This was our 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean and our first to the Mexican Riviera. We had planned to celebrate our anniversary in January but in the end chose to delay a cruise until the spring. The price and itinerary made this especially attractive. We had been to San Diego a couple of times before, including for our honeymoon 25 years ago. We have noticed a lot of changes since then. We think San Diego is a great vacation location and so decided to stay 2 days in San Diego following the cruise.
We stayed overnight in San Diego before our cruise, arriving late and staying at the Days Inn Harborview. It was also an excellent value - a clean comfortable room, free internet (although the signal was not especially strong), a reasonable breakfast and free shuttle service, to/from the airport and cruise terminal.
We arrived at the cruise terminal about 1145. Embarkation went very smoothly and I surprised my wife with anniversary decorations, flowers, wine, cheese and fruit in our cabin that I had arranged beforehand by calling the cruiseline. We were very happy with our balcony stateroom. It was quite spacious and only the second time we had had a balcony.
The food on board was good to very good. We took all of our suppers in the MDR except for one dinner in Chops steakhouse and one in Portofinos, the Italian restaurant. We enjoyed both but still prefer Portofinos, particularly the seafood skewer.
Entertainment on board was generally good. We really enjoyed the Mexican folk show that the ship embarked in Acapulco.
We also subscribed to using their thermotherapy suite in their spa area which we enjoyed. Heated, tiled lounge seats, steam sauna, dry sauna and aromatherapy room. We liked the seats and the steam sauna. Only one of the two special rain forest showers worked and it failed to deliver the ice cold drenching shower that it promised.
Our cabin was well centred on deck 9 and we thought it was very good.
Our first port was Cabo San Lucas following a day at sea. We were tendered in. A highlight of the city was arriving and sailing past Los Archos, the principle landmark of the city. We did not take an excursion. Instead, we walked the harbour boardwalk and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. My wife had a quesadilla that she considered the best she'd ever had and I had a very good pulled pork sandwich and thought their beans were great. From what we saw of Cabo on foot, we thought it was very pretty.
Again we chose not to take an excursion in Mazatlan. Instead, we took a $6 cab to the old part of town to the city Cathedral. From there we walked to the inside market, Mercado, and then to a renovated/restored theatre. WE had a mediocre lunch in the plaza near the theatre. While we managed to make our way around on foot, it wasn't easy because between the maps we had and the guidance we received from locals, we were lucky to get where we wanted to. We ended up grabbing a taxi back to the port for just $5.
We liked Puerto Vallarta and we thought the Mexican Fiesta excursion that we took was great. We had a very good guide. We started by visiting the Lady of Guadalupe Church, did some shopping and sightseeing then ended up at a tequila factory. While there, we learned about tequila and how its made. We also got to sample 6 different tequilas. Following the sampling, we had a good lunch and a very good demonstration of traditional dances from different regions of Mexico, a pinata - beat up by kids, and a dancing horse. We would strongly recommend this excursion.
We booked a city and cliff diver tour in Acapulco. The cliff diving and a small traditional dance demonstration were very good. We visited all sections of Acapulco and had a couple of photo stops. The tour overall was okay.
We chose not to take an excursion in this port. We were tendered ashore, but on a much shorter ride than in Cabo San Lucas in more sheltered waters. We stayed in Zihuatanejo and walked around the village. There was actually a good number of boutiques and a large variety of pottery. In the end, we found a pottery mask with hand-made glass-beaded lizards. Quite unique and very pretty.