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"The Luck of the Irish?" The day of our highly anticipated cruise had finally arrived (St. Patty's day)! Flashback to Fall of 2006 - During a Fall cruise of the New England States, we especially enjoyed the company of two couples we met from San Diego (We are from the Chicagoland area). We decided to keep in touch by e-mail and try to cruise together sometime again. Early in 2007 the cruizin bug hit and we all planned this Mexican Riviera trip. I was the advocate for HAL, having enjoyed their Alaska trip five years ago. HAL and Celebrity ran neck and neck as my favorite cruise lines. We arrived in San Diego a day early, staying at the downtown Embassy Suites hotel (great beds, good service,nice breakfast and in close proximity to everything we wanted to do). We were planning on eating at Anthony's, but staff persuaded us to go to the Fish Market. We arrived shortly before 6:00, and with no reservations, it was a good thing! After a 15 min. wait, we were seated at a window table with nice view of the ocean and the setting sun! Food and service was great! What a super start! Next, we headed to the much hyped Gas Light district. I don't know if it was our age (early 50's) or the fact that being from a big city (Chicago) had jaded us, but we were somewhat disappointed in the scene. We then grabbed a cab and headed to Extraordinary Deserts. THIS IS A DON't MISS! (tip: portions are large, so you may want to split something). The next day I slept in and DH headed to USS MIDWAY ship museum and then RALPH'S to buy wine for the cruise. We embarked around 2:30 - the smoothest ever! Grabbed lunch with our friend's, then room was ready & luggage had arrived - all by 3:30! I can't say enough about how comfortable the beds are on HAL! Our room steward was also so efficient the entire week! As a matter of fact, all service the entire cruise was excellent - I did note that while efficient, most workers seemed subdued (celebrity workers have always seemed very happy to us). Comparing the dining experience to Celebrity, as well as the HAL trip 5 years ago,HAL has slipped. While the ambience and service were well above average, the selection and flavor of the meals have declined significantly in our opinion. Main seating for dinner worked well with our daytime events, but did interfere with evening entertainment we would have liked to attend. The stage shows weren't really our cup of tea, but the ones we did attend were filled with energy and professionalism. The one tender to shore was extremely efficient and well organized! This was the 1st cruise ever that we did not book ship excursions. We didn't want to be held to any timetables and felt we were able (thru research on cruisecritic) to navigate quite well on our own! As recommended here, we booked the massages at Krystal resort PV - THE BEST WE'VE EVER HAD!! And I get regular weekly massages. I feel this gives a fairly just overview of what one might expect on an HAL cruise. However, every individual's expectations, preferences and experiences are unique. On that note, I feel I must include two negative situations we experienced - One of the couples we traveled with had a 4th floor room with balcony. The ship had some type of sewage problem and the smell permeated their room. This was only their second cruise ever and it really wrecked the experience for them. When they reported it, HAL responded by sending a goodie basket to the room - the problem was never rectified!! Needless to say this was their first and last HAL cruise! Also at the last port, Puerta Vallarta, just after my marvelous massage, I was knocked over by a seven foot wave in the ocean and sprained my knee. There were two days left on the cruise, and HAL stated that they only rented wheel chairs by the week, and the fee would be $125.00 - full price - even though there was only two days left. I really resented this - so much for good will! I can tell you that this left me with a very negative feel when I think of HAL, and it will probably influence my future cruise line choicemaking.

Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera

Oosterdam Cruise Review by lovecruising

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2007
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Standard Interior Stateroom
"The Luck of the Irish?" The day of our highly anticipated cruise had finally arrived (St. Patty's day)! Flashback to Fall of 2006 - During a Fall cruise of the New England States, we especially enjoyed the company of two couples we met from San Diego (We are from the Chicagoland area). We decided to keep in touch by e-mail and try to cruise together sometime again. Early in 2007 the cruizin bug hit and we all planned this Mexican Riviera trip. I was the advocate for HAL, having enjoyed their Alaska trip five years ago. HAL and Celebrity ran neck and neck as my favorite cruise lines.
We arrived in San Diego a day early, staying at the downtown Embassy Suites hotel (great beds, good service,nice breakfast and in close proximity to everything we wanted to do). We were planning on eating at Anthony's, but staff persuaded us to go to the Fish Market. We arrived shortly before 6:00, and with no reservations, it was a good thing! After a 15 min. wait, we were seated at a window table with nice view of the ocean and the setting sun! Food and service was great! What a super start! Next, we headed to the much hyped Gas Light district. I don't know if it was our age (early 50's) or the fact that being from a big city (Chicago) had jaded us, but we were somewhat disappointed in the scene. We then grabbed a cab and headed to Extraordinary Deserts. THIS IS A DON't MISS! (tip: portions are large, so you may want to split something).
The next day I slept in and DH headed to USS MIDWAY ship museum and then RALPH'S to buy wine for the cruise. We embarked around 2:30 - the smoothest ever! Grabbed lunch with our friend's, then room was ready & luggage had arrived - all by 3:30! I can't say enough about how comfortable the beds are on HAL! Our room steward was also so efficient the entire week! As a matter of fact, all service the entire cruise was excellent - I did note that while efficient, most workers seemed subdued (celebrity workers have always seemed very happy to us). Comparing the dining experience to Celebrity, as well as the HAL trip 5 years ago,HAL has slipped. While the ambience and service were well above average, the selection and flavor of the meals have declined significantly in our opinion. Main seating for dinner worked well with our daytime events, but did interfere with evening entertainment we would have liked to attend. The stage shows weren't really our cup of tea, but the ones we did attend were filled with energy and professionalism.
The one tender to shore was extremely efficient and well organized! This was the 1st cruise ever that we did not book ship excursions. We didn't want to be held to any timetables and felt we were able (thru research on cruisecritic) to navigate quite well on our own! As recommended here, we booked the massages at Krystal resort PV - THE BEST WE'VE EVER HAD!! And I get regular weekly massages.
I feel this gives a fairly just overview of what one might expect on an HAL cruise. However, every individual's expectations, preferences and experiences are unique. On that note, I feel I must include two negative situations we experienced - One of the couples we traveled with had a 4th floor room with balcony. The ship had some type of sewage problem and the smell permeated their room. This was only their second cruise ever and it really wrecked the experience for them. When they reported it, HAL responded by sending a goodie basket to the room - the problem was never rectified!! Needless to say this was their first and last HAL cruise!
Also at the last port, Puerta Vallarta, just after my marvelous massage, I was knocked over by a seven foot wave in the ocean and sprained my knee. There were two days left on the cruise, and HAL stated that they only rented wheel chairs by the week, and the fee would be $125.00 - full price - even though there was only two days left. I really resented this - so much for good will! I can tell you that this left me with a very negative feel when I think of HAL, and it will probably influence my future cruise line choicemaking.
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