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Diane Luft

Age: 60


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Sapphire Princess

Sailing Date: 2012-03-14

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

First, let me say this was our first cruise. We found the overall experience enjoyable. The Princess staff was among the kindest I have encountered in all of my travels. They strive above and beyond to make you happy.

We found the food above average in most cases and plenty of it. Everything was fresh and well prepared and you can make healthy choices, if you want. We ate at the Sterling Steak House one night, which was wonderful. The regular dinners were also quite good. They offered many choices and if you wanted to try something besides your entree, you could order it as an appetizer, or even in addition as a 2nd entree. The buffet was OK. Probably a step above your home town buffet.

We bought a champagne breakfast served in our room, which was tres romantique! Fresh fruit, little pastries and mini quiches..... Well worth the splurge.

We got a room with a balcony on one of the upper decks (Baja Deck). I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of storage and closet space. I was also happy there was a safe in the room.

THANK GOD, they no longer allow smoking on balconies as our neighbors were complaining that she could not smoke her cigarettes or he, his cigar!

The room itself was big enough and organized in such an amazingly efficient way that we were very satisfied.

On board activities could use some improvement. The trivia games were not well organized and not well controlled. It got so competitive with people yelling out answers that the poor guy basically lost control and no one won.

They could use more seating for their open atrium area, when there are music and/or programs. I actually saw a Princess employee professionally diffuse an argument where an elderly woman sat down but the other woman already sitting there was "saving" seats for people and asked her to leave. Saving seats is a no-no, but its done quite a bit. They got the woman another chair and the sitting woman was allowed to save her seats, which I did not think was wise or consistent.

One comedian was pretty good. And there was an Irish singer with her Bulgarian band members that was quite good. We went to a few of her gigs and enjoyed them. But the "Jazz" band was not great nor was the other.

The opening night was lacking. And the Princess employee talent program was pretty bad.

OK. Here is where we had our biggest problem. Our first stop was Puerto Vallarta. Which we thought was going to be an in-city tour. One of the places we went was a Mexican ceramic factory. I thought there was going to be artisans there demonstrating what they made. But we were dropped off on the bus and basically allowed to buy souveneirs. Several of us went upstairs and found one guy making pottery, but he did not talk to us and we got the feeling we were not welcomed. And what he was making was not art, it was cheap, tourist stuff.

What was a bit disconcerting, was that we drove about 35 minutes outside of the city to go to a tequila factory. Since there was a bus from a Carnival cruise that was hijacked and the people robbed just days before, we had decided to stick to the "city" tour so we thought it was a bit of false advertising. At least we did not read we were driving out of the city. But the tour ended up being fun and I drank enough samples that I don't think I would have cared if we were hijacked.....

Cabo was awful. That is unless you enjoy ultra tourist traps, no feeling for the true Mexican culture and people of all weights and ages getting drunk and making asses of themselves. They really need to improve this one.

If you want to be pampered and the ship is your destination, cruising the Mexican Riviera is for you. And, Princess is a good cruise line to try. Their prices were pretty competitive and their service is excellent. Though I did think their spa-pedi-mani prices were a bit ridiculous. However, they are comperable to what one would pay in an upscale hotel.

We did have an issue when we needed to send an email. VERY expensive. And the man there, had a bit of an attitude. We were there for just a few minutes and were never able to connect. Cost $10. I understand from Princess staff that they subcontract this out. I think they need to do better as the service and the attitudes do not match what we experience with the rest of the staff on the cruise.

If you want adventure and fun ports, pick a trip other than the Mexican Riviera. Especially, since Mazatlan is no longer a stop and you spend a night in Cabo...... Very disappointing.

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