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Sail Date: February 2014
For years I have wanted to go on a cruise, but my husband was very reticent. Finally, in this our 49th year of marriage, the decision was made and I found the cruise that fit us perfectly: Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera.... and ... Read More
For years I have wanted to go on a cruise, but my husband was very reticent. Finally, in this our 49th year of marriage, the decision was made and I found the cruise that fit us perfectly: Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera.... and what a treat it was! Right from the start things went well: parking right at the dock for a reasonable price and friendly porters to take our bags. Then getting to our stateroom and meeting our "caregiver." Lily was wonderful throughout the trip, doing her utmost to make us comfortable. We had decided on a balcony, and immediately knew that our choice was the right one. Even before we left the dock we were out there relaxing. In fact, we ended up spending a lot of time in our very comfortable cabin--more perhaps than some would, but that's what we liked, and that's what the cruise was all about: doing what we wanted. Of course we also spent time outside of our cabin, on excursions and in the buffet and dining rooms. The food was absolutely excellent, as was the service. We got to know some of our servers personally, especially the young Peruvian man whose Mexican wife also worked on the ship.... what a lovely couple they were! Seeing Ensenada and Puerta Vallarta by bus were also great fun, especially the visit to the tequila factory in the latter, where we learned that saying "mas tequila" could be dangerous--but fun--thing to do. We decided to "do" Cabo san Lucas on foot, perhaps not the best idea for a couple in our age range, but we survived and had fun doing it. Sailing back from Puerto we really relaxed and just enjoyed the Sapphire Princess.... which included the casino and the shopping facilities, as well as some of the entertainment offered. Reaching Los Angeles was a bit of a bummer.... I would have liked to start all over again. Still, we were left with wonderful memories, and my husband admitted that cruising was great, and that he'd like to do the same cruise again sometime. Whether it's your first cruise that you're planning, or the next in a list of many, you'll not regret choosing the seeing the Mexican Riviera on the Sapphire Princess.... the ship is beautiful and the people are amazing.   Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
The Editor's review of this ship is spot-on, so I won't repeat what she has written. I would like to add some thoughts based on our trip "Among the Great Whales" in February of 2013. We had a wonderful experience. The ... Read More
The Editor's review of this ship is spot-on, so I won't repeat what she has written. I would like to add some thoughts based on our trip "Among the Great Whales" in February of 2013. We had a wonderful experience. The up close interaction with the gray whales was extraordinary - and not an isolated event. Every person on the ship had a chance to pet - yes, pet - a baby whale while we were out in the Zodiacs. We saw dozens of humpbacks breaching within 50 yards of the ship and spied an enormous blue whale off the bow. Lots of sea and shore birds made for nice photo ops. Be prepared: the cabins are tiny. If I stood with my arms outstretched, I could touch both side walls at the same time. I'm 6'4" and bumped my head a dozen times a day. Not much storage space with two people in the cabin, and ya gotta love the toilet inside the shower stall! The food was simple, but fresh and tasty. There were always plain beef, chicken or fish choices if you did not like the evening's special meal. Wine and booze prices were very reasonable.One note about cabin selection: there are sliding doors amidships and the cabins right next to them (like 208 and 210) have to put up with loud clangs and bangs at all hours. We suggest that you take the trip that starts in LaPaz so that you end the cruise with that wonderful whale experience. If that had been our first day, the rest of the week would have been a letdown. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Over all, we had a great time. And my kids especially enjoyed it; they have fantastic kids' programs for all ages (both oldest son and youngest son ended up with the 11-13 year olds all week). So bottom line, if you have ... Read More
