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This is a review of the Sea Princess Mexican Riveria cruise 1/12/02. I took this cruise along with my friends Heather and April along with April's mom CC.
We decided to go in a day early and meet up at LAX. I flew American in with no problems, except that I had a bad cold and ended up with plugged ears for the rest of the day. We stayed at the Holiday Inn San Pedro - a nice place to stay but I don't know if I would stay there again or not. It is located on one of the main drags in San Pedro and it was not a quiet place to be (especially if you had a room facing the street like I did - really heard the traffic at night after my ears cleared.) We took a taxi to Long Beach that afternoon to visit the Queen Mary - what a lovely ship she was.
The next morning we decided to take 2 taxis to the pier from the hotel ($5.00 per cab to the pier). Heather and I arrived at the pier at 11:05, we waited for about 10 minutes for April and CC. After they arrived we had our documents checked by Princess personnel outside the terminal to make sure we had everything filled out properly - and then we (with the exception of Heather) were given stickers so we could get in line. After a few minutes they let the line into the main terminal to get our bags scanned and go into line to check in. I must say Express check in went very fast - I was impressed. Even Heather who had to go into the non US Citizens line got through relatively quickly (they had only one person manning this station.) We boarded the ship and found our staterooms; Heather and I were in Dolphin 726 (an inside) and April and CC were in Dolphin 714 (an outside). D726 was a standard inside - your first impression is that it is small (and it is) but there is so much storage space that we did not use it all. We then checked out April and CC's stateroom - they had a little more room than we did, but their bathroom was smaller - we could not believe it but not once did the shower curtain stick to my butt! lol We then went off in search of food and to explore the ship - this was my second time on the ship and found it to be in excellent shape except for one or two minor things - some cracked tiles in one of the entrances to the Horizon Court and some molding that appeared to be loosening.
We chose personal choice dinig and for the most part it was good - we enjoyed not being locked into a time to eat, but we all missed having the same wait staff and tablemates every night.
The food was very good, especially the ice creams and the beef, seafood and pasta dishes. A couple of minor complaints here - the prime rib now comes with some kind of sauce over it; personally they can get rid of that sauce or offer it after your plate is at the table. The other complaint is that they have altered the Love Boat Dream dessert - a couple of years ago there was a chocolate crust on the bottom of the dessert, now it is just chocolate mouse with a piece of chocolate on top. I was a little disappointed as this had been my favorite dessert before - now it is the chocolate ice cream. We did eat in the Sterling Steak house one night (the night we left Puerto Vallarta - Italian dinner was on in the dining room.) The blooming onion and the steak were absolutely wonderful - cooked to order and very tender. We each had pizza at least once and it was very good - much better than the pizza on the Grand, imho. The Horizon Court buffet had good food - I especially loved breakfast up there - always some type of eggs and pre-made omlettes along with fruit, meat, cereal, pastries, hot cereal, eggs and omlettes made to order, french toast or pancakes - I'm sure I'm missing something there. At lunch were hot and cold meats, fruits, salads, pastas, potatos and some kind of carved meat - prime rib, ham, turkey, etc.
After two sea days to start the cruise, our first port of call was Puerto Vallarta - we hired a taxi (Alfredo) for a three hour tour for the four of us for $50 total. We went through Marina Vallarta, down to where some of the locals live (we asked to see that area -actually saw some women washing clothes in the river; it reminded me of how fortunate we are here in the USA), Gringo gulch and where Richard Burton and Liz Taylor lived with the bridge connecting their houses and out to Mismaloya beach and the set of "Night of the Iguana". We then went downtown where we did a little shopping and I decided to go back to the ship while the others did some more shopping. I had my hair cut that afternoon at the beauty salon and I must say, thank you Mark for the wonderful haircut! Maybe I'll post the pic of the new me in the future.
Next day was Mazatlan - nothing really excited me about this port so I stayed on board with a handful of others and started working on my tan. Heather did a city tour with a some people she had met in the casino; and April and CC did the Sierra Madre tour.
Next it was on to Cabo San Lucas. The other girls did the coastal drive tour while I went on the whale watching tour. This was absolutely one of the best shore excursions I have been on. We saw six diffferent humpack whales, sea lions, flying fish and we sailed into a pod of dolphins - they were swimming next to use and jumping out of the water right next to the boat - it was absolutely amazing.
After another day at sea, it was back to LA. Debarkation was a nightmare as some people seem to think that rules are for everyone else except them. We did not start debarking until after 9:30 - I did make my flight; and after some weather delays and a bomb threat at Mitchell Iternational airport in Milwaukee (my final destination), I did make it home in one piece.
This was a great cruise, and I would not hesitate to do this itinerary on this ship again. A big thank you to Captain Andy Proctor who runs a great ship and always welcomed us back on board with "This is Captain Andy from the bridge and welcome home!" It truly did feel like a home away from home. Also, a big thank you to Donato, our room steward who took care of everything and kept our cabin spotless.