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Slumming it on the Mexican Riviera - Royal Princess 1/4/2020 Photo Review


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11 minutes ago, polmcs said:

As an FYI, even if you were on a non MedallionClass™ cruise and had to use a key card, the card reveals the number of cruises that a passenger has taken. Down at the bottom, there is a letter followed by a number(s). If that was say A12, then the card holder was an adult (able to purchase alcohol) and had taken 12 cruises. 

AND is on his/her 13th cruise.:classic_wink:

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For those of you considering a cruise on the Royal Princess, Mrs. Winks and I can’t think of a finer ship in the Princess fleet to recommend.  She’s grand, reasonably new, and gloriously elegant, and the cutting-edge touches, like Medallion Class, only amplify the superlative onboard experience. She’s a terrific option for adult families and young couples who are looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous armada of kid-catering vessels currently saturating the high seas these days.

 

The crew is engaged and competent. Perhaps not as gregarious and convivial as they could be, but that seems to be shipboard character trait that’s been on the decline ever since the introduction of Anytime Dining. Our room steward, Marc, was cordial enough and left chocolates on the pillow nightly. Thanks to the RFID chips in our bracelets, he always knew when we were out-and-about, so he could make-up our room with all the obtrusiveness of a church mouse.

 

The Horizon Court buffet is one of the better ones out there, not only because of the decadent offerings of its special stand-alone dessert station (that’s to die for), but also for their dinner time fare and ambience, which they make a genuine effort to upscale from lunch and snack times.

 

A variety of milk options (rice, soy, Lactose-free, diary-based), a fresh grilled veggie station, and specially themed lunches, like a seafood extravaganza that offered fresh clams, oysters and shrimp served on giant trays of ice, were unique gastronomic treats you don’t always see elsewhere.

 

Mrs. Winks and I ate in the Main Dining Room every night and actually found the food there a little disappointing, often running up to the buffet later on in the evening to grab something more palatable. It was one of the few cruise of late where we haven’t opted for specialty dining.

 

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 Milk options in the Horizon Court buffet

 

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Seafood Extravaganza and hot veggies just off the grill...

 

We’ll be kind and say the nightly entertainment was pretty good. 

 

Comedian AJ Jamal was the true shining star of the playbill. We thought his routines were genuinely funny and rather edgy for a Princess Cruise audience - mainly because he wasn’t always PC. He did two shows and both were laugh-out-loud fun.

 

By contrast, Brent and Sarah’s magic/comedy show seemed very forced when it came to comedy and pretty pedestrian when it came to magic.  Their reliance on a recurring pee joke was not only uncomfortable given the amount of OAB likely with this demographic, it was just poorly executed.  We’ve seen worse, so they get a pass, but barely.

 

The one show we wanted to catch was the Antonio Ramirez Mexican Folkloric Show, when a visiting troupe in Cabo boards the ships and presents a history of Mexican music. I had caught there act on a previous cruise in Puerto Vallarta and it was mesmerizing.  Unfortunately, we missed their act this time around, thanks to the fiasco with the Pirate Ship excursion that I will relate shortly.  But if you want to see pictures and read up on their show, here’s a link to our previous Mexican Riviera review aboard the Grand Princess.

 

One of the unusual entertainment highlights of this cruise was being able to watch the NFL wild card playoff games on the pool’s big screen while the ship spent the day at sea sailing past the Baja Peninsula. It was a little windy and chilly on the upper decks, so people sported team-color sweatshirts and blankets, and sat back in loungers watching the games. It was like being at a stadium with this so many people watching.

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NFL Wild Card Games on the pool big screen (MUTS)

 

The current cruise director, Marcus Prince (aka The Fresh Prince of the Seas), is energetic and motivating, and always fun to watch as he works the crowd with his standup comic routines, whether it’s on the morning televised Wake Show or introducing live shows on-stage in the Princess Theater at night.  Best of all, he has a candid and slightly sarcastic edge to a great deal of his patter, which is something I greatly enjoyed.

 

He was the mastermind behind all the shipboard activities and he did a pretty solid job at it, even arranging for a popular NY Times Bestselling Cozy Mystery author to do a talk about her craft one day at the Princess Live venue.

 

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Of course, every ship has its cons, and Royal does come with a few. They’re not deal-breakers by any stretch, but simply design flaws that act as negatives on a vessel that otherwise flawlessly executes so many positives.

