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We had been waiting for over a year to take this cruise and we were very excited about it. We got to the port of Los Angeles by 1pm and it was empty. Everybody had already boarded the Pacific Princess aka "The Love Boat", and the check in lounge looked like a ghost town! Needless to say, embarkation was a breeze, painless and quick. We quickly found our room, and then we took a fast tour of the ship since we had not been on any of the small ships since 2011. We brought a case of water, a case of diet Pepsi, and two cases of Coconut Water, slapping a luggage tag on each and they were all delivered to our room with the rest of our luggage. I was called down to an embarkation security area because they were questioning my hot water kettle; I brought it because last year on the Sapphire I was delighted to find they included small kettles in each room. In the end I was able to bring my kettle on because it had an auto turn off. This saved us from having to call for room service hot water (we bring our own coffee and tea) and we really enjoyed lingering in the room in the mornings. Once on board it seemed like we knew every other person, probably because so many of us Cruise Critic friends were sailing and we had a very active CC roll call in preparation for this special cruise. Also on this cruise were several couples I had met when I was on the World Cruise on this ship in 2010. The ship was filled with celebrities including the entire Love boat cast, Jack Jones, and Entertainment tonight reporters doing a piece about this long awaited cruise. We watched them snapping picture after picture and giving interviews and I asked one of the crew to take my phone and get some pictures for me. She gladly did this and I got some decent shots that I posted on my Facebook. Finally when the celebrities all came down to the pool area we got to take pictures with them and I got several selfies with Gavin Macleod and Ted Lange. During sail away Jack Jones sang the Love Boat theme song. Wow he still has a great voice and boy oh boy he held the high note at the end of the song for what seemed like several minutes! By now we were all dancing and having a good time. This was one of the best sail-a-ways ever for me! We had early dining, which started at 5:30 PM, and while the first two nights were hectic and filled with mistakes and glitches, and the food was not very good. By the third night dinner was very good and our service was excellent. One cool thing that happened during dinner was when our headwaiter Nelson told us about how he eats watermelon with cracked pepper. Of course I had to have it and he made the whole table this very special dessert. Wow. We all loved it; I plan on ordering it again. Try it. It's very good. After dinner on one of the first nights, with late dining starting at 7:30, we were gently asked to leave as we had lingered over dinner for too long making it tough for the servers to set up for the next seating. After that, we were mindful of timing because my dinner mates were so interesting and fantastic we often got lost in conversation. Dining with our dear friends from Minneapolis (Barbara and Gary) they totally enhanced our experience and made dinner a joy. Eating on a cruise ship is most fun when you share it with people who are kind and filled with a love of travel, curiosity, and laughter. We talked about the days’ activities, comparing notes about places we visited and experiences on those visits/excursions. The quality of the food on this cruise seemed well above the norm, at least from my perspective, and while we did experience what I call glitches during the first few days, by night three everything in the dining room settled in and we started to really enjoy the meals. We saw the late show on the first night and Sammi the Cruise Director was lovely and personable, probably one of the best CD’s I’ve ever experienced. The show was a preview of future shows; Miguel Washington gave us about twenty minutes of comedy, then the Pacific dancers and singers gave us a taste of things to come. We got to our room around 11pm and watched the Love Boat on TV, what else! Sea days were relaxing and filled with lots of options and different things to do. We quickly fell into a morning groove during sea days when I like to write and journal (my journal is a cross between writing, pictures and pop-ups/scrap-booking) and plan for the day. An example of some of the unique experiences offered on this cruise during sea days included Q&A with the whole cast of the Love Boat, as well as more intimate Q&As with several individual cast members alone, Lectures on Princess through the years with Historian Shawn Dake, photo and autograph opportunities with the whole Love Boat cast, and even a book signing with Gavin Macleod who wrote “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith, and