father-in-law, a true casino connoisseur who couldn't catch a break on this cruise. My husband hit an early run of bad luck at the Blackjack Tournament, but then the tourney was cancelled due to lack of participation and he was given his $20.00 entry fee back! How lucky is that! Me quite a winning streak on the video blackjack machine. High roller that I am, I started out with $20.00, went up to $36.50 with a few straights and a four of a kind, and then unsurprisingly went down to $0.00, at which time I went to see if the Internet service was up and running (see next paragraph). One enormous problem we had throughout the cruise was that there was NO Internet access! People would sit there at a terminal, paying .50 per minute, and have to wait the most outrageously long time, only to be informed there was no Internet connection! Why was this? Something about a satellite problem. If you're planning on doing any communication with the outside world, don't take this particular cruise. No online banking, no email, no checking your Ebay bids, no surfing for the day's news, nada! And for a time, no phone calls (normally $4.95 per minute) could be made from the ship, either, due to the satellite problem. The Internet Cafe is not exactly in the most convenient spot on the ship, so if you want to check to see if the system is up throughout the day or evening, get ready to do a lot of walking. Really, this is a major weak point. I'm sure there are some passengers who lost business deals, and others like me whose families were worried about not being able to hear from loved ones. We were totally cut off from the rest of the world for days. This isolation may be a perk for some people, but it was an extreme inconvenience for us. So, it was the last night of the cruise. A little bumpy, but not too bad. We left the door of our balcony open and a giant rain squall woke my husband in the middle of the night, rain flying vertically into our room. Once we shut the door, we were fine. Arriving in Los Angeles early in the morning was lovely, the lights of the port twinkling, a mysterious film noir vibe as the ship came to a stop. Disembarkation was completely disorganized and chaotic, with huge lines of people waiting to clear Immigration and go through a long rigamarole to get off the ship. Make sure your family eats breakfast before starting the disembarkation process, make sure you have a hot cup of coffee before you get onto the winding line. Still, everyone at this point seemed in good spirits. A few crabby people, but not that many. We were once again on terra firma, glad to be (almost) home. The Island Princess was to leave that same day for Hawaii, with many of its passengers remaining on the ship for this new destination. One final note: When you are outside, pulling your luggage over to the curb to wait for your taxi or limo, watch out for dog poop. My son stepped in some, and other people were rolling their luggage through it, criss-crossing the pavement with it and leaving little blobs of dog poop everywhere. Just letting you know. Bon voyage!

Island Princess - Mexican Riviera

Island Princess Cruise Review by Carla

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2006
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Our family went on the December 20-27, 2006 Mexican Riviera cruise on the Island Princess. We had been impressed with our Sun Princess cruise (Alaska - 2006) and had high expectations for this cruise, but were somewhat disappointed with the experience overall. Having said this, there were some great times we will always remember.
Here are some details, good and bad:
We drove from San Diego and parked our minivan in long term parking at the San Pedro port facility. No problems. Our embarkation went very smoothly and we were very pleased with our rooms, 2 adjoining balcony rooms with doors connecting the rooms (A708 and A710). Very convenient for families with older children. Two twin beds in one room, 1 queen in the other room. The beds were comfortable, but let me tell you the pillows were either (a) as flat as pita bread or (b) they were, like, totally half-empty, like they had lost most of their stuffing. Either or both combined will cause neck cramps the next day - trust me. We requested some pillow assistance and got this orthopedic u-shaped pillow that felt like two stale jellyroll cakes with a valley in between. When you're on a relaxation cruise, a small detail like this can make a difference. My mother-in-law requested down pillows and got them. Memo to me! Okay, next. The bathroom was pretty small, but the shower was dreadful due to a 8 or 9 inch metal handrail on the right-hand side of the shower stall that hits you in the side if you take your shower, as I do, facing away from the shower head. Water pressure was fine, though. If you'll be taking more than one shower a day, say, before your shore excursion and then again before dinner, ask your room steward at the beginning of the trip for 4 towels per person, each day.