 

One of the biggest drawbacks on the ship were the elevators. The several banks servicing the vessel’s center atrium area were always crowded and rarely moved faster than a floor at a time. Super annoying, especially on formal nights when you have to be nice about it all!

 

The bow and stern elevator banks were a little better, but always a mess near show time.  Then there was a confusing set of elevators, clearly in the passenger area, marked crew only, which always seemed empty and fast.

 

Finally, the elevators featured a floor selection panel on only one side of the car. This resulted in people constantly having to ask for their floor button to be pushed, since they had no convenient access to a panel on their side.  What a huge design flaw for a transportation system that’s clearly bustling at all hours of the day.

 

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But probably the worst shortcoming for a ship this relatively new is the lack of electric plugs in the stateroom.  When are cruise lines going to address this problem? As passengers, we try to come up with our own work arounds to the situation, power strips, but are punished for using them.

 

Given our increasing reliance on multiple small portable electronic devices, you’d think the cruise industry would keep in step with the times and afford stateroom occupants more charging station options and, say, do away with the antiquated electric-shaver outlet in the bathroom. They don’t seem to have a problem supplying outlets around the rest of the ship! 

 

If you need to charge your mobile phone, you’re best off heading to the coffee counter at the International Café… or stake out one of the marble pillars overlooking the Piazza grand atrium… or look between the banks of slot machines in the casino… or at the base of the display case on Deck 5 that honors Royal Princess’s figurehead godmother, The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton; because you’re only going to find two electrical outlets in your stateroom, and even they’re a bit of a challenge to utilize.

 

It’s a wonder that no one has come up with a guide-book that documents the available wall plugs on every cruise vessel that roams the seven seas. Taking a quick stab at such a compendium, here are some places on Royal you can find a place to charge your devices should your stateroom plugs be already occupied. And they will be.

 

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So that’s sort of the Reader’s Digest version of the pros and cons of taking a Royal Princess voyage.

 

Now I know you all want to hear about the Pirate Ship shore excursion - and how it went so terribly awry that we had to miss the Mexican Music show back on the ship - and Mrs. Winks almost ended up suing Princess and divorcing me... as you can see it's quite a yarn.  But your ole pal Winks has run out of steam this evening (ranting on and on about electrical outlets and elevators and such), so we’ll have to save the ill-fated Pirate Ship story for our next installment.

 

Rest assured, we’ll be back tomorrow with more tales of swashbuckling terror, community theater caliber play-acting, and overpriced drinks. Stay tuned...

 

 

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I am absolutely loving this review and am literally laughing out loud. Thank you! I can't wait for the next installment.

 

We were in L103 on the Regal on an Eastern Caribbean cruise a few years ago. It ended up being a great cabin for the Caribbean since we were always able to sit out on the balcony even when at sea. 

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The cruise ship shore excursion. This compulsion that we must always do something, be somewhere, and enjoy with fellow passengers (most of whom we can’t stand), some cultural activity dreamt up by a millennial of questionable qualifications in Miami (for maximum profit) that will define, rather than enhance, our cultural immersion in any given port-of-call. 

 

This false notion that we can’t simply be. That we’re wholly incapable of being left on our own, to wander freely and explore, the fresh flavors, rhythmic sounds, and inherent dangers awaiting us in alien environments. That our overstimulated minds require non-stop catering to, from a pre-selected, vetted, and repetitive onslaught of thrill rides, snorkeling tours, 4x4 getaways and zip line adventures (and mostly, colorful hollow tubes on which we ride a cold stream of water), lest we feel our cruise experience has fallen short of what society has mandated we continuously sustain: a relentless manufactured sense of fun and fulfillment.

 

This is how we end up on a “pirate ship” in Cabo San Lucas…

 

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 A shot of the The Queen Buccaneer's sister ship, Cabo Legend

 

Actually, according to Mrs. Winks - who has a sharper memory than an elephant with a Prevagen prescription - I was my own worst enemy on this one. 

 

Let me explain. A few months ago, during a stop in St. Lucia on another cruise (Freedom of the Seas; you can read about it here), we were waiting on the pier for our excursion transportation to arrive. All of us (meaning those fellow excursion passengers I can’t stand being with) were huddled in a small pavilion trying to escape a cold rain. At the same time, adjacent to us, the St. Lucia version of the pirate ship excursion was efficiently onboarding guests, boisterously yo-ho-ho-ing to traditional pirate songs, and doling out plastic Solo cups, sloshing over from generous pours of rum punch.