Life”. Our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was huge with several hundred signed up to attend, as well as many ship officers showing up. We also had a Special Cruise Critic luncheon where we were treated to a special pasta dish and dessert made just for us. Both were very good, good enough to “cheat” from my cleanse/diet! Celebrity sightings became commonplace during the 14 day cruise; we regularly ate with these affable stars and they were quite gracious about taking pictures, and signing Patters (the daily paper with activities and other information). Princess provided us with many “entertainers of the year” including a talented singer Zachary Winningham, comedian Miguel Washington, Comedian Carlos Oscar, Singer extraordinaire Tony Tillman, and Comedian/Magician Ben Seidman. Donny Most (who was a guest star on the Love Boat several times) sang us some blues, and Jill Whelan shared part of her new singing show, which was fantastic. Jill brought Gavin Macleod onstage and he sang “Thank Heavens For Little Girls” which was so touching and I was so grateful that they shared this intimate moment with all of us. The Pacific Princess was definitely showing its age, especially the carpet in some public rooms. Our Cabin (7106) was fine, nothing broken, no stains on the carpet, and the bed was quite comfortable. The TV worked fine, even the remote was OK. Wifi was excellent in our room and I never got booted, even uploading pictures and videos was a snap. We had great connections at all times of the day and night, usually early mornings yield the best and fastest connections but I was able to get fast WiFi whenever I needed it. The shower broke and for two days we took cold showers, but once we reported it they fixed it and it worked fine. The TV channel devoted to all things about the ship (location, weather, wave size, and more) and the ship’s navigation was way off showing the distance cruised in nautical miles from the South Pacific, not Los Angeles. My phone didn’t keep messages and several people had asked me if I got their messages and no, I had not. The red light kept flashing through out the cruise and it told me to dial 13 to get my messages, but when I dialed it, it said I had no new messages. I reported it and hoped it would get repaired because I hate missing messages, but it never got fixed. Lots of folks had the same problem with their phones. The bed was comfortable and the room was in pretty good shape. The TV was getting all the channels, including the news that I enjoy watching occasionally. The weather was mostly clear and warm, but not too hot. The seas were calm and smooth for the most part although we did have a few bumpy days and nights. The Geminid Meteor shower happened on one of the cloudy nights we had, nixing any chances of stargazing from the top deck. Towards the end of the cruise the weather got worse, we did have one pretty bumpy day and night. The thing about those bumpy days is that walking around a ship that is moving a lot require a lot of righting oneself and that burns a lot of calories! The cloudy skies gave us incredible sunsets and sunrises and I was grateful for the rain, which brought us some brilliant rainbows. There is always a silver lining. Regarding time changes, on the way down south we lost several hours making it tough to get up early and take a yoga class, which were offered at 8am. On the way back north we gained those hours giving us several 25 hour days, on those days I got lots of activities in and even knocked out a “to do” list! ☺ We had several formal nights, and we dressed for every one of them. This was different for me because normally I dislike formal nights however fill a ship with celebrities and I am thrilled to dress up. It was cool seeing what all the celebs were dressed in: Jill Whelan was dressed to the nines in the loveliest dresses and she often posed for formal night pictures. Horton the service dog, who’s owner Roz dressed him in doggie Tuxedos, was a pro at posing for formal night pictures, many of us were captivated by him and his amazing ability to smile on command! The crew on the Pacific was really quite good: Cruise Director Sammi was fantastic, probably one of the best CD’s I’ve ever experienced on Princess. She was funny, creative, and very down to Earth and approachable. Maitre d Oscar was friendly and funny, and Head Waiter Nelson was unbelievably professional, he knew the names of everybody who dined in his section of the Club Restaurant (main dining room) and visited each table nightly. Even the ship doctor Timothy was wonderful; unfortunately I visited him twice and really appreciated his knowledge and kindness. From our room steward to our waiters, everybody was very nice, even if it seemed like they were overworked! By the middle of December, the ship was decorated for Christmas and the holidays and it looked quite festive. The ship staff