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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:36 PM
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Default Why So Few Reviews??

Cruisemates is a helpful and useful site, but it seems to be lacking in the area of Member's reviews. I'm the type that pours over these boards looking for any helpful info; I'll be cruising Crown Princess in January, and there's only one 2011 review for the ship.

I thought maybe no one was cruising on Crown, but I checked some other ships:

Caribbean Princess: one review in 2011; previous was 2009
Coral Princess: last review was 2009
Royal Caribbean Oasis (large ship, you'd think reviews would be plentiful): two in 2011
Liberty OTS & Explorer OTS: none in 2011
Carnival Liberty: none in 2011
Carnival Freedom: two in 2011

That's a pretty accurate sampling. So, what's up with the lack of reviews? Any thoughts or comments?
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:52 PM
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The submittal form here is not good. People usually just post them in the threads. I used to post mine here, but a mod complained that they were too long so I don't even do that anymore.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 05:02 PM
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Perhaps the lack of reviews is due to the minimal audience available on this message board or is because of the excessive non cruise related posts that appear as well as the numerous "seeking companion" posts that seem to dwarf the newest posts daily !

In the end, the audience just seems to be "slack" on providing reviews of their cruises compared to other sites and "strong" in off topic subjects and friendly chatter.

Just my observations since being a member of CM for the past years

I feel confident I will be flamed by some for those comments and told to not read the topics if they do not interest me (the standard reply if you say something negative here !), but they are JMHO !
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Old December 4th, 2011, 08:48 AM
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You know I don't think I can flame you on that. The action in the cruise boards seems to have slowed significantly in the last few months.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoozeman View Post
The submittal form here is not good. People usually just post them in the threads. I used to post mine here, but a mod complained that they were too long so I don't even do that anymore.
I'm not sure who would have complained about "too long", but there's been lots of long reviews posted. Our own Donna's review of Allure, she even included pictures.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 12:22 PM
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[QUOTE=fun2cruiz;1403898]Perhaps the lack of reviews is due to the minimal audience available on this message board or is because of the excessive non cruise related posts that appear as well as the numerous "seeking companion" posts that seem to dwarf the newest posts daily !

In the end, the audience just seems to be "slack" on providing reviews of their cruises compared to other sites and "strong" in off topic subjects and friendly chatter.

Just my observations since being a member of CM for the past years
[QUOTE]

I can understand you disliking some off topic posts, but it's a bit contrary to also not like the activeness of the "seeking companion" posts. Those are directly "cruise related".

The off topic threads which seem to bother you, are really mostly the same dozen or so "actives" who are very prolific with sharing whatever thought crosses their minds.

Now to the original point of the OP. I don't know why people don't post more reviews. The site gets somewhere between 20 -30 thousand unique visitors a month; most of those visits are to our content areas.

Frankly, I'm not sure why they don't post their own reviews more...other than it takes time to write them.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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One thing I found about posting a review in the Cruise Reviews section is it can take a really long time for a review to be posted. One review I submitted took a few weeks before it was entered. I had sent Paul a note asking why and he stated that he had been away an he was the one person who did the actual submitting. I don't know if that is till the case but I know that has kept me from submitting again.

On other sites it has taken at the most a day or two for a review to go in the review section of the site. And in some cases it is up within hours. Guess there are more people that check reviews and post them to the correct place.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Okay, we can get more reviews on here by people getting off their lazy butts and submitting after they cruise, by the editors giving a quicker turn around time to submitted reviews, and perhaps by Cruisemates making the submission process a little easier. Sounds doable!

I only cruise once a year, so I'm not that helpful here, but I promise to post a review after my next cruise. I've learned, by the way, the best way to post any review or lengthy E-mail is to first write it in a word document, review it, then submit it. This actually makes the Cruisemates format a little easier to use.

I look forward to reading new reviews, and I hope more members will consider posting.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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There is one UK cruise web-site which incentives members by giving them a 600 page book on cruising for each submission.