 

“Wow. What I wouldn’t give to be sailing out on that pirate ship,” I muttered wistfully under my breath, never imagining that, beside me, Mrs. Winks was taking careful note of this offhand comment, and foolishly believing that I actually meant it.

 

Fast forward to our current stop in Cabo San Lucas, and I find myself boarding one of Royal’s closed lifeboats, to get to the town pier, so I can board another, even smaller tender, that’s going to take us out to a pirate ship, that’s moored at another dock, across the port’s busy harbor. Do you see what a time suck this all is?

 

But before any of that, we first have to sign liability waivers. All 30 of us, individually, every man, woman and child. In blood, the pirate way.

 

The waiver process took another half-an-hour to complete, and then we had to line-up, single file, and follow one of the excursion docents, who was costumed in pirate garb and sporting a mock peg-leg, holding one of those embarrassing Pirate Excursion placards high over his head, like we were feeble little kindergartners out on our first field trip and might get lost.

 

To top it all off, we had to parade, at a snail’s pace (thanks to our leader’s unnecessary, theatrical appendage) past throngs of already drunk Cabo day drinkers.

 

“Aye Matey, be sure to protect ye bung hole at sea,” one guy wearing a wife-beater heckled me. “Oh cute, kids, look, they’re going out swashbuckling,” hailed another. “You guys are a bunch of idiots,” jeered another guy, half-perched on a bar stool at a cantina overlooking the marina. I found myself reluctantly agreeing with his blunt candor.

 

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 PegLeg's Parade through Cabo

 

After carrying the pirate re-enactor down the aluminum gangway stairs onto the floating dock, because he refused to take his wooden leg off – “I get more tips when I wear it” he explained enthusiastically – I checked my watch and noticed we were now well over an hour into the excursion, and we hadn’t accomplished a single thing - other than take a humiliating dockside walk-of-shame by a bunch of loud, jealous drunks.

 

Finally, after even some more waiting, we boarded a motorized skiff and haphazardly zig-zagged across the harbor, nearly sideswiping a number of other vessels - that ranged in size from jet-skis to fishing trawlers. Once miraculously there, we boarded The Buccaneer Queen (I’m not making this crap up) and were greeted by about 100 of the most sour and distressed faces I’d seen, since exiting the Brent and Sarah’s magic show the evening prior.

 

“How long have you been waiting here,” I asked someone, as I squeezed half my butt onto the only available side-rigging next to them.  It was so crowded Mrs. Winks and I had to sit separately. “For almost 90-minutes,” came the response. “We were the first cruise ship in this morning. We had no idea we’d have to wait for people from two other ships to show up before we could begin.”

 

The ship was packed, and probably dangerously close to capsizing. I’d actually seen diagrams in history books of indentured slave ships that afforded more breathing room. Cheerfully free from the shackles of government regulation, the pirate crew cast off the ropes and raised anchor. The Queen was underway, if listing, to the pulsating vibe of Rhianna’s Shut Up and Drive. But people were not very happy.

 

 

 

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We had to blur out their faces, but the expressions were all of boredom and annoyance!

 

As painfully mismanaged as the logistics surrounding this excursion were, once we got underway, the pirate actors did a good job at maintaining their energy and entertaining the peeved crowd. 

 

The non-stop playlist of hip-hop dance hits was a painful anachronism, as were the modern day t-shirts and tattoos that peaked out from underneath the buccaneer’s garb. But watching these young adults, clumsily playing pirate for a living, helped us feel a little less humiliated by our own current circumstances: the idiots who shelled out the money to see them do so.

 

 

 

 

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As we sailed out to the snorkeling spot (as this was a Pirate AND snorkeling tour), the head pirate kept the passengers busy with, of all things, a simple math quiz.  (Pirates and math? Who would have thunk it?) And if a passenger ventured an incorrect answer, rather than walking the plank, they were inexplicably doused with a blast of cold water by one of the first mates who was standing by with a garden hose – something that might be pleasant if it were 90 degrees out, but at 70 degrees and overcast, no one looked like they were appreciating the cool down.

