Cruise Director

Hometown: Torrance, CA
Joined: 12/23/2014
Helpful Votes

About handonmaya

Worked for government over 30 years and now retired


Cruise Lines: Celebrity Cruises

Ships: Celebrity Infinity

Destinations: Hawaii

Ports: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


handonmaya's Past Cruises

Emerald Princess

December 2017 - Emerald Princess to South America

Exceptional South American Cruise

Overall, my wife and I thought that this cruise was excellent, except for the customer service staff and the declining buffet. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and took advantage of everything that the staff had to offer. The food in the MDR is still the best that we have encountered on any cruise ship, and the activities, entertainment, and ports-of-call were all acceptable.

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Star Princess

November 2016 - Star Princess to Mexico

Very good cruise to Mexico

My wife and I are experienced cruisers, and have taken over forty cruises to various locations around the world.  We always look for detailed changes, either good or bad on any cruise that we take.

One change that we noticed was that the production shows are better, with some only thirty minutes long.  This was a ten day trip with only three production shows in the theatre, and the rest of the days having singers and comedians.

The famous "happy hour" at the Wheelhouse bar has been decreased from three hours to one hour and is now set at a terrible time of 5:00 PM, right when dinner starts.  Buy one drink at the regular price and get one for one dollar instead of one free like the old days.

My wife and I are "cruise foodies" and are very critical of the food offered on any ship that we are on.  I can rate the food against eight other cruise lines, and in our opinion, only Celebrity and Oceania has better food in general.  Starting with the buffet, we can say that it is typical food for a cruise ship, but the buffet always has a carving station during lunch and dinner, with staff serving drinks to the passengers.

We established a relationship with Laura and Miguel in the MDR, who provided us with very efficient and professional wait service.  The food in the MDR was exceptional most days and had vegetarian choices every day.  The desserts were very "visual" and looked as good as they tasted.  The International Café is open 24 hours with a good variety of sandwiches, soups and desserts.  On sea days there is an Afternoon Tea at 3:30 which has finger sandwiches, scones  and cookies for those that like a social hour to meet people.

The ports visited on this cruise are all good, but our favorite is Puerto Vallarta.  We always go to the area where they filmed the movie Predator, because this is where the zip line and bungee are located.  

This cruise was very good with an excellent staff to support all of my needs. I would definitely refer my friends to take this cruise with this staff, on this ship the Star Princess.  




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Ruby Princess

March 2016 - Ruby Princess to Mexico

Very good cruise with few problems

My wife and I are experienced cruisers having taken almost thirty cruises on eight different cruise lines around the world.  When you cruise this much, you usually  settle for a favorite cruise line and stick with it for future travel.  We found this to be true on this trip with other travelers, because we arrived at the terminal at 11:00 a.m. and did not board the ship until 1:45, due to the 1300 "elite" passengers that were assigned priority boarding out of the total of over 3000 boarding passengers. 


One reason we enjoyed this cruise was the consistently good service that we received in the dining areas, public rooms and our cabin.  I spoke with contracted ship employees who have worked on other lines, and they claim that working for Princess is the best, which supports happy employees, happy customers.


My wife and I are "cruise foodies" and can rate the food against seven other cruise lines.  I believe that Celebrity and Oceania has better food overall in the MDR, with typical gourmet items like scallops, escargot, lobster and baked Alaska served in the Princess MDR. We noticed that Princess has a higher percentage of seafood items for lunch and dinner than other cruise lines, which is fine with us.  The vegetarian menu changes every day and sometimes has good dishes.  The buffet is adequate and has a carving station daily, with staff providing drinks to the tables day and night.  We often visited the International Café which is open 24 hours, and has a selection of soup, sandwich and salads, with a variety of desserts.  Another place to dine would be at Afternoon Tea everyday from 3:30 - 4:30 in Da Vinci, where you can drink tea and munch on scones, cakes and cookies to your delight.


Almost every day of the cruise, we would meet our friends that we met earlier onboard at the Wheelhouse Bar on deck 7, for a great deal.  The deal is if you buy a drink at the regular price, you get another for $1.00.  With alcohol drinks at $9.00 and beer at $6.00,  this is a good deal.  Make sure that you get there early, because the place fills up fast.


