As far as I know - Yes, you can still bring booze onboard, and there are now soda cards.
We were on the Mexican Riviera in May as part of the Ocean Princess' San Juan - Vancouver repositioning. I can't advise you on any Princess tours as we did not do any on this portion of the cruise.
We 'hated' (not really) Acapulco where our ship overnited. Visually, it's a beautiful harbour at night but during the day it's a big, dirty, hot, smelly, noisy place where you are constantly harassed by begars, 'tourist' guides, and taxi drivers (Cartagena was better). The best thing was the fort directly across the street from the ship. It's an air conditioned museum inside - worth the $4 admission. We walked over to see the cliff divers, and also to Papagayo park where you can get a free drink at the jewlery factory/store. Here we ran into a Princess tour, and thought it was funny those people had paid for the privilege of being 'lead like sheep to the slaughter' - the sales people here were 'unbelievable' and came down in price to below what they at first said was their cost - didn't buy anything.
Zihuatanejo is a delightful little fishing/resort town that is just the opposite to Acapulco - no harassment. We walked to Playa De Ropa. Don't try this - its too far, and way up and over a headland but we didn't know this (the port 'maps' Princess provides are absolutely useless unless you want to shop in one of 'their' stores). It's a beautiful beach, was almost deserted, and some huge waves made for great body surfing; plus, I found a good sheltered spot to snorkel. If that's what you want, just take a very inexpensive cab! (it cost us $3 with tip to get back). This is a tender port and we (supposedly) had only half a day there. At noon there were at least 300 people lined up on the dock in the blazing sun waiting for tenders. We sat on a beautiful shady porch with cold drinks for an hour and a half until we caught one of the last tenders back to the ship. We didn't go over to Ixtapa - it's a 'creation' of the government and is all modern hotel/resorts.
Puerto Vallarta was the best because we 'lucked' into an excursion by accident - after taking a $2 taxi downtown to explore on our own, we were walking along the beach because I wanted to go parasailing when a vendor talked us into a day trip. A power catamaran (Luna de Miel) owned by one of the big resorts had left from right beside the ship at 10:00 AM (we didn't know this) and was sailing across the bay over to the jetty to pick up more passengers. For an all-inclusive $25/person, an eight hour trip gave us breakfast & lunch, plus an open bar: all the beer (Corona or Dos Equis), tequilla, vodka, rum, whiskey, soda (anything you wanted) all day! We stopped and anchored at Los Archos to swim/snorkel off the boat (equipment provided if you wanted, but cheap stuff). The islands/rocks were hollowed out (some completely) and you could swim into the caves or right through the 'tunnels' - clear water and lots of fish (better than Trunk Bay on St. John). Next stop was a great beach where you could stay on the boat or go ashore on small tenders. Parasailing was available here for $25, but we hadn't brought enough cash. We then continued around the Bay to the final stop at another beach where we again tendered ashore. We went horseback riding - $10 -
(about 20 minutes each way) up to a river waterfall and pool to swim for an hour. After the ride, we had lunch (choice of five things) at a cantina on the beach. The 2-hour sail back to the dock (right beside the ship) was a party! They said we would get back at aprox. 6:00 and we were a little nervous all day as we had to be onboard by 6:30. It was 6:18 when there was space at the dock for the boat to get in to let us off....close!....we had JUST enough time to get a postcard for our collection before going back aboard.
Mazatlan was Ok for a large industrial city/port. We went to the Golden Zone - beaches, hotels, resorts, shopping - by taxi (it's about 7 miles away) in the morning, came back to the ship then walked to Old Town for the afternoon. We liked the cathederal/market area of Old Town.
In Cabo San Lucas I cancelled our 'Sail and Snorkel' excursion. This was a good move because people who did go were mad that it did not take them anywhere one could not see from the ship... plus, the water was very cold! We walked around town and discovered the Cultural Center (Casa De Culturo?) by accident. It's on a hill in a very nice park-like setting. A stroll around the marina is beautiful.
Is the trip in Puerto Vallarta you took the same as The hideway at Las Caletas that is an excursion with princess for $65.00 each?? Sure would save alot of money and sounds like a lot of fun. Any idea how I can get info?? Maybe you know the name of the Resort the catamaran was from??? Thank you so much!