 

 

 

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One of the excursion’s highlights, was the chance to sail by El Archo, the iconic Cabo rock formation that everyone wants to take a selfie with. But spotting the formation was akin to trying to catch a glimpse of Justin Bieber’s head when he darts into a concert hall; it’s so crowded at the arch, you could hardly see a thing, and then before you know it, it was all over.

 

Just as expected, the Arch attraction was surrounded by all manner of craft.  Fearful we might capsize the ship, the captain interrupted a Jay Z tune to frantically assure us he would swing around a full 360 degrees, lest we unbalance the precarious vessel in an attempt to all grab our shots from one side at once.

 

 

 

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After 5-minutes of playing peek-a-boo with El Archo, the Buccaneer Queen continued on her voyage to our next stop, the snorkeling opportunity. Sadly, until the swimming activity was complete, for safety’s sake, the rum kegs would remain sealed.

 

When we reached the spot, it must have taken 20 minutes of more to get each snorkeling passenger geared-up and off the ship.  Many returned almost as soon as they left, reporting that the water was both cold and deep.  The reef was a good distance down and the waves were choppy. A little boy, one of the first to re-board, couldn’t seem to stop shivering.

 

From aboard the ship, it looked like a scene out of Titanic, with the waters filled with not only our large group of snorkelers, but a cluster of new ones that suddenly appeared from a rival excursion as well.

 

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 A sea of humanity

 

While Mrs. Winks took the sea to snorkel, I took advantage of the emptied ship to relocate our seats to the upper deck, safely away from the wet and cold onboarding crowd. 

 

When she returned, Mrs. Winks reported, as others had, that it wasn’t a prime spot for snorkeling. The reef was too far down, so you couldn’t get up close with the fish.

 

It probably took another half hour to get everyone else back on board.  And then, finally, the rum punch was allowed to flow and a buffet lunch was served.

 

We spent the voyage back to Cabo perched in our crow’s nest above the main deck, content to drink our punch and take in the views.

 

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 Seated in our crow's nest with the Queen's captain

 

The excursion might have received a passing grade from us, now that the alcohol had soothed our jangled nerves - except for the horrendous disembarkation process that soon followed.

 

Upon returning to the Queen’s mooring in Cabo, we weren’t free to depart the vessel and make our way back to town. No. We were told, like school children, that we had to return to town the same way had arrived, by tender.  Only now, there were more than one hundred of us crowded onto the pier; tired, burnt and in various states of inebriation, who had to wait over the course of multiple tender trips, since the single craft available to us could only accommodate 10 people at a time.

 

In the end, we spent almost an hour on line, waiting for a trip across the harbor, something we could have walked in ten minutes, had they let us.  But access to the main road that hugged the marina into town was gated shut. We were stuck waiting for the return of a single tender which was the only vessel able to take us back… until we complained, loudly, and the pirates all pulled out their cell phones and managed to secure additional transports.

 

Mrs. Winks positioned it most succinctly when she let the crew know that we had now wasted an hour of our “vacation of a lifetime”, trapped like prisoner on a narrow pier, because someone hadn’t afforded the excursion either more tender service, or a bus, or simply a key to the gate, so we could readily stroll back to the town’s center.

 

Because of the late excursion start and now late return, we missed the Folkloric Mexican Dance troupe whom we had been looking forward to seeing.

 

The pirates were sympathetic, but in the end, said we would have to take it up with Princess, which a bunch of us decided we would do.  It was a horrendous experience, and only further proved that shore excursion are a huge waste of time and money, and you’re better off either enjoying the day on the ship or going off to explore on your own.

 

 

 

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 Stuck on a pier, waiting for the next tender boarding

 

Thanks for your continued readership, pertinent corrections, and encouraging comments.

 

Next up:  Running the Mazatlan Beach Gauntlet

 

Edited by WinksCruises
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34 minutes ago, WinksCruises said:

It was a horrendous experience, and only further proved that shore excursion are a huge waste of time and money, and you’re better off either enjoying the day on the ship or going off to explore on your own.

