1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Mexican Riviera Cruises
  4. Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

21 Vancouver to Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

This cruise was a big let down in almost every area. The food in the lido cafeteria was extremely poor. The food was tasteless and always cold. The service was slow with long lines. The dining room was just as bad. It took us 2 hours for a ... Read More
This cruise was a big let down in almost every area. The food in the lido cafeteria was extremely poor. The food was tasteless and always cold. The service was slow with long lines. The dining room was just as bad. It took us 2 hours for a simple meal and dessert. We ordered wine and an appetizer and never received the wine until the dessert arrived. There was not much variety of entertainment on the ship or in the lounges. BB Kings and the piano bar were ok but it was the same for 11 nights (never changed). The long lines and waits for food shows what the service was like. The ship was clean and public areas were well maintained. Our cabin was what we expected and service was good. Our itinerary was changed due to weather so we visited ports we had already been to so we didn’t do many shore excursions. Of all the lines we have cruised with, HAL has been the worst. I would not recommend this line as one to use. Many others give you more for your vacation dollar. This was our second cruise with HAL but the last for sure! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was a combination repositioning and Mexican Riviera cruise totaling 12 days from Vancouver to Victoria, Astoria, LA, Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo and back to LA. We chose this cruise because of its length and the hope of getting ... Read More
This was a combination repositioning and Mexican Riviera cruise totaling 12 days from Vancouver to Victoria, Astoria, LA, Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo and back to LA. We chose this cruise because of its length and the hope of getting some fall weather in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. We did...and it was great...the weather that is. No rain, mild temperatures, and very calm seas. We actually booked a stern facing suite because we like seeing and hearing the wake and enjoying the ship's motion in that location. However, the seas were so calm that we might as well have been on land. The suite on Deck 9, was fabulous. Because it was a handicap suite, we had a little extra room which made relaxation either in the suite or on the balcony especially comfortable. Among other amenities, we were afforded an espresso machine and afternoonmunchies which we enjoyed daily. The shower was almost spacious and the closet and storage spaces were more than adequate. The king size bed was especially comfortable and very large. Norbie, our steward, was always attentive to our needs and between him and Ronald, our butler, we never lacked for any creature comforts and/or useful ship advice. We had the restaurant package (a good thing) because the main dining room food and service were spotty at best. We enjoyed all of our meals in the specialty restaurants although we skipped the Brazilian eatery. (We'd had it before and determined we do not care for Brazilian cuisine.) With the suite, we could eat breakfasts and lunches in one of the specialty restaurants in which the food and service was exemplary. The crab cakes benedict were to die for! Additionally, we latched onto a terrific waiter, a young man named Sameer, who helped to make each of our meals a very pleasurable experience. You don't get that in the complimentary dining rooms where lobster and specialty meat dishes were surcharged an additional $25-$30. I would suggest that cruisers pay for the specialty restaurants or get the specialty package where you get what you pay for. The entertainment was mostly excellent except for a comedienne who was anything but funny. Audience reaction was so poor, that she ended her show after 15 minutes. We took excursions in Victoria and Astoria which were marvelous. One was a bike ride around the city and the other was a short road trip to various places in Northwest Oregon which we enjoyed immensely. Bar service was excellent and although there were only two pools, one was for adults only and two of the four hot tubs excluded children as well. All in all, although we've been on better journeys, this cruise was well worth the time and money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The cruise was a back to back repositioning cruise. The first 5 days we cruised from Vancouver to Victoria to Astoria and on the Los Angeles. this part of the cruise was a little boring as the stops were not very interesting for us. As ... Read More
The cruise was a back to back repositioning cruise. The first 5 days we cruised from Vancouver to Victoria to Astoria and on the Los Angeles. this part of the cruise was a little boring as the stops were not very interesting for us. As B.C. residents, we have been to Victoria many times. We didn't feel it was worth getting off to spend money on food and transportation. Astoria looked just like home with no attractions that interested us. There were a group of tents with local people selling some amazing things. We purchased a few things and were happy for the little jaunt off the ship. Los Angeles was for debarkation and embarkation of other passengers. We enjoyed the lull onboard as others got off and got on the ship. We had a lovely chat with one of the waiters and made a friendship. After the new passengers arrived onboard, the cruise felt different. I heard that the ship was completely full. There were lots of children and lots of people in general. The mood changed and it was more hectic. We enjoyed most of the shows. The singers were not very good. The Cirque Bijou was amazing as was Luminesence. The comedian and magician were also excellent. We went to the late shows as there were less kids. Azura was our favourite dinner complementary spot. The food was mostly very good. The beef was always tender and properly cooked to the right temperature. The salads and soups were very good. There were a few appetizers that could have been executed better. The desserts were very good for the most part. The service was usually good. We loved the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Cin Cin was terrible! Our one and only experience in Tsars Palace was horrific. We were a table of 5 sharing. Everyone's food came at a different time, we were missing cutlery and coffee cups. Everything was a miss. The server was blaming other people and it seemed extremely unorganized. We were there for breakfast and never returned. O'Sheehan's pub was very disappointing. The fish and chips were limp and cold. The only good things on the menu were the wings and chicken tenders. We used it as our snack place between meals. The service was bad everytime! It was consistently bad every time. The only reason we returned was for the 2 menu items mentioned above and because we had time to spare. The window seats had amazing views especially if we were at sea. We ate at Moderna, the Brazilian restaurant. It was a great experience. The service was excellent and it was the first time we encountered a waiter with personality! The food comes out on swords and cut tableside. Most of the beef was overcooked for my taste, but the lamb, chicken and sausage were spot on. The starters buffet was excellent as well. We also dined at Le Bistro. There were hits and misses. The muscles were bland and served in a container too big for the amount of mussels. The escargot were too lemony and with not enough garlic. Our mains were both excellent. I had the rack of lamb. Cooked perfectly and so tender I could cut it with a fork. My fiance had the duck done 2 ways. Both were very good. The French onion soup was delicious as was the mushroom soup. The creme brullee was one of the best I'd ever had and I've had many! French press coffee in decaf rounded out my dinner. Excellent! The service was laclustre at best. The ambiance was great, but the bar outside the restaurant was noisy. Overall, I would say this was a good cruise. Good value for money as we got the drink package for free. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Critic This cruise has been a punishment on our sense of smell. First is the long walk to our cabin which gives us a variety of scents. The mid-ship portion has a nice flowery smell of an air freshener and then we hit the forward ... Read More
Critic This cruise has been a punishment on our sense of smell. First is the long walk to our cabin which gives us a variety of scents. The mid-ship portion has a nice flowery smell of an air freshener and then we hit the forward section where our cabin is and the lovely odour of the head comes wafting to our noses. Now I fear we will be sleeping within the ode de toilet but the fear doesn't bare out as the cabin is odour fee. Two of our bags are present so we unpack those and read the “what's happening today” where we see we shouldn't worry about our stray bag for another 5 hours. So off we go to explore the ship when I spot a familiar looking bag all alone in a hallway near the aft section of mid-ship. The colour tag is not the one I put on it but the personal name tag is mine! So back to the cabin we go and unpack it. I hope the crew member that left it there didn't search for it too long. After a bizarre incident in O'Sheehan's which I will explain later we returned to our cabin. Again through the flowery scent followed quickly by an open sewer but now mixed with diesel exhaust. We open the cabin door and the burned diesel odour has filled our cabin. We vent the room using the bathroom fan and along comes our Steward. We ask him what's up with the smell and he isn't quite getting what the problem is but would have someone look into it. I'm guessing the wind changed direction and since we are going as slow as possible (we are taking all night to do what the ferry does in 90 minutes) it is possible our own exhaust was blowing back to our air intakes as the problem did not reoccur and we never heard back from anyone about it. On our first sea day we decided we were going to sleep in but at 8:30ish (yes that's not yet sleeping in to us) we were woken by the powerful smell of paint. The cabin was full of it. It was so strong I thought they'd painted our cabin as we slept. The smell got stronger as time went by to the point I was considering evacuating to fresh air for fear of a gassing. We did our morning routine and left thinking surely the passageway would be full of the noxious gas but no, it was still its head smelling self. The hall smelled as if the toilet vacuum was venting there. We took our stoned (paint fumes) selves to the front desk. The desk clerk we