After checking into our room, we went to the Horizon Buffet for lunch. The Turkey and Gravy were quite good. My son had Chicken Adobo and Pasta Bolognese, which he liked. The beef on the Beef Kabobs was so tough it was impossible to cut with the butter knife. The salad bar was comprehensive and will please the health conscious. But overall, the food was fair, cafeteria-style, like Las Vegas buffet fare, but more like Circus Circus than the Bellagio. Some of the selections were downright gross (like hardboiled eggs, cut in half, placed down on a pan and covered with Thousand Island dressing). Most were ordinary (French Fries, Fried Shrimp, Beef Goulash). Some were pretty good (Seafood Skewers, Pasta with Sausage Sauce, Chicken Kiev). Breakfast foods were the usual: different sausages, ham, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, an omelette bar, fruit. The fresh breads and rolls were consistently delicious. You could make a fine lunch with the bread, cheeses, salami, and fruit. Desserts? Mostly of the Cool-Whip Mousse or Jello variety. Don't even try the mealy brownie. My daughter enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies, however. Peanut Butter cookies not bad, either.
We chose the Anytime Dining option. On the first night, we were slow to be seated, and the food was slow to arrive, maybe because it was the first night and there was some chaos. Food was okay, but my son was served the smallest shrunken chicken breast in the universe, 3 bites tops to eat it! Can't remember what I was served (how unmemorable!), except that the apple strudel I had for dessert was gluey. Refills of iced tea were hard to come by, and here again is a little detail that you shouldn't have to worry about on a Princess cruise.
Now, if the Dining Room or the Horizon Buffet prove for you to be less than enticing, we highly recommend Sabatini's Restaurant, which offers a long, multi-course Italian dinner with fantastic, friendly service and lots of interesting culinary specimens. There is a cost per person of $20.00. Air-cured beef, spaghetti with seafood, caviar, lobster, rosemary chicken, lots of exotic stuff, served course by course over a long period of time. Probably not for young kids. Coffee was about what you'd get at your basic gas station, so please order tea with your dessert!
Even better than Sabatini's was The Bayou Grille. This restaurant charges $15.00 per person, and an extra $5.00 if you order the lobster tail. My wonderful father-in-law said this was the best meal he'd had on this cruise (we dined here our last night), and everyone at the table, young and older alike, enjoyed this spicy, tasty dinner. The Gumbo had quite a bite and was filled with seafood and fresh okra. The filet mignon was outstanding with a capital O; the Jambalaya was thoroughly enjoyed by my somewhat finicky 14 year old daughter. She also loved her steak as well as the sauce it was served with. My son and husband gave the grade of A+ to their lobster tail dinner. Of the desserts, the chocolate one got the highest rating. Our server Carolina, from Poland, was delightful. Funny, helpful, patient, perfect! Here the coffee served with dessert was just right! We saw the ship's captain dining here with his crew a good sign! A great place for families, or for honeymooners. Don't miss this experience.
The youth activities on this ship were not as good as those on the Sun Princess (Alaska, 2006). For one, there is no arcade on this ship, which really disappointed my 11 year old son. Second, there were few outdoor activities for the 11-13 group, such as basketball, mini-golf, etc. On the Sun Princess, there were organized, outdoor group activities supervised by the ship's youth activity staff. But on this ship it was indoor stuff, like T-Shirt Graffiti, Foosball Play, Night at the Movies, Casino Night, and Talent Show. The Ping-Pong Tourney was outside, but that's it. What helped my son and his overly-anxious mother was the use of walkie-talkies we purchased before the trip (Motorola Talkabouts, about $40.00). The walkie-talkies allowed my son to go with some buddies to the pool or to the basketball court and let me know when he was leaving to return to the youth center. The walkie-talkies worked about 85% of the time, and if you like to be able to check up on your kids while you are at dinner, or relaxing in your stateroom, I HIGHLY recommend getting a set of walkie-talkies before you leave. I believe the ship rents them out as well, so you may want to look at the ones the ship provides. I got the feeling the teen center activities weren't that fabulous, since many times I saw teenagers sitting on the stairs near our stateroom listening to their Ipods, or just vegging around in different parts of the ship. My daughter, however, disagrees with me. She enjoyed Casino Night, hanging out with other teens and the staff in the teen center. Being a teenager, she will not give me more information than that.