 

Wow. My wife said it kind of reminded her of a fjord excursion we took in Norway. It really pointed out what a rip off the Princess excursions can be. We were on a private fjord excursion with a small group. We boarded a nice, large vessel that was docked next to an identical vessel that had the same company name painted on it. We had lots of room and space to move around both inside and outside.  The other, identical vessel was doing a Princess fjord excursion. It was completely packed full of people. It shadowed us as we did our fjord cruise. Yep, the exact same type of vessel from the same company doing the same excursion. The difference was that the Princess trip was packed jam full and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more expensive. Mind boggling. We had the exact same trip for far less money and it was definitely much better.

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2 hours ago, Thrak said:

 

Wow. My wife said it kind of reminded her of a fjord excursion we took in Norway. It really pointed out what a rip off the Princess excursions can be. We were on a private fjord excursion with a small group. We boarded a nice, large vessel that was docked next to an identical vessel that had the same company name painted on it. We had lots of room and space to move around both inside and outside.  The other, identical vessel was doing a Princess fjord excursion. It was completely packed full of people. It shadowed us as we did our fjord cruise. Yep, the exact same type of vessel from the same company doing the same excursion. The difference was that the Princess trip was packed jam full and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more expensive. Mind boggling. We had the exact same trip for far less money and it was definitely much better.

 

Couldn't agree more. And the cruiselines really have some people fooled with the old "but the ship will wait for you if you book an excursion through us" farce. Don't get me started.

 

Enjoying the review as always, Winks. At least the excursion served booze.

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Hmmm...  We have a Princess excursion booked in Cabo on our cruise (which I happen to be on the plane down to LAX for now) but given the odd schedule for the Cabo port call on this one (6am to 1pm, with an scheduled return time of 12:30pm on the excursion) that"get you back to the ship" guarantee might actually come into play.  Then again, the itinerary change does also mean Royal Princess will be the only ship in Cabo that day (ditching the Carnival Panorama for a week) so the crowding might not be as much of an issue.

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We did a private Pirate Ship excursion in Aruba several years ago. Same company but we took a taxi to the ship.  Our excursion was half the price of the ship’s excursion, 1/3 of the people, full lunch and bar too. We felt so sorry for the people who booked through the ship that were packed in the other boat.  

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13 hours ago, Thrak said:

 

Yep, the exact same type of vessel from the same company doing the same excursion. The difference was that the Princess trip was packed jam full and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more expensive.

 

Yes, this has happened to us as well.

 

We have also found independent excursions sometimes get you to an attraction before the cruise-sponsored ones come piling in, allowing you to enjoy the space reasonably uncrowded. So there are definitely advantages for booking independently.

 

Mrs. Winks may have to chime in to correct me, but I believe we HAD TO book the Cabo pirate ship excursion through Princess. With several ships in port that day, the pirate company made it cruise-ship-reservations-only - we tried looking for it as an independent excursion and our port date was blacked out.

 

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10 hours ago, Vexorg said:

 Then again, the itinerary change does also mean Royal Princess will be the only ship in Cabo that day

 

For sure, the crowding will be less and if you're the only game in town, (lucky you!) the excursion is certainly going to get you back in time. (They want to go home as early as possible, too!). 

 

While our excursion ran late, we weren't in danger of missing Royal's All Aboard time. Our sail away that day was 7:30pm. We were back on the ship by 6pm, just too late for the Folkloric show that began at 5:30pm.

 

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1 hour ago, WinksCruises said:

Mrs. Winks may have to chime in to correct me, but I believe we HAD TO book the Cabo pirate ship excursion through Princess. With several ships in port that day, the pirate company made it cruise-ship-reservations-only - we tried looking for it as an independent excursion and our port date was blacked out.

 

Winks is correct. I always try to avoid the ship sponsored excursions at all costs. Sadly, with all the ships in port, including Carnival Panorama, the Pirate Ship company was not taking any independent bookings. So I figured why not? As much as it pains me to say, Winks was right on this one! Never again!!! It was a horrible experience and Winks is being kind in his review. 

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As a cruise ship destination, Mazatlan gets a bad rap - mainly because it’s located in Sinaloa, a Mexican state the U.S. State Department has designated a Level-4 hotspot (that means very bad) in its regularly-updated doom-and-gloom tourist travel advisory. To quote that advisory specifically: Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state. Violent crime is widespread. U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel in most areas of the state.”

 

 

 

Not very welcoming verbiage. And, of course, it didn’t help matters when, in 2014, the most notorious Mexican drug cartel kingpin, El Chapo, was arrested in at a beachfront condo near the Mazatlan’s touristy Golden Zone.

