Our cruise was a family reunion type of get-together. Ages ranged from 13-67 and there were 8 of us. We went on a 7-day mexican riviera cruise. the ship is very large and designed in not the most user friendly way. for instance, trying to get to the golden pearl restaurant is not easy - there are different entrance locations on different levels. crazy. food was average - nothing to write home about. but the again, cooking for the masses can never be exceptional. the chocolate extravaganza tasted very processed and not very good at all. one of the offerings was melon on a skewer doused with hershey's syrup. hmm.
the ship, when you consider all the people on board, is very very clean. even the cafeteria style lido deli is tidy. They just don't have enough chairs & tables. the mongolian grill is painfully slow - be ready to stand in line for 20-30 min. and ask for extra sauce at the end. very tasteless stir-fry for a thai bbq sauce! they ran out of beverages every now and again but with so many people, it's understandable. don't drink coffee in the afternoon - it's been going since breakfast. go to the coffee bar and pay for a cup of java instead. much better. the tapas bar was a nice change from the usual fare and so was the tandoori bar. but generally, the food grows tiresome. the excursions we took were great - the spa was great on board the ship. i recommend getting a treatment. and the cost of the spa packages goes significantly down the last 4 days of the cruise. we wish we would've booked the spa pool in the beginning though - that's the best deal. Not a very friendly kids club staff. They did nothing to help our two teens feel welcome or excited about activities. the first meeting wasn't "HI"! Welcome"! It was "here, fill these out and i'll give you a sticker so you can get into the club. you can't get in without it". then she turned and left and we had to track her down in another club to give her the paperwork. she just took the papers, put a sticker in their hands and left. kind of rude. the kids were on the fence about going to the club and that clinched the deal.first impressions go a long way i guess. we wished there wasn't smoking allowed in so many places. we come from a smoke-free state and it just stunk. they allow smoking in the casino (which you can smell throughout the adjoining shops and all the way to the sushi bar), in the cigar lounge (robusto), and in the piano bar. that left the el morocco lounge and the atmosphere-lacking el mojito lounge. not much. red carpet was 18+ years and it didn't need to be as far as i could see. it was the most consistently lively place there and would've been fun for everyone in our family to dance all together. they should make el morocco 18+ and open up red carpet for everyone. we had fun together, but in the end, it was not our style of cruising i guess. we liked the smaller ship and classier atmosphere of holland america and the food was so much better too. but this was a family-style trip and we wanted something for so many different age groups and interests. it was okay for that.
one wonderful surprise was our stateroom. our stateroom was extremely comfortable and CLEAN. they even washed the windows on the outside. nice crisp clean linens, bathrobes, clean bathroom - plenty of towels, lots of room, good storage. absolutely wonderful staff. very quiet at night.
But - one big problem was that the 2nd deck (our deck) had a sewage vapor leak that absolutely took your breath away when you were in the halls. it was terrible, we complained and they would bring fans, etc...but there's a real maintenance issue there that is going completely unaddressed.
bring your own shampoo/soap/conditioner. hairdryers lacked power for drying long hair.
in puerto vallarta we went aboard the tinuviel and had a great day snorkeling and touring yelapa bay. the fresh drinks and homemade food on board were awesome - the snorkeling very very good and the attention of the staff to the needs of the visitors amazing. the food in yelapa was pretty local and we were looking forward to it but it was disappointing. exceptionally bland. still, i would rank it high as excursions go. it felt nice to be with a small crowd of people.
i think we could've skipped mazatlan altogether. nothing very worthwhile there.
cabo was nice - we went snorkeling in chileno bay. saw whales, manta rays and sea lions. very bbeautiful place. loved the scenery. next time i would do something else besides snorkeling in cabo though. the water is COLD!!! freezing! stay out of the water. brr! Cabo is a great place though. i wish we would've had more time there.