Dave and Kathy Garcia
Age: 39 and 30 something
Occupation:Financial Services Supervisor and Shipping Coordinator
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Grandeur of the Seas
Sailing Date: July 21st, 2002
Itinerary: Mexican Riviera
We really didn't partake in some of the large shows in the large Palladium theatre. We didn't hear many good things from other passengers about the dancing teams, they seemed to be high school or college kids, not what it was willing to spend time doing on a cruise. We did play Bingo the final day, remember this, at $35.00 a book, it was pretty expensive and the jackpot almost never hits until the final day, so I was told. A lady from California won the $17,000 prize on the final day of the cruise, WOW, I'm sure that made her trip! Our 1st night on sea was a pleasant one, the ship was smooth as silk and was really a marvel to watch as it cut through the seas, but, night #2 was rough sailing ahead!! There was a hurricane to the West of us and the ship kept us up pretty much all night. Our room was full of interesting sounds, of doors opening and closing, our TV gliding front to back on it's tracks, and worst of all, me being a person that sleeps on his side, I kept on being turned over left to right all night. I was told this was a rarity and was easily the roughest seas the ships had the past "6" months, enough said. Arriving at Cabo San Lucas comes,
Tip #6: Due to the waters being too shallow and the city not wanting cruise ships docked on their shores, we had to take a motorized boat or "tender" to transport us to Cabo. It was only a "10" minute trip but it was about 95 degrees and probably 95% humidity. Whatever you do, try to sit on the "Top", outside area of the small ship. It was like an oven inside and we were sweating bullets seconds from departure. Cabo San Lucas was our least favorite city. There is a decent shopping area right when you arrive, tons of pottery, silver etc,, but we were told the Mazatlan was the place for the best deals, so we waited.. We decided to go to a small bar in the shopping area and we met up with Pedro, what a bartender! He was friendly and had many funny stories and jokes to share with us all. "5" hours later, we headed to a restaurant called "Cabo Wabo" for a bite to eat. Not the most happening spot on earth. Fair food at best and the crowd was minimal. We arrived on the ship about 4:30PM…
Tip #7: Whatever you do, DO NOT be late for your ship's departure. The ship will not wait for you and it will put a major dent in your pocketbook if you make this error. There were a few ladies that were enjoying the Margaritas a little too much, well, they missed the ships' departure and $600.00 later, arriving from a series of taxis and buses, chickens and all, they met up with the ship and their belongings at the next port of call. Fair Warning!!
We arrived back on the ship and took one of our early naps before our 8:30PM , 2nd seating dinners at the Great Gatsby Room. We found this gave us enough time to arrive from our ports, relax, shower and get dressed with time to spare. Speaking of dining, this was our favorite experience on the ship. We sat with a Dad and daughter from Oregon and sisters from Northern California. We had a lot in common and ended up heading off the bars and shows together after dinner.
The food was about a "9" on a 1-10 scale. We enjoyed prime rib, fillet mignon, rack of lamb, shrimp scampi, lobster, duck, cherries jubilee, bananas foster, you get the picture, here comes'
Tip #8: I gained "7" pounds and my wife "4", right! If you want to avoid the shock of returning from your trip with pant marks around your waist, lose the weight you are planning on gaining before you leave. Don't be depressed if you gain weight, this is a vacation, relax, have a good time, and let yourself go!
We cannot say enough about our head waiter, Suad and his assistant JR. These guys worked their tails off for us, did whatever necessary to please us and fed us like cattle. We actually tipped them extra above the recommended amount due to their efforts, Thanks you 2!! Overall the food was very tasty in the Great Gatsby Room. This is the place for more formal dining experience. The Windjammer cafe is the spot for a generous breakfast buffet. With sausage, bacon, omelets, cereals, fresh fruits, breads there was plenty for everyone. Next to the solarium, an indoor pool and spa area, there is some pretty good pizza and burgers and fries to be had too.
Our visit to Mazatlan was by far more interesting than Cabo San Lucas, due to the hurricanes in the area, all water sports and excursions were cancelled so we relied on the cities to entertain us. Lots of shopping areas, some rough urban areas too, but overall, a nice city to visit. We were truly disappointed with the restaurant "Senor Frogs" though. With all that we heard, it felt too "Americanized" for my taste. We traveled too far to see a bunch of Native Mexicans acting like Americans, playing loud Rap music, line dancing and pouring watered down drinks down the throats of the 18-25 year old crowd. Don't get me wrong, I can party with the best of them, but this was not my idea of excitement.
Puerto Vallarta was by far the most beautiful city we've visited in Mexico. It had super beaches, fantastic restaurants, "Shrimp Factory' highly recommended, and shops everywhere. The people were friendly and there really was not anything bad that could be said about it as a whole. ENJOY!
Tip #9: If you are planning on buying alcohol in Mexico, be prepared to have it confiscated until the end of the cruise if you are caught. The ship makes a large amount of $ by selling alcoholic and soft drinks. Sometimes they will run a drink special, 12 drinks for $39.00, but take heed. It does not include any specialty drinks or import beers and the drinks sizes are about "5" ounces smaller than usual, not really a bargain, is it? It seems that if you arrive a few minutes before departure, they will not check your belongings as thoroughly but BE Careful!
Tip #10: Cologne and perfume in the shopping area onboard was about 40% cheaper than at home. No taxes and duty free, indulge!!
Tip #11: Bring an iron, none on board and no ironing boards. There is a laundry service on board, but for a fee...
Overall, it was one of the best vacations we've had and is quite a bargain considering what the package includes. Other than a few areas that could be improved, the ship is beautiful, large, "917 feet", smooth, and the people are quite special. I think we ran into 2 American crew members during 7 days. The others were from Croatia, Philippines, Australia, Jamaica, England, Nigeria, India, etc.. Very interesting meeting people from other countries as well as the people from Mexico. Enjoy your trip on Royal Caribbean's "Grandeur of the Seas"!