We have all heard the horror stories of pier runners and those who have reached the dock as their ship is feet away from the pier already set sail. Yes, they missed the (boat). So how can you be sure this doesn’t happen to you. Pier runners might just get to the ship in time having to do the run of shame while the entire ship is jeering and calling from the decks. Sometimes it is due to their own mistakes, and sometimes it can’t be helped if tours turn out to run late for one reason or another. Then there are the pier runners that missed the ship by moments and are left standing there at the end of the pier wishing they could just jump and climb onboard after all they are right there. Don’t worry they have not been left alone the cruise line has left a representative there to aid them in reaching the next port of call or home depending on where you are on the itinerary. This is, of course, at your own expense. So what can you do to avoid this sort of situation and savor every moment of your cruise? The 3 simple steps below will help you have a worry-free cruise. Step 1) Sync your watch with the ship time. Every port has a return time set well before sailing when you are to be back on the ship. This time is posted on your daily ship newspaper, on the gangway as you disembark, and on the pier where you start your port adventure. Should you miss these places, ask the crew member as you disembark. I can’t stress enough the most important thing is to sync your watch with the ships time as you leave you can do this by asking the crew as you disembark, Do this at every port. Step 2) Should you choose an excursion that leaves very little time to return to the ship consider booking that excursion thru the ship. They guarantee you will not miss the ship should something delay your excursion, they will wait for you. That alone could be worth the few dollars you might save booking on your own. Private excursion companies do everything in their power to return you on time but an excursion that cuts it close to ship leaving leaves little room for error such as a flat tire. Step 3) Set the alarm on your watch or phone alerting you that you need to start making your way back. The amount of time will depend on how far you are from the ship and the mode of transportation back to the ship, eg. Are you walking, do you need to wait for a bus, are you taking a taxi, etc. With these three tips, you will have less worry about whether or not you will miss the ship. For more cruise tips check out https://www.cruise-capt.com/post/cruise-etiquette-101
There are many things you just don't do in public. And cruise ships are no exception, and sometimes one needs to be even more diligent when on a large secluded object out in the middle of nowhere contained with thousands of other people. I'm not just talking about picking your nose in public or scratching personal areas. But things you do at home you should NOT do on a cruise ship. There are also new habits you NEED to get into you might think don't matter. Cruise Buffets #1) While you might grab that roll with your hands at home don't even think about it at a cruise buffet. If you do, you better be prepared for some good old chastising. When at any buffet and not just a cruise buffet NEVER and I mean NEVER touch the food with your hands unless it is already on your plate and going to your mouth. This sounds like something basic, but you won't believe the number of people who don't think of using the tongs or products provided to get their food from the buffet to your plate. #2) Parents, please watch younger children in the buffet area DO NOT let them touch, slobber, sneeze, and lick every item there. Watch the next time your in a buffet line and their little head is just perfect counter height, watch if their little hands curve around the counter and their little mouths touch the edge of the bar all the while breathing on all the food. Teach the older teens manners, and they can learn to say excuse me and not push their way through. #3) Make the sanitizer stands your new best friend, shake hands with them EVERY time you see one. This applies not only in the buffet but everywhere on the ship and in port. The cruise lines can only be so diligent in cleaning public areas if we don't do our part, sicknesses can happen. #4) Take only what you eat, I know sometimes you want to try something and don't like it, or something doesn't taste good. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about piling your plate so high with food and leaving half of it behind because you are too full. Take half of what you think you want and go back for seconds you're a human being, not a wasteful pig. Decks,Pools and Hot Tubs #1) DO NOT PEE IN THE POOL OR HOT TUB that cannot be said loud enough. I wish all pools would use that stuff that turns purple when it comes into contact with urine, and I would be sure to have my phone handy, so I could post your photo on social media if you pee in the pool. #2) Taking up a chair all day that you are only going to use for a short time. Yes, we know the deck chairs are hard to come by, and some are pretty darn sweet. You think that since you set your alarm for six, go and put your things on that prime chair/spot to claim it then go back to bed till ten, then take a lunch indoors thinking you can come back to your chair for the afternoon. You need to think again. You are not the only person who deserves that spot, and there are thousands just like you who want that seat. So if you are not planning to park your butt in that chair don't think of claiming it. For those who see a towel or bag on a chair but not a person do not think nobody is sitting there, then move their stuff and set your own butt down on that