and crew were all decked out in Christmas wear including Santa Hats, and one night they sang Christmas Carols in the atrium. Even the Holiday Yule log channel made an appearance on the TV line up. They also had Hanukkah services nightly held in the beautiful library, we noted that there were lots of folks in the Library for the first day of Hanukkah and the ship provided freshly baked Challah bread for the occasion. The itinerary included an overnight in Puerto Vallarta, which allowed us to take the amazing Rhythms of the Night excursion. We also visited Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Loreto, La Paz, and Cabo San Lucas all in Mexico along the Mexican Riviera. Below are some of the port highlights for me. Rhythms of the Night in Puerto Vallarta Rhythms of the Night was an amazing experience, it was even better than all the positive comments I had read about it. The boat ride over was a blast, filled with energy and fun. As we approached Las Calates, which is where the show is, the boat lights were turned off and all we could see was a fire lit bay! With the most beautiful azure water surrounding the pier. Of course there was a mermaid perched on the rocks above where we disembarked. The walkway up to the theater was lit with individual candles and there was no electricity anywhere just candle and firelight. It was amazing. The show was incredible, theater at its best. It was a cross between Cirque, dance, and acting, with some audience interaction. Wow, this was the best excursion I have ever done. Suffice it to say it is not to be missed. After the show, we were led to our dinner area, again all candle lit and very engaging, keeping in line with the whole vibe of this place. Thankfully I had my trusty Princess flashlight that I had just won in trivia, it really helped me see the selections of food in the delicious buffet. Besides delicious chicken and steak, we got salads and salsa and guacamole. My favorite part of the meal was the home made corn tortillas because they were incredible. I blew my cleanse for those tortillas and it was totally worth it. Dessert looked good but I didn’t try it so I can’t comment. The ride back was hilarious; we had the funniest show of our crew dancing and singing, dressed as different characters. We all laughed. Danced and talked about the incredible experience we had. Vallarta Adventures was fantastic; we always enjoy excursions with them anyway because they are top notch. We returned to the ship by 11:30pm. Our friends who are world travelers decided this was he best off ship excursion. They had ever taken, it was that good. Don't miss it if you have an opportunity to see it. Manzanillo Our tour today in Manzanillo was very fun; we had a private tour with several cruise critic friends, organized by our dear friends from Henderson, Meredith and Bob. Before I tell you about our tour I have to tell you how incredibly sweet and kind these two dear friends are, we enjoy every second we spend with them and if you ever have a chance to meet them you will see how special they are. Our busy day started when we found our guide as we walked off the pier. We piled into a bus that was a bit smallish for all of us, then we headed off to visit several colonial towns; Colima and Nogueras. We were sitting in the back of the bus for the first 1.5 hours drive to our first stop in Colima and we were very ready to get off the darn bus after being stuck and squished in the back! Colima was very scenic surrounded by mountains and several Volcanoes , including one very active Volcano that was spewing smoke most of the morning, and it was very cool to see this from the town, as well as from the botanical gardens close to Colima. Our guide Jupiter told us that during the winter this Volcano was usually covered in snow yet here it was mid December and not a speck of snow in sight, just warm humid air. We visited a church where they were having services for Christmas or something related to Christmas, and it was quite interesting to see the large group of people gathered in the outdoor center of the church. I noticed that most of the women in town were dressed in Christmas outfits of red and white, which I found very beautiful. The large square in the center of town was all decked out for the holidays, filled with tropical trees with Christmas lights and ornaments. It was beautiful. We learned a few facts about the town and the traditions followed during the holidays, then we had 10 minutes to shop! Haha it was hilarious to watch some of the ladies (me included) running in and out of stores bargaining for trinkets and clothing. I got some fabulous mobiles, colorful Paper Mâché Bird Mobiles perched on rings for incredible prices, 2 for $20! Later in Mazatlan I saw the same Paper Mâché Bird Mobiles for $25 each. We piled back into the van and headed off to the lovely Hacienda De Nogueras. Along the way we