Over all, we had a great time. And my kids especially enjoyed it; they have fantastic kids' programs for all ages (both oldest son and youngest son ended up with the 11-13 year olds all week). So bottom line, if you have children or grand children, this is a fantastic cruise! Lots and lots of activities for the kids, lots of family type events, etc. They do have adult only sections so once you drop the kids off at their activity (youngest son and oldest son came and went on their own since it was the 11-13 year olds), then you can find some quiet areas. Also, after 9:00 p.m., a lot of the lounges that were open for kids were now off limits. Not an issue normally but we really wanted to do some family game nights and we never found a place to do that after 9:00 p.m. That was kind of a bummer for us. The food was just OK. Some dishes that were supposed to be hot were cold, others had little flavor while other dishes were fabulous! I guess we were spoiled by the Regent Seven Seas Mariner but now that I look at their current prices, I really cannot compare them to Disney. It's like comparing a Four Seasons hotel to a Best Western or Holiday Inn Express (we love BW and HI). Apples and oranges. But for the value, it was excellent. We spent about $1200 per person and we had 2 seperate staterooms. The same 2 staterooms on the Regent Mariner would be a lot more! Also, you do have to tip and pay for all alcoholic drinks on the Disney Cruise. On the Mariner, it's ALL included. On the Disney Cruise, we had to pay for just about everything including internet. It does add up but not what we would pay on the Mariner! (We paid an additional $1500 for shore excursion, internet access, surcharge for the adult only restaurant, alcohol, club sodas, lava flows for the kids and laundry). The noise level was over the top. I guess I should have expected this since it was a holiday cruise and the ship was full. Lots and lots of small children. Even some of the 11-13 year olds were allowed (by their parents) to run wild. Not my kids' style, thankfully! When we walked into the dining room the first night (and this was after watching the kids run up and down the hallway), it was quite loud. All hard surfaces and many of the parents ignored their children as they banged their spoons and forks on their plates. It did settle down a bit as the cruise went on and we changed dining rooms each night (rotation dining). We ate a peaceful and quiet dinner on the 2nd night in their very casual restaurant since none of us felt like dressing up (formal night). On the 3rd night, my husband and I went to the adults only restaurant (an extra $20 surcharge per person) and it was a lot more like what we experienced all over the Mariner. It was very quiet (except for some large adult parties) and the food was outstanding. We cancelled our reservations for Saturday night to have dinner with the kids; I kind of wished we had not done that and enjoyed yet another great meal at that restaurant (called Palo on the Disney Wonder). I asked my husband to move to the later seating but he really wanted to eat at the main seating (he gets up early to workout since he is a triathlete). So I told him to get ear plugs! I was told by our server and main server that the second seating has a lot less kids and is somewhat quieter. I was very impressed with the service! On the 1st night, I guess they could tell my husband was a bit annoyed (mostly at the 4 year old, curly haired blonde boy that played the drums on his plate all evening while his mother at the other end of the table completely ignored him), the Head Server asked us there was anything he could do for us. Well, the bok choy with oldest son's meal was outstanding! And my husband was hoping for some green vegetable. So he came back in a few minutes with a huge bowl of the bok choy and a 2nd bowl of steamed broccoli. Also, whenever we went to the Outlook Cafe and Lounge (an adults only place), "Vendy", our server from the Czech Republic) automatically brought me a class of La Crema Chardonnay and a club soda with lime. This so impressed this other family on the 5th night when I sat down to say hi! The bar tender at Diversions was equally responsive to our needs. My husband and I had some difficulty finding activities we liked. The trivia games were fun. I'm not a big fan of Bingo but that seemed to be a big hit with a lot of other folks. The live entertainment was very "Disney" and more suitable for smaller children and total Disney freaks (there were a lot of these on the ship!). They had a great movie theatre and showed first run movies. Unfortunately, I missed Cars 2 and I do not want to see The Help until I finish the book (which I read on the cruise). They also showed the new Muppets movie the morning it opened (at 12:01 a.m.). We liked most of the lounges and enjoyed meeting other parents with kids our age. The adult only lounge at the bow of the ship was a popular place to get an after dinner drink after the kids took off for their kids club. Very quiet, adult's playing cards and we met quite a few folks there. It also had a killer view! There was no Bridge playing on the ship. But a lot of grandparents. I was surprised that this was not an activity like it was on the last cruises we took (the 1st being NCL with my mom in 2000 and again on the Mariner to Alaska, all had Bridge time). The kids