chair. There are times when someone might need a bathroom, a drink, something to eat. Give it a minimum of 20 min (only towel there) 30 min is better if there is a bag; it does take time to get that burger or drink. If you see nobody come back, then you can go ahead and sit down. Should someone come after that let them know you waited (how long?) and saw nobody, so you figured it was available. Be sure to ask the nearest chair neighbor if they know if this chair is vacant, it might save you some time. Around The Ship Parents I don't mean to pick on you, but this is a complaint heard over and over, Just because you feel your kids are contained to the ship, doesn't mean you shouldn't know where your children are and keep close tabs on what they are doing. Kids should not be running the halls destroying item such as door décor other cruisers placed on their door, tormenting the other passengers with loud, unruly behavior, this does not apply to places where children are supposed to be laughing, playing and running, but places like the buffet, hallways, elevators, public areas where such behavior should be adequate. Everyone thinks their children are well behaved, and maybe they are in your presence, but all kids should receive a reminder to watch their manners when out of their parent's eye. Adults if you are in a kid prone area expect them to be having fun, running and playing, yelling laughing and go elsewhere if you don't like it. I do believe that if everyone treated everyone else with the same respect, they expect then things would go much better. I have heard of complaints people have on crew members, and I have one solution, look at the issue in full spectrum and deal with it accordingly. If you have a room steward who isn't cleaning your cabin to your standards, don't just grumble about the problem and then say you will never cruise with that cruise line again or use it as an excuse to reduce the gratuities. If it is something simple, go to the steward and ask nicely if they could do it the way you would like. They can't know your particular likes automatically unless you tell them. Should the problem not be corrected and you feel you did all you could go to the front desk and calmly relay the issue (sometimes a deep breath and counting to ten is needed) you are going to get better reception and answers if you are calm, friendly, and polite with the issue. Remember they are not aware of any problem and don't deserve your anger. The internet seems to be the place to blast all the bad about people, situation or things but sometimes the blame lies with what measure was taken by the person wronged to solve the issue before it got to that escalated stage. I have come to the place where I can't take reviews as people write them and I have to pick and guess what is legit and what is someone just taking their anger out. Cruise Lines and crews are in the business of customer service and won't intentionally anger their cruise passengers. https://blog.feedspot.com/cruise_blogs/
If you have never been Parasailing before you need to try it, if you are the least bit adventurous, you will love it. I have a pretty big fear of heights, and I get vertigo when I look out a window in tall buildings or going up gondolas and anywhere above ground. I have never let that stop me from doing any of those things, nor will I let fear stop me from having experiences. The first cruise I went on provided me the chance to experience parasailing. It was on Norwegian's private island. My husband and I did the jet ski excursion in the morning, The Parasailing adventure was my last before boarding the ship again, and while waiting for my parasailing time, he decided he would meet me back onboard the ship. On board the parasail speed boat watching the people go before me, my turn approached, I was looking at the flying fish and feeling the wind as my fear kicked in, my heart started pumping my stomach felt like there were a million butterflies fluttering around. Then it was my turn to get up on the platform, and as I got in the harness, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, let it out slowly. I was grateful not to have to run on the beach to ascend and just sat down on the platform as the boat gained speed and the sail caught the wind. Up I went, I wasn't sure how high it was when there was nothing just quiet, no wind, no vibration, No fear, nothing it was the most calmness I felt in my entire life and from that moment I was hooked. Looking around, I wondered if this was what birds feel as they soar. Of all I was able to see, it was the quiet that I felt, I would never forget. One of my favorite parts of my flight was going by the cruise ship, and who do I see a little bit below me, but my husband. He went out on the lido deck for a bite to eat and happen to see me sailing by and now I have a once in a lifetime video I wasn't expecting, And my husband can honestly say he never expected to be eating lunch on a cruise ship when his wife flew by. Coming back down to the land on the boat they offer you a chance to go for a dunk in the ocean, but I forgot what the instructions were so didn't do it. I enjoyed parasailing so much that on the next cruise I convinced my friend and daughter to go with me. This time I knew what to expect and so I didn't have the fear I had the first time. We were on a Carnival cruise in Grand Cayman. The tour was full, and the weather wasn't the best, so we didn't get to long a ride, but it was enjoyable enough. My experience wasn't as peaceful due to the wind that day; some gusts caught the sail and pulled me sideways once in a while. I will say I did have a little fear kick up, but it was still an amazing ride. I can't wait till I can do it again now.
