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Age: 33

Occupation:IT Manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Sapphire Princess

Sailing Date: 2010-01-21

Itinerary: Mexican Riveria

All in all, it was a good trip - not excellent, but good. We took the 7 day trip out from Los Angeles, had a very easy and fairly inexpensive Princess shuttle from the plane to the boat (and back, when it was over), and over all there were no problems with the boat or the ports - except that we wanted to make Mazatlan the 1/2 day and Cabo a full day. Cabo was much cleaner and had more interesting tours than Mazatlan. The staff, to a one, were friendly and helpful and - for the most part - knowledgeable. A quick word of warning: bring your own antibiotic cream and anti-diarrheal medication - they don't have any over the counter.

We'd opted for the "anytime" dining, and tried the Pacific Moon and Savoy areas - only eating at the International once. The smaller dining rooms were generally a better experience, as they had more 4 person tables available and it seemed to be less noisy. The food was, indeed, the same in all which was okay. Any dish with a decent sized portion of vegetables was better than the mostly meat dishes. If you're expecting excellent steak, forget it. However, the salmon was consistently good and the other fish (tuna, tilapia) was decent. Here's a tip worth repeating: never get the pie. If you plan on going to Sabatini's, you will not be disappointed! However, you get a lot of food, so either try only a taste or so of the antipasto or don't eat the day of your meal. You get a ton of food. The buffet.... well, it's a buffet. You can't expect much from it, other than the fruit will generally be good. Great way to cut down on your caloric intake! Plus, the desserts can sometimes be scary (avoid the "Zuppa Ingles" - I think it was called - like the pie warning above). Again, the pie is to be avoided. Those corn syrupy single serving fruit pies you find in the super market are better. Really. Salad bar is excellent, and again, you'll probably be healthier for it anyway.

Excellent - we had a balcony which really helped... except that if you want a firm bed, you get something equivalent to a marble slab to sleep on. Bruises on my ribs the 3rd night, but was able to get a mattress pad.

I'm strongly considering becoming knowledgeable of a region (history, sights, notable characters, etc) that Princess cruises through and seeing if I can get a gig doing some presentations. The one I attended had a guy reading off his PowerPoint *word for word*, even when he repeated himself in the PowerPoint *exactly*, and was very lackluster. The tequila tasting was a plus, but it brought out all the 18 year-olds. Cooking demonstration and galley tour was fun!

Mazatlan was okay, in such a way that you're better off either hiring a pulmonia and going to the sites yourselves (saving a lot of money) or just going to the beach and hanging out. The lighthouse was worth the walk, 300 steps plus 1/4 to 1/2 mile of uphill switchback rocky path, for the view - although the sewage treatment plant below can get stinky if the wind shifts.

The Jungle Canopy tour of P.V. was excellent - highly recommend that one.

The sea floor helmet diving tour of Cabo San Lucas was great, although we didn't get to see many fish. Well worth the money, though, for the unique experience. If you want to see a large variety of fish, snorkeling may more be your thing on the nearby beaches. However, it was a lot of fun to walk along the sea floor and see the fish up-close without having to worry about getting water up your nose!

Getting to the boat was easy - a short flight from Oakland to LAX, then a very handy bus from the airport to the boat. I cannot stress how great a value that is. Once on board, the first full day at sea went great. The next, however, not so well. My girlfriend developed some indigestion from eating pineapple - something she doesn't normally eat much of - and didn't have any Immodium AD with her. Checking around, we found out that she'd have to go to the Medical Center to get something like that. $60 for that visit, plus $39 for the medication, and a 24 hour quarantine out of a concern for a Norwalk outbreak put a gloom on the next day. No biggie, as we were still at sea and didn't have anything until the next morning in Puerto Vallarta. As it turns out, the med staff called and said she couldn't leave her room until 2:30pm the next day, meaning she'd have to skip her tour. 24 hours from the last *symptom*, they clarified. So two days ruined. To top that all off, they didn't bother calling her at the end of her quarantine to check back in. The rest of it's really her story, but suffice to say the cleaning and food prep staff weren't at all friendly or helpful during that time.

Once that was over, the rest of the trip went much smoother. A slight scraping injury aside, the other tours went without a hitch and much (more) fun was had!

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