clubs were fantastic and I think this is what would bring me back to a Disney cruise. They had 5 different areas: The Vibe for ages 14-18 just for teens (and they did not allow anyone younger), The Edge for ages 11-13 and the kids could come and go as they pleased, The Oceaneers' Lab for ages 8-10 and Oceaneer's Club, ages 3-10 with some younger activities. Kids could come and go as they please at the Lab but ONLY with parents permission (they had to wear an electronic bracelet). Unfortunately, the activities were a bit "babyish" for youngest son and he did not have very much fun. But then on the 2nd day, we met a family with the same aged children and she told me that her almost 10 year old was going to The Edge. Since they never checked the kids, I thought I would just let youngest son go in. He loved it and fit right in! My youngest son hangs out with his big brother's friends (all in 7th grade) all of the time. They also had a Nursery, play room for the babies and toddlers. We never went in there :). My kids spent most of their time in The Edge with all of their activities including Xbox 360 games, Wii, card games, scavenger hunts, t-shirt painting, Dodge Ball, or on the Sports Court playing soccer or basketball. We also discovered that we all love Foosball! Looks like Santa may be delivering one of those this Christmas. We often hung out at the Outlook Cafe or in loungers near the bow while they played. On Saturday, it was too windy on the Sports Court (we were heading back up Baja at this time), so my husband set up a server (he bought a router at the Wal-Mart in Puerto Vallarta) and they had a Quake Fest in the Diversions Lounge with 4 college aged kids. It was quite the site to see the 7 of them playing Quake! I relaxed and read. So if you thinking about this cruise with your grandkids, it was fabulous. Disney does a great job with the kids and the adult areas were extremely nice. Don't expect the food to be "Cafe Firenze" but it was OK. Also, if you absolutely LOVE Disney and enjoy all that Disney offers in shows, characters (my husband got to ride the elevator with Donald Duck), than it's also fun. The Disney Vacation Club members were all over this cruise and they eat, breath and live Disney. ;) With no kids, stay in the adult area sections, eat at the late seating (8:45 p.m.) and hang out in the lounges. So my friends asked me to be honest about the noise. It bothered both my husband and me and we have kids! So maybe another cruise line geared towards adults might be a better choice if you are sensitive to the noise level generated by children unless you want to try my suggestions. They were very strict about not letting children in the adult only sections. They had a fabulous Cadillac Lounge in the Route 66 area (yes, an entire area devoted to Route 66) and the piano bar was great. I told them they needed to add a picture of the Cadillac Ranch in Texas to be complete! Also, the carpet had the entire Route 66 map from Santa Monica to Chicago. But for some reason, it stopped at Santa Rosa, NM and resumed at St Louis. I gave them a real hard time about skipping Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas especially since the National Route 66 museum is in Oklahoma! The location of our staterooms was key. Mid-ship (minimum movement), on the same level and right around the corner as The Edge, only one deck from the main dining and lounges. We also had easy access to the elevators, stairs and laundry room! I guess my biggest disappointment was the quality of food (which would explain why I actually lost weight!). The pool areas that were open to the children were zoo like on sea days (again, the ship was full because of the holiday). Neither one of my children opted to swim on the ship; just too hectic! But the younger kids seem to enjoy it quite a lot. A comment on loungers in the pool area. I noticed a lot of people dropping off their stuff to save their place and then take off. The Disney pool staff was well aware of this practice and if they saw this happening, they would take the towels off the loungers to free it up for someone who would actually use it. Of course, if you went into the pool for a little while, they would not do this. But some "campers" were obvious. For instance, my youngest son and I wanted a place to sit and eat lunch. We had a table but not chairs. I borrowed two chairs from a table behind me just long enough to eat. I thought I would wait until they came back and return their chairs. They never came back. The Disney staff also did a great job with getting more chairs, etc. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on ... Read More