One of my favorite things to do in the world is snorkel, and If I had a big enough fish tank, I would do it in there. I snorkel whenever and wherever I can. The two experiences that stand out to me are. In Hawaii, Snorkeling with giant turtles swimming right beside you is an incredible experience. The other was in Grand Cayman after the parasail we had time to go snorkel near where the tenders drop you off. There is a rental place for gear as you leave the cruise drop off area. My daughter got in the water first, and this was one of her first times' snorkeling before I can get in more than waist deep she pops her head out and mumbles "big fish" her eyes were big as saucers. Here I am thinking she only saw a big stingray or a fish bigger than ones we keep in the aquarium. Needless to say, I laughed at her. So I continue to go snorkel along to view a sunken ship. The current must have pulled me over a bit, just a little, or I managed to snorkel way over but making my way back to shore I ran into the biggest fish I ever saw in my life. These fish had huge round eyes and were about 6 feet long, and round they were bigger than my 25-year-old daughter. Not panicking, I slowly turned to leave them alone but ran into another and then another. If I could have gulped underwater, I would have. They were just stationary, looking at me. I wonder if I scared them; my eyes were as big as theirs. I managed to swim by them and got to shore. Now my daughter was laughing at me. We asked the lady working the rental desk what they, and she said they were Tarpon come to eat the scraps from the restaurants daily fish cleaning, and that they are harmless. Had I known I would have observed them more. Norwegian's private island offers a beautiful cove safe for all ages. I saw people feeding the fish bread from their hand. They do have a lifeguard posted at the entrance to open ocean. ( A small opening between two rocks) I am not a super strong swimmer so stayed shore side of those rocks. I found both Grand Cayman by the tender drop, and Norwegian private island are both very safe places. For anyone who wants to try snorkeling and think you can't because you can't swim or can't swim well follow these rules. 1) Never go in the ocean without a life jacket. 2) Never go in alone make sure someone who knows how to swim is nearby. 3) you don't have to swim, walk out far enough you can put your face in the water(with snorkel gear on). If you can swim a bit, then know snorkeling is not so much swimming as floating and moving your ankles to propel forward. Remember the ocean is not a pool; there are dangers like rip tides and predators, know your surroundings. You should always have enough fear to respect the ocean but not too much that you will be too afraid to experience it. There is danger in everything we do, but if we take proper precautions, we will limit the risk. check out https://www.cruise-capt.com/post/the-parasailing-adventure
When it comes to Mexico, I had very little exposure before our cruise. I was at Cozumel with an excursion but never saw or experienced any of it outside the snorkel park. And With not having a good experience in Mexicali on the border of California and Mexico. I wasn't sure I wanted to go there, this was the only cruise that matched out time, length,& ship so even though it wasn't my first, second or third choice it was the choice that fit. My dad retired to Mexico for a time, and he kept telling me that the experience I had wasn't the actual Mexican experience. I still wasn't convinced. Mexico is full of history, culture, flavors that make your mouth water. Being on a cruise ship and only seeing each port for a day limits you to all Mexico has to offer. But it whets your appetite. I learned that the Mexican people are very friendly, I never got harassed on the street for money as I have heard, maybe there are places this is more common however I didn't experience it on my trip. I felt very safe, walking around Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We somehow found our way around without knowing any, but I sure wish I did. Someone was always around who knew English and was happy to help. Many tours will show you the culture by bus, jeep, walking, just to name a few. And if you want a beach day, Mexico has that too. As your cruising down the coast of Mexico, the landscape changes. Cabo San Lucas is desserty with rocky terrain. In Mazatlan, you start getting into seeing trees and greenery. Some people don't get off the ship in Mazatlan cause the city has noticeable graffiti, and it is more urban. Peurto Vallarta was our favorite, and If we were to go to Mexico on holiday, we would go there in a heartbeat. It is getting into more jungle greenery. You have the combination of beach, city, country, village, and jungle all within a very short distance. We managed to drive a Jeep around with no accidents and being in a tour group with a leader and 5 Jeeps made it hard to get lost. I am now a lover of Mexico and would jump at the chance to go back.