 

 

 

So, it’s no wonder many ship passengers opt to lock themselves in their cabins and nervously wait the port-stay out.  On other visits, I’ve actually seen standing-room only crowds filling the rarely-used ship’s wedding chapel, where every prayer on the their lips beseeched salvation from the imminent drug cartel invasion… and also that Princess please not raise the daily-gratuity rate before the trip’s end.

 

 

 

But, if you notice, a key phrase in the State Department’s travel advisory reads “most areas of the state.”  Not every area. Digging deeper into the warning, as a nervous Nellie like me always does, you’ll eventually discover Mazatlan is listed as one of the few permitted areas for travel, as long as you stay within the tourist areas and exercise reasonable caution… you know, like El Chapo did.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beach along the Golden Zone

 

 

This was our third visit to Maztalan, and for us it’s always been a decent stop. One time we took the challenging hike up to El Faro. At 500+ feet above sea level, it’s the highest-situated lighthouse in the world. And the views are outstanding.

 

 

 

Another time, we booked a resort day-pass at the El Cid, El Moro Hotel which ended up being a decent bargain for an attractive, well-accommodated property.  It’s also an option well worth looking into.

 

 

 

But on this trip, rather than staying onboard as originally planned, we decided that the ship would be too crowded with drug cartel worry-warts.  We knew wouldn’t be able to enjoy free run of the ship, so we opted to disembark instead.

 

 

 

The weather was gorgeous and while it was too late to arrange for a resort pass, Mrs. Winks figured she knew the Golden Zone beachfront well enough to find a decent place for us to just hit up a chair/umbrella vendor and do our own day at the beach, on the cheap.

 

 

 

If you haven’t deduced from the pictures so far, the beaches in Mazatlan are incredible.

 

 

 

 

 

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We took our time getting off the ship that morning, noting that the buffet and other amenities were atypically crowded for that late on a port day.

 

 

 

And of course, Mazatlan doesn’t do itself any favors in the “make a good first-impression” department, since the cruise terminal is located in the middle of a very active industrial port. Passengers need to take a 5-minute free trolley ride (you’re not allowed to walk it), through a maze of shipping steel containers, speeding forklifts, towering cranes, and in-motion freight trains, just to get to the shopping terminal and egress to the city streets.

 

 

 

Upon exiting the ship, we found there was no wait for a trolley, and once we got through the shopping area, we grabbed a cab to the Golden Zone for $10 - a bargain if just for the fact that the driver agreed to take us solo - and not make us wait to fill his cab up completely. He recommended a hotel in the middle of the strip, where we could walk straight through the lobby to access the public beach.  From there, it didn’t take very long for the chair and umbrella crew to find us.

 

 

 

 

 

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 The industrial port in Mazatlan

 

Once we secured a place to settle-in, it was as if the guy who set us up with the chairs and umbrella cast a bucket of chum into the water. We were immediately accosted by wave upon wave of trinket sellers, all carrying their cheap wares in, on, and around their bodies. 

 

 

 

There was the silver guy, who carried a briefcase along with him on the beach, popping the latches to display his silver-plated jewelry at every party of beach goers he came across.  When you said you couldn’t buy something for your wife – I claimed Mrs. Winks was allergic to silver – he’d counter, “Then how about for your girlfriend?” When I explained that Mrs. Winks had arranged for my girlfriend to die in a horrific car accident, he countered “Then for your pretty secretary at work, amigo?”  When I told him I had just retired from the job, he said, “Then for yourself, to celebrate your retirement, senor?”

 

 

 

These guys (and gals) just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, and were among the most aggressive souvenir sellers we had ever encountered. Eventually, we had to feign sleep and totally ignore them in order to get them to move on.

 

 

 

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Vendor a Go-Go

 

 

Which all reminds me, the best place to follow our adventures is really on Instagram. During this little beach stay in Mazatlan, I took advantage of the Wi-Fi access our umbrella guy gave us the password for, to upload video clips of these colorful vendors, their strange wares, and odd sales rituals. 

 

 

 

We don’t do Live From Such-and-Such Ship posts, since we really don’t have the time to write volumes of text while “living the dream”.  But uploading a picture or funny video clip to our Instagram Stories is pretty effortless, and during this trip we posted noteworthy content several times a day.  Sadly, all that material disappears after 24-Hours, which is why it’s important to follow us: @WinksCruises and @MrsWinksCruises and catch it while it happens.