passed groves of Mangoes and Tamarind, as well as a coffee plantation. Of course the Volcano was ever present in the distance, spewing smoke and making everything look quite magical. We passed a famous restaurant called La Salas and a hotel called Hacienda De San Antonio which was the location where the movie "10" was filmed. We were told that this place is a favorite of the rich and famous. They even have their own coffee roasted exclusively for them! When we got to the Hacienda De Nogueras, we got to explore the rooms inside as well as the botanical gardens outside although I was not able to walk the stairs (doctors orders) down to the gardens Ken took plenty of pictures for me so I didn't feel like I missed anything. In the past this place grew sugar cane and one of the more spectacular rooms with 36 arches was used to crush the cane and produce sugar. Today it is used for social events. We saw lots of antiques including an ancient typewriter, old phones, and lots of lovely furniture. Next we headed back to Colima, interesting to us because this town is where Ken's grandmother grew up, making it more interesting and personal to us. We ate at a so-so place with food that was OK but nothing special (compared to Rhythms of the Night's Las Calates) and had a few minutes to shop. There was a parade going on, and we kept hearing gunshots which went on the whole time we were there, apparently they were part of the parade. Then we visited an Organic Coffee shop where they roasted and bagged a delicious blend of dark and medium beans. The coffee was so good that I bought 3 bags weighing 2.2 lbs each for $25, what a fantastic deal. In retrospect (as I sip this fantastic coffee) I wish I had bought more! Loreto We arrive in Loreto very early and we had to hurry, because this was a tender port and we needed to meet our guide at the dock at 8am There was no hot water for my shower that morning and I took a cold shower, which was not my favorite thing. We had never been to Loreto, so we were very excited to visit this unexplored town and community. Wow what an interesting day we had in Loreto. We had our private tour cancelled because we experienced a large protest from the taxi drivers who wanted our private tour guide to kick back money to them. The taxi drivers blocked our van and the police sided with the taxi drivers. Our guide refused to kick back money to them and that was when we all threw in the towel and gave up on our private tour. We all resolved not to use the taxi’s here and instead we walked through the town and enjoyed our day in spite of the bad start. Loreto was a beautiful town; one of the many towns on the Camino Real with a Mission and this Mission eventually connected to my own town of Ventura that is also along that same Camino Real. Ventura’s mission looks just like Loreto’s mission. We enjoyed the morning in Loreto, and took a tender back to the ship by midday. Our initial tender ride in the early morning was so smooth that I was able to type and text on my cell phone. However the ride back to the ship was very rough, the winds had picked up and we were jostled about. At one point Ken got soaked by a wave because he was sitting close to an open area. Back on the ship The Captain announced a change in plans and cancelled any outbound tenders, if you were planning on getting off the ship after lunch you missed the boat. We waited and watched as tender after tender brought people back onto the ship, the rides looked as rough as ours had been. The last few days on the ship were fun and filled with lots of Love Boat activities including Historical lectures, Love Boat cast entertainers as well as Guest star entertainers such as Donny Most from Happy Days fame. There were plenty of sales on merchandise, including the highly sought after Princess 50th anniversary related items such as tee shirts, bags, and more. All the sales were held in the center atrium, and it was difficult for the crew to transition from sale to sale as they had to put away whatever was left from one sale to make room for new items. Disembarkation was a breeze, when there are less than 700 passengers on a ship everything is easier including those ports where we had to take a tender boat to get off the ship. We had requested an early independent disembarkation time and needed our friends to have the same time as we were taking them to the airport for their flight later in the day. We were told that they could not disembark with us because that time was taken but fortunately the gentleman who took care of us quietly gave our friends the same luggage tag numbers as we had so we knew there would be no problems. In the end, our disembarkation time was later than our official time because we went to the Club restaurant for our last breakfast, and it was full so we waited for seats, ate leisurely and then just walked off. The whole process took less than 20 minutes.