I don't submit reviews there either

Reason I don't submit reviews is

1. Too time consuming.
2. Who the hell cares?
3. I have commented previously that I thought dining in MDR is not good = general response is cruise with them again . Why?
4. My views of cruising are sometimes poles apart from fellow UK cruisers and as this is a US board - don't think they are relevant or helpful to other cruisers.

Annie
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Old December 5th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Carnival Magic Transatlantic


Carnival Magic Tranatlantic Review 10.28.2011

Just the Facts:
Cruise: Carnival Magic Transatlantic
Dates: October 28--November 13, 2011
Captain: Giovanni Cutugno
Cruise Director: James Charlton
Ports: Barcelona, Spain - Palma De Mallorca, Spain - Malaga, Spain - Las Palmas, Canary Islands - Freeport, Bahama Islands - Galveston, Texas, USA

This was my 26th Carnival cruise, 67th overall, 2nd Transatlantic, and 1st cruise on the NEW Carnival Magic. I’m traveling as a solo on this cruise.

Day 0- Thursday- 10/27/11
When traveling for a cruise holiday it is best to arrive a day before debarkation to acclimate yourself and allow for any potential travel problems; however, as a solo I decided to travel on the day of sailing. I left the ranch by 10:30 am to make a 2:00 pm flight from DFW airport. All went well and the flight arrived early at JFK in New York. The direct flight to Barcelona was scheduled for 9:00 pm but was delayed several times. It finally got away several hours late.

Day 1- Friday- 10/28/11- Embarkation- Barcelona
My overseas flight arrived in Barcelona about 1:00 pm local time, about three hours past the originally scheduled time. Spanish immigration was easy and after retrieving my bag I sought out the Carnival shuttle operators. They were very well organized and easy to find. I purchased a ship transfer ($30) and checked my bag with them that would later be delivered to my cabin. A very simple process. Soon we were on a bus and dropped direct at the Carnival pier. The VIP check in was also very well organized. The line seemed long at first glance, but went very fast as they had several check in windows available for VIP and added more as needed. I was on board about 3:00 pm and now had a chance to catch my breath and start looking at the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. Very impressive so far. (Atrium photo at right) After dropping my bag in the cabin I went to the Lido Marketplace to get a lunch before they closed for boat drill. The roast beef and salad were very good. After lunch I enjoyed some much needed cabin time to refresh from the long flight and travel. Boat drill began about 4:30 pm and seemed to go very smooth. I looked around the ship a bit and visited the excursion desk to make a query about an excursion the next morning, but it was sold out. I took a series of short naps and tried to adjust to the time change as best I could. Dinner time at 8:15 pm came fast so it was off to the Southern Lights dining room. I had a very good table location near the center of the dining room with friends and soon to be new friends. For dinner I ordered the Creme of Sun Dried Tomato Soup, the Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, the Sweet & Sour Shrimp entree and the Crème Brulee for dessert. After dinner several of us went to the Showtime Comedy Club located in the Spotlight Lounge. I recently saw comedian Chase Elstner on the Carnival Glory and really enjoyed his show so I wanted to catch his act. He was hilarious. All the venues on the ship that featured live music seemed to be well attended. I retired to the cabin late and found a nice surprise: a ticket to the excursion I wanted for the following day.

