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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 2nd, 2005, 07:48 AM
nittany
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Default mexican riviera on the star 3/13

hi, new around here (first post so be gentle )

looking at booking the norwegian star out of la in mid march.

Husband and I are 30/29 and this will be our 5th cruise (all aboard ncl - i know some people don't like ncl, but i love them it is actually the only cruiseline i will take due to the freestyle - so the star would be my only option for this trip). All our other cruises have been carribean ones out of miami, so this is something different!

Anyone been on the boat or done a different mexican riviera cruise that can tell me if they liked it ? How were the ports? We ususally do shore excursions on our own, are there things we shouldn't miss?

Also how's the weather in March? Are my days at sea going to be cold?

Finally pricing -i have no idea what is a "good deal" for this cruise, i'm looking for a basic inside cabin ,so if anyone has done this and wouldn't mind sharing around what they paid i'd be most greatful!

Thanks so much in advance!
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Old January 2nd, 2005, 08:43 AM
Carolyn B.
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Hello,
We are going on the Star on 1/16.
It is our 10th cruise (3rd on NCL). We like the "freestyle" way.....but do love Princess and Royal Caribbean. You can't have everything that you want on every cruise~ and get a reasonable price.

This is also our first trip to the Mexcian Riviera, so we are looking forward to something different too.

We booked with Kate at Vacations to Go and received a great price on a BA balcony.
You can check their website, but it is worth calling them directly (the price was lower).

You will get great info from Harry Martin. He was a huge help for us.

Good luck and keep us posted as to how everything goes.

Regards,
Carolyn
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Old January 2nd, 2005, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Hi Nitany,

So glad you posted and welcome to Cruisemates ... you'll find we are very friendly bunch here. (And thanks Carolyn for the compliment :-)

My niece just took the Star for her honeymoon and said it was t he best vacation she ever had (about her 4th cruise).

In terms of pricing, I find the best way is to just shop around on some web sites to get an idea of pricing, or call your TA.

Weather-wise, March is the rainy season in San Diego, so I would suspect your first day at sea will be cloudy, but your second will be fantastic, when the warmer weather of Mexico is more apparent.

Look over some of the recent posts here on the Mexico board, and you will get some good ideas for excursions. The one port where I would *not* do it on your own is Acapulco (this recommendation from experience, what my niece said and recent posts. The city is very large and the cabbies are very aggressive. I think in this instance, it would be better to go on an organized excursion. We did the Cultural Tour, which gave you a lot of sights to see in Mexico.

Here is a link to pics we took when we went on the Carnival Spirit:

http://www.cruise-forums.com/gallery/view.php?id=1530

Puerto Vallarta is very easy to do on your own. I would highly recommend the walking tour noted in teh Fodors Guide to Mexico. You will just take a van from the terminal down to downtown and start from there. Cab ride back is $5.

Cabo is also very easy to do on your own. You will find the best snorkeling here, and I always point out that it's nice to do glass bottom boat tour out to Los Arcos (book on the pier for $12).

In Zijuatenejo, a recent poster booked a cab for several hours and had him tour them in town, as well as Ixtapa. I think he paid $20 or so (the post was fairly recent). We chose to mosey about town and along the main street near the fishing village, where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the scenery.

Hope this all helps so far, and keep any questions coming.

Harry

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Old January 6th, 2005, 06:05 PM
nittany
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

well i'm going.....................................so excited!!!!

anyone else going?

thanks carolyn and harry! any other advise/suggestions GREATLY appreciated!!!!!!!!!
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Old January 7th, 2005, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Congrats on the booking!

Harry

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Old January 14th, 2005, 04:26 PM
audrey
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

We went on the star last summer to Alaska and loved the ship and the crew was great also I would sail on her in a minute to mexico if she stays in LA for the next few years
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Old January 25th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Carolyn B.
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Hello Nittany,

We just arrived home today (after a very long trip back east).
Got off the Star yesterday. We enjoy these ships tremendously and the staff were very friendly. Food was very good too!
We found the water in Mexico to not be as beautiful as the Caribbean islands.
But we are very glad that we did this cruise.

Please do yourself a favor and DEFINITELY book a shore excursion for the Acapulco area. The taxi drivers and locals are relentless! Just getting past the children selling chiclets(the candy) can be an obstacle course! (We are from New York and had a tough time dealing with this aspect of Mexico).

As for the other ports, you can definitely get off the ship and get a taxi to tour the areas.

Thank you again to all the posters and to Harry Martin. Your info was so tremendously helpful!!

Anymore questions, let me know!
Carolyn
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Old January 25th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Carolyn B.
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Hello Nittany,

I forgot to mention, hope you get to see the whales. It was very wonderful.
Friends who went with us, booked the Marietas tour in PV and saw many of them.

We paid a local(Cabo San Lucas) to take us out to Los Arcos and to see the whales.
The little boat was a bit small but we saw 6 whales in 45 minutes!!
1 hour trip for 2 was $100- we should have bargained more, but it was worth it.

Not sure how many those on the ships shore excursion saw. But we liked that we were not with 150 other people.

Good Luck
Carolyn
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Old January 26th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Carolyn, glad you had such a good time, and thanks for being about the 4th person to confirm that booking an excursion in Acapulco is best. It will definitely help future cruisers.

Harry

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Old February 2nd, 2005, 07:55 PM
nittany
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

wow thanks for all of the responses!