The entertainment shows were satisfactory with one glowing exception.  Princess typically has the same style lineup with four production shows, magician, singers and comedians filling in daily time slots, no matter how many days the cruise goes on for.  We were very impressed with one of the production shows, and if you can see only one show while on the cruise, this should be the one.  The name of the show is "Magic to Do" and the show is comprised of songs from the composer of Broadway hits 'Wicked" and "Pippen". The show reminded us of a short Broadway musical and was very entertaining using the Princess singers dancers.


Getting on the ship was a negative, but overall the three important categories when cruising, of food, service and entertainment, were magnificently covered by a very good Princess staff at all levels.  







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Norwegian Dawn

April 2015 - Norwegian Dawn to Caribbean

Grand Princess

December 2014 - Grand Princess to Hawaii

If you like sea days, take this cruise.

My wife and I are experienced cruisers, having taken over 15 cruises to various locations and I would rate this cruise in my top 4. What I liked about this cruise was the excellent service that we received at the line level (housekeeping, wait staff, bartenders). We have experienced good staff on cruises before, staff that made our beds and waited on our dining tables, but this staff seemed like they actually cared if you were happy on your cruise.  We met 2 Princess employees that previously worked for Carnival, and they both stated that they were happier and more relaxed working for Princess.

The only negative were the shows at night. For some reason Princess has only 3 production shows with the Princess Singers and Dancers on a 14 night cruise, with the rest of the nights having entertainment fillers with a magician, comedians and individual singers with some being picked up in Hawaii. We know now that if you want good entertainment, go with NCL.

My wife and I are both "cruise foodies" and are able to rate the food against 5 other cruise lines. I would say that only Celebrity and Oceania has better food in general. The Princess buffet has stations for better access and during dinner there is always a carving station, and the wait staff are serving drinks to each table day and night.  The MDR was good and had some gourmet dishes like escargot, pheasant, scallops, and baked Alaska with different vegetarian entrees nightly. One of the best lunches that we had was at Alfredo's Pizzeria, which might have the best pizza at sea. From 3:30 to 4:30 they have a afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones, cookies and desserts, which is just a strategy to meet people if you are that type. They usually place you in one large group, with the tables close together. 

Grand Princess has something unusual that we have not seen on other cruise lines; 2 for 1 drinks, that can be found at rotating bars on deck 5 and 7 from 3:00 to 5:00 on sea days. Every sea day we would meet with our friends at the Wheelhouse Bar at 3:00 and take advantage of this special with mixed drinks at $8.00 and beers at $6.00, it's a good deal getting 2 for the price of one.

Overall, this was a very relaxing and laid back cruise, getting away from morning meetings, iPads, computers and micro managing, with an excellent Princess crew to support you and supply all of your needs. 

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handonmaya's Tips

Puntarenas, Costa Rica - You do not have to take the river cruise because you can see many of the gators from the bridge over the river.
Callao (Lima), Peru - It takes hours to drive around Lima due to the extremely aggressive drivers. Finding a good tour guide is important.
Emerald Princess Emerald Princess - Watch for "happy hour" at certain bars where you buy one drink and get another for one dollar. If you want to meet people, always choose "shared" tables when asked, during open seating at breakfast and lunch.
Star Princess Star Princess - If you like coffee purchase a coffee card to use at the international café. You can get free coffee at the buffet which is not as good.
La Paz, Mexico - You catch a free shuttle from the ship to La Paz which takes 30 minutes and drops you at the malecon. We ate at Claro Fish and the menu is in pesos
Loreto, Mexico - Tendered in and you can see all to see in three hours. Take walking tour from pier and you walk about five blocks past church up and back. Many crafts that you can buy here.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Went to the malecon and ate at our secret place the upstairs Cheeky Monkey with $1.00 beer and margaritas
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - We ate at our favorite cheap place Wamongo with many college students during spring break.

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received a helpful vote on their Ruby Princess cruise review - Very good cruise with few problems

checked in for the roll call for Jan 27, 2018 cruise on Ruby Princess!

received a helpful vote on their Star Princess cruise review - Very good cruise to Mexico

shared a quick tip for Emerald Princess"Watch for "happy hour" at certain bars where you buy one drink and get another for one dollar. If you want to meet people, always choose "shared" tables when asked, during open seating at breakfast and lunch."

reviewed their South America cruise on Emerald Princess and gave it 3.6 stars!

added Dec 3, 2017 cruise on Emerald Princess to their profile.

received a helpful vote on their Star Princess cruise review - Very good cruise to Mexico

received a helpful vote on their Grand Princess cruise review - If you like sea days, take this cruise.

added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to their favorites on their profile.

added Celebrity Infinity to their favorites on their profile.