When we got to our first stop, Cabo San Lucas, we signed up for the Cabo San Lucas Coastal Cruise. This was supposed to be a catamaran ride up the coast of Cabo, checking out the mansions and the beautiful scenery. I don't know about you, but when I think of a catamaran ride, I think of that cool, careening, ocean going vessel with a sail, close to the water, ocean spray splashing in your face and at your feet. The ocean going vessel we ended up going on was twin-hulled all right, but it was more like a giant 100 foot party boat on gargantuan hulls. If you wanted to be out in the fresh ocean air, you had to sit on top of the boats front in 70's style modular furniture, or wherever you could find a place on the ground to park your butt. Inside the boat, it was dark, big, empty, loud. The experience was boring to the max the entire time. Many others who went on this cruise expressed their disappointment that this was not the type of catamaran they had expected, either. We knew this by their comments and the fact that most of us wore bathing suits, expecting to make some type of contact with ocean water. We never did. Not only that, but the brochure said, Refreshments provided. We took that to mean a Coke or bottled water. But what that really meant was generously flowing pitchers of margaritas, or beer on tap, name your poison. Drinking was absolutely the main idea of this shore excursion, and had the brochure indicated that, non-drinkers with kids such as my husband and myself would have chosen something a little bit different. If you should dare to complain about a misrepresented shore excursion such as this one, you can expect to meet with an impatient, suspicious shore excursion desk manager. Buyer beware.
Our next stop was Mazatlan. We signed up for the Shopping, Beach, Lunch, & Show excursion. We recommend this excursion to adventurous families. First, we took a hair-raising ride (we like hair-raising rides, we gave our driver a big tip!) in an open dune buggy-type taxi to see the Mexican Dancer and Pampantla Flyer Show. Very touristy, but fun for the kids. Refreshments provided, but not free-flowing. Then we walked to the resort, shopping for souvenirs along the way. Good deals on silver jewelry and t-shirts. Make sure you do a little negotiating. The resort (Playa Mazatlan, or something like that) was very nice. There are big umbrellas and plastic tables/chairs in the sand, perfect for friends and family to sit around, while running down to the gorgeous and perfect ocean for a little dip in the waves. Bring your camera to take paradise pictures at this resort. But be careful to put your camera away in its case, for if sand gets into your camera it will be a nightmare. We had a wonderful catered feast at this resort. Tortilla chips, guacamole, veggies, hot frijoles (beans), Mexican rice, pineapple tamales, barbequed chicken (my son's favorite), chicken enchiladas suizas (watch out for bones). We were so full after eating the lunch, we had no room for dessert (flan, rice pudding). Here you could get alcoholic drinks, sodas, or bottled water. You could swim in the ocean or in the resort's lovely pool (water kinda cold). It was the best kind of afternoon, great food, great photos, family memories big time.
Our final destination was Puerto Vallarta. BOOK IN ADVANCE the Royal Dolphin Swim shore excursion for your whole family! We, of course, did not book in advance, but lucked out when the ship added one more of these excursions onto its schedule. If we had missed this, it would have been a huge loss! This excursion is very expensive, but worth every penny! Wear a one piece swimsuit, girls. Trust me. And guys, wear a suit that will not fall to your knees if you dive in the water. Actually, you will not do any diving, but you will be propelled out of the pool through the air by the combined strength of 2 powerful adult bottlenose dolphins! I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that you will never (in the U.S.) have the opportunity to spend so much Q-time in the water with healthy, friendly, fun, and well-trained dolphins. After your extremely mind-blowing visit with the dolphins, you can either tube down the park's undulating water slides, go see dolphin and/or sea lion shows, or lounge around at plastic tables watching the kids have fun. Lunch is provided and includes a strangely-textured hot dog, adequate burger, or pizza (big question mark). Fries were good, a little on the crunchy side. Condiments come in plastic packets. As long as you're going to spend upwards of $170.00 per person on this shore excursion, you might as well spend a hundred bucks more and buy some photos and the DVD ($50.00) the park will make of your experience. It's a very professional and individualized video account of the excitement, and you will have a great time showing it to your friends and family back home. The photos taken by the staff are also outstanding but expensive ($12.00 or $15.00 each). You only live once. Do it!