spoke to went away, presumably to see where there is painting taking place, and after a lengthy absence he returned with a thank you he will look into it and leave us message on our phone. We got a message saying he’d t spoken with the maintenance supervisor and requested any further painting be halted. During the last potion of the cruise the familiar smell of paint returned to our cabin while were out on an excursion. This time the maintenance supervisor came to the cabin and confirmed we were smelling paint (in case we were mistaken?). He said he’d look into it. This was the last we heard from him and the last time we had paint in our cabin. Now for some positive and the O'Sheehan's event. I was having a beer on our first night and while my glass was sitting on the table I noticed it appeared as if I had spilled a bit, however the puddle was growing yet the glass was not overflowing. To see where it was coming from I lifted my glass. Suddenly the glass emptied all over the table and flowed on to my lap and that of my wife. As we leapt away from the fall of the beer I saw the top of the glass in my hand and the bottom of the glass still on the table. Seems the glass cracked all the way around and the beer was oozing through the crack until I lifted it up. The ship did pick up the cleaning bill for both of our outfits without hesitation. We were presented with a bottle of wine and chocolates twice. When I asked the person delivering them he didn’t know why we were getting them. I thought because I made two complaints perhaps? I did notice several others were getting the same thing so unless there were a lot of complaints I doubt this is why. Going freestyle (our first time) lets you eat when you're ready but only if they have space. We tried to make reservations which some of the ship’s paperwork recommended and they allowed it once but every other night they insisted they were not needed. On a couple occasions we arrived for dinner there was no line to get in there were several tables with diners along with empty seats. I guess those folks were not the sociable type cruisers because we were seated on a sofa at the kitchen entrance and asked to wait. After this we were always greeted pleasantly at Tzars by the hostess who, even though we didn’t eat there every night, knew us and our cabin number on sight. She routinely had us seated at or very near the big windows. Our thoughts on the remainder of the ship are mixed. We did like the layout of the ship itself and the variety of places to sit and eat or drink. Which is the purpose of a cruise isn’t it? While the food service was lacking we did find most of the food to be good. Of the eateries we partook most of the servers were not nearly attentive enough. The buffet always had a large selection of food and seating was not a serious difficulty as we have no trouble sharing. While we found the food in the buffet to be good, virtually every edge of every table we sat at was sticky. It seems like they wash the tops but not the sides. Our cabin carpet was very dirty. It looked like it needed a good cleaning more than a year ago. They began to change carpets in the halls during our cruise so hopefully the cabins are getting changed soon. The bathroom was a bit strange as the toilet was in on an angle and one corner of the seat was very close to a wall forcing one to sit sidesaddle. There was a serious lack of water pressure in the sink. Rinsing a toothbrush was a real challenge. We found most of the railings on stairways, elevators and halls to be sticky and in need of the washie washie team! Events during the cruise were disorganized. Of note was the Customs inspection in Astoria. The staff were calling out deck numbers to the que long before the previous decks had cleared Customs. This made the line for screening extremely long. A large number of procedures outlined in the “what's happening today”, on the TV, or over the public address system were in conflict with each other. The Cruise Director staff and the lounge entertainment were a bit cruder with their jokes than I would have expected. They didn’t cross my line as I can be pretty crude however, my wife was not too impressed. The acts were good but their jokes and those of the staff went a bit too far. Other than the smells in the cabin, a sense of a lack of organization, and my higher expectations, the overall cruise was acceptable. I was able to relax and enjoy most of my time onboard. However, for me to sail with NCL again it will have to be the right itinerary and the right price point now that I know what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Family of 2 adults, 6 year old and 1 10 month old sailed the 5 day Vancouver to LA in a 2 br suite 11506. Fantastic experience from start to finish. Embarkation and disembarkation was always very easy. Cabin was in reat shape and is just ... Read More
Family of 2 adults, 6 year old and 1 10 month old sailed the 5 day Vancouver to LA in a 2 br suite 11506. Fantastic experience from start to finish. Embarkation and disembarkation was always very easy. Cabin was in reat shape and is just the perfect set up for a family. As others have noted a little noise in this cabin around 4 or 5 am from scraping chairs on the above deck. I only noticed it if I was already awake. Didn't get much use out of our butler but our steward Raymundo accomodated our unique sleeping and nap schedules while going out of his way to engage with our kids. The staff in general were great, especially in dealing our children. Our baby hit a couple milestones on this trip including learning how to clap and that was in part thanks to all the lovely attention from the staff. We never tried the main dining room. Ate in Moderno's for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was Cucina, so so, Cagney's, terrific, and Moderno, terrific as well. Hit the buffet a few random times and it was ok. Drink service was great with good pours and fast, friendly delivery. Kids programs were ok. Missing the Nickeleodeon characters. Used to be better imho but staff worked hard and were friendly. I think we got a good last minute deal and definitely got our money's worth. Props to the Cruise Critic folks who organized a great pub crawl! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Cool Cruise! Thanks NCL for the GREAT weather on the whole 12 day re-positioning cruise! Our 13th cruise and we're Platinum Club Members now. We received lots of goodies in our cabin almost every night. Noel, our Cabin Steward, was ... Read More
Cool Cruise! Thanks NCL for the GREAT weather on the whole 12 day re-positioning cruise! Our 13th cruise and we're Platinum Club Members now. We received lots of goodies in our cabin almost every night. Noel, our Cabin Steward, was probably the best we ever had...Johnny-On-The-Spot with any request. Our Wine Steward, Juvy, became good friends with us , since this is the 3rd cruise we've been on together. We made new friends on the ship as usual. The food was above average and "gourmet" quality at times. I can't comment on the Garden Cafe since we only ate there once...but Le Bistro was by far our favorite restaurant. The lounge music was good, however Barry the Piano Player had to tone it down due to his proximity to some of the restaurants. NCL needs to find a venue for him to "let loose" because that is when he is the best ...otherwise he sounds like a "Windham Hill Sampler" CD...way too mellow. The same goes for the Bernie the guitar player! There was always something to do on board. We always enjoy the wine tastings! All of our shore excursions were wonderful. In Astoria, Oregon we did the "Seafood & Wine" tour...Chef Holner was talented, funny & a superb chef. We did "Las Caletas Hide-Away" in Puerto Vallata...it probably was one of the best "beach resort" tours we've been on. Marj really liked her Coco Loco Coconut cocktail. If you go there, take your camera...there are lots of "Kodak Moments". The Staff on the tender (which took us to & from Las Caletas) were extremely funny & talented. We did the "Salsa & Salsa" in Mazatlan...many, many margaritas which allowed to believe we were really good salsa dancers! Overall, ALL of our shore excursions were great. What few problems we had were trivial...the Jewel is a clean, well maintained ship. Easy to get around. Not too big which allowed us to meet and make new friends. Kudos to NCL and again thanks for a great time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
NCL, compared to the other major cruise lines in Canada and US, is only a budget carrier. Be careful. Here are some things you have to be aware of if you must go with NCL : -never prepaid any of your on-board charges, you are likely to ... Read More
NCL, compared to the other major cruise lines in Canada and US, is only a budget carrier. Be careful. Here are some things you have to be aware of if you must go with NCL : -never prepaid any of your on-board charges, you are likely to be charged twice and very difficult to get refund; -make sure that you pay the advertised price, if the adv. price is not available do not go as the difference is difficult to be refunded; -refunds can only be submitted to NCL Florida after you have disembarked; -tips are mandatory, and impossible to adjust even if you are unhappy with service -you have to pay for room service, it was $7.50/room service visit; -the dining room menu is basically the same every day with small adjustments; - the quality of food is definitely not 5 star; more like 1 star; - dining room staff not organized, no one person assigned to specific table and no evidence of supervision; - the embarkation and disembarkation process is chaotic, and not organized; - common areas on the ship are minimal, and sometimes difficult to find a place to sit and rest; - only a handful of deck chairs available compared to other cruise lines. In summary, obvious we did not enjoy our 10 day cruise, and we will never go with NCL. We will return to the HAL, Princess, or Celebrity. We will pay more because it is worth it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I'm sorry to inform you the consumer of another company that has signed up for the Carnival MC Cruise way of doing business. We started our journey with the Pearl over night from Seattle to Vancouver then changing to the Sun for the ... Read More