Indulge in a little pampering. Start your cruise off with a little spa magic or at anytime you desire throughout you cruise vacation. WHETHER YOU WANT TRADITIONAL SPA TREATMENTS OR TRY A MEDI SPA TREATMENT YOUR GOING TO LOVE IT! Your heading out on your cruise, You start by a light lunch on the Lido deck, and while you are exploring the ship you pass through the spa, You might not consider going to a spa at home, but now you find you have all the time in the world, and a massage sounds heavenly. Be sure to check with the spa on your first day or before your cruise the spots for sea days fill up. The spas on board don't just do massages, pedicures and manicures they also do a host of other things including Medispa treatments. These vary by line and ship, but some of the items available are Botox, Acupuncture, Teeth Whitening, Wraps, Salt Treatments, Facial Treatments, Hair Care and unique rooms like Steam Sauna, Dry Sauna, Cold Rooms, Hydrotherapy, and unique Spa Pools. Services can be booked and purchased individually; however, packages are usually a better deal. Also, look out for specials thru out your cruise embarkation day often has good deals.
There are many questions new cruisers ask, can I afford a cruise? What is all included? How do I choose a Cruise line? Are all the cruise lines the same? Where do I start? Welcome to the world of cruising. I am excited to share with you all the reasons you should book your first cruise today! The first question you should ask yourself is, Do I want to go on a cruise? And the answer is YES! There are so many great reasons to cruise that it's hard to know where to start. There is no real # 1 answer as each person has his or her reasons for taking a cruise. Maybe you want relaxation or adventure, and maybe it's to enjoy the excellent service, food, or to meet new people the list is endless. Whatever your reason, you will find it on one of the cruise lines. Where do I start? You have come to the right place. You start by looking at the information that is provided not only on this site but other websites also. I always say you can't have too much information. Start with the type of person you are, are you adventurous, do you like exotic locals, do you want warm weather, does age matter? Then move on to how long do you want? If you have never been on a cruise before I recommend you start short, try a five night or less cruise, if your feeling like you will love it, then go for your heart's desire! Once you know the type of cruise where, how long, check out the cruise lines. Every cruise line and every ship will change the experience of your cruise. There are pluses and minus of each one and those differ for each person. and that leads me to my next question. Are all Cruise lines the same? The answer to that is NO! There is everything from small and luxurious to grand and adventurous. The luxurious can be intimate and reach ports larger ships can't while the magnificent ships can offer numerous activities. How do I choose a cruise line? Choosing a cruise line can be as simple or complex as you make it, and you're sometimes not selecting a line you're choosing a ship or even an itinerary. When looking at the sites of cruise lines, what jumps out at you? is it the activities the ship has to offer, is it the price of the cruise? Is it the ports? What is all included? These vary by ship and cruise line, so be sure to confirm on the cruise line's website. Built into your cruise price are accommodations (cabin) your meals (except specialty venues) basic drinks (regular coffee, tea, (not bottled) water, ice tea, milk, etc.), shows, most activities. What Is not included in cruise price? Two things are non-negotiable added to the cruise fare, and those are taxes, fees, and port expenses and gratuities. The reason I say gratuities are non-negotiable are the staff onboard are worth every penny, I have never had reason to deny them and have even given extra to those who enhanced my cruise experience with excellent service. Yes that is my opinion, and you can, if you have reason to, request these be changed. The other items that you will pay extra for are optional. Excursions are not mandatory, but they add to your vacation. And some of the activities on board have fees, along with specialty dining and beverages. Can I afford a cruise? ABSOLUTELY YES! Yes, you can afford a cruise. Cruise lines offer you in some cases 2 years ahead to book. That means for a low deposit you can reserve your cruise today and pay it over time as long as you have it paid in full by the date in terms of the cruise line usually 60-90 days before you sail. Check out, 7 night Mexican Rivera, Holland America Eurodam https://www.cruise-capt.com/post/7-night-mexican-rivera-holland-america