Well, my seafaring, former deckhand husband and my beautiful and well-traveled mother-in-law both warned that as soon as we left Puerto Vallarta, the trip home would be bumpy, and they were right. The winds picked up, the ship rolled, the stabilizers had some work to do, but we survived without getting seasick. My mother-in-law takes ginger pills which you can buy in the ship's gift shop. The seas never got bumpier than Moderate and the wind never more energetic than 30 knots. Still, you may want to pack your ginger or motion sickness medicine in advance. Also, we were on Deck 12, Aloha deck, and we were told that the higher up you go in the ship, the more you feel the motion.
We were on our way home.
We didn't really go to the shows, since we had seen Tribute and Piano Man on our Alaska cruise. Both were pretty good. We didn't much like Scotty McLean (Scotland's Top Comic Magician), because his show wasn't that funny and consisted of merely 3 extended and elementary magic tricks. A few people got up and left during his show, and when the emcee asked the audience, at the end of the show, Did you like the show? a few people shouted, No! Sorry, laddie. Not so funny.
The casino was a big dud, according to my father-in-law, a true casino connoisseur who couldn't catch a break on this cruise. My husband hit an early run of bad luck at the Blackjack Tournament, but then the tourney was cancelled due to lack of participation and he was given his $20.00 entry fee back! How lucky is that! Me quite a winning streak on the video blackjack machine. High roller that I am, I started out with $20.00, went up to $36.50 with a few straights and a four of a kind, and then unsurprisingly went down to $0.00, at which time I went to see if the Internet service was up and running (see next paragraph).
One enormous problem we had throughout the cruise was that there was NO Internet access! People would sit there at a terminal, paying .50 per minute, and have to wait the most outrageously long time, only to be informed there was no Internet connection! Why was this? Something about a satellite problem. If you're planning on doing any communication with the outside world, don't take this particular cruise. No online banking, no email, no checking your Ebay bids, no surfing for the day's news, nada! And for a time, no phone calls (normally $4.95 per minute) could be made from the ship, either, due to the satellite problem. The Internet Cafe is not exactly in the most convenient spot on the ship, so if you want to check to see if the system is up throughout the day or evening, get ready to do a lot of walking. Really, this is a major weak point. I'm sure there are some passengers who lost business deals, and others like me whose families were worried about not being able to hear from loved ones. We were totally cut off from the rest of the world for days. This isolation may be a perk for some people, but it was an extreme inconvenience for us.
So, it was the last night of the cruise. A little bumpy, but not too bad. We left the door of our balcony open and a giant rain squall woke my husband in the middle of the night, rain flying vertically into our room. Once we shut the door, we were fine. Arriving in Los Angeles early in the morning was lovely, the lights of the port twinkling, a mysterious film noir vibe as the ship came to a stop. Disembarkation was completely disorganized and chaotic, with huge lines of people waiting to clear Immigration and go through a long rigamarole to get off the ship. Make sure your family eats breakfast before starting the disembarkation process, make sure you have a hot cup of coffee before you get onto the winding line. Still, everyone at this point seemed in good spirits. A few crabby people, but not that many.
We were once again on terra firma, glad to be (almost) home. The Island Princess was to leave that same day for Hawaii, with many of its passengers remaining on the ship for this new destination.
One final note: When you are outside, pulling your luggage over to the curb to wait for your taxi or limo, watch out for dog poop. My son stepped in some, and other people were rolling their luggage through it, criss-crossing the pavement with it and leaving little blobs of dog poop everywhere. Just letting you know.
Bon voyage!
Carla’s Full Rating Summary
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