Originally posted by prometrick:
THIS GIVES ME A GOOD IDEA THANKS TERRI R. I HAVE READ NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE REVEIWS ABOUT THE SPIRIT. WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS SHIP AND ANY SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT SHORE EXCURSIONS THAT YOU COULD GIVE ME?
Well, hubby and I LOVED our cruise on the Spirit. The only cruise (until the Spirit) that we'd taken on the west coast was a short one that only went to Catalina and Ensenada. Not particularly exotic or tropical! So, even though the ports of Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo and Acapulco were MUCH further south (than Ensenada), we really didn't know for sure whether it would be as nice as our cruises to the Carribbean. The water didn't have quite the same color turquoise as the Carribbean, but it was still a beautiful blue and still warm and excellent for snorkeling (our favorite activity), and the weather was definitely tropical (and this was in December)!
As far as Shore Excursions, we normally do not take the ship's Shore Excursions. We've found we can usually arrange something just as good on our own for a lot less. So far (knock wood!) we haven't had any problems.
At Zihuatanejo, we took the tender to the dock. Just at the end of the dock there is a little building where you can buy tickets for water taxis for something like $3 per person r/t, that will take you across the bay to a nice beach. The snorkeling there was only so-so (not a LOT of marine life) but the beach was lined with little restaurant/snack bars, and we picked out a spot on the beach, ordered a couple of Coronas and some guacamole and chips and could spend the entire day on the restaurant's chaise lounges. We left ourselves enough time to take the water taxi back over to the dock and do a little shopping in the village. I thought it was a charming little village and the vendors were not pushy at all. Then we took the "treasures" we'd purchased and tendered back to the ship.
Manzanillo was one of our favorite ports. I worried when I stepped out onto our balcony that morning and saw where we were docked. It was definitely a "working" harbor!!! Ugly! But, then we took the shuttle bus (I'm sorry I don't remember if it was free or maybe $2 per person) to the plaza near the downtown. Hubby liked shopping in Manzanillo because there were as many locals as tourists, so the vendors were not pushy at ALL, and their prices were good. At the plaza there were tables set up where the Tourist Info people would tell you the different things you could do or places you could go, give you a map, let you know about how much a taxi would cost to the various beaches, or a bus ticket, etc. We decided to take a taxi to Playa de La Audiencia, which is the beach where the movie "10" was filmed (you know...Bo Derek running down the beach in slow-mo). There were not a lot of people there. We had a cold drink at the little restaurant at one end of the beach and then walked over to a stand on the beach where you could rent snorkel equipment, etc. (we had brought our own) or arrange for a small boat to take you out to snorkel (at the very same areas where the ship Shore Excursions went). I think it cost us $25 for the two of us, total, and there was the driver of the boat, hubby and me, and two other snorkelers. We had GREAT snorkeling there....the water was very clear and LOTS of marine life; I saw an octopus for the first time, well, first time "up close"!!!
Acapulco....well, we're glad that we can now say we've been to Acapulco. But we weren't impressed. We got off the ship and once again, arranged privately, easily done in an area right outside the entrance to the ships dock. We just asked some of the other passengers that were looking at the map if they had arranged anything yet. We found three other couples, and the 8 of us arranged for a nice van (air conditioned -- thank goodness!) to drive us around. I don't remember how much this cost us....not a lot, once again, maybe $25/per person, maybe less. The driver took us to Senor Frogs, where there was a beautiful view of the bay...then back around the bay, and over to the cliffs....the area at the cliffs was just filled with people, so we had the driver take us down a road that hugged a hillside....he parked and we had a wonderful view of the cliff divers (this was really the only thing I knew about Acapulco). After that he dropped us off at the mercado (which is quite near the dock), specifically at his brother-in-law's shop!
All the vendors were horribly pushy, and the starting prices were outrageous. If we ever go back to Acapulco, I imagine we'll just stay on the ship! But that's just us..
We LOVED that it was 8 days....and we enjoyed sailing out of San Diego. We live in southern California, so we were able to take the Amtrak train from a station very near our home to San Diego -- much less stressful than driving or flying, and the Amtrak station is within walking distance of the pier in San Diego (although we stayed at a Holiday Inn directly across from the pier the night before we sailed).
It was a totally relaxing cruise for us...I hope you enjoy it!