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival before. Due to hurricane we were diverted to Catalina (Come on! Catalina? Seriously? Who pays for a 7 day cruise to stop in Catalina?!) The weather may not be the cruise line's fault - but for the "Holland America brand" you would think they could have picked something else - like say - stay in Cabo for 2 days? We stopped in La Paz on the other day. La Paz is the cleanest city in Mexico I have ever seen. I will probably go back there for a week on my own someday. Cabo is excellent as always! My biggest complaint about cruising to Cabo - why does it always have to be the shortest port stay??? There were 6 of us all together in our group - all age ranges. I was VERY disapointed in this cruise and Holland America. This brand isn't even remotely luxury as was expected. The food is horrible. I've sailed Carnival 3 times and their food was so much better in selections and options. And I believe people's first complaint about Carnival is the food - so that's how bad it is on this ship. While we had a few bright spots (Maha in dining room was lovely, our room steward was excellent, and another waiter in the bar where we met every night made our nightly before dinner meet for drinks very nice) the rest of the service was lacking. Especially the lido deck. My first thought was no incentive for them to even clear plates and refill drinks. And how do you have a Taco special on the deck but out of tacos? Room service is very prompt and on top of it. But that's all I can say for that - zip selection - and zip taste. My best friend (her first cruise) and I splurged and got a balcony on the Rotterdam deck. While the balcony was beautiful - you cannot help leaving with that bad taste in your mouth of such good money wasted for nothing. We could have just flown to Cabo for the week much cheaper and guaranteed good food. On our way off we talked to two guys on our floor who we never met before who were complaining about what a waste of money this cruise is, now that makes us 6 plus two more. How many more? Oh and most of all - the shower is mostly warm, lukewarm and lots of intermitant cold water in between. Had to keep turning the shower off and let it run through the bath - I did not pay for 7 days of cold/lukewarm showers. Obviously the hot water doesn't reach that high up - or it's seriously out with everyone else showering for dinner. This ship looks and acts old. It seems like a cookie cutter ship. Nothing special about it. Important for non-smokers - not a lot of spots for smokers to go - and I certainly didn't appreciate having to have that smoke in my face all day long at the adult pool. No ventilation in the casino. You can't get away from it. On your balcony or on the deck. Sorry smokers - but all cruise ships need to adopt a smoke free environment. Clean air is first and foremost when sailing in the open waters! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My wife and I are not habitual cruisers although we have 4 previous holidays with 4 different companies. We booked this cruise out of New Orleans because we wanted a few days staying there prior to sailing. We joined the queue to ... Read More
My wife and I are not habitual cruisers although we have 4 previous holidays with 4 different companies. We booked this cruise out of New Orleans because we wanted a few days staying there prior to sailing. We joined the queue to register, and it was long, but we were impressed at the efficiency of the staff. The ship itself was clean and well maintained. The cabin that we had was small but that did not bother us because it was just somewhere to sleep. The dining was acceptable, although there was little variance between the menus in any of the restaurants. As people have previously mentioned the ships director, Kyle, was the most irritating and ignorant man we have encountered. He constantly preened himself; self congratulated himself and generally looked down on the people who effectively pay his salary. We said good morning to him on two occasions and he just waltzed past us with his nose in the air. The entertainment outside the theatre was largely debasing. Without exception all the game contestants were Americans, as if nobody else existed which is just as well because during one particular so called game show, grown women were on their hands and knees barking like dogs, totally insulting. All this supervised of course by, (look at me my name is) Kyle. The entertainment in the theatre was excellent. The skills involved with the trapeze and the Broadway show were truly exceptional. We did not like the comedian however; he may have been funny if we could have understood any of his jokes. We went to Henry's bar each teatime to take part in the trivia quiz; sadly 90% of the questions were about American subjects which ruled us out of having any chance, nevertheless it is a great venue to meet people. The ratings we have given for entertainment is slightly misleading, as we have said the theatre is worthy of a 5, but the entertainment in the Galaxy of the stars for example we would rate as a 1. Shore excursions were a complete waste of time and money, perhaps with the exception of Belize which at least offered some insight to life there. Roatan on the other hand was nothing but a slum. We ventured no further than 25 yards outside the port gates and turned back, such was the level of insecurity we felt. Overall this cruise is made for, and caters for Americans. I cannot recommend it for Europeans. NCL are off our list, there is better quality out there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2011
