We wanted an easy vacation and now that Holland America is once again sailing from San Diego, we hopped on board. The Mexican Riviera is a well-traveled path and we met many returnees, plus quite a few Midwesterners, Utahns, Idahoans, and Canadians. Incidentally, we met up with the Cruise Critic roll call members the first morning of the cruise and enjoyed their company throughout the week. Here are a notable features from our cruise:
* Great: Crew, passengers, the ship itself, the food
* Good: the weather, the happy hours (2nd drink $2 and passed appetizers)
The balcony cabins are fine, until you want to move about while two of you are in the room. One has to back up to let the other pass. This can be quite a challenge when dressing. The balcony is a little cramped, but it's nice to have ready access to the ocean views and night sky. The flat screen TV is nice; we got halfway through a movie in 30 minute increments and the next time we tried to watch, it was off the rotation. The cabin stewards, as always, are terrific. By the way, we had to shut the balcony door twice: once for cigarette and once for cigar smoke. We didn't feel motivated to bust the culprits who were smoking on their balconies. The fines are pretty stiff: $250 per occurrence. And we HATE tobacco smoke of all kinds. But our neighbors were nice and joined us on their balconies for dolphin-watching. And besides, who knew which balconies had the smokers?
We did a DIY trip to Pelican Rock for snorkeling. Hiked there, snorkeled, water taxied back. The snorkeling was excellent.
Another DIY experience. We took a taxi to El Cid Castillo, a resort about 11 km from the port. Next door is Aqua Sports, which will panga (water taxi) you to Deer Island for $15 each round trip. We snorkeled off the beach there a couple times, and the water was murky so it wasn't easy to see the fish. We water-taxied back, then automobile taxied back to the ship. Our second outing was to visit the historical part of Mazatlan and do a little shopping in the giant market full of tiendas.