I’m going to talk about our week-long cruise around the Mexican Riviera, and share some tips to make the most of your days on the ship!
The most important aspect is choosing the right cruise company. Personally, the Holland America Line was the most worthy of the available companies!
(To the right of the photo below, you can see our elegant ship,
of the HAL premium class cruise company).
I recommend you choose a cruise (and a route, of course!) on a new ship. The HAL has the following ships: Noordam, Eurodam, Oosterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam. These vessels boast a larger number of suites, cabins with a balcony, and fewer inner cabins. In this regard, there’s a very slight difference in the value of a cruise in a dark cabin and a cabin with a window, or a balcony! On older ships, such as Statendam or Rotterdam, the cabins with a balcony occupy only one deck, so they automatically become unaffordable compared to cabins of a lower category.
Another tip is to select a "warranty" cabin. It means that you will find out the number and category of your cabin shortly before the cruise (the category can only be upgraded, so you will never end up with a cabin that is lower than the fare you paid. Therefore, it is quite possible to get an upgrade!
So we did the same. I chose the lowest rate in the category of suites (there are only 4 such cabins onboard), hoping to get the upgrade. But we didn't expect to get such a BIG upgrade!!! We couldn't believe our eyes! We were given a deluxe suite with all the complimentary privileges!
Firstly, the cabin was 570 sq. feet (53 square meters) - for comparison, the suites are 387 sq. feet (36 sq.m), cabins with a balcony and a window are 247 sq. feet (23 sq.m), and an internal cabin is 193 sq. feet (18 sq.m).
Secondly, we were offered free laundry service, including ironing, a personal concierge, exclusive admission to the indoor lounge, invitations to private parties for penthouse and deluxe suite guests, breakfast in an alternative restaurant and other pleasant amenities.
Our cruise to Mexico departed from the US
. We arrived there the night before the cruise, and spent the night in a hotel, left our luggage on the ship (yes, with the cruise tickets inside :)) and went to the airport. On the way back and forth, we walked around the city.
At the port, in addition to cruise ships, there was a former aircraft carrier with helicopters and fighter planes onboard, which is now used as a platform for a cafe and museum.
Well, it was time for the cruise! We were going to spend two days at sea. We got up very early in the morning, at about 6 or 7 a.m., we put on our white bathrobes and went to the open deck to swim in the pool. At the time, we only noticed one pool. The water was cold at first, but invigorating!
While we were getting ready, a steward served us breakfast in our cabin.
My favorite morning dish was egga Benedectin and waffles with cherries.
I always emphasize that the Holland America is the only company that offers freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning to all its guests :) And there was excellent coffee in the lounge zone as well!
We often organized small gatherings on the balcony.
It was very pleasant to have lunch and dinner onboard the ship, at an elegant table and in good company.
In the evening, after dinner, we walked on the promenade deck, breathing in the ocean air and enjoying the evening sunset.
Well, actually, here are some words about the route itself.
The first port was
in fact, is a small Mexican village with a promenade, colorful houses and retro cars.
Locals were trying to please tourists by entertaining them. This guy, for example, was diving into a pool surrounded by rocks, in front of a crowd of admiring spectators. After a few successful tries, he began collecting money from the audience.
The cruise terminal was full of souvenir shops, an area to access internet for a fee (incluidng wireless), and a back and shoulder massage for $10 :)
The next port was Puerto Vallarta. The main attraction was a waterfront with lots of souvenir shops, cafes and monuments. One can get there from the cruise terminal by taxi in 10 minutes for $3-5 dollars (as of 2010) per person.
There you will see a lot of sand sculptures,
masters of bright, national crafts,
and you can swim in the sea!
There was a huge shopping center and a cafeteria-pub, with free wi-fi, in front of the cruise terminal.
The third port along our route was Cabo San Lucas, about which I decided to write a more detailed review.