I'm sorry to inform you the consumer of another company that has signed up for the Carnival MC Cruise way of doing business. We started our journey with the Pearl over night from Seattle to Vancouver then changing to the Sun for the Pacific Coastal and the Mex. Riviera part of the cruise. I am latitudes member I've cruise with others lines and cruised with NCl last year. First no help what so ever getting from the NCL Pearl to the Sun even though they were in the same terminal. Once again the check in process was terrible - computer problems - we waited 2-3 hrs to get on board then - they closed down all of the food venues except for yep - you guessed it - the hamburger hot dog crap. Oh and by the way room service is now 7.97 every time you order except between 6-9 am for continental breakfast. They have also increased what use to be the gratuity charge from 12$ a day range to 15 $ pp. So in addition to the cost of my cruise - i got to pay for 426.00 of " gratuity" which if you look carefully is now referred to has service charge.When I asked different room stewards , bartenders etc. how they were paid with this " gratuity" they stated that they didn't not receive bonuses etc that their contracts are drawn up at the time of employment and that what they get paid. MMMMMMMMMMMMM- well where is this 18% gratuity per drink, special dinner, tipping per day etc going to?? They now charge your card daily and if you do not agree with this practice you have to request a form from the front desk and send it in with in 30 days after your last cruise day in order to get a refund on your "service charge". Oh and the the free dinning packages ,beverage packages - are not free -please don't be miss led. You have to pay the " gratuity" upfront when you select that package they can range from 58- 400 dollars. So figure that you will be paying in addition to your fare anywhere from 100- 800 dollars extra. Anymore expect to pay for everything - like to see how the ship works ,40-50 dollar per person to get a tour of the ship, And please don't get me started about the shopper person or the persons who are suppose to help latitudes -everything is driven toward the almighty dollar . Want a better cut of meat - how about 15-30 dollars more, need direction to the shopping area in port -you have to go to the " forum" on shopping. I 'm giving up on cruising - I may be back when amount you pay is " upfront" not this nickel and dime deception . Ps my husband has tanzaniate poisoning from having to constantly be bombarded with ads for this jem. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
NCL Sun Review September 29 – October 4 2014 and Blues Cruise October 4 – 11th We arrived in Vancouver a couple of days before the cruise and stayed at the Westin Bayshore. It was close to the cruise port with easy access to Stanley ... Read More
NCL Sun Review September 29 – October 4 2014 and Blues Cruise October 4 – 11th We arrived in Vancouver a couple of days before the cruise and stayed at the Westin Bayshore. It was close to the cruise port with easy access to Stanley Park and amenities. It was raining on embarkation day, but at the port we entered a covered parking area, so we were not out in the elements at all. I wondered why NCL mentioned in the documents to arrive at noon for a 4pm departure. We had to clear US Customs at the cruise port, which can take a couple of hours. It only took a short while, thank goodness. We then breezed through security. Within a short time we were on board the Sun. We had booked the 5 day cruise from Vancouver to Alaska, then we would be on for the next leg, the 7 day fully chartered Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. We decided to explore the ship and had a good wander around. Areas of the ship are worn and some carpets needed to be replaced. This is to be expected, the ship is 13 years old. The ship seemed to be in good condition, I am sure it will get exterior work done before it reaches Tampa. The long, wet season in Alaska doesn’t help with getting exterior work done. We had 0007 balcony cabin on the 10th deck for the 5 day cruise, we switched to 0056 balcony cabin, also on the 10th deck, for the Blues Cruise. Both cabins were fine. They were clean and well organized. We weren’t fond of the bathrooms, those darn circular showers! We had had the same darn showers on the Caribbean Princess, so I knew I had to rest my leg on the toilet lid when I wanted to shave my legs. The shower curtain was just a little *too* friendly for my liking! The cabin stewards, Jogie (0007) and Rhonda (0056) did a wonderful job and were great at helping with our extra requests. I liked that the balcony’s had balusters instead of Plexiglas, I could really see the ocean! We had purchased to Ultimate Dining Package for both legs of the trip. We gave up eating in the main dining rooms a few years ago. I am not a fan of banquet food, I like the quieter atmosphere of the smaller dining rooms and I like my meals freshly prepared. As a side note, I have some hearing difficulties and the loud din in the dining room makes me a little crazy. We ate at all the speciality dining rooms. We really enjoyed La Cucina (it has a regular, nothing fancy menu) as it was easy for me to carry on a conversation. The service was very good overall. The food was tasty. My hubby really enjoyed the pasta with hot sausage. My fave was the spaghetti carbonara and the uber yummy chocolate torte. Yum! We had three dinners there over the course of the 12 days. We had three dinners in Cagney’s. The steaks were very good. I am puzzled as to why they individually serve the sides in small containers. If it was family style, ok. But otherwise, just put things on the plate! We tried most of the sides, and they ranged from OK (baked potato) to really tasty (potato gratin). I think the ambiance could be improved with this room. Turn down the horrible Lawrence Welk music and put down some tablecloths. Serviced ranged from excellent to ok. When it was busy, they were definitely thrown off a bit. Overall it was a very positive experience. We had two meals at Moderno for dinner. OMG! Definitely pace yourself! I eat only lean beef and chicken, so I only had a few things. Hubby tried everything! I had to roll him out of there. The meats that I had were moist, tender and flavourful. Hubby enjoyed everything he ate. The sides are typical for this type of restaurant, a small salad bar with things like veggies, cheeses, salamis, breads, soups etc. Everything was fresh and tasty. We went to Le Bistro twice. It is a lovely spot. Great for a romantic evening, or an intimate evening with friends. This is not a spot for children. It isn’t. There was a couple with a howling baby there on the 1st leg of our cruise. It is a small restaurant. Folks are there for a quiet evening out. Just sayin’. We went to Teppanyaki twice. Once on the 5 day – it was pretty much fully booked the entire week. On the Blues cruise, there was a fair amount of availability, folks want to watch the shows rather than have a fixed dining time. Both times the food was very good and the chefs were entertaining. Overall, two very good evenings! There were several areas to eat breakfast and lunch. The main dining room, the cafeteria (garden café?), the great outdoors and Moderno. We tended to eat in Moderno or the Great Outdoors. I really liked the pasta station for lunch or getting salad and fruit in the small stations. There isn’t a huge selection in the smaller venues, but the main cafeteria had quite a lot of selections. There was a good variety of Indian vegetarian dishes. The food was hot and replaced frequently. There were several pool side BBQ’s over the course of the full 12 days. For those who complained about the “lack of selection” should just travel with their personal chef the next time they cruise ;) The staff were outstanding! We attended the meet and greet for the first leg of the cruise. Several of the ship’s officers were in attendance. Brian Walters, the Hotel director, Dan Dyer the Food and Beverage Director, Denton Liang the head chef, Ligaya Dagasdas the Group Services Coordinator, Edgar Horiandor the head housekeeper, Gary Bryan, the Restaurant manager and Winchester Barrack the Beverage manager. The cruise director Richard Matic was everywhere (holy smokes he has energy!) to be found on the 5 day portion of the cruise. I can’t stress enough how good the staff and crew were on the Sun. Hats off to Mr. Brian Walters for running a happy ship. I thought it was great when Mr. Walters donned a cook’s cap and helped serve at the poolside BBQ, he was dancing and swaying to some awesome blues under the hot sun on the blues cruise. He is a hands on guy! The meet and greet was on the 5 day portion of the cruise. Thanks to Barb (Wildcatllamas) who arranged the meet and greet. This is a great opportunity folks! Show up to the meet and greet. On the chartered cruise we do not do meet and greets. So my fellow blues cruisers (John and Delberta) on the first leg took advantage and stayed afterwards to have a little chat with Brian Walters and Dan Dyer. It was great to let them know of the some of the challenges that they would face the following week. It is a completely different cruiser on a chartered cruise, many will never set foot on a “snooze cruise”. Ligaya Dagasdas was wonderful in setting up our FB/Chatboard/CC group get together. She kindly arranged juice, water and coffee with lots of cake for our group. We had a get together at Champs bar on deck 12. We were hanging out in the heat watching the stage and dance floor being set up. On the 5 day portion of the cruise, our friends John and Delberta had dinner with Dan Dyer the F&B Director (with Barb Wildcatllamas too!) and as a little surprise, Dan offered to take them on a behind the scenes tour. I begged to come along, and he said yes! WOW! We got into the galley for the main dining room, all the provisioning areas. I was surprised to see all the boxes of exactly the same stuff that we would have a home. Andy Boy vegetables, fresh eggs, fresh meats that are butchered on site, fresh fruit and eggs etc. The bake shop makes just about everything fresh every day, including the hamburger rolls. The cake and pastry area was baking lots of lovely cakes and goodies yummy. We saw Dan’s quarters (an outside cabin with a port hole, it was surprisingly large), the crew and officer’s messes, the crew lounge, the recycling and garbage areas. It was wonderful to see behind the scenes! The entertainment on the 5 day cruise had lots of singers and dancers with a band. Not really my cup of tea, but most of the passengers on board were having loads of fun  There was a comedian, Noodles and some Gaucho guy who did a comedy act. The 7 day cruise on the LRBC cruise had this line up: • , Taj Mahal Trio, Bassekou Kouyate & Deva Mahal w/ Fredericks Brown • 
Los Lobos • Eric Burdon & the Animals • 
Elvin Bishop w/ Special Guest Roy Gaines • 
The Lowrider Band • 
Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue w/ Tommy Castro Band, Magic Dick, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Deanna Bogart • 
Royal Southern Brotherhood w/ Guest Bart Walker • Ruthie Foster • 
Tommy Castro & the Painkillers • 
Ronnie Baker Brooks (7-piece band) • 
Janiva Magness • 
The Mannish Boys Revue w/ Curtis Salgado, Lloyd Jones, Sugaray Rayford, Kid Ramos, Steve Freund • 
Trampled Under Foot • Bernard Allison • 
Johnny Rawls Soul Revue • 
Colin James (Canada) • 
Curtis Salgado / Lloyd Jones Duo • 
Doug MacLeod • 
Carolyn Wonderland • 
California Honeydrops • 
Dennis Jones • 
The 44′s • 
Eden Brent (Piano Bar Host) • 
Leon Blue (Piano Bar Host) • Deanna Bogart (Piano Bar Host) • 
Scottie Miller (Piano Bar Host) • 
Steve Willis (Piano Bar Host) • Tim Williams (’14 Blues Foundation IBC Winner) • Randy Oxford (Jam Host) • Teresa James (Surprise Guest) So it is fair to say that any regular cruise ship entertainment will never stack up to us blues cruisers. The staff and crew on the Sun were out listening to the music until all hours. It was funny when a staff member in the salon referred to the music schedule as her “dancing schedule”  The F & B Director Dan Dyer is a HUGE fan of Eric Burdon. Dan was thrilled to meet him! Eric Burdon got lots of special treatment from Dan  right down to his very own NCL badge that had “Eric Burdon UK” with a Union Jack on it  Dan told me that he also did a behind the scene tour for the artists as well. Someone caught part of the tour on their phone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGyTgymJW3Y I hope the link works! It is Deanna Bogart playing her sax in the galley, much to the delight of the crew! The venues on the Sun for the LRBC bands were fantastic. The best pool deck set up! The large pool was covered and had a dance floor put on it (steel beams and posts for support, so no worries there!) and the smaller pool was kept open all week. The main show lounge was good, but a bit too chilly for me. The observation lounge was great. Lots of comfortable chairs and great bar service! The piano bar was always packed, lots of great jams happening with whatever musicians showed up. The surprise was the atrium became the wee hours jam area. The California Honeydrops seemed to love that location for a bit of a party at 4am. Mike Zito sat in just about everywhere and my favourite, Colin James was jamming all over the ship. I think Bernard Allison cloned himself, cos I saw him everywhere. There were some really special moments on board. Ruthie Foster singing her heart out in honour of Sista’ Monica who had just passed. Not a dry eye to be found. The astonishing Carolyn Wonderland surprising us with every set, showing the depth of her talent. The Low Rider band coming on stage, and telling us they would play anything anyone wanted to hear LOL! Royal Southern Brotherhood scorching the stage every time they played. Colin James giving is high energy shows leaving everyone breathless after each set. What a week! It was a hot sultry day in Mazatlán; we got back to the ship early. Soul legend Johnny Rawls was playing on the pool deck. We were all swaying to the music in the hot sun with a cold beverage. Just perfect. My hubby and I had a wonderful time. We treated the cruises as two completely different experiences. The 5 day was relaxing and fun. We spend time with our friends. We all rested and enjoyed the low key ports of Seattle and Astoria. I would do this again in a heartbeat. Our 7 day Blues cruise was a blast! It definitely takes a few days to recover from lack of sleep and over indulgence of alcohol and rich food. It was wonderful to catch up with friends from past blues cruises and check out the awesome line up. Ports are very much secondary on a blues cruise. We did not get off the ship in Cabo (we have been there on land vacations), we saw a bit in Mazatlán, and just enjoyed the beach and amenities at the Westin in Puerto Vallarta (I have been there on a land vacay as well). Probably half the folks on the blues cruise did not leave the ship the whole week. Port days are a day to sleep. Well, it is off get organized for the next LRBC in January…..It is on a ship in the Caribbean. East? West? Who knows? who cares! It’s the line up that is important!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife and I did the 12 day cruise from Vancouver to San Diego then to the Mexican Riviera and back to San Diego. It was broken down into 2 distinct sailings, which I didn't realize was the case when I booked it. I should have known, ... Read More
My wife and I did the 12 day cruise from Vancouver to San Diego then to the Mexican Riviera and back to San Diego. It was broken down into 2 distinct sailings, which I didn't realize was the case when I booked it. I should have known, but didn't. The first 5 days was great with the exception of the first sea day which was rainy. But with HAL, there is much to do and interesting people to meet, so all was good. The ports we visited on this leg of the cruise (Vancouver, San Francisco, Catalina, and San Diego) were great and the excursions were top notch. The second leg of the cruise which was 7 days was another story. Totally different clientele (class) on this portion of the cruise. Lots of children and adults who normally would be on a Carnival cruise. Very disappointing! First day out a child decided to poop in the main pool which shut it down for 2 1/2 days. It probably cost the cruise line a small fortune in labor and in loss of drink revenue. So I was a little surprised when the crew did not restrict the children from using the aft deck pool. One would have thought that the public relations involved with restricting the children from the remaining pool would have worked better than taking the chance of a repeat of what happened to the main pool. The ports in Mexico (Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta) were your typical beach type of port. Nothing earth shattering, but nice. In keeping this short, overall I thought the Westerdam is a good ship. It compares favorably to HAL's other ships and other cruise lines ships. My wife and I have sailed many times. The crew and staff were great. Food was good. Room was clean and comfortable. Our only complaint, is that we noticed a definite drop off in what Holland America had been in the past. This I believe is due to the pricing, and policy adoptions from it's parent company Carnival. It did not have anything to do with the crew or staff. Our feeling is that Holland America is rapidly becoming another Carnival and in order to get that old Holland America vibe back, I will have to bump up to another cruise line and watch the pricing closely. If they too have fire sale cabin pricings, it will be best not to sail on it. I have talked with many 4,3, and 2 star mariners on the cruise and they were voicing the same concerns. Won't be sailing Holland America again until it shapes up.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and I did the 12 day cruise from Vancouver to San Diego then to the Mexican Riviera and back to San Diego. It was broken down into 2 distinct sailings, which I didn't realize was the case when I booked it. I should have known, ... Read More
My wife and I did the 12 day cruise from Vancouver to San Diego then to the Mexican Riviera and back to San Diego. It was broken down into 2 distinct sailings, which I didn't realize was the case when I booked it. I should have known, but didn't. The first 5 days was great with the exception of the first sea day which was rainy. But with HAL, there is much to do and interesting people to meet, so all was good. The ports we visited on this leg of the cruise (Vancouver, San Francisco, Catalina, and San Diego) were great and the excursions were ok. The second leg of the cruise which was 7 days was another story. Totally different clientele (class) on this portion of the cruise. Lots of children and adults who normally would be on a Carnival cruise. Very disappointing! First day out a child decided to poop in the main pool which shut it down for 2 1/2 days. It probably cost the cruise line a small fortune in labor and in loss of drink revenue. So I was a little surprised when the crew did not restrict the children from using the aft deck pool. One would have thought that the public relations involved with restricting the children from the remaining pool would have worked better than taking the chance of a repeat of what happened to the main pool. The ports in Mexico (Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta) were your typical beach type of port. Nothing earth shattering, but nice. In keeping this short, overall I thought the Westerdam is a good ship. It compares favorably to HAL's other ships and other cruise lines ships. My wife and I have sailed many times. The crew and staff were great. Food was good. Room was clean and comfortable. Our only complaint, is that we noticed a definite drop off in what Holland America had been in the past. This I believe is due to the pricing, and policy adoptions from it's parent company Carnival. It did not have anything to do with the crew or staff. Our feeling is that Holland America is rapidly becoming another Carnival and in order to get that old Holland America vibe back, I will have to bump up to another cruise line and watch the pricing closely. If they too have fire sale cabin pricings, it will be best not to sail on it. I have talked with many 4,3, and 2 star mariners on the cruise and they were voicing the same concerns. Won't be sailing Holland America again until it shapes up. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Mexico, 14 days and no flights. This sounds like a great cruise. It will be our second time on Holland America. So after the initial shock of it not being Celebrity I had to stop with the expectations and from there things felt better. ... Read More
Mexico, 14 days and no flights. This sounds like a great cruise. It will be our second time on Holland America. So after the initial shock of it not being Celebrity I had to stop with the expectations and from there things felt better. Embarkation: we got there early and once they opened the ship were quickly on board and exploring. Main Dining Room: they messed up our dinner reservations, again. Despite the confirmation for dinner time and linking reservations we were seated late and not with our travel companions. However Iggy was awesome and by the third night we had a table at 5:45 every night for 11. The food was usually good with a varied selection. They brought the menu the night before for one in our party who has food issues and after a bit of a hiccup things went well for her. The cafe was okay, I liked the fresh sandwiches and appreciated the daily salad and fruit. Lido dining: I think if I had one complaint it would be that food was often not hot...I liked the build your own sandwich, the sushi and the Indonesian day. Activities: The population on this ship is elderly and the activities reflect this. Generally they are quieter and off to bed early. Just don't be in a rush as the walkers and wheelchairs, and canes are plentiful. They pack the early shows and the ship becomes very quiet by mid evening. There has been only a few line dancing classes and we would have appreciated some ballroom. There is a couple of trivia every day with the name that tune during our dinner every night. We have enjoyed the digital treasure hunt that has lasted the whole cruise. We have gone for creativity in staging our photos and had a ball setting the 'scenes' up. The shuffle board deck needs refinishing, it was impossible to use it. Our guys like karaoke and they all sang and three of them made the cut for the superstar performance. Entertainment: we have made the piano bar our last stop every night and have enjoyed the sing a longs, requests, dances and chat with Piano Man Lee and the others that hung out here. Lee has a wide range of material although he does admit Broadway is his weak link. The shows have been great. Production numbers. This is a new team and their inexperience shows. They attack the numbers with enthusiasm and energy, what most of them are lacking at this point is a connection to what they are doing. One male dancer in particular was awesome and we learned this is his sixth contract so he is comfortable with his material. I am sure the others will begin to relax and enjoy themselves. Tony Pace, a Las Vegas headliner is talented and knows how to work a crowd, even an elderly sun baked crowd. His blend of song, impersonation, and comedy made for a show you wouldn't want to miss. Ronn Lucas, The ventriloquist again had such charm and talent we were tired from laughing by the end. I volunteered my husband to be a dummy and he added to the humour. Alfreda Gerald did a tribute to the Divas. Her vocal skills and personality were a huge hit and we were honoured to chat with her the next night before she headed home. Rose Ranger played guitar and sang in the piano bar. She has a nice voice and so was easy listening before supper. Adagio Strings also gave another easy listening venue. The Neptunes, a trio were cool and played the Ocean bar where the ballroom dancing took place. Hal cats were great! I did not see the Stander Dance Duo perform in the theatre, but heard negative comments about their performance. I will say when I saw them dance in the piano bar they were relaxed and did great especially the woman. Activity staff lead entertainment such as Call my Bluff, Majority Rules, the Marriage game were entertaining and fun. Jeff Peterson was next up as a magician who is funny. He bills himself as 'Comedy Magic'. He was good, but the audience was pretty slow. We tried to get them worked up, but they were a hard sell. Dale Gonyea was up next with piano and comedy with photos. He had lots of funny stuff to say pertaining to this cruise such as the fact the walking deck was always blocked off in one way or another, about the carpeting and the missed port. He had an interesting voice and had us all laughing. This particular night I could not keep my eyes open so missed bits and pieces of his performance. DJ Steve was awesome, he kept music levels balanced and at a volume you could hear the music and still chat with friends. The ship: Okay...we got a letter saying "We would like to advise you that during our stay in Puerto Vallarta, we will be enhancing the atrium and stair towers by adding brand new carpeting. We expect the work to proceed quickly and anticipate that any inconvenience to our guests will be minimal. Nonetheless, as a gesture of goodwill, we want to offer each of you a complimentary excursion on that day, October 16, 2012, to help you enjoy your time ashore in Puerto Vallarta." They were however carpeting during the whole cruise making it challenging to navigate the ship safely. The fumes at times were trying as well, both the new glue and the heat they were using to get up the old stuff. The ship does need some work, but in general is okay. Well maybe I should add that we had a hydrolic problem that kept us late in Cabo San Lucas that caused us to miss our excursion in Puerto Vallarta and then more problems there which had us in Puerto Vallarta for an extra 10 hours. Then the stop again in Cabo to get the tender and then late to San Diego. We cleared customs late in the evening and went on shore to connect with friends. We were able to get together with one of our friends but missed the other. Our visit to Alcatraz in San Fran is off since we will not stop at that port. We did get our money back from The Alcatraz booking company. To make up a bit for all the issues the ship offered free drinks for two and a half hours. Room: Our room 1820 was quiet and we were very happy with our room steward Denen. Even the traffic to the medical center was not really an issue. Lots of wonderful towel creations and anything we needed. Excursions/ Ports. Seattle: dropped from the itinerary very early in the booking process. San Pedro was our first port and it was a testing ground for our group. Our group was too big to go together. I enjoy the people I was with, but with limited time we could have done more in small groups. As it was we wandered up the coast line reading the descriptions for the sites that I had downloaded. We did a little geocaching too. Puerto Vallarta. I can't comment on the one we missed, but the Pirate Ship Ahoy was a blast. Of course it was packed because it was one of the free ones offered. A number of people Who went this one were not really fit enough especially since the waves were big due to a storm on the Pacific. They were lifting people in and out of the tenders who were... well... anyone who was slow or limited mobility because the waves were crashing. It was very hot and very humid, but we loved it. Cabo San Lucas. We booked our own Kayak trip in Cabo. We were picked up by Cabo Outfitters and we were the only ones on the trip. We had an awesome time in the building waves kayaking and snorkeling. Kasey and his wife were excellent. We did have concerns about getting off the ship in time since there were delays, but we went down early to wait and got on the first tender. San Diego: We wandered around Balboa Park. Just wish we had had more time there! San Fransisco: Cancelled. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
DH & I are in our mid-30s and had previously cruised once with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We boarded the Carnival Spirit in Vancouver, BC and took a 3-night Cruise to Nowhere aka Repositioning cruise to San Pedro, CA. We stayed no ... Read More
DH & I are in our mid-30s and had previously cruised once with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We boarded the Carnival Spirit in Vancouver, BC and took a 3-night Cruise to Nowhere aka Repositioning cruise to San Pedro, CA. We stayed no the boat and continued on for the 9-night Mexican Riviera cruise with stops in Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada. Overall, it was a good cruise. We wish we would have had another day in Cabo and we learned we aren't really big on too many sea days but nothing went wrong and everything went smoothly. We like Carnival because they make things easy as far as booking, bon voyage, picking a room, general self-help customer service online, etc. It looks like we will be sailing with them again next year, possibly twice. PROS: *We had a balcony room on the 5th floor and had two wonderful men as room stewards. Everything was great with our room and with the service. *The dining room service was EXCELLENT. Can't say enough about the servers and the wonderful maitre d' -- they have it all perfected on this ship! *Room service was good - fast and answered the phone quickly - nothing like the terrible room service I had on Carnival last time. The chocolate cake is yummy! *The ship is absolutely beautiful. It makes for a nicer cruise experience. *They have a wonderful Russian girl who does wine pairings in the Nouveau Steakhouse for $15 per person and we would highly recommend this little bit of fun. The wines were good, the little bites of food were nice, the information was interesting. They do two wine tastings - one New World and one Old World. Frankly, with 9 days and only 4 port days, I wish they would have offered more items like this. *Guest services desk was super friendly and helpful - gave us change, answered questions, etc. Everything was done quickly, efficiently, and with a smile. *The Lido buffet was pretty good. Sometimes, for lunch especially, I wished they had more of a variety. For dinner, however, they put out the good desserts and one night we even found flat iron steak and most of the offerings from the main dining room being offered on the Lido buffet. Wonderful. *The deli is the best place on the ship, IMHO. *They offer Coke Zero everywhere on the ship and I LUV me a good Coke Zero so this was a little thing that made me very happy. *Ice cream and frozen yogurt machines were always clean and always available 24/7. Yummy! *We liked the pizza and the pizza guy was always nice. It wasn't available twice between 3am and 4am, however... they were cleaning the grill or spraying for bugs both times, FYI. *The whirlpools and pools never seemed crowded. We woke-up early and got in the whirlpool on the deck when it was cool outside - it was fabulous. There seemed to be mainly all late sleepers on this cruise so the ship was quiet empty until nearly 9:00 it seemed. *The Game of Love show was hilarious and Marcello, the Assistant CD, was FANTASTIC! This is a don't miss!! *Debarkation went rather quickly and smoothly. CONS: *I had a bad experience with some rude spa employees. They are sorta like a gang of mean girls in there that don't like drinkers, smokers, or overweight people... and I know that because one of the spa employees told me that.. and I'm not kidding. *The Nouveau Steakhouse for dinner was not a good experience for us and several other patrons. The weight between each course was at least 30 minutes with no offers of water, no wine refills, etc. You are given one piece of bread at the beginning of your meal and when you eat it, they take away your bread plate and the butter. No more for the remainder of the meal. We did not have a designated waitress. They are clearly understaffed here. Not worth $30 per person. I would not recommend. *Embarkation was a nightmare for us in Vancouver.. didn't get on the ship until nearly 3:30pm. Terrible. Same thing again for my in-laws in San Pedro. Poor excuses were made both times. *The ship was late arriving in our first two ports, like, almost an hour late. They introduced the ship's captain at the past guest party as the most senior captain in all the fleet... but he sure couldn't get the boat anywhere on time! *They offer late night comedians that are basic slapstick comedy BUT we went to one showing after dinner and then they stopped after the first guy and said the next guy wouldn't start for another 20 or 30 minutes... so everyone left. WHY do that?? If you are going to have two late-night comedians.. have them follow each other?? Seemed odd. *We were on the ship for 12 nights with only four port days. We got bored. We don't like bingo, the casino, or trivia. There isn't much else left to do. This would be my biggest overall "complaint" - but it is our fault, we should have chosen a larger ship with more offerings. I could write forever but basically... any cruise is a good cruise... at least, that has been our experience so far. We definitely enjoyed our time on this beautiful ship and can easily understand why it is the perfect design and size for an Alaskan cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We started our 12 days in Vancouver and it took forever to board the ship. I now how cattle must feel being hearded into a pasture. They had computer problems but didnt tell anyone what was going on until we had been sitting for over an ... Read More
We started our 12 days in Vancouver and it took forever to board the ship. I now how cattle must feel being hearded into a pasture. They had computer problems but didnt tell anyone what was going on until we had been sitting for over an hour and half. Finally three hours later we boarded and got settled. Our room was nice but it looks tired and dated. The balcony we had was amazing. It was super long and it was extended as well. Cabin # 7258. You could have fit a party of 10 on it easily! We dined alot at the formal dining room. It was good food and always great service. The buffet is okay we mostly had breakfast there. The sushi bar was great had that a few times. The shows are good but when we sailed NCL five years ago it was way better. We had good weather in Mexico but was disappointed that we lost a day in Cabo. Carnival said it was because of Hurricane Hilary but we easily could have had one more day there. Disney arrived in Cabo same time we did and they had two days there and arrived just after us in San Pedro?? I would like to know why they were so lucky? I feel like Carnival ripped us off in a sense!! We enjoyed Puerto Vallarta. We did a Tequila tasting tour and would say it was the highlight of our trip. The tour guide Pedro was hilarious and made the trip alot of fun. Ariba Mass Tequila!! Disembarking went okay. When we got off to find our shuttle we were easily directed to our bus. Over all the cruise was nice but they didnt Wow us. Will try something different next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The crew and staff of the Oosterdam did an excellent job for 99% of the trip , what spoilt it all was the total lack of control over the 3 hours of misery to see the us custom officers, people standing and stuck in the corridors for two ... Read More
The crew and staff of the Oosterdam did an excellent job for 99% of the trip , what spoilt it all was the total lack of control over the 3 hours of misery to see the us custom officers, people standing and stuck in the corridors for two hours , two people fainted to my knowledge , why not a system to cope with the known amount of people??? Then the chaos that ensued with practically every one claiming "EXPEDITE" tickets to shore and luggage ( now there an oxymoron if there ever was one) the de-boarding process. I am sure it was not planned , I am a 3 star almost 4 member of HAL cruising and will continue but beware fellow cruisers if you see a large amount of non residents and you are entering San Diego !!! Loved the ship, the food and the lads and lasses that staff her, the officers were low key and did not show up too often, in fact I only saw the captain once. Good ports of call and the tender crews were on top form able to handle the usual people who ignore the obvious, group of "Not " !! suitable for people who are not mobile! or are in need of walkers and wheel chair etc , in a tossing tender its hard to see how the crew stays so patient with those who should stay and use pier and dock facilities. A good greet and meet and thanks to the lady who provided the badges ,, a great idea Looking forward to the next trip, Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My husband and I embarked on our 7th cruise, second with Holland America. Got a great deal, via an email offer and liked the itinerary, so said, let's do it!! 12 days from Vancouver Canada down to the Mexican Riviera. Our ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on our 7th cruise, second with Holland America. Got a great deal, via an email offer and liked the itinerary, so said, let's do it!! 12 days from Vancouver Canada down to the Mexican Riviera. Our cruise was to sail on a Monday from Canada Place so since we are from the east coast we decided to make the cross country trip worth it and arrived on Saturday for 2 days in Vancouver prior to sailing. Stayed at the Pan Pacific right where the ships dock.Loved Vancouver and the hotel. On Monday, the day of our departure, the bellman took our bags directly to the ship so we had a few extra hours to explore the city. Embarkation went smoothly. We arrived at about 1 PM, were quickly processed and on the ship within a half an hour. We tried to get to our room, but our section of the ship was not ready, Navigation Deck, Floor 8, Aft. So, we went to the Lido buffet (we had an invitation to join the "Captain" in the Vista dining room for lunch since we were a returning Mariner, but never opened the invitation until later that evening). Chaos!! in the buffet. HAL has a program to not let passengers touch anything in the buffet line until after 48 hours to avoid spread of any virus, so everyone had to wait for everything including a glass of water. We gave up and went to the bar at the back of the ship. After a cocktail and the mandatory life saving drill, we were able to get into our rooms, had a bit more of a wait for our luggage. When they arrived, we unpacked and got ready for dinner. We had requested a table for 2 at the 8:00 seating.Which our travel agent told us we had. We were escorted to our table, which was a table for 4, but thought perhaps we would be alone at the table. We were not. Another couple joined us. This was very disappointing for us. We were looking forward to a romantic 12 day cruise and wanted to have dinners alone. I don't mind breakfast and lunch partners, but we wanted to eat dinner alone and if HAL could not provide that, they should have told us at the time of booking and we would not have booked this cruise. 12 days talking to 2 strangers was not our idea of romance. The other couple was lovely, older than we are, but it is difficult to make small talk for 12 days with 2 people you have never seen before and will never see again. I would rather sit at a table for 6 or 8, more opportunity for new conversations. I would rate the food in the dining room as fair to poor.I am not a picky eater, but there were several evenings when nothing on the menu appealed to me and other evenings when the food was close to inedible. I had turkey one evening which seemed like an easy choice. 2 scrawny piece of white meat and 2 fatty pieces of dark. If we had been at a table for 2, I would have sent it back, but did not want to inconvenience the other couple's dinner and delay things. Another evening the pork was so fatty it never should have been put on a plate and served. The land and sea on another evening (steak and shrimp) the steak was about 2" square. The desserts were good except for the night with creme brule, no crust on that custard!! I do like the free cappuccino with dinner. Eating in the buffet is always a challenge on HAL due to the maturity of the passengers.There are canes, walkers and wheel chairs to navigate around.We have room service for breakfast 2 days to avoid the "no touching" days. It was good, hot and served at the time we specified. Our room steward was EXCELLENT, thank you Budi. We asked for robes when we first got into our rooms and they appeared instantly. He refilled the fruit basket if anything had been eaten. The room was made up it seemed as soon as we left. No complaints there!! I will briefly describe the ports here since most of them do not seem to be listed below. Astoria, Oregon : lovely. Take the city tour locals narrate he trip and it is well worth it. Catalina Island, CA : no formal trip, just a stroll around the town, charming. San Diego, CA. City tour was great, we will return to that city. Mazatlan, Mexico : docked in an industrial dock, did not get off of the ship. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico : we have been here several times before, just strolled the straw market and visited the mall across the street. Cabo, Mexico: stayed on the ship, had to tender and it was very hot. Debarkation, total disaster!! Our flight was at 11:35. They gave us a time of 10:15, I don't think so. We changed it to Expedited where you carry your own luggage. We were told we would probably get off at 8:30-9:00. Non US citizens had to report to immigration at 6:45. We got in line at 8:30 (there were about 100 people in front on us) the announcement that we could start leaving the ship for EXPEDITED came at 10:15!! We were told we would have to be able to handle our own luggage, etc, no help, no porter. There were people there with walkers and in wheel chairs!! I think I have gone on long enough. It was our second trip with HAL and our last. The offer we received was great, but the food was terrible, we did not get a table for 2 as promised and you must be aware that the passengers are very, very mature. We are in our early 60s and in good health.Many of the passengers on this line need a lot of assistance.We do not require a lot of activity to keep us happy, but we do like to be able to walk the aisles and halls at a normal pace. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
A little background, I'm in my mid 40s and DH is mid 50s. This was our 12th and 13th cruise, 7th and 8th on Princess. We have cruised RCL x2, Celebrity, HAL and NCL. We booked this as two separate cruises...a 3 day Coastal followed by ... Read More
A little background, I'm in my mid 40s and DH is mid 50s. This was our 12th and 13th cruise, 7th and 8th on Princess. We have cruised RCL x2, Celebrity, HAL and NCL. We booked this as two separate cruises...a 3 day Coastal followed by the first 7 day Mexican Riviera of the season. We were lucky to snag the aft corner BB Caribe 753 for both cruises. Embarkation: Nightmare! But nothing we can blame on Princess. Unfortunately the lady that committed suicide by jumping off the back of Sapphire was being searched for the morning of our embarkation so Princess Staff had stopped the line and prevented anyone from boarding. We stood in the Security line for about an hour without moving. Princess staff told passengers that the Coast Guard was doing a "Drill". Once we got through Security, boarding was a breeze. We found our cabin pretty easily and instantly fell in love with its location and balcony. Cabin: Wow - what can be said about those corner afts that hasn't already been said? We loved it! The view was incredible. We had a lot of sea days on this 10 day voyage and that balcony was perfect. The Cabin was laid out really well, tons of drawers and closet space. Suitcases fit under the bed no problem. The egg crate was already on the bed and robes were in the bathroom for us. Even the shower curtain didn't seem to hug the way it used to. Ship: The Sapphire Princess is beautiful - absolutely beautiful and not showing any aging at all. We were on the Zuiderdam in May and she was a disgrace. Sapphire was truly spotless. She has so many great hidden areas for reading and relaxing and an abundance of pools. The first couple of days out the pools where far too warm. It felt like you were being dipped in soup. They cooled down a bit towards the end. I think they must have been heated for Alaska and just took time to adjust the temp. Service: Another WOW - we've been on 5 cruise lines and about 11 different ships - Sapphire crew were the best - everyone that you ran into was friendly, happy and very helpful. Gerry our cabin steward was the best we've encountered on any ship. Bar Staff, waitstaff, officers, everyone was so nice. The staff in the Pacific Moon dining room were fantastic. I ordered a Cappuccino in Lobby Bar one morning and had a bit of a wait...just a couple of minutes, but I had three people apologize for the wait. Honestly, I can't say enough about the staff.....except... the pursers' desk...I'm not labeling them all as bad, but we certainly ran into our share. We had a problem with an internet credit that took 4 trips - over 4 days to the purser's desk to fix and you could tell she really didn't have a clue what she was talking about. The second instance was the billing on the ultimate balcony dinner. We did this with friends - in their cabin - and our cabin got charged for both couples. The men went down to fix it up and thought it had been done and sure enough on the final bill, it was still screwed up and charged to our cabin. The other couple just ended up giving us $100 cash as the Pursers desk was unable to fix it. Dining: We had Anytime Dining and I think ate in the dining room 3 times. Had reservations each time and no wait. We did the pub lunch which was good, but doing it in one of the fancier dining rooms is a bit strange. The wheelhouse pub is a much better location. Couldn't believe when our drinks server at the pub lunch clearly remembered what we were drinking the night before - great memory - I barely remembered ;) We had our anniversary dinner in Sabatini's - Fantastic! Alex our waiter was awesome as was the food except for the lobster which was overcooked - knew I should have had the Seabass. But the rest of the meal made up for it including the plethora of desserts he brought us. Last formal night we dined with our friends in Sterlings. My Filet was very good but hubby's Rib eye had a lot of fat on it. We also did the Ultimate Balcony Dinner which was superb. We did it for 4 on the other corner caribe balcony. 4 fit out there quite well. They brought a larger table. We had a Goat Cheese Salad, Crab Tart, then Steak/Lobster or both followed by dessert. They start you a cocktail of your choice then with dinner a ½ bottle of champagne per couple. I'd run down to a bar earlier and grabbed a bottle of red for dinner which they gladly served us. Service, food, ambience - all excellent. A photographer also comes up to take your pic and you get a free 8 x 10 per couple. We had about 4 shots to choose from. Cost was $100 per couple and well worth it in our opinion. Horizon Court was actually pretty good. Anytime they had seafood on the buffet it was excellent especially the breaded shrimp. Overall, I'd say the food everywhere was pretty impressive. Entertainment: This part is going to be short, other than Steve Morris, we didn't see any. He was good though. We also attended some of the Karaoke (oh my ears are still ringing) and we won Passenger Feud. The Ports: Well this was a 10 day cruise for us, with only LA, PV, Mazatlan and Cabo so a lot of sea days! Getting off the ship in LA as in "In Transit" passenger was very easy. We congregated in Club Fusion for about 20 minutes and where then led off. A short walk for someone to check your documents and you were back on board. We decided to leave the terminal and check out San Pedro...hmmm... don't bother. We were directed to "Ports of Call" there really wasn't anything there. We should have just stayed on board and enjoyed the solitude of the ship. Puerto Vallarta - we just took the white shuttle buses into town $3 each. Easy and quick. We were dropped off outside Diamonds International..of course! We wandered around a bit. There were a couple of nice Silver and Leather shops that the ship recommended. We then went for a beer and walked around a bit more. We ended up taking a taxi back to Walmart to replenish water and pop. We also went to the mall next door to Walmart which was very nice and just walked back to the ship. Mazatlan - we took a Ghetto Taxi (taxi driver's words not mine) down into the Golden Zone. Wow tons of construction going on and lots of stores added since the last time we were there. The cab driver asked if he could drop us off at Diamonds International as he gets $5 for doing so, we said sure and just walked straight through it. Taxi was $8 for the 4 of us. We walked around a bit, bought some silver jewelry and friends of ours bought some Pewter from a store we bought from 9 years ago - it was good to see they were still there. Went for a beer (starting to see a pattern?) walked around a bit more and then headed back to the ship. There are tons of stores in the port area to navigate through. Mazatlan runs a little shuttle in and out of the port area which is Mandatory and Complimentary. It's an industrial port area so they want you to be safe. Jewelry prices were pretty good in Mazatlan but watch your prices in the store sponsored silver store. They wanted about $160 for a bracelet that I found a few stores down for $72 Cabo - Cabo is a tender port. We got our tender tickets about 8:30 am and within about 5 minutes were being led to the Tenders. It was so hot in Cabo...it had actually been very hot and humid all cruise but Cabo seemed especially warm. We started walking around the Marina area and quickly ran into our friends who had done an earlier excursion... so even though it was only 9:30 am, we needed that beer to combat the heat ;) We shopped a little. Cabo prices were out of line compared to the other ports. Earrings that I had looked at in Mazatlan were starting price of $40 Cabo they were $70. I told him he was nuts and walked out the store. We ended up at Cabo Wabo for Margaritas a little later in the morning and wound our way back around the Marina back to the ship. We bought some Almond Tequila and some Pomegranate Tequila in Cabo and had no problem taking them back on the ship. Disembarkation: A breeze! No announcements which is nice. You just head to your designated public lounge/dining room and disembark at your time. We were in the Platinum lounge and disembarked on time. Highlights: Sea Days - we've never done a cruise with this many sea days before, we now know that we love them, so relaxing. We spent so much time on our balcony just watching the wake and the dolphins racing the ship. The Staff - can't say enough. We've never run into this much consistency of good service. The Ship - just beautiful and spotless The Food - shockingly good - especially the seafood on the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This is a review of my 14 cruise on the Ryndam. The first 4 days was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. The next was a Mexican Riviera return to San Diego. A little background on myself. I am a 46 year old female that ... Read More
This is a review of my 14 cruise on the Ryndam. The first 4 days was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. The next was a Mexican Riviera return to San Diego. A little background on myself. I am a 46 year old female that usually travels alone. I have has several cruises with HAL but have also cruised with Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. While HAL used to be my favorite I am leaning more towards Princess. It's just not the same with HAL as it used to be. The food and the service aren't the same although I did see some improvements since the last time I sailed with HAL. I started my trip in Vancouver without incident. I live approximately 1 hour plane ride from Vancouver so I flew in the same day with plenty of time to spare. It was a rainy day so a bit of a drag. I had an outside totally obscured cabin on the lower promenade but I could easily see the ocean by looking a little to my left. Our only stop was in Victoria. Shore excursion Butchart Gardens - Unbelievably beautiful. I can't believe this is practically in my back yard and I've never been there. I loved it! The next 3 days were brutal! I've now been on the worst seas of my life ( I hope). It was a terrible storm off the coast of Oregon I've heard. I also heard that there was 30 foot waves. A lot of the ship passengers were down for the count and there weren't many in the dining room or elsewhere. Lucky for me I don't get seasick and am proud to say I managed to exercise for 1 hour during the worst of the storm. I was pretty much the only person in the gym. The food was fine but I have noticed it's not a good as it used to be. The desserts leave a lot to be desired. Entertainment I feel is not very good on HAL. I've found the shows to be much better on Princess. Those disembarking in San Diego didn't get off much before 11am as I recall. Many passengers vowed not to cruise again after the big storm. San Diego to the Mexican Riviera. This part of the cruise was much better weather wise. I remained in the same cabin on the lower promenade. I had issues with the A/C not working well in my cabin as well as with a whole group of cabins in the area. We all had a big problem getting this issue addressed. The ports of call were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Topolobampo, Loreto, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. On this cruise they started the as you wish dining. They seemed to adjust the dining room to accommodate the excess of traditional diners as the upper floor was for traditional and well as some of the lower level. I had early traditional and there didn't seem to be a big line up wait for the anytime. There were maybe 3 nights out of 10 when it appeared to be excessively lined up. The Ryndam is showing her age in some spots although she didn't look to bad. It had just come out on dry dock however. They had issues with the stabilizers during the storm which I think they repaired in Topolobampo. I really don't do many of the ships activates as they don't appeal to me so I can't comment on these. I thought the cruise director, Drew, was really exceptionally good however. Service was ok on the ship. Some of there staff went out of there way while others were not great. Food is ok but nothing great. In my opinion the food in the Lido sucks as do a lot of the employees. When you ask for a larger portion they seem to get very upset. The supervisory staff is pretty nice in the Lido however. I really didn't do any shore excursions except the Copper Canyon. I don't feel it was worth the money. There were a lot of rude passengers hogging the only picture taking spots and they refused to move. SO RUDE! I don't know how some people live with themselves. I can't recommend this excursion. I've been to all the other ports before but still found them enjoyable especially since the weather was so awesome. Disembarkation went pretty smooth and I was at the airport in plenty of time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
WE booked the reposition cruise late and cabin selection was limited, we would have upgraded but there was no availability, so a veranda balcony was to be our home. The room was rather small but adequate with a couch coffee table chair and ... Read More
WE booked the reposition cruise late and cabin selection was limited, we would have upgraded but there was no availability, so a veranda balcony was to be our home. The room was rather small but adequate with a couch coffee table chair and bath tub. Our cabin service from room service to cabin attendant was superb. The boarding process was extremely smooth, and faster than previous cruises with other lines and premium suites status. The first glitch came the first night when we ordered the "wine package" $199 for five bottles, the brands were a little vague, but we signed up anyway. The first choice in a Merlot became unavailable, the stewart substituted, and it turned out that it would cost more, The second night the selection also became unavailable and there was an upcharge. We decided to disenroll from the program, and pay for our two previous selections. The wine stewart continued to press us when we decided to order iced tea at every meal, and purchased our wine at the on deck bar, which we took to our room afterwards. While on the subject of alcohol, the cruise line of course had prohibitions on bringing aboard, but not strictly enforced. You could purchase alcohol at the bars in bottles in at least double the price of the street cost. The also ran short of certain brands and tried to substitute flavored vodka....ecch. The champagne selection was very limited and a bottle of Moet Chandon ended up costing $72. The meals were portion controlled, not overly exciting, but adequate. We elected to have two dinners in the "serve yourself" restaurant, It seems with four seatings they were in a hurry to turn the tables. 5:45 in the upper, 6:15 in the lower, 7:45 in the upper and 8:15. The service was good not great, and probably had to do with the $10,00 per person daily charge distributed to the staff, 15% on all bar services. The food on deck was also reasonably good at both the buffets and deck stations. There were no laundry facilities, but for $12,00 they would wash everything you could wedge into a sack, dry cleaning and pressing was available at reasonable cost. The shops were not that interesting, and someone mentioned they were not operated by the cruise line, and personal goods were limited, jewelry seemed to be the thing. They were hawking the typical tooth whitening massages etc. The major issue was that smoking was still permitted in the casinos, certain public rooms, cabins, and balconies. WE were forced to retreat into our room when our balcony neighbors decided to have cocktails and smokes with their fiends, interjected with hacking coughs. The other issue was scooters, there were many on board, and were typically recharged in the elevator lobbies, and were a pain on shore excursions. The disembarkation was a breeze, we elected to "carry" and were on the curb within 45 minutes of the ship "tying" up. As veteran cruisers we would only rate this cruise at 7 maybe 8 or a "C", the cabin steward, some deck attendants, the front desk, raised the average score. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
My husband and I travelled for the first time with NCL on the Norwegian Star, embarking in Vancouver and taking 2 cruises really. One was Vancouver to Los Angeles and the 2nd leg was the 8 day Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. We left ... Read More
My husband and I travelled for the first time with NCL on the Norwegian Star, embarking in Vancouver and taking 2 cruises really. One was Vancouver to Los Angeles and the 2nd leg was the 8 day Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. We left September 23rd and returned to LA on October 8th.We have taken a dozen other cruises with Celerity and Royal Caribbean. I must say embarkation was a breeze, the easiest we ever experienced. First the positives. Norwegian Star is a remarkably stable ship and we felt little sway or movement even in force 7 winds. The Star glides along beautifully. We had a lovely suite at midship and the room was very nice. The public rooms were well appointed and opulent and the pools lovely and the pool decks spacious. We made good use of the Barong Spa indoor pool for a fee and we enjoyed the thalossotherapy pool and private hot tub. The greatest ship experience was the music. My my my. Stan Sykes is a gentleman who is "Mr. Motown" on the Star and headlines the Carousel Lounge nearly every night. He is pure energy and dynamite and plays al the standard Motown classics plus other tunes and takes requests as well. WE danced the night away, the highlight being the "electric slide" the last night of the cruise heading back to LA. There was a special funk and blues review in the Spinnaker Lounge with Stan headlining with the Star house bandand it was fantastic. The dance band Luna was most enjoyable and did a 50's and 60's sock hop, a 70's night etc etc. Very nice dance music. There were various venues for music, a four person group Harmonious Melodies that played nightly in he main atrium area and piano players et al.I never read anything about the music on these boards so I thought I would do it. On to to other things: freestyle cruising. We really do prefer the more formal style of cruising, we found out. The Endless Summer tex-mex was our choice for 7 out of 14 days. It had a god menu and presentation. The main dining room Versailles was hit and miss for dinners, mostly miss, although we always had a tale for 2 and the breakfast there were good. The 24 hour Blue Lagoon had yummy wonton soup and asian noodles and fried rice. Several nights we skipped dinner altogether and tried rom service which was a disappointment. We don't cruise to eat but we would have liked a little better fare. The ports were a treat. We saw the Titanic exhibit in Victoria BC, shopped in rainy Seattle, walked around Chinatown and visited the Apple Super Store in San Francisco, stayed on the ship in LA. We kayaked in Acapulco, visited the Krystal hotel in Puerto Vallarta (always a favorite port) roamed around little shops in Ixtapa and spent the day dodging the heat in Cabo san Lucas. All in all we had a great time but freestyle is not for us again. There were little things here and there, untidy public areas, wet floors and no tp in the washrooms, glass bottles left by the pools and hot tubs, a very limited selection at the Market Cafe buffet daily, we did not eat there even one time in 14 days. The drinking water in the ship was amazing and the photography staff took some excellent photos. Would I encourage anyone to travel NCL? Sure, if they like a luxurious ship with anytime dining and so-so food, why not? Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was actually two cruises - repositioning from Vancouver to LA and then the Mexican Riviera. To sum up the whole cruise - no problems, excellent service, excellent food, staff kept us entertained, -- had an excellent time. Boarding ... Read More
This was actually two cruises - repositioning from Vancouver to LA and then the Mexican Riviera. To sum up the whole cruise - no problems, excellent service, excellent food, staff kept us entertained, -- had an excellent time. Boarding the ship was as easy as you can ask for. We live on Vancouver Island. Left our house at 10:10 a.m. - we were in our suite at 11:40 a.m. Float plane took longer than when we got to the terminal. Couldn't believe it!!! Had read so many reviews about waiting in lines, etc. NO PROBLEM!!! Our room steward met us, introduced himself (Jose) asked us if there was anything we needed and if there was, just give him a page. We asked him for ice and after that had ice twice a day. Our suite was very nice. Lots of closet space (nice wooden hangers and lots of them) and a large cupboard with shelves. We used the drawers by the bed for socks, etc. Veranda was a good size, but near the end of the cruise the chairs and table were changed. Chairs were more comfortable, but table was smaller and lower, so it was hard to eat breakfast. Everything we needed was either above us or below us. Our suite was in the perfect place. Close to the elevators, swimming pool was up 1/2 flight of stairs, hot tub up 1 1/2 flights of stairs, two bars, buffet was 1 flight up, dining room 6 floors down. We dined in the International Dining Room (second sitting- Table 75), Manuel and Christmar served us for both cruises. Excellent service - knew us after the first night like we had been there forever (knew our names,what we drank, when we drank it)-- Amazing. We have been on other cruises, but these two guys knew their stuff. Had room service for breakfast every morning - right on time every day. We usually had burgers, hot dogs, etc. from the snack bar by the pool at lunch. Pizza was great. Went to the buffet a couple of times for lunch - always a good selection of hot and cold, salads, fruits, deserts, breads. Walked by the buffet at 2 a.m., food looked fresh. Couldn't believe there were 30 - 40 people eating! The entertainment was good - Piano Man and Undercover were really enjoyable. Comedians were excellent. Because cruises were B2B, we caught every show with no repeats. One week watch Piano Man and missed Undercover for a comedians, next week vise versa. I felt disembarkation was disorganized. The ship was an hour late getting docked and cleared, etc. Half the ship used Express disembarkation (new thing). Everybody wanting to get off at the set times, but that was impossible. We just got in the express line, got off the ship, got our luggage, got on a bus and were off to the airport. We didn't wait for Red 2 to be called. We had a 1:00 p.m. flight. Made it to the airport with time for lunch. All in all, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click