“Love Boat” 50th Anniversary Cruise: Pacific Princess 12/3/15

Pacific Princess Cruise Review by ibfern

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2015
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We had been waiting for over a year to take this cruise and we were very excited about it. We got to the port of Los Angeles by 1pm and it was empty. Everybody had already boarded the Pacific Princess aka "The Love Boat", and the check in lounge looked like a ghost town! Needless to say, embarkation was a breeze, painless and quick. We quickly found our room, and then we took a fast tour of the ship since we had not been on any of the small ships since 2011.

We brought a case of water, a case of diet Pepsi, and two cases of Coconut Water, slapping a luggage tag on each and they were all delivered to our room with the rest of our luggage. I was called down to an embarkation security area because they were questioning my hot water kettle; I brought it because last year on the Sapphire I was delighted to find they included small kettles in each room. In the end I was able to bring my kettle on because it had an auto turn off. This saved us from having to call for room service hot water (we bring our own coffee and tea) and we really enjoyed lingering in the room in the mornings.

Once on board it seemed like we knew every other person, probably because so many of us Cruise Critic friends were sailing and we had a very active CC roll call in preparation for this special cruise. Also on this cruise were several couples I had met when I was on the World Cruise on this ship in 2010. The ship was filled with celebrities including the entire Love boat cast, Jack Jones, and Entertainment tonight reporters doing a piece about this long awaited cruise. We watched them snapping picture after picture and giving interviews and I asked one of the crew to take my phone and get some pictures for me. She gladly did this and I got some decent shots that I posted on my Facebook. Finally when the celebrities all came down to the pool area we got to take pictures with them and I got several selfies with Gavin Macleod and Ted Lange. During sail away Jack Jones sang the Love Boat theme song. Wow he still has a great voice and boy oh boy he held the high note at the end of the song for what seemed like several minutes! By now we were all dancing and having a good time. This was one of the best sail-a-ways ever for me!

We had early dining, which started at 5:30 PM, and while the first two nights were hectic and filled with mistakes and glitches, and the food was not very good. By the third night dinner was very good and our service was excellent. One cool thing that happened during dinner was when our headwaiter Nelson told us about how he eats watermelon with cracked pepper. Of course I had to have it and he made the whole table this very special dessert. Wow. We all loved it; I plan on ordering it again. Try it. It's very good.

After dinner on one of the first nights, with late dining starting at 7:30, we were gently asked to leave as we had lingered over dinner for too long making it tough for the servers to set up for the next seating. After that, we were mindful of timing because my dinner mates were so interesting and fantastic we often got lost in conversation. Dining with our dear friends from Minneapolis (Barbara and Gary) they totally enhanced our experience and made dinner a joy. Eating on a cruise ship is most fun when you share it with people who are kind and filled with a love of travel, curiosity, and laughter. We talked about the days’ activities, comparing notes about places we visited and experiences on those visits/excursions.

The quality of the food on this cruise seemed well above the norm, at least from my perspective, and while we did experience what I call glitches during the first few days, by night three everything in the dining room settled in and we started to really enjoy the meals.

We saw the late show on the first night and Sammi the Cruise Director was lovely and personable, probably one of the best CD’s I’ve ever experienced. The show was a preview of future shows; Miguel Washington gave us about twenty minutes of comedy, then the Pacific dancers and singers gave us a taste of things to come. We got to our room around 11pm and watched the Love Boat on TV, what else!

Sea days were relaxing and filled with lots of options and different things to do. We quickly fell into a morning groove during sea days when I like to write and journal (my journal is a cross between writing, pictures and pop-ups/scrap-booking) and plan for the day. An example of some of the unique experiences offered on this cruise during sea days included Q&A with the whole cast of the Love Boat, as well as more intimate Q&As with several individual cast members alone, Lectures on Princess through the years with Historian Shawn Dake, photo and autograph opportunities with the whole Love Boat cast, and even a book signing with Gavin Macleod who wrote “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith, and Life”. Our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was huge with several hundred signed up to attend, as well as many ship officers showing up. We also had a Special Cruise Critic luncheon where we were treated to a special pasta dish and dessert made just for us. Both were very good, good enough to “cheat” from my cleanse/diet!

