We were so excited for this cruise. A number of people had told us that Princess had great service and fantastic food. We were excited for SHARE and other specialty restaurants. I anticipated days full of exercise classes and crafts, and nights of luxurious dinners and dancing the night away. Alas, it didn't live up to expectations.
Embarkation took forever - just a ton of waiting and standing around in a too crowded space.
Ship activities were a disappointment - most were based around selling us things; a raffle in a jewelry store is not exactly what I had in mind. There were very few exercise classes, and the ones they did have came with a hefty fee - TRX was $20 per session. It turned out, that while we had anticipated that most things on the cruise other than booze would be included, almost everything came at an extra charge. Even room service pizza came with a fee.
Food was another area of disappointment. In the dining rooms, servers were not trained properly in how to serve, resulting in an awkward and clunky experience. Room service had tons of rules - you could only get iced tea in an 8 ounce glass, nothing larger or a pitcher (though you could get a carafe of coffee). The food itself was mediocre - the quality was not at all what I expected. Very little use of spices, and traditional ethic dishes such as lamb shawarma in the dining room were laughable parodies of the real thing. But specialty dining was even worse. Salty Dog featured a surly hostess and staff who didn't know the menu at all. The Ernesto burger, which supposedly came with kimchi and pork belly, was actually topped with sad wilted cabbage and undercooked bacon.
But SHARE took the prize for a bad dining experience. Curtis Stone should be ashamed that this place is attached to his name. The space was really lovely, very modern and open. But the food was truly terrible. The burrata was inedible, and my salad course was literally grocery store bagged salad mix spilled sloppily into a bowl (greens were falling out one side of the bowl). While the scallops were nothing to write home about, they were the highlight of the meal, as they were followed by an unevenly cooked steak that was so lacking in flavor I did a double take when I bit into it. The dessert course featured ice cream so poorly prepared and stored that it was full of ice - vanilla ice cream shouldn't crunch. So that too was left uneaten. I'm still frustrated that we paid $58 to eat there.
On the ship, everywhere we turned there was someone trying to sell us something. Most days, the Piazza looked like a swap meet with tables of knockoff jewelry and t-shirts in every hall. And that continued when we left the ship - in Cabo and Mazatlan you were stopped every few moments by someone wanting to sell you cigars or crafts.
We didn't notice the same in Puerta Vallarta, as we did an all day excursion that left yards from where the ship was docked. We did really enjoy our excursions. In Cabo, we took a luxury sunset sail on a gorgeous 50 foot boat, complete with a light meal and drinks. And in PV, we did the Sea Safari, a 7 hour adventure with a speedboat, horseback riding, swimming in a waterfall, snorkeling, and a barbecue on a private beach. Those were the moments we wished comprised the whole trip.
Disembarkation was a mess - too many people not knowing where to go, and the groups were too big to fit in the designated spaces. It really ended the cruise on a sour note, although customs and immigration once we left the ship was a smooth and easy process.
We would definitely not go on this, or probably any Princess cruise ever again.
The cabin was spacious and comfortable. The balcony was especially nice. The bed was comfortable, and while the decor was very dated, it was well maintained and spacious. However, the bathroom had a distinct odor, which only got worse during our trip. And the steward didn't clean it properly - a black ring developed in the toilet.
Our bed was also improperly made - the pad on top was not centered, and the sheets constantly came off one side as a result.
This was our embarkation point. Not much to say. It is industrial, but got the job done.
Romantic and fun. A total of 10 guests on a 50ft sailboat, with an excellent crew. A gorgeous view of the area, with a light meal and cocktails. A highlight of our trip.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Hated how hard everyone was trying to sell us things. We took a water taxi to Stone Island, which is a very pretty beach. But the food and drinks were average at best, and it quickly got very crowded.
This was an all day excursion. We started with a 30 minute speed boat ride to the other side of the bay. There, we took a horseback ride (not for beginners!) up to a waterfall. Make sure you wear pants and boots - I wore sneakers and my feet and ankles kept getting scraped in the narrow trails. Next, we got back in our boat and headed out to snorkel. The provided equipment was surprisingly decent and we did see a lot of fish, although the water was pretty murky. We then had a fantastic buffet lunch at Vallarta Adventure's private beach. It was truly delicious. However, the excursion was advertised as having kayaking. It turned out that this meant that at the beach, there were two 2-man kayaks we could take out for a few minutes. I love kayaking, so this was really disappointing.View All undefined undefined Reviews