Carolyn, thanks for the report! Sounds like you had a great time. I've stayed in Aculpoco, pv, cozumel and cancun at varios times so i think i get what you mean about people being relentless We'll probably book ahead with someone in Aculpoco (can't pay myself to pay the cruise excursion price...i went cave tubing in belize for 1/3 of the ship price and we were right behind the cruise trip!)

Thanks so much for all of your help, i'm really excited and it doesn't hurt that it's freezing here! My next dilemma is where to stay the night before the ship departs (we arrive 1pm the day prior) and how to get to and from LAX, any ideas? I'm considering super shuttle or the package through the sheraton at the marina....

thanks again
GO EAGLES!! (couldn't help it )
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

We just returned from that cruise yesterday. We don't really do the "excursions," as we like to walk off the dock into town and see things on our own. We definitely qualify as cheap skates. Here's how we spent our time ashore:
(1) Acapulco - we walked to see the cliff divers, which is about one mile from the dock. There are two prices to see the divers - $12 from the same hotel that the tour operators go to, and $7 from the "divers" location, which is a bit further away. We did neither, but walked down to the road that is even further away. We could barely see them, but who cares. We then walked back to the dock area, and toured the old fort - San Diego, which costs $7 per person. Interesting. We got our exercise, and saved $$. We also stopped at a local internet cafe coming down the road from the cliff divers, spending 1 peso ($0.63 per hour) to check email. Also got two Cokes at a local little store for $0.90 (cold). We weren't bothered by the trinket sellers or cab drivers - they're kind of fun, actually.

(2) Zihauntanejo/Ixtapa - we walked off the dock into the charming town. Did a little shopping, had a couple of reasonably-priced beers along the beach, and then layed our towels out for some sun. A great beach about 1/3 mile to the right side of the dock, just around the wooded park area. We didn't see any point in taking a van/cab to see a fancy resort.

(3) Puerta Vallarta - we were here a couple of years ago, so knew the bus system a little. Your can catch the bus on the main road, just outside the port area, which costs $0.45 to take you "downtown," to the town square. A charming church, nice shopping, very little sales pressure from the locals. There are Sam's Club and Walmart very close to the dock, also. Nice beaches all the way along the coast towards the city center, which is about 3 miles.

(4) Cabo - we were here two years ago, and couldn't stand the mob of Indian women and kids trying to sell us junk. We almost didn't get ashore this time. However, we DID go ashore for a great time - we walked straight out of the port area towards the Pacific. We hoped to be able to walk to Los Arcos (the arches), which are quite visible as the ship leaves the port on its voyage back to LA. We walked through a gated area known as Playa Grande, which has a number of very nice hotels. The door man welcomed us to come in, so we walked through the lobby, down past the pool, and onto the beach. Wel just kept walking to the end of the sand, where our path was blocked by some very scenic rocky cliffs. We took the sun for about any hour in an isolated little cove. We stopped at the hotel (Sundowner?) for beers and great fish tacos (cost about $15 for the both of us - we shared the taco appetizer). A lovely setting. No sales pressure whatsoever along the dock. I don't know what happened to the Indian women this time.
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Jeff, *great* report on how to do the tours on a dime! Incredible internet value you got, too!

And Nittany, the Holiday Inn Bayside is directly across from the pier

Harry

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Old February 3rd, 2005, 07:56 PM
nittany
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

thanks jeff (for the report) and harry (for the hotel info)

jeff it sounds like you had a great time, what did you think of the ship? we are on the cheap side as well but i think you may even have us beat

i can't wait till march 13!
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Old February 4th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

We thought the ship was very nice. The food wasn't that great, but everything else was wonderful. After four cruises we're sort of used to the unending sales pitches (gambling, photographs, excursions, jewelry, bad art reproduction auctions), so that we hardly notice. Lots of people, however, seem to fall for all of the various schemes. I guess we just are more interested in seeing how regular people live in new places rather than paying a lot of money to be herded onto buses. Spending 8 days on a five-star floating resort is too bad, either.

I have a friend whose office is in downtown San Pedro. He allowed me to park our car in his garage so that we were within trolley or walking distance from the San Pedro cruise terminal. Therefore, we saved about $90 on parking for the 8 day cruise. Now, I owe him a nice lunch at one of the great local San Pedro restaurants - Ante's is our favorite. We were hoping to catch the red car trolley to his office (which was about 1-1/4 mile away), but the trolley didn't start running until 10:00 am. We just pulled and carried our luggage instead of waiting for the trolley.
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Old February 4th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

Nittany, here is a link to the article I penned about what you can do in San Diego while you are here ... everything is easy to do from the hotel.

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/ports/SanDiego.cfm

Harry

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Old February 4th, 2005, 04:40 PM
nittany
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

jeff, yeah we have also learned to ignore the sales pitches, although we do occasionally swing by an art auction for the free glass of bad champagne or play the occasional hand of blackjack. None of the rest of it really bothers me (this will be cruise #5 for us) EXCEPT the pictures on the end of th exit ramp when you are trying to disembark at a port, that drives me nuts cause it slows everyone else up

Harry, actually the cruise leaves from san pedro which i think is right outside la, please correct me if i am mistaken...
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Old February 4th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

That's correct. San Pedro is part of the City of Los Angeles.
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Old February 5th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: mexican riviera on the star 3/13

I'm so stupid, Nittany ... I mixed up the Star with the cruise my sister took about the same time as my niece.

Nope, you will be leaving from San Pedro.

Harry

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