Number of Cruises: 12
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: December 13th, 2001
Itinerary: 10 day Mexico
After having been on 11 cruises previously, 5 of which were with "Celebrity", we decided to try "HAL". The timing, itinerary and price were perfect. We have taken the 7 day Mex. cruise twice with "Carnival". My wife Dinah & I enjoyed both cruises because of the number of days at sea and the 3 ports. Best of all, no airport hassles since we live in L.A. This cruise also offered Acapulco & Zihuantenejo, neither of which we have been to. It took no effort to recruit Dinah's twin sister Roz & her husband Bob to join us. They are our usual cruise companions. We met them in San Diego since they had to fly from NY and we drove from L.A. The boarding process was simple and easy. There was no time for the arrival buffet since we arrived shortly before the lifeboat drill. The baggage was delivered into the cabins which is much nicer than having them left in the hallway. The cabin (basic oceanview) was large, 197 sq. ft. It was very nicely appointed and very comfortable. After the! drill, as the ship left San Diego, we walked around the ship and were very pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this ship and the artworks aboard. We actually started at the top and work our way down. 1st stop was the Crow's Nest. It sits over the bridge with a panoramic 180 degree view. Great place to relax and watch the ocean during the day. It is also a wonderful place for a pre or post dinner drink with FREE hot hors d’oeuvres. They have great dance music there till midnight and then it becomes a disco. Next we went to the Lido Deck which has the spa & gym, pool and Lido buffet rest. The pool area has a glass roof which is opened or closed depending on the weather. During the cruise it was a very relaxing area without all the noise and dumb activities usually associated with this area on most other ships. The Lido Rest. is large and comfortable with a great view to the sides and rear and has outside eating areas as well. You can also get burgers & hot dogs as well as Mexican food by the pool. Further down are also the shopping arcade, several different lounges where you can listen to different types of music and they are all very comfortable and nice. If you want to enjoy a drink that's fine, and if you don't, they leave you alone and do not hound you. The main dining room is just beautiful. It has two levels and very nicely laid out. The service and the food in both dining rooms were excellent. Both compared very favorably with "Celebrity". The food was as good as it looked, if not better. The deserts were killers. Very tempting, delicious and plentiful. Ice cream is free and served several times a day. They also served HUGE Alaskan King Crab legs several times during the cruise. Chilled at the Lido Rest. and hot in the main rest. The steaks were juicy and tender and fish were very good as well. The food presentation was wonderful. We were very pleasantly surprised. On the negative side, there are smoking sections in the dining rooms which is very annoying if your table is near them. We had to change tables because of that. The main showroom is big (2 levels) and very impressive. Some of the shows were very good while others were so-so. Some of the singers and dancers were just great. The ports of call were very good. We enjoyed every one of them. We never take the ship's excursions, we take our own. We always hire a cab, van & driver or car wherever we go. It costs a LOT less and we go where we want to and see more of the sights and less of the stores. In Cabo we went to the glass factory and later we split up. The girls went shopping and Bob & I went to town, walked around and stopped for a beer at a sidewalk bar. In Mazatlan we took a "pulmonia" cab to the El-Cid where we vegged out by the pool, ate and had a couple of drinks. In Acapulco we went to see the divers, walked thru the old part of town and then hired a van to take us sightseeing. Ziuatanejo was a walk around town for Bob & I and then we sat at a beachside bar for beer. On the sand by the water with a beautiful view of the ship. On the way back to the tender we walked past the fresh fish market right on the beach. The next day, in Pto. Vallarta, we spent the morning walking around town and in the afternoon we went to Mismaloya Beach where we sat at a bar right on the beach and had.....another beer. We then spent 2 more days at sea on the way back to S.D. which was a perfect way to end this cruise. We are now looking forward to our next cruise which will be determined by price, ship and itinerary. We fell in love with HAL & the Statendam. We could not have asked for a better cruise.