We have all heard the term all-inclusive when it comes to cruising, and yes, that term could apply to cruise vacations. Cruises do include food, beverages, accommodations, even activities, and shows. And yes you could enjoy your cruise with just the basic all-inclusive amenities that come with your cruise fare and not spend another cent during your cruise. What is not included in the cruise price is Alcohol, soda, specialty coffee, specialty restaurants, spa, some activities/classes, photo's, gratuities, port taxes, excursions, casino, shopping, and wifi. Other than gratuities and port taxes, everything is optional. Even though you can request the gratuities be changed, they are very minimal, and the crew is worth every cent and more. You might be thinking. Is that all? I assure you there is much more in value then there is in extras. cruise lines have made it easy for you and your pocketbook when it comes to enjoying and partaking in those extras with packages. 1) Packages for drinks. Sold by the length of your cruise broken down per day. You must purchase the drink package for every day of your cruise, and each person in your cabin must buy the package as well. Generally, if you have four drinks or more each day, they are worth it. That's four sodas, coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, (sometimes water) in a day for the soda packages. ( confirm each cruise line as they have different packages) There are also two levels for alcohol drinks; one is regular and one premium. Some cruise lines have water packages separate. Packages do not include specialty places like Starbucks, Milkshakes, and smoothies bars. 2) Dining packages are sold by the number of specialty restaurant/meals you want to partake of during your cruise. 3) Spa packages can be purchased in advance or when on board. There are many treatments and amenities to choose from. They do have specials often the day you board and on port days. 4) Activities and classes are sold per basis, fitness, and yoga, laser tag or escape room are some you might find yourself paying extra for none are usually high priced a fraction to what you will pay on land. 5) If you have ever been on a cruise, you know there are photo opportunities everywhere. Formal nights and special occasions offer you the chance for a professional photography session. Being on a ship allows you to get creative, when will you ever get the opportunity for a photo session on the deck of a ship with the sun setting behind you and spinning on the dance floor like a professional dancer your photographer will work with you and give you a photo to remember the rest of your life. 6) Excursions are one of those things that are not necessary, as you can self-tour any port. But ship excursions are experiences you might never be able to do because of location or opportunity. 7) Casino and onboard shopping can have you opening up your wallet, and with everything charged to your shipboard account can the spending can quickly get out of control. Talk to your ship stewards to see about putting a spending cap on your account. 8) Wifi onboard can get expensive, try to unplug from your internet fixation turn your roaming off and to avoid unexpected high phone bills be sure your airplane mode is on, or buy a cruise phone package from your carrier. What we do is use wifi in each port(ask crew where the best wifi is) to check in with home other than that we hang up a sign that says we are on vacation. 9) Gratuities and port taxes are not included and are added automatically to your shipboard account. The crew works hard to make your experience onboard exceptional. I encourage the extra tipping of those who stand out and excels. I have often tipped extra to the dining server we had every night and our cabin steward. I have never had an experience where I requested to lower my gratuities. Just because my drink took a little longer or the chicken was overcooked, or my stateroom wasn't just like I like it one day does not mean I should punish the entire crew by reducing the tips. So recapping yes you can enjoy the cruise without all the extra charges and still have a 5-star vacation. I always buy the soda drink package I ( love a latte/cappuccino in the morning and mocktails and soda throughout the day and chai latte at night) Holland America has water included in their package so we had water for our stateroom and to take on shore. We skip everything else. Although I will be trying the specialty restaurants sometime, you can decide what your budget will allow or what you want on your cruise. Check out New To Cruising https://www.cruise-capt.com/post/new-to-cruising
