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COVID Cruising Mexican Riviera January/February 2022

COVID Cruising Mexican Riviera January/February 2022

Old Feb 5th, 2022, 01:27 PM
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How unappetizing that pizza looks. .
Glad it tasted ok but wow that’s a sloppy presentation.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 11:13 AM
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So on to my review. I moved my balcony cabin to the very back corner starboard of Baja Deck ( Deck 11). I wanted to be under the buffet (called World Marketplace) and the Wake View Bar (an open deck at the back of the buffet ) and a straight shot down to the Allegro Dining Room . I wanted to avoid the busy central elevators. Starboard puts you on the sunset side sailing southbound and on the land (Baja) side sailing north when you are closer to land. I liked this side better. This sailing had 1287 passengers out of 3560. On my aisle most of the inside cabins were empty and balconies 40% empty. You can count because of the electronic door locks, which display your names. My Medallion worked for unlocking the door and for checking in at restaurants, or to tap on one of the big screens to make a reservation (instead of typing in your name). I could not get the smartphone ap to work on the ship.

As expected for an aft cabin, there was a LOT of vibration at night, but no noise from other passengers. I don't get particularly bothered by that or motion but others might. I think I posted photos of the cabin and balcony. I found the bed lumpy but the pillows were great. There are only two US-type plugs (and some for other countries) but there are USB ports next to the bed so I did not have to use a power strip.

The standard balcony cabins have only a single chair for seating. The balcony is very shallow. Also you do not get a full width window, just the width of two standard sliders. The decor in my opinion is not very modern. The bathrooms have a shower curtain but at least there was good pressure and a handheld shower head. You get a tube of body lotion and a bar of soap, in addition to the dispensers in the shower stall. The cabin design sacrifices space from the bathroom in order to provide a large walk-in closet with hangers. There is mini refrigerator and a desk, but no sofa unless you upgrade.

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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 11:34 AM
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Tour of the ship:

It is easy to find your room since the carpets are color-coded


The Central Piazza is the "hub". My niece called it "a middle of nowhere Hilton & the Cheesecake Factory had a baby".


The International Cafe is at this level. Apparently the one on Majestic is extra big. It is a good place to get a pastry or snack without braving the buffet. The snacks are free but the espresso and coffee here are extra charges. Many people buy the coffee package.

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I tried one of those mango cheesecakes in the upper right. Looks better than it tastes. However I did like the "Island spiced vegan pie" in the lower left below. It was lentil-based. I had hoped it would be blazing hot like a Jamaican patty, but the hottest you get on Princess is "mild". Bring your favorite hot pepper sauce!!

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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 11:50 AM
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This is Alfredo's which has the pizza I posted above for lunch. Also the salad

And Tiramisu



Food was good, service not so much. It seemed mostly empty other than embarkation lunch.

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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 11:57 AM
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I walked around on the upper decks a bit before dinner.

Skywalk, a unique feature on a few Princess ships


Noodle Bar near the pool, unique to Majestic and retained from the original design. I ate there three times, only the Miso was any good.


Pool at Night




Basketball court, nearly always empty
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 12:11 PM
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Dinner for Day 1 I had at Allegro, the secondary MDR. I was lucky and found my happy place with a great waiter, toward the back and 4 out of the 6 nights I was pretty far from other diners. I liked the sparkly chandelier.



The other MDR is Concerto. Same meals but Concerto is open for the other meals, At lunch my favorite waiter worked there also.



The food in the MDRs was okay, with a few misses, This first night I enjoyed the "cocoa spice rubbed pork tenderloin, sweet potato green chili mash, grilled veg" and the dessert which was a pistachio creme brulee with raspberry macaron. I saved the macaron for later.


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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 12:14 PM
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I forgot to mention we had a treat at sailaway, The Fire Department put on a show for us, and the ship plays the theme song from the Love Boat.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 12:33 PM
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Day 2 is at sea, so more time to explore the ship to try to get in my 10000 steps. I attempted room service breakfast but it wasn't very good so I went up to the buffet for an egg white omelet and the coffee was better from the machines.


The Hollywood Conservatory and Pool are at the front of the ship, and also unique to Majestic. It used to be a fee club but now it's free. Many people complain about the chlorine smell but I figured it would help kill the Omicron. I used the hottubs up here twice before dinner. I don't like it as much as the NCL Observatory Lounge. the windows are kind of dirty and not so easy to take photos through. Not a very good design for Alaska IMO. Lots of little private cabana type seating areas.

I never got the Ap to work on my smart phone so I'm not sure if you would be able to get food service up there.