Day 2- Saturday- 10/29/11- Palma De Mallorca
A nice morning with cloudy skies and occasional light showers. I went early to the dining room for my traditional 1st morning breakfast of Eggs Benedict, bacon, hash browns, grapefruit, milk, and tomato juice. It was very good and a good sign for the rest of the cruise. I had to meet the tour group in the Showtime Theater at 9:00 am and soon we were off for our excursion. The excursion was the Soller and Train Ride ($80), one of the more popular choices. We took a bus into Palma with a short stop then proceeded to the village of Soller. The weather was clearing and we had time to sightsee and visit the local Pablo Picasso museum. We then boarded the Soller Train, an old vintage electric train, for the trip back to Palma. It was a very picturesque excursion with the old village and mountains. We had the option of being dropped off at Palma or back to the pier. I chose to return to the ship. Upon returning I went to the Cucina del Capitano pasta bar where you can select your choices of pastas, sauces, and toppings. I had bow-tie pasta with meat sauce and topped with cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken. It was excellent and I will be returning. I tried the Key Lime pie from the Lido Marketplace for dessert and it was also excellent with a light sprinkle of pistachio on top. Now time for a nap as I’m still not quite acclimated to the time changes. After napping and some ship exploration I went to the Southern Lights for dinner. My choices were Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, Langoustino Cocktail, a Mixed Green Salad, the Grilled NY Strip Steak, and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert. It was all very good with the steak cooked to order and the dessert a very nice surprise. Following dinner was the Welcome Show. Usually when these are held so late they are not well attended, but it was standing room only for this show. I guess with it on the 2nd night people were more rested and looking for entertainment. James the Cruise Director did a good job with a skit, the Captain introduced the officers, and the comedians did a short bit. No production singers or dancers, but the live band was very good. Following the Welcome show some friend and new friends went to the Piano Bar to enjoy Ron Pass. With the new non smoking policy I can now really enjoy the piano bar much more than in the past. We stayed for quite a while and Ron was brilliant. After closing the bar I returned to the cabin for a restful sleep.

Day 3- Sunday- 10/30/11- at Sea
The seas are very calm, but it was overcast and rainy in the morning. I slept late and had to hurry to make the 10:00 close of breakfast in the dining room. I had a nice standard breakfast to begin our first sea day. I took my computer up to the Red Frog to begin making notes and ‘people watch’ along the promenade deck. A new feature I took advantage of since I was sitting next to it was the Salad Bar set up where the Sushi station is located on deck 5. That’s a very good use of space to use it for a salad bar at lunch and sushi in the evenings. My salad was very good, you have a choice of several types of lettuce and several choices of add-on vegetables for your salad. Toppings include various dressings, nuts, or cheeses. Very nice. For dessert I went to the Lido Marketplace and had Banana Creme Pie & Tiramisu Cheese Cake. I have been very impressed with the desserts in the Marketplace, better than the dining room so far. I took a very short nap then went to the Magical Pond Hoppers meet. I wasn’t active on the CC boards, but really enjoyed the thread set up on Facebook. The meeting was fun and the Cruise Director and Captain came by for a while as well. After the meeting it was time for Afternoon Tea in the upper Southern Lights dining room. They served the usual cucumber sandwiches, petit fours and tarts. I didn’t see or wasn't served a scone, but they did serve whole large slices of chocolate cake. For a change of pace I listened to a bit of afternoon karaoke, it was the usual pretty bad folks other than one guy singing “Mac the Knife” who was excellent, I bet he will be in the Carnival Legends show at the end of the cruise. Some friends needed something from the spa and we ended up getting a nice tour of the complete Spa facilities. The Thalassotherapy pool (photo left) looks very interesting, but what impressed me is the vast improvement of the steam rooms. With such a busy day I didn’t get a nap and it was soon time for dinner. For dinner this evening I had: Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, Thai Shrimp Soup (very spicy, but very good), Prime Rib with Baked Potato, and the Variations of Strawberries and Tropical Fruit Lasagne for dessert. A very good dinner. After dinner it was two sets of comedy in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Both Carl Faulkenberry and Chas Elstner were very great.