 

 

 

Ok, shameless self-promotion over.  But did you see how the beach vendor’s tactics just triggered the salesman in me?  They’re animals! And really do get under your skin.

 

 

 

 

 

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Okay, so aside from having to run the trinket sellers’ gauntlet, the beach stay in Mazatlan was inexpensive and beautiful. It would have been a true paradise without their presence - but I guess the authorities are too busy keeping the drug runners at bay to enforce any local street peddling laws, if in fact there are any. So I guess we have to be grateful for that.

 

 

 

And it’s not like these merchants are starving; it was truly amazing how many other small groups we saw actually buying souvenirs and services from them.

 

 

 

So after a few hours on the beach, we cut back through the hotel and walked along the commercial street a little.  There were various colorful shops, an amazing shell “museum” (which was really just a giant store) and sidewalk restaurants. From there it was easy to hail a cab or golf cart, with us choosing the latter to head back to the ship via.  Our cart was especially tricked out with a powerful sound system, and we turned many a head as we flew down the Malecon beachside drive jamming to an unusual playlist of pop Mexican tunes, old school hip-hop, and Reggae.

 

 

 

As Royal P. sailed out of Mazatlan later that evening, I only wish we had had time to finally take the heavily cruise-ship touted “blue line” tour of Old Town.  Apparently, once out of the cruise terminal, you follow a blue line painted along the roadway that leads you past all the architectural and religious landmarks of the original city. The route is heavily patrolled to ensure safety and it’s supposed to be very culturally enriching.  Has anyone here done it? I’ll have to make a note to do it next time we do this itinerary.

 

 

 

 

 

07_Leaving%20Mazatlan.jpg

Sunset Sail Away

 

Next up: More observations about the ship and highlights from the Mexican Night Open Deck Party.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by WinksCruises
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Hi all!

 

WinksCruises ~ I've never read one of your reviews before since I'm not a Princess cruiser but am on here to follow somebody else.

You're making me LOL. I had no idea that's what the yellow & orange flag means!😉

I'll have to look up some of your other cruise stories.

 

~ Jo ~ 😊

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40 minutes ago, WinksCruises said:

 

 

 

 

As Royal P. sailed out of Mazatlan later that evening, I only wish we had had time to finally take the heavily cruise-ship touted “blue line” tour of Old Town.  Apparently, once out of the cruise terminal, you follow a blue line painted along the roadway that leads you past all the architectural and religious landmarks of the original city. The route is heavily patrolled to ensure safety and it’s supposed to be very culturally enriching.  Has anyone here done it? I’ll have to make a note to do it next time we do this itinerary.

 

 

 

We did it with some friends who'd done it before last time.  Not a bad walk through a residential neighborhood.  It's patrolled by what they call Smurfs - ex pat Americans who wear blue tee shirts to help out the tourists.  (We don't remember if there were also police along the walk).  They also answer questions and make suggestions.

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Re: the Blue Line walking tour.  We did it last week and enjoyed our morning seeing Plaza Machado, the Opera House and Cathedral before heading to Stone Island.  Mazatlán is our favorite port in Mexico.  We feel safe and enjoyed talking with the "Smurfs" (never heard that phrase before) who were from crazy places like Ohio, North Dakota and British Columbia.  They gave us good info, live there at least part of the year, and enjoy helping tourists.

 

Cheers.

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3 hours ago, retiring soon said:

I'll have to look up some of your other cruise stories.

Thanks for checking us out! And don't worry, we have many equally-horrendous Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess cruise reviews to read in our back catalog. Check out the links in our expanded signature at the end of each post.

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3 hours ago, abbydancer said:

It's patrolled by what they call Smurfs - ex pat Americans who wear blue tee shirts to help out the tourists.

Somehow this doesn't surprise me! There's actually been a concerted effort by the city to bring back cruise tourism ever since Disney Cruises dissed the port for being unsafe. So safety is a big visibility effort now for them.

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In 2011 all the major American cruise lines stopped going to Mazatlan due to the drug gang problems.  They did not return for several years after the Mexican government assured them that the tourist areas were safe.  Last time we were there staying in the tourist areas we saw quite a number of police/soldiers.  It really hurt Mazatlan to lose the cruise ships and their money. 

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