The cruise that took my husband from never wanting to cruise again to loving it! First a little background, we went on our first cruise to see if we would like cruising. It was a short three-night cruise to the Bahamas. I was in love with it on day one, my husband, on the other hand, enjoyed some things but not everything. On our second cruise, we went with a few other people, and it took till the second day before my husband would leave the cabin. We had a great time on both cruises and had no issues with either line. The thing my husband didn't like was the crowds of people on the lido deck, the concert like atmosphere and such. MY SELFLESS HUSBAND KNEW I LOVED TO CRUISE AND SO FOR OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY, HE TOLD ME I MAY CHOOSE AND BOOK A CRUISE AS MY GIFT!!! Knowing what he was gifting me, I wanted to find the best cruise I thought he would like. And so the search began..... Mexican Rivera November 2018 With so many cruises to choose from I had a hard time keeping my goal of finding a cruise, my husband would love. You see, I would love to cruise on the biggest ships with the most adventures and activities there is. When you have choices like bumper cars or sky diving and escape rooms, bowling, zip line and so much more It's easy to get sidetracked. In the end, even though I knew my husband would go on any cruise, I choose I stuck with my plan. 1) I knew he would prefer not to spend a whole day traveling to departure port. So I searched all ports on the Pacific west coast. 2) wanted warm weather. So searched cruises leaving from California, we only had seven nights so that limited us to where to cruise. 3) choosing the cruise line. Do we go with the cheapest? Do we go with the biggest? (that was an easy one) was there a specific line more catered to my husband's likes? I had heard that Holland America had a more mature cruise atmosphere, so even though there were no adventurous activities like the big ships have, I thought we would give it a go. On top of not having the activities, I wasn't super keen on cruising in the Pacific. I love the Caribbean. But I was going back on a ship and somewhere warm, and if my husband loves it, then it will be worth it. The cruise port was easy to get to we dropped off our rental car at the Manchester Grand Hyatt rather than a typical car rental agency because it was close to the port and it would be easy to catch a cab to the port. This drop off made This was extremely easy to do, and we were on our way to the port in 5 minutes. Tip: carry small bills if you are taking a taxi, the driver claimed he didn't have enough change the ride was about 7$ and all I had was a $20 so he got an excellent tip after giving me 5$ change. The Hyatt is in walking distance if you want to save cab fare and you have the time. But I didn't feel like rolling my luggage down the street. time to sit before they called our boarding number and we lined up for boarding. I have to say this was the only time any confusion and guidance were lacking. There were too many lines merging into the boarding line and so people blocked areas and the poor man taking your boarding number was a little frustrated. Once on the ship, they told us our cabins were ready, so we went ahead and dropped off our things in the cabin and went to explore. The prior cruise was a themed cruise, so they had part of the decked roped off for the unloading of stages, etc. That made for minimal seating the first little while. The one thing I super enjoyed about Holland America was when ordering a drink I could order both mine and my husbands on my cruise card. Every other ship will only allow you to get one at a time or have both your and your husband's cruise card. The other thing was they gave you cans of soda, not fountain. I also found the service was far more superior than the other lines I cruised. You were treated the same whether you had a soda package or not. The other ships I saw didn't give you the same service if you were not tipping them. The service alone would make me consider giving up the activities you get on other ships. that trip. We don't consume alcohol but sure did have many Mocktails and lattes every day, It also included bottled water, plain or sparkling. For the first time, I saw my husband enjoy the deck as soon as we embarked. There was no music blaring or crowds of people to get around. In fact, there were no vast crowds anywhere on the ship that alone made the cruise a favorite for us. I also can't say enough in this article about the service it was incredible. The only thing I would change was the food. It was good but not exceptional. I love to try new things, and I found there was nothing that stood out. I have great memories of my other cruises dining experiences, trying new things but none on this cruise. Port of Cabo San Lucas I wish we had done this port differently, but nothing can ever be perfect. We originally booked a camel excursion, but when I found out from reviews, the actual camel ride was like 15 min I canceled it. After stopping at Starbucks and checking in back home with the Wifi, We went to Di diamonds where I either wanted to upgrade my Crown Of Light ring or have two missing diamonds