I'm sorry I don't know the name of the company that puts on the 'tour', but as I said, the boat's name is Luna de Miel (I think they have another as well). It leaves and returns from right 'beside' the ship - If your ship is tied up facing shore you will see the tour dock just off the port bow (you could practically throw a stone over). I'm sure you can't miss it if you ask around, esp. with the name of the boat. From what I gathered, it was a 'middle of the road' boat. The passengers we about equally split between international tourists and 'well off' Mexicans in PV for hollidays (we were the only people off the Ocean Princess because nobody else knew about it).
We did have to pay extra for the horses; I believe it was about $10, but quite worthwile. You can walk up to the waterfall & pool but I wouldn't recommend it. It's quite a haul, it was HOT and parts of the trail are steep and dusty.
I drank AT LEAST $25 worth of beer and rum & coke ($100 at ship prices...lol)... nobody got drunk though... just a lot of happy people, and the crew were into the party! (all except the captain). If you want to snorkel, take your own gear - the stuff they have is junk; and I didn't want to use one of their snorkels no matter how well it's cleaned and disinfected. Los Arcos is really kind of a 'magical' place to dive.
If you go... take a wide brim hat and something to use as a cover-up (long-sleeve shirt), sun block and shorts or pants to change into for the 'cruise' back - you don't want to spend all day in your bathing suit.
It was the most fun of the 22 days we were on the cruise (and reasonably priced)! Enjoy!
We just got back from this trip and I've sent in my review, but I assume it will be Monday before it's actually posted. Anyway, I reviewed the "Hideaway at Las Caletas" in the review. The tour mentioned by the poster above is not Las Caletas. Also the three ports are Puerto Vallarta, Matzlan, and Cabo San Lucas, not the other ports mentioned above. You can take liquor abord, and also there is a $17 charge for all of the soda you can drink from any of the bars for the cruise (per person).
I did post it Saturday, and got an automatic acknowledgement from Cruisemates that they had received it. So I don't know why it isn't posted by now. I've replied to some e-mails directly because of my comments above. So here's an abbveviated copy I typed in to some requests. I don't have an "original" full copy of the review I submitted earlier.
Anyway, It was WONDERFUL! The ship was full, and waiter told us that the next three cruises are all full.
The only surprise--there's no "semi-formal" night, only two "formal"
nights, and the rest are "smart casual". Which means don't pack a
separate coat and tie for one night's dinner. There were mostly shirts
and slacks those nights. Passenger mix was from "twenty somethings"
using this as a booze cruise (buckets of Corona's--get five and pay for
four in the Jacuzzis! to numerous wheelchairs. There were also a number of children which we found funny as school is now in session. They had the children's program running. Maybe these kids are in year round schools which can have different vacation periods than just Summer.
We went on the Las Casletas beach day and had a very great day. My wife
snorkeled, I tried the intro to Scuba ($35 extra) and we both had a
massage ($25) in the little hut at the top of the hill while listening to the
crashing waves--heaven! This was the movie director John Hustons's
private rustic estate and can only be reached by boat, there are no
roads in there. Lots of lush tropical palm trees right down to the
beach with hammocks and beach chairs for the lazy. Nice lunch.
For Matazlan we went on the Sierra Madre tour to two colonial mexican
villages in the mountains. Stopped to watch brick making, hand carved
furniture, and pottery making. Had another good lunch on this trip.
Just shopped in Cabo as we'd been there twice before on Panama Canal
We were in fixed seating (late seating) dining room. If you have
Personal Choice, be sure to make reservations for time and number in
party. You won't have to wait then. Lots of people just show up at 7
or 8 and can't figure out why they can't all be seated at once. Food
was great--we've been on Princess, Renaissance, and Holland America and
like Princess best for food. Did miss the non-use of the serving carts
and the pasta courses at dinner. Pasta is now an entree, not a separate
lighter course and there was no flaming desserts except for the last
night of baked alaska.
Weather down there was hot and muggy, probably 95 and 80% humidity so
pack lots of sun screen. If you have further questions, let me know.
Pasta is now an entree, not a separate lighter course...
Actually, you still can order the pasta as a separate pasta course aboard any Princess ship -- just ask your waiter to serve it that way and you will receive a smaller portion before your main course. They changed the format of the menus only because they found that a lot of passengers ordered pasta as an entree.
Hi, I was wondering if you had a contact number any other way to contact the power boat. We will be going on the sea princess in Dec. And would love to do this "tour" any info would be great.