Day 4- Monday- 10/31/11- Malaga, Spain
Another great nights sleep and calm seas and nice warm weather. I was around early and in the dining room for a nice Eggs Benedict breakfast. The meet time for my excursion was 8:30 am and soon I was off on the Nerja Caves excursion ($60). We passed through Malaga on the way to Nerja located about 30 miles east. Our first stop was the Balcony of Europe a tourist site for well over 200 years. It’s actually just a small cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with great views. It is now somewhat touristy, but an interesting village here as a part of Nerja. The ice creme here was very good. After recovering a lost passenger we made the short drive to the Nerja Caves. These are very interesting and one of the largest cave systems in Europe with the largest ceiling to floor stalagmite/stalactite column in the world. There were a lot of steps, but it was an enjoyable excursion. I did sample the local Andalusian Beer and it was very good. We returned to Malaga and were able to see much more of the city on the way to the pier. When we arrived back at the ship we could see the ridiculously long lines of passengers trying to check back into the ship, fortunately they knew it as well and by the time we had made our way through the terminal and local security (including x-ray of bags) the lines were gone. In that time the ships staff had stopped the redundancy of a second check in and only required the sail & sign card to be used. It would have been an hour+ wait if they had not done this. They need four entry points not the two they have used so far if they plan on checking every ones bags. For a late lunch I had turkey from the carving station in the Lido Marketplace. Next to it was a bowl of small cranberry sauce and a small bowl of something white. Not having seen this before I ask what was in the bowl. I was told it was “turkey sauce.” Interesting...I had to try this new ‘turkey sauce’ and soon discovered that it was cold white gravy (there were no potatoes-so very odd) BTW- The Turkey was excellent. They had red velvet cupcakes and they were good, but just a bit dry-none of the excellent pies today. I did a little ship exploring this afternoon and visited with friends before an afternoon nap. I love the habit of a nap and the interior cabin is perfect for it. I have made a new friend with Ana the guest services manager. She is working on getting my shareholders OBC (on board credit) that wasn’t on my account. I did have the correspondence on my computer so I’m sure she will get it arranged for me. TIP: always bring your OBC proof with you-just in case. I went up to Promenade early this evening in order to see all the Halloween costumes. The guests and crew really looked great. They did the thriller dance and paraded along the promenade. Dinner was very good, I ordered the Chilled Langoustino Cocktail, Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled NY Sirloin Steak, and a special Halloween dessert selection. After dinner I went to the Showtime Theater to see the judging of the Halloween costumes. It was very entertaining and CD James did a good job. The photos are of the Hooters Lady who won the contest and our bar server at dinner (enlarge photos at your own risk). After the Halloween Contest it was 'close down the Piano Bar' again. Ron Pass was again VERY entertaining on the Halloween night. One can see why he has so many fans. It was a late night, but we gained another hour in time tonight so it’s ‘all good’!


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Old December 5th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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OMG... that is just too long of a review !!!
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Old December 5th, 2011, 01:42 PM
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So my test only did 1/3 of my review and didn't hold the photos to scale.

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Old December 5th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2cruiz View Post
OMG... that is just too long of a review !!!

Yeah I agree I don't know why she complained, the way I break it up makes it easy to read anyway.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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I think the review broken up just adds to the readers suspense and is better than one huge paragraph as so many do in their reviews and makes for difficult reading as well !
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Old December 5th, 2011, 11:05 PM
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I remember one review (maybe Donna's) of a Princess cruise that had a separate post for each day - too much work for the likes of me.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_rd View Post
I remember one review (maybe Donna's) of a Princess cruise that had a separate post for each day - too much work for the likes of me.
I believe the original poster was referring to the reviews in the Member's Review area.

Some of this can get a bit confusing simply because of terminology, I think.

The posts that you're referring to, and others call reviews are really travelogues, or daily journals. Where, I think reviews are more along the lines of a summary of a ship's detail and cruise.

During many of my cruises for CruiseMates I write a daily live Virtual Cruise Report (travelogue), then afterwards I'll write the review.

Some people prefer the travel journal approach, and others simply want to read the summary of the details, passing on reading all about what the writer did each day.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_rd View Post
I remember one review (maybe Donna's) of a Princess cruise that had a separate post for each day - too much work for the likes of me.
I agree.