The fabled Sea of Cortes along Mexico's Baja Peninsula has been heralded by Jacques Cousteau as "The Aquarium of the World" and by naturalists as "America's Galapagos." Fewer cruise lines than ever are making ... Read More
The fabled Sea of Cortes along Mexico's Baja Peninsula has been heralded by Jacques Cousteau as "The Aquarium of the World" and by naturalists as "America's Galapagos." Fewer cruise lines than ever are making extended voyages into this pristine marine wilderness, but American Safari Cruises is a notable exception. Their 22-passenger luxury yacht, Safari Quest, explores the pristine waters of this World Heritage biosphere reserve from late November through late March, and it is a remote journey worth making.Hoping to escape an unusually chilly winter, we recently boarded the Safari Quest in La Paz for an eight-day round-trip cruise on sunny Mexico's Sea of Cortes, lured by the possibility of snorkeling with sea lions and sailing alongside the largest living beings on Earth, the blue whales.The Safari Quest's 11 staterooms are those of a yacht rather than a cruise liner, far smaller but splendidly outfitted with private bathrooms, memory foam mattresses, flat-screen TV/DVDs, and, in the case of the four Captain Staterooms, sliding glass balcony doors. Three passenger decks house a dining room, salon and a fully stocked, complimentary, round-the clock bar, one of many features that set American Safari Cruises apart.On the Safari Quest cabin doors do not lock, there's no dress code whatsoever, the pilothouse is open to passengers all day and sailing is usually restricted to daylight hours, affording maximum exposure to sea life and scenery. Unlike larger cruise ships, the Safari Quest does not call on busy ports, but sticks to the waters of the National Marine Park, dropping anchor in protected island bays and deserted shoreline coves. Two exceptions are a mule ride at Bahia Aqua Verde in the company of a local ranchero (cowboy) family and a stop at Isla Coyote, an islet just 200 yards across, where members of the Cuevas family maintain their own fishing village, complete with a tiny chapel and one-room schoolhouse.American Safari Cruise's emphasis is on marine adventure—plenty of kayaks, wakeboards, snorkeling gear and wet suits on deck—and on impeccable service. We rapidly found ourselves on a first-name basis with our nine crew members and nine fellow passengers, who ranged from Lauren, an Iowan teenager enjoying a far-flung winter break with her mother, to Steve and Carol, an English couple in their seventies, drawn from Hull to tally Baja's bird population.Most days began with a skiff ride to the sandy beaches of an uninhabited island, near where we were anchored. These excursions gave us our pick of options: beach-combing, kayaking, snorkeling, or hiking with our trip leader into the cardon cactus groves and sandstone cliffs.Bird life proved particularly fecund. Steve catalogued some fifty species, including several he had never spotted anywhere else in the world. We also spent a full day in search of Baja's great leviathans, and we were rewarded with sustained encounters with several gray whales, like us wintering in the Sea of Cortes.The highlight was a swim with a sea lion colony, the boisterous residents of Los Islotes, a phantasmagoric outcropping of castle-like rocks shooting straight up out of the sea. Outfitted in wet suits, we plunged over the side of the skiff and joined a circus of young sea lions who frolicked with us shoulder to shoulder, nibbling at our snorkel gear and turning cartwheels--a close encounter of a kind none of us would forget. Then there were the meals: Belgian waffles, strawberry parfaits, taco soup, passion-fruit popsicles (paletas), prime rib, a medley of fresh local seafood and the uncorking of two fine new wines each evening. Dining with our fellow passengers became as eagerly anticipated as the day's wildlife encounters and water sports. Our Safari Quest cruise made us feel that we had welcomed a dozen new amiable friends onto our private yacht, entered the world's most remote waters and sailed together far beyond the tug of TV waves and Internet towers.American Safari Cruises offers similar high-end, soft adventure water safaris in the Hawaiian Islands, on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and in Alaska, where one can kayak to the feet of glaciers. Group charters are also available--and endorsed by stars Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, who recently made their own safari through the Sea of Cortes. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My mother and I booked this as a pack and go, which meant the great price of $199 each and only about a month before we left. I am from north Louisiana, so we made the 6 hour drive the day before and stayed at the Clarion Grand Boutique in ... Read More