.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 12:54 PM
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The MDR Lunch menu is a combination of brunch and very limited lunch options. But it is also the only time you can get a variety of scooped gelato/yogurt/sorbet and the James Beard French Toast.

I had my soup starter from the Noodle Bar on the pool deck : Miso soup


Then the shrimp from the MDR


I tried just the lamb chops from the pub lunch but they were thin and dry so I went straight to dessert with a side of the French Toast


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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 01:09 PM
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There really was not much to do on board during sea days other than to watch TV, read and try to get some steps in despite the very poor setup for walkers.


One of the pop outs near the wake



So I was looking forward to dinner, it was mostly "OK" but the dessert was excellent

fish with soggy sweet potato chips

hazelnut chocolate bar

Some kind of tapioca and fruit salad as the cold appetizer

Last edited by mlgb; Feb 15th, 2022 at 01:11 PM.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 01:34 PM
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Finally a Port Day coming up in Cabo San Lucas. We saw a few whale spouts, lots of dolphin following the wake and some Masked Boobies as we approached land at about 9 am.

There was a smaller Princess ship, Ruby already out in the bay. You have to tender from the cruise ships to the main pier. I got off a bit after noon. I don't really like the town and had recently been on a whale watch cruise in January there. One thing that Princess does not do is give a credit off of the shore excursions which are kind of overpriced. My plan was to walk to an ATM and then to Medano Beach. I passed a restaurant along the way that looked promising, Gardenia's Tacos. Very good! I didn't think much of the scene at Medano so walked back to town and out to the end of the jetty to watch the fishing boats coming back in.



Along the way I saw a pair of Verdins, a cute desert bird




At the jetty there were a lot of frigatebirds and "Pancho" a big sea lion that begs off the fishing boats




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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 01:45 PM
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After sunset I went to dinner at Allegro. The main was a grilled seafood bowl with mango-lime salsa (and extra bowl of salsa). It was good but a small portion which was fine with me.

Grilled salmon, red snapper, shrimp, sea scallop with bok choy and jasmine rice, mango-lime salsa

Dessert was sorbet and macarons (a custom job)


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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 02:18 PM
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I was looking forward to Mazatlan, which I had been to only once before, and had taken an excursion outside of town. So it would be a new place for me.
I went up to the buffet early (before sunrise even) for coffee, and to grab some smoked salmon and a yogurt bowl. Okay, okay I probaby had a croissant too.

Arriving into the harbor in Maz


Magnificent Frigatebird and El Faro Lighthouse


I decided to go to Stone Island first, before it got too busy. That worked out really well. I walked to the local ferry which is less than half a mile away. The "ferry" is a small lancha, and the locals take turns. The footing getting on and off requires decent balance, especially when they haven't bothered to tie the boat up!

These aren't the ferries but a collection of fishing boats nearby

An example of the "ferry" disembarkation


Going to work

I was happy to see the beach largely deserted when I got there at 9:30 AM


There were still a few shorebirds foraging, which I'm sure would have disappeared if I'd gone after lunch

American Oystercatchr

I was also delighted to see the endemic Sinaloa Crow right near the dock

Sinaloa Crow

I walked through the back of the town and along the beach for a few hours. Smelling sewage in the residential area behind the beach and not sure how much damage hurricane Pamela had done, I decided against eating or swimming there. So I made it back to the ship for a healthy lunch of guac and veggies, a shrimp and radish ceviche from the International Cafe, and a brownie or two.


Last edited by mlgb; Feb 15th, 2022 at 02:52 PM.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 02:25 PM
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After lunch I "followed the blue line" from the port to the Old Town area, the cathedral and the central market.

Cathedral

I didn't care much for the central market and that immediate area. I did stop and buy an empanada at Panama and a paleta (guayaba) just outside the market. I wasn't especially hungry so decided not to have a meal at either Panama or the comedors upstairs at the market. Maybe another time.


Pastelería Panamá de Mázatlán


Old Town has some restoration underway and is pretty quiet.

Old Town storefronts

Old Town

Actually, VERY quiet


Siesta Time

I ended at the Las Olas beach area and walked along the Malecon a short way, and then back to the ship.



Malecon sculptures


Sailaway was right at sunset.

Last edited by mlgb; Feb 15th, 2022 at 03:01 PM.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 02:59 PM
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Dinner was Italian Night.

The appetizer I had was a small portion of the mushroom lasagna


And the main was sauteed shrimp and sea scallops, with garlic herbs. My favorite waiter added a few more sea scallops for me


Dessert was an Italian Trio which wasn't very tasty, other than the gelato in the ice cream sandwich. The pistachio things were so dry I didn't have more than one bite.