replaced. Big waste of time, this is not a good DI diamonds store, I was treated very poorly because I didn't want to spend over 5000.00 dollars, but I will save that review for another time. Also if you are expecting bargain Mexico shopping, this isn't the port. We found Cabo prices not much different than USA prices. Maybe we didn't find the right shops I don't know. We did get our Mexican Vanilla there just in case I wasn't able to get it in any of our other ports, and I wasn't going to leave Mexico without my Vanilla. If I were to go again, I would find an excursion to do. The restaurants, however, are good we ate at Baja Cantina on the pier, and it was the freshest nacho's I ever had they were homemade not bagged. Port of Mazatlán We choose to do the hop on hop off tour. We didn't have a stop in mind, so we stayed on the bus for the full route and saw the city then choose the stop we wanted. We got off at the cliff divers, but they weren't there that day, so we went to find a restroom (there is none up top the hill) ended up missing the next hop on bus and had to wait for another. (Tip: don't stop here if you need a restroom) Then we wanted to get something to eat, so we ask the tour guide for a recommendation, and at the next stop, they arranged for us to be escorted and seated at the restaurant. I say escorted not that it isn't safe I felt very safe there, but because he explained to the service staff we had to catch the next bus, and we knew no Spanish. After a fantastic Mexican meal we asked the bus guide if we had time to go to the aquarium and they said "very little," but if we were back at the stop for a particular time, we could make the last bus to the ship. Needless to say, we missed the last bus not sure if it was hearing the correct time wrong or not, but when we went back, there was no hop on hop off bus stand. (Tip: Due to the accent of another country or yours when needing specific times use a visual object. 3:14 could sound like 3:40 big difference.) But no need to worry while waiting for the bus we had many taxi cars asking if we needed a ride. Having no cash on hand and little language ability we were able to snag a truck passing by and a driver that spoke English, he then stopped a taxi explained we needed to go to the bank machine then get to our cruise ship. We were back aboard in plenty of time with an adventure and a story to tell. After all that I do recommend the tour, I had a great day. Port of Puerto Vallarta This was our favorite port of the cruise, and If we were to go vacation on the Pacific side of Mexico, we would go here. We booked a jeep safari tour for this and somehow managed to get a jeep to ourselves. The best day on our cruise, Pepe our guide was excellent. There were no worries as he navigated the line of Jeeps thru the city and countryside. You must know how to drive a standard and have a drivers license to operate the jeep. (Tip: when driving in Mexico, you must be assertive.) We stopped at a little village outside of Puerto Vallarta and learned about the village. Then on to a tequila factory for some education, I think all excursions in Mexico stop at a tequila factory at some point on the tour. In between the stops we cruised with the top down around the countryside and enjoyed the beautiful day. Our last stop of the day was the beach. We learned a bit about a turtle hatching program they had and even got to hold baby turtles that hatched that morning. We had some free time to roam the beach, swim, have something to eat before the tour ended and we went back. Since we had some time to explore before we embarked on the ship, we walked over to Walmart and visited a mall across from the cruise port. Something to note is we didn't book any excursions before the cruise we checked the TV in our cabin and booked thru the remote the night before we reached port. However, with that said I do recommend if you have your heart set on something you don't want to miss book it as soon as you can. Tours do fill up. Holland America Eurodam As for the ship itself, We never felt crowded, and there were even spots on the very top decks that we were the only ones. We had the entire deck to lounge all by ourselves. Service in the beverages category was superb, food service a little less so. Dive In eatery is very slow, but worth the wait, just when you think they forgot about you your order was ready, I didn't care for the pizza, but the main dining was pretty good. We have never as of yet tried a specialty restaurant but will someday. The Main Buffet was good in some ways and not good in others. Line ups to get food was slow and a little confusing with the layout. The salad station was the best, and the drink service was even better. If there were a few activities like pool tables or bowling or mini golf, something or anything, then this would have been the perfect ship for me.