My mother and I booked this as a pack and go, which meant the great price of $199 each and only about a month before we left. I am from north Louisiana, so we made the 6 hour drive the day before and stayed at the Clarion Grand Boutique in the Garden District, which was very nice. We arrived at the pier about 10:00 Monday morning and we were sitting on the Lido deck eating lunch by noon. We carried all of our luggage, so there was no reason to keep going back and forth to your room to see if your luggage had arrived. We were in our room by 1:30 and set off exploring. The ship was very easy to get around. We had main dining in the Celebration Dining Room at a table for 10 people. There were 6 women and 4 men from all over the United States, which made for an interesting and fun dinner. I made 4 of the 5 nights, and yes, I had the warm chocolate melting cake each night. It was sooooo good!!!! One of the guys from New York loved lobster and he had 4 on the formal night, which was the second night of the cruise. Nobody cares if you order more than one entree or dessert. (Wish I could of had room for 2 of the chocolate cakes each night!!!) I got a piece of carrot cake at the Bistro for $2.25, and it was so huge that I could only eat half of it. I had to put the other half up to eat later. My mother got the strawberry cheesecake and she said that it was wonderful also. The weather was great and the staff was very friendly. I went to several of the shows and enjoyed them. I still don't understand why Carnival has to charge almost $6 for one beer. The frozen drinks were about $8, which is not so bad, but I can buy a case of beer for no more than $20. The beer on the islands were anywhere for $1 - $2, which was much better. We did the self assist debarkation. Our deck was called a little before 8:00 on Saturday morning and were were sitting in the car by 8:45. No trouble at all. The Fantasy is a great ship and I look forward to cruising on one of the 7 days cruises when she is moved to Mobile. I would surely recommend the Fantasy to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for allowing my wife and I to change our cruise date to July 5th 2009 from May 10th.  Swine flu caused the May 10th sailing to be re-routed to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  ... Read More
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for allowing my wife and I to change our cruise date to July 5th 2009 from May 10th.  Swine flu caused the May 10th sailing to be re-routed to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  I'm sure these are beautiful locations but that's not my idea of a vacation.  I was not forced to pay the cancellation and rebooking fees.  I only had to pay the difference in the cost of the cruising dates which equaled $300.  I got $150 back in onboard credit because I chose a balcony room.  The ship returned to it's normal Mexican Riviera route at the end of June so July brought good hot weather and three beautiful locations.Embarkation:  Day one can usually tell you how your vacation is going to go.  Sooooo.... Embarkation in San Pedro wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  My ride pulled up to the curb right outside the registration building.  The courteous porters took our bags and we entered the building to register.  We showed all of our papers, passports, and pre-printed sail passes.  We only had a couple short forms to fill out (swine flu form and some other one).  We got out Sea Pass cards and were onboard in less than 10 minutes.  I was surprised at how well this was organized.  Keep in mind that this ship holds over 3000 people.  We arrived just as the crowd was picking up so I guess we were lucky enough to beat the rush.  I didn't hear anybody complaining about their embarking so I'm rating this perfect.  I immediately went to the Guest Relations once onboard so I could start my Sea Pass account.  I always use "cash" accounts so I can limit my onboard spending.  The last time I used my credit card I went way overboard on the spending.  The people at the desk were pretty friendly and helpful.  They also mentioned that I would be able to use my $150 starting the next day.  I was expecting them to be a little more grouchy (like people at customer service in stores) but they were extremely nice.  My wife and I went to the Windjammer Cafe (the buffet) to eat since the rooms weren't ready yet.  The food was pretty good.  But I've had better buffet food with Carnival CL.  Side note: breakfast was great every day in the Windjammer.  Food for lunch sometimes was a little undercooked.  