Celebrity sightings became commonplace during the 14 day cruise; we regularly ate with these affable stars and they were quite gracious about taking pictures, and signing Patters (the daily paper with activities and other information). Princess provided us with many “entertainers of the year” including a talented singer Zachary Winningham, comedian Miguel Washington, Comedian Carlos Oscar, Singer extraordinaire Tony Tillman, and Comedian/Magician Ben Seidman. Donny Most (who was a guest star on the Love Boat several times) sang us some blues, and Jill Whelan shared part of her new singing show, which was fantastic. Jill brought Gavin Macleod onstage and he sang “Thank Heavens For Little Girls” which was so touching and I was so grateful that they shared this intimate moment with all of us.

The Pacific Princess was definitely showing its age, especially the carpet in some public rooms. Our Cabin (7106) was fine, nothing broken, no stains on the carpet, and the bed was quite comfortable. The TV worked fine, even the remote was OK. Wifi was excellent in our room and I never got booted, even uploading pictures and videos was a snap. We had great connections at all times of the day and night, usually early mornings yield the best and fastest connections but I was able to get fast WiFi whenever I needed it. The shower broke and for two days we took cold showers, but once we reported it they fixed it and it worked fine. The TV channel devoted to all things about the ship (location, weather, wave size, and more) and the ship’s navigation was way off showing the distance cruised in nautical miles from the South Pacific, not Los Angeles. My phone didn’t keep messages and several people had asked me if I got their messages and no, I had not. The red light kept flashing through out the cruise and it told me to dial 13 to get my messages, but when I dialed it, it said I had no new messages. I reported it and hoped it would get repaired because I hate missing messages, but it never got fixed. Lots of folks had the same problem with their phones. The bed was comfortable and the room was in pretty good shape. The TV was getting all the channels, including the news that I enjoy watching occasionally.

The weather was mostly clear and warm, but not too hot. The seas were calm and smooth for the most part although we did have a few bumpy days and nights. The Geminid Meteor shower happened on one of the cloudy nights we had, nixing any chances of stargazing from the top deck. Towards the end of the cruise the weather got worse, we did have one pretty bumpy day and night. The thing about those bumpy days is that walking around a ship that is moving a lot require a lot of righting oneself and that burns a lot of calories! The cloudy skies gave us incredible sunsets and sunrises and I was grateful for the rain, which brought us some brilliant rainbows. There is always a silver lining. Regarding time changes, on the way down south we lost several hours making it tough to get up early and take a yoga class, which were offered at 8am. On the way back north we gained those hours giving us several 25 hour days, on those days I got lots of activities in and even knocked out a “to do” list! ☺

We had several formal nights, and we dressed for every one of them. This was different for me because normally I dislike formal nights however fill a ship with celebrities and I am thrilled to dress up. It was cool seeing what all the celebs were dressed in: Jill Whelan was dressed to the nines in the loveliest dresses and she often posed for formal night pictures. Horton the service dog, who’s owner Roz dressed him in doggie Tuxedos, was a pro at posing for formal night pictures, many of us were captivated by him and his amazing ability to smile on command!

The crew on the Pacific was really quite good: Cruise Director Sammi was fantastic, probably one of the best CD’s I’ve ever experienced on Princess. She was funny, creative, and very down to Earth and approachable. Maitre d Oscar was friendly and funny, and Head Waiter Nelson was unbelievably professional, he knew the names of everybody who dined in his section of the Club Restaurant (main dining room) and visited each table nightly. Even the ship doctor Timothy was wonderful; unfortunately I visited him twice and really appreciated his knowledge and kindness. From our room steward to our waiters, everybody was very nice, even if it seemed like they were overworked!

By the middle of December, the ship was decorated for Christmas and the holidays and it looked quite festive. The ship staff and crew were all decked out in Christmas wear including Santa Hats, and one night they sang Christmas Carols in the atrium. Even the Holiday Yule log channel made an appearance on the TV line up. They also had Hanukkah services nightly held in the beautiful library, we noted that there were lots of folks in the Library for the first day of Hanukkah and the ship provided freshly baked Challah bread for the occasion.

The itinerary included an overnight in Puerto Vallarta, which allowed us to take the amazing Rhythms of the Night excursion. We also visited Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Loreto, La Paz, and Cabo San Lucas all in Mexico along the Mexican Riviera. Below are some of the port highlights for me.