Italian Trio


After dinner I walked up to the pool deck for the water fountain show

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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 04:08 PM
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Puerto Vallarta Port Day.

Okay, so I don't care for Puerto Vallarta. Just too much of a Miami Beach vibe. I found a walking path along the Rio Pitillal which isn't too far away. I detoured first to the free Playa de Oro (the beach in front of the Hilton), swarming with tourists and vendors. It was a good birdwatching walk, I even saw a new life bird, the Mexican Parrotlet. I don't even know how I saw it, the same size as a leaf and just as green. The locals were all friendly and a few asked what I'd seen. One man told me about a tree further down that was swarming with orioles, and I managed to find that. It was crazy! Some great looks at Mexican species that I've seen before but not as well including a pair of "Happy Wrens" and two hawks.





It was starting to feel warm (one of the things I dislike about PV is the climate) so I headed for a branch of Fredy's Tucan nearby, following my Google Maps walking directions. It was about Panera Grill quality and pricing but I was happy to get a jumbo lemonade, and some ripe papaya instead of fries.



I walked back along a slightly different route and then out the river mouth at the beach behind the big shopping mall. There were some wading birds in the river and more Mexican species, then back to the ship to watch sunset and have dinner.

Majestic Princesss in Puerto Vallarta




Marina Vallarta Sunset


Day 5 Menu, Uninspired

I had the Tenderloin with mushroom-barley pilaf

Messy but Tasty Tenderloin Main

The dessert was some dry kind of tasteless cookies called mignardises. Maybe they were supposed to be dipped in alcohol but they were so boring I forgot about them.

Last edited by mlgb; Feb 15th, 2022 at 04:31 PM.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 04:31 PM
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Two more sea days and then home.

I went up to the pool deck after coffee to use one of the hot tubs before breakfast! It was warm enough outside and I didn't have to share.

MDR Lunches are really sad but I made a point of having the ice cream assortment. I also had some tasteless gumbo soup with added pumpkin from the buffet


Cappuccino, key lime, strawberry daiquiri

This is the second formal night, the Gala Dinner was nothing great either, mostly tasteless and not properly cooked.
The lobster tail was pathetic, salty and tough. Wellington had a soggy crust although the tenderloin was good. The only thing that was worth eating was the chilled cucumber melon soup. Even the dessert looked better than it tasted.

Pistachio Dome

I caught up on some movies I had not yet seen, such as Cruella. They do have a pretty good menu of movies and documentaries.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 04:49 PM
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Last sea day is a bit cooler as we get closer to California. I was on the side of the ship where you can see the Baja Peninsula as we headed north and there were quite a few sightings of dolphins and Masked Boobies near land.

I watched one of the outdoor movies on the big screen (The Greatest Showman) and tried the two street tacos from the Burger Bar. They were pretty good.



Of course I hit up the MDR for ice cream lunch



For my final night dinner I decided to skip the MDR and was able to get a table at the Crown Grill which has NZ rack of lamb (as two double lamb chops) on the menu. The room is styled as a brightly lit NYC steakhouse





Sea scallop appetizer


Double NZ lamb chops


Key lime bar


Overall the food and service were quite good, if not perfect. Worth the upcharge IMO which is only $29. Many packages will give you one specialty dining venue or some On Board Credit and this is the place to spend it, especially if the MDR meals are starting to wear thin.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 04:55 PM
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I had tried to leave a hang tag for room service coffee but that didn't happen so I went up to grab a cup from the Buffet, I had already stashed my yogurt and fruit in my refrigerator, as well as a muffin from the International Cafe.

The next day, we arrived back in San Pedro before sunrise (a shame really) and I was out on the street by 8am and home in half an hour.

Overall I'd say I got my money's worth for 7 nights lodging and transportation, a few good meals and more mediocre ones.

It isn't my favorite ship ever but it works for a cheap cruise (without needing to fly to the port). I would not want to be on that ship with full passenger loads, but it was okay at 1300. They really do need to up their offerings in the buffet. And please let us serve ourselves again!

Since it is now about 3.5 days since I disembarked, I have likely escaped symptomatic infection with the Omicron... Fingers crossed.

Last edited by mlgb; Feb 15th, 2022 at 05:23 PM.
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Old Feb 15th, 2022, 05:46 PM
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Thank you so much for posting. I felt the same as you on our last cruise on Regal. It is disappointing when food presentation exceeds preparation, especially when presentation would not win any prizes. There is just no excuse for dried out pastries and tasteless desserts and improperly cooked fish. I do not get it. Even a quality mix can turn out a good lemon bar or wonderful, basic brownies.
Like you thought, the cabins were unattractive. I think we will be looking at other ships and lines for awhile.
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