We only ate dinner there once and it was okay.  Nothing to get excited about though.  Speaking of food...Food:  Again, the breakfast in the Windjammer cafe was great.  This buffet and Jade are connected and really just feel like one big buffet.  I'm a hamburger or hotdog guy when it comes to lunch.  The problem was that they always seemed to be undercooked.  Not good when I'm hungry.  The pastries weren't too bad.  My wife and I only tried one specialty restaurant.  That was Johnny Rockets. Cost $4.95 and $2.50 more for sodas.  Excellent burgers and fries were served.  My wife enjoyed the onion rings.  I didn't like that we had to pay extra for the sodas here but at least they were large sodas.  I got up and danced with the waiters as they danced for us.  Not bad.  We wanted to try Portifino's or Chop's grill but we could not find the time because of all the things we did on this ship.  We will next time.  The dinners in the main dining room (Rhapsody in Blue level) were okay.  Most nights the dinners were great but there was a couple nights I had the waiter return my food for something else.  Sorry, I'm picky (especially after I've paid a lot for something).  Our waiter Remy was awesome.  His assitant waiter was very nice as well.  They occasionally worked in the WindJammer as well and they always greeted us and remembered who we were.  That's a feat in itself with so many people on this ship.  I liked how they always recommended several meals and told us what to expect for the next day.  Deserts were excellent but my wife ate mine most nights.Ship Appearance:  Overall this ship is huge.  I know you've probably heard this multiple times but really, you have to see it up close to realize how gigantic it is.  When you're inside, it doesn't feel too large though because of the way it is layed out.  Everthing is well organized and easy to remember how to get to.  Maps are located all over the ship so you won't get lost unless you can't read a map.  The promenade is beautiful.  It's about as long as a city block with stores on either side and lots of decorations.  Expect to see a couple parades here and to participate in several celebrations here.  The pool deck is just beautiful.  There are so many jacuzzis that you never feel crowded.  The pools are large enough to accomodate a lot of people as well.  The adults only area felt more crowded than the public areas so we stayed in the public pools.  The movie theater was kind of small but comfy.  There isn't a movie in there that you won't see in your own stateroom anyhow so I didn't really see what the point of it was.  The showroom theater aka the Savoy theater was fairly big.  There were only a few bad seats in the house (mainly ones with poles in front of them).  Great acoustics as well.  The sports deck was awesome.  Inline skating, rock climbing, basketball, golf, ping pong, and a few other sports were offered.  I got plenty of exercise here.  Studio B (the ice skating rink) was nice looking.  Fun music was played here as you got to ice skate around.  The Lotus Lounge looked like the perfect karaoke bar.  Very comfy as well.  One more place I'd like to suggest you see is the gym.  It is huge for a cruise ship.  I'm sure there will be no waiting for machines because there are so many.  There are a lot of other locations on this ship but I only wanted to mentioned the ones I visited.  I liked the color schemes on the ship and the ship seemed to be in good upkeep.  Suggestion: go all way to the front of the ship at night and sit down at least once at night.  It's a beautiful view.  Not many ships allow passengers to go all the way to the front.Entertainment:  The shows were great.  My suggestions:1) The ice show: You've probably already heard about how good it is but you have to see it to really understand just how good it is.  It's emotional, magestic, and funny all in one.  You feel like you're in the show.2) Love and marriage: This is basically like the Newlywed game.  But the three couples they picked for this show were the most popular people onboard once the show was over.  The cruise director Ken (who was on loan from the Oasis of the Seas) is simply hilarious. 3) The Quest: Let me start by saying this show is NOT for children but it is the most hilarious competition for adults that you will ever see.  I cannot tell you all about it because you have to see it for yourself but believe me... you'll be glad you went.4) Tribute: We were fortunate enough to see a group called tribute sing Temptaion songs.  They were spectacular.5) All other shows in the Savoy:  I mean the ones by the RC singers and dancers were okay.  Almost like Vegas shows.  Not bad at all.Disembarking:  This process is well organized.  If you want to get off quickly, take your own bags.  We had too many so this was not an option.  But still, we had plenty of time to eat breakfast and then depart when they called our group down.  Going though customs was a breeze.  Finding our bags wasn't hard either.  Always a plus.Overall:  This was a very fun ship to be on.  Really, even if we never left the ship I would have enjoyed this cruise.  This ship has so much to do that you would really have to be a boring person to not enjoy yourself.  I mean that.  Ken Rush, the cruise director, and his team made sure you were having plenty of fun throughout the day and the night were even more fun.  As far as the ports went, I've never been to funner places in my life.  Will I go again.... definitely.  I'm already planning for next year but we're trying to decide between waiting for the Oasis of the Seas or just cruising on the Mariner again.  You'll find out our choice soon enough.  Enjoy folks! 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Sail Date: January 2009
120' MotorYacht Safari Quest chartered for 8 day, 7 night extended family [meaning most of us did not know each other] cruise in Sea of Cortes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, January, 2009. Boarded at LaPaz. Disembarked at Puerto ... Read More
120' MotorYacht Safari Quest chartered for 8 day, 7 night extended family [meaning most of us did not know each other] cruise in Sea of Cortes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, January, 2009. Boarded at LaPaz. Disembarked at Puerto Escondido [near Loreto]. The yacht is a well-maintained twin-screw island of paradise. Room accommodations are well-equipped, clean and welcoming. Not particularly luxurious as some might expect on a large ship, but you don't spend time in your staterooms on this boat. Kayaks, 2 skiffs, wetsuits, snorkeling gear, water skis all provided for guests' enjoyment. Yacht is large enough for everyone to find some personal space on the upper deck equipped with lounge chairs, exercise equipment and hot tub; the bridge deck with a library and, outside, chairs looking over the stern; or the first deck with plenty of space on the bow for whale, dolphin and sea lion scouting, or at the stern with a welcoming large table and chairs. Also on the first deck is a luxurious salon with plenty of comfortable chairs, the open and very well stocked bar, and the dining room and galley. Destinations, such as Isla San Jose, Los Islotes, Isla San Francisco, Agua Verde, all offer multiple opportunities for exploration kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, swimming, exploring, and, at Agua Verde, burro excursion. The itinerary is flexible. See whales off the stern? The good captain of the yacht will turn the yacht around and idle the yacht to give everyone the opportunity to see them up close and take photos. Rough winds? Well, the yacht will just anchor in a protected cove, and the passengers will enjoy a bonfire, cocktails and hot appetizers on the beach, before returning via one of two skiffs to the yacht for dinner. Want to take a swim? Ask the captain to hook up the rope swing from the yacht's crane off the stern. If you grab it from the top deck, you are braver than me. Meals are all prepared by Executive Chef and Pastry Chef. The food is is comparable in quality, preparation and service as you would experience in a fine restaurant. Although my experience was a private party charter, I didn't know most of the people before boarding. I would not be hesitant about reserving a stateroom for my wife and me to travel with strangers on this yacht in the future. The yacht is the right size to enjoy everyone's company, but nevertheless provides personal space when that is necessary. Go on the Safari Quest and you no doubt will have a magnificent time and make new friends in your fellow passengers. By far, however, the best friends you will make will be the individual members of the crew. My personal experience was that they all were just a great bunch of responsible, [yet fun-loving, joining in the activities of the guests], individuals working seamlessly together for the ultimate enjoyment of the experience of all guests. On our charter, we had 16 passengers and 9 crew: Captain, First Mate, Engineer, Hotel Manager, Executive Chef, Pasty Chef, Naturalist who led us on shore excursions, and 2 stewards. All shared in the responsibilities of the operation of the yacht and all were just great. Now, I will note that the advertised maximum passengers for Safari Quest is 21. Unless it was all a very close-knit group of family or friends for a private charter, I've got to say I think 21 passengers might be pushing it a bit. Just my opinion. Is it pricey? Yes, no doubt about it. But if you can afford and want this type of experience, you will not be disappointed. [Don't bother if you want gambling, discos, Vegas shows, etc. that is not what this trip and this cruise line are about!] For 8 short video slideshows of our trip, go to YouTube.Com, and search either for "WJRESQ" or "SARFARI QUEST". I trust this is helpful. Read Less

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