Rhythms of the Night in Puerto Vallarta

Rhythms of the Night was an amazing experience, it was even better than all the positive comments I had read about it. The boat ride over was a blast, filled with energy and fun. As we approached Las Calates, which is where the show is, the boat lights were turned off and all we could see was a fire lit bay! With the most beautiful azure water surrounding the pier. Of course there was a mermaid perched on the rocks above where we disembarked. The walkway up to the theater was lit with individual candles and there was no electricity anywhere just candle and firelight. It was amazing.

The show was incredible, theater at its best. It was a cross between Cirque, dance, and acting, with some audience interaction. Wow, this was the best excursion I have ever done. Suffice it to say it is not to be missed.

After the show, we were led to our dinner area, again all candle lit and very engaging, keeping in line with the whole vibe of this place. Thankfully I had my trusty Princess flashlight that I had just won in trivia, it really helped me see the selections of food in the delicious buffet. Besides delicious chicken and steak, we got salads and salsa and guacamole. My favorite part of the meal was the home made corn tortillas because they were incredible. I blew my cleanse for those tortillas and it was totally worth it. Dessert looked good but I didn’t try it so I can’t comment.

The ride back was hilarious; we had the funniest show of our crew dancing and singing, dressed as different characters. We all laughed. Danced and talked about the incredible experience we had. Vallarta Adventures was fantastic; we always enjoy excursions with them anyway because they are top notch. We returned to the ship by 11:30pm. Our friends who are world travelers decided this was he best off ship excursion. They had ever taken, it was that good. Don't miss it if you have an opportunity to see it.

Manzanillo

Our tour today in Manzanillo was very fun; we had a private tour with several cruise critic friends, organized by our dear friends from Henderson, Meredith and Bob. Before I tell you about our tour I have to tell you how incredibly sweet and kind these two dear friends are, we enjoy every second we spend with them and if you ever have a chance to meet them you will see how special they are.

Our busy day started when we found our guide as we walked off the pier. We piled into a bus that was a bit smallish for all of us, then we headed off to visit several colonial towns; Colima and Nogueras. We were sitting in the back of the bus for the first 1.5 hours drive to our first stop in Colima and we were very ready to get off the darn bus after being stuck and squished in the back!

Colima was very scenic surrounded by mountains and several Volcanoes , including one very active Volcano that was spewing smoke most of the morning, and it was very cool to see this from the town, as well as from the botanical gardens close to Colima. Our guide Jupiter told us that during the winter this Volcano was usually covered in snow yet here it was mid December and not a speck of snow in sight, just warm humid air. We visited a church where they were having services for Christmas or something related to Christmas, and it was quite interesting to see the large group of people gathered in the outdoor center of the church. I noticed that most of the women in town were dressed in Christmas outfits of red and white, which I found very beautiful.

The large square in the center of town was all decked out for the holidays, filled with tropical trees with Christmas lights and ornaments. It was beautiful. We learned a few facts about the town and the traditions followed during the holidays, then we had 10 minutes to shop! Haha it was hilarious to watch some of the ladies (me included) running in and out of stores bargaining for trinkets and clothing. I got some fabulous mobiles, colorful Paper Mâché Bird Mobiles perched on rings for incredible prices, 2 for $20! Later in Mazatlan I saw the same Paper Mâché Bird Mobiles for $25 each.

We piled back into the van and headed off to the lovely Hacienda De Nogueras. Along the way we passed groves of Mangoes and Tamarind, as well as a coffee plantation. Of course the Volcano was ever present in the distance, spewing smoke and making everything look quite magical.

We passed a famous restaurant called La Salas and a hotel called Hacienda De San Antonio which was the location where the movie "10" was filmed. We were told that this place is a favorite of the rich and famous. They even have their own coffee roasted exclusively for them!