A short report would do me:

The Good. the Bad and the Ugly

Reading a travelogue is hard work for me - never mind writing one.

Annie
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Old December 6th, 2011, 03:49 PM
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Okay, okay, I'll write a review. Just got back from the Norwegian Star. Had a great time. THE END.
Just kidding. I will write one when I am past the post cruise catch up on everything phase.
Marty
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Old December 14th, 2011, 05:08 PM
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We sailed on the Norwegian Star out of Tampa, Fl. on Nov. 27, 2011.

Overall, this was a great cruise for us. Given my health and mobility problems, the ship is a little longer than I like. Hard for me to get around. But, well worth it. We had previously sailed on the Dawn, which is the Star’s sister ship. There were several differences, even though the basic layout is the same. The gift shops on the Star were not as nice as those on the Dawn. Not really a problem, since I don’t cruise to shop. The 24 hour restaurant, called the Blue Lagoon, was significantly better. Instead of plastic tables and chairs and mediocre food, as it was on the Dawn, the Star’s version was very nice. Fairly elegant atmosphere and the food was quite good. We even ate dinner there one night, as I was too tired to do anything else.

In general, the food was better than I had expected. Very disappointing the first night, but then it did an about face and was generally quite good. They had even solved the problems of stale bread and poor desserts, which we had experienced on the Dawn. And the Market Café, their name for the Lido deck buffet, was surprisingly good. I could have eaten every meal there and not felt cheated. Good variety and most of what we tried was very tasty.

Probably the biggest factor in our enjoyment of the cruise, though, was the attitude of the crew. Almost every person working on the Star was cordial and very friendly. We got smiles from virtually everyone we encountered. And that is contagious. Passengers who receive lots of smiles tend to offer their own. So, the general atmosphere was welcoming and pleasant.
In particular, the Cruise Director, Jaimie, and her assistant, Christine, were very professional, yet warm and friendly. Christine was especially open to engaging passengers, not just for activities, but to answer questions or just chat. Great team.

Okay, day by day. The embarkation was a tad rough. Happened to arrive just when it was mobbed and that is nobody’s fault. I was worn out by the time we got on board. Got a bite to eat at the buffet, then rested a bit and unpacked. The main dining rooms now use a beeper system, like many restaurants do. I don’t know if it is the economy or just the random nature of cruises, but the MDR’s were packed every night. We were standing in line to get a beeper when a man gave my husband a hard shove. He turned around to confront whoever it was and it turned out to be a friend who lives about ½ block down the street from us! He and his wife were traveling with another couple, who are also neighbors. We had dinner with them twice during the week and that was definitely the icing on the cake for us.
I had a very hard time the first night, as you had to walk down one deck after your beeper went off. Very painful for me. The next day, I received a new cruise card that would take the elevator down to the level of the dining room and then gave us priority seating. It made dinner a lot easier for me and it was not something I had asked for or even knew about. The maitre d’ apparently noticed my problem and gave me a way around it. That was a gracious nicety, especially since it was unexpected.

The wait staff in the Versailles (the aft MDR) was exceptional. Every night, we received service as good as or better than traditional dining on past cruises.

Day 2 was Roatan, Honduras. This is one of our favorite ports, but we had been disappointed the year before on Carnival, when their ship docked at Mahogany Bay. Really disliked that. But the Star docked in Coxen Hole. We had signed up for a tour that went to an island where they offered snorkeling. It was called Maya Key Resort, though the name of island is Anthony’s Key. We were a little afraid that it might be very hokey, but were very pleasantly surprised. It is mostly a wildlife refuge for local critters. Rental on the snorkeling gear was very reasonable. There was a long dock, with a snorkel area marked off. A shallow reef, with a lifeguard keeping an eye on things. Not great snorkeling, but still fun. My DH went for the swimming pool, then we walked around. The animals were in very large cages, so that they had room to run around and there was a simple wooden rail to alert people not to feed a hand to the jaguars. The howler monkeys were not confined, but lived on a smaller island across a small inlet. We even had a baby howler monkey run right between our legs. We then had a tasty lunch, which was included, then headed back to Coxen Hole. Walked around a bit in Coxen Hole, then back to the ship.

Day 3 was Belize, again a favorite of ours. In spite of the cruise lines all trying to discourage people from going outside of the “safe” zone, which is mostly overpriced tourist stuff and bars, we went out back to the Flea Market, which is primarily a craft market. Locals are friendly and, since this used to be British Honduras, they speak good English….although their local patois is beyond me. My husband is a hand drummer and had drummed with the locals in Roatan, then again in Belize. He knows their rhythms and loves communicating with others via music. I did pay a visit the Loom Store, which sells fabulous locally made textiles. Can’t afford the rugs, but the decorative pillow covers are amazing. Not cheap, but they look well worth their price.


Day 4 we were in Costa Maya. Skipped the high priced enclave and took a cab to the nearby town of Mahahual. This was originally a tiny fishing village, then became a tourist spot. Got completely wiped out by a hurricane and rebuilt. But, it is still a very laid back little town. One street, with a second one being built. On one side of the “main drag” is a row of shops and cafes. The other side is a beautiful, nearly pristine beach. One of the prettiest in the Caribbean, in my book. We both had luxurious massages, lying on tables on a gorgeous beach, followed up by a swim in clear blue water….heavenly.

Did a little shopping, mostly looking for unusual Christmas gifts. They have expanded the compound to add a “downtown” section. Totally fake and filled with stores selling Mexican souvenirs. The sad thing is that all of it is leased or subcontracted to outside vendors. From a very selfish point of view, that’s fine, since it leaves Mahahual uncrowned and the vendors there will bargain heavily, trying to compete. But, it does seem wrong to take advantage of the locale and totally exclude the local population. It can no longer be a fishing village because of the big ships coming in, so the cruise lines have made the local dependent on tourism, then won’t allow them to sell things where most passengers go.

Day 5 was good old Cozumel. Used to be my favorite, but just so crowded now, with multiple ships each carrying a couple thousand passengers all converging on a smallish town. We docked close enough to downtown to just walk to the plaza, then hit a couple of favorite stores. Or tried to. One had disappeared. One minor annoyance was that most places now charge you to use their bathrooms. Given that you used to have to bring your own toilet paper, I thought that was ridiculous. Found one that did not charge. But, I was getting desperate enough to almost pay to pee. Still had a good, if low key, day.

Last day was a sea day. Rough seas again, although not as bad as the first day. We had enjoyed the deck band all week. A group called Xcite from Trinidad. Not your usual steel drums, but those guys could, and did, play anything.


Sadly, the show band was nowhere near as good. The trumpet player, whom I think was also the Music Director, could not play in tune. He even played in an entirely different key at times when they were playing in the Atrium. But, the entertainment in general engaged us. The first show was so-so to me. But, for the first time in years, I actually went to every show. And they just kept getting better and better. The show on the last night was amazing. Have not been thrilled by a cruise ship show in a long time and that was a great way to end the week. Tried to go up on deck for a last stroll looking at the stars and almost got blown off my feet! Very windy. But since we love just being at sea, that was fine, too.

Debarkation was fairly easy. You had to pick up your luggage tags by the purser’s desk. But, you could pick your color based on what time you wanted to debark. I liked being able to choose rather than have the cruise line decide when you should leave.

Last, I must mention our cabin steward, Alex. He was sheer perfection. Friendly, and very accommodating. Plus we rarely had to ask for anything, and when we did, we had it asap. But, I swear the man reads minds.
Overall, one of the best cruises in my life…out of around 35 cruises. Felt good to feel like we truly had a great vacation.
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