When we got to the Hacienda De Nogueras, we got to explore the rooms inside as well as the botanical gardens outside although I was not able to walk the stairs (doctors orders) down to the gardens Ken took plenty of pictures for me so I didn't feel like I missed anything. In the past this place grew sugar cane and one of the more spectacular rooms with 36 arches was used to crush the cane and produce sugar. Today it is used for social events. We saw lots of antiques including an ancient typewriter, old phones, and lots of lovely furniture.

Next we headed back to Colima, interesting to us because this town is where Ken's grandmother grew up, making it more interesting and personal to us. We ate at a so-so place with food that was OK but nothing special (compared to Rhythms of the Night's Las Calates) and had a few minutes to shop. There was a parade going on, and we kept hearing gunshots which went on the whole time we were there, apparently they were part of the parade. Then we visited an Organic Coffee shop where they roasted and bagged a delicious blend of dark and medium beans. The coffee was so good that I bought 3 bags weighing 2.2 lbs each for $25, what a fantastic deal. In retrospect (as I sip this fantastic coffee) I wish I had bought more!

Loreto

We arrive in Loreto very early and we had to hurry, because this was a tender port and we needed to meet our guide at the dock at 8am There was no hot water for my shower that morning and I took a cold shower, which was not my favorite thing. We had never been to Loreto, so we were very excited to visit this unexplored town and community.

Wow what an interesting day we had in Loreto. We had our private tour cancelled because we experienced a large protest from the taxi drivers who wanted our private tour guide to kick back money to them. The taxi drivers blocked our van and the police sided with the taxi drivers. Our guide refused to kick back money to them and that was when we all threw in the towel and gave up on our private tour. We all resolved not to use the taxi’s here and instead we walked through the town and enjoyed our day in spite of the bad start.

Loreto was a beautiful town; one of the many towns on the Camino Real with a Mission and this Mission eventually connected to my own town of Ventura that is also along that same Camino Real. Ventura’s mission looks just like Loreto’s mission. We enjoyed the morning in Loreto, and took a tender back to the ship by midday. Our initial tender ride in the early morning was so smooth that I was able to type and text on my cell phone. However the ride back to the ship was very rough, the winds had picked up and we were jostled about. At one point Ken got soaked by a wave because he was sitting close to an open area. Back on the ship The Captain announced a change in plans and cancelled any outbound tenders, if you were planning on getting off the ship after lunch you missed the boat. We waited and watched as tender after tender brought people back onto the ship, the rides looked as rough as ours had been.

The last few days on the ship were fun and filled with lots of Love Boat activities including Historical lectures, Love Boat cast entertainers as well as Guest star entertainers such as Donny Most from Happy Days fame. There were plenty of sales on merchandise, including the highly sought after Princess 50th anniversary related items such as tee shirts, bags, and more. All the sales were held in the center atrium, and it was difficult for the crew to transition from sale to sale as they had to put away whatever was left from one sale to make room for new items.

Disembarkation was a breeze, when there are less than 700 passengers on a ship everything is easier including those ports where we had to take a tender boat to get off the ship. We had requested an early independent disembarkation time and needed our friends to have the same time as we were taking them to the airport for their flight later in the day. We were told that they could not disembark with us because that time was taken but fortunately the gentleman who took care of us quietly gave our friends the same luggage tag numbers as we had so we knew there would be no problems. In the end, our disembarkation time was later than our official time because we went to the Club restaurant for our last breakfast, and it was full so we waited for seats, ate leisurely and then just walked off. The whole process took less than 20 minutes.
ibfern’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC 7106
Our Cabin was fine, nothing broken, no stains on the carpet, and the bed was quite comfortable. The TV worked fine, even the remote was OK. The Phone did not record incoming calls, so if anybody left a message I never got it. I could answer it fine but I could not get the messages no matter how many times I reported it broken. Lots of folks had the same problem with their phones. Wifi was excellent in our room, we had great connections at all times of the day and night, usually early mornings yield the best and fastest connections but I was able to get fast wifi any time of day. The shower broke and for two days we took cold showers, but once we reported it they fixed it and it worked fine.
Deck 6 Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews