Holiday (RETIRED) Cruise Review to Mexico

Deck Hand

1 cruise (first)


Helpful Votes

2 out of 5

They are NOT good at Plan 'B'

Sail Date: April 01, 2009

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Traveled As: Family w/older children

Room Type: Oceanview

This was our first cruise. I guess I expected better. Although I never got seasick like some people, I did not expect to have as much trouble balancing as I did. I've been home a week, and I still have a touch of vertigo.

I was EXTREMELY disappointed in the way that they handled missing Cozumel as a stop. They told us repeatedly to wait for Cozumel to do our shopping. We had it all planned out, including a snorkeling excursion. Then, at 10:30pm the night before the stop, they made an announcement over the PA system telling us that we would not be stopping in Cozumel. They didn't say what we might do instead and they never made another PA announcement. Everyone was speculating and asking every crew member they could find. We finally figured out that we weren't going to make a 2nd stop on the 5-day cruise - we got refunded the $20 port charge (that's in the fine print), but they didn't even try to offer an alternative. We could have gone to Key West or even to New Orleans. A lot of people wanted to just go straight back to Mobile. They did not offer any special activities (only what was already planned). To be fair, they did feed everyone lunch that day even though they must have planned for about 1,000 fewer people to be there for that meal, but it was one of the worst meals for quality.

We had to pay $75 to park, and their credit card machine was not working, so it had to be in cash. Thankfully, I found that out ahead of time through research. We arrived around 9:30am and got to visit the nearby Fort & Visitor Center. They started letting people into the parking deck around 10:15am. We were on board around 11:30am. Since they had all of the rooms blocked off to deliver the luggage, we were all crammed onto the upper decks for a few hours. We got into our room around 1:30pm. I recommend letting them handle your bags unless you really want to drag them with you for several hours on deck. Be prepared to tip $1 per bag.

I didn't like all of the extra charges. The drinks were $5-8 and they added an automatic 15% to that. The pictures were $8-9 (the 5x7 boarding the ship), up to $22 for an 8x10 of a portrait. You also had the option of adding a CD copy of the picture for $10. I learned when I got home that the resolution is not great for re-printing, but it makes a nice screensaver. The bottled alcohol was priced well. The gift shop had a decent selection of things, and it was tax-free (nice when you're used to the 8-10% in AL).

Take lots of $1 bills! You will find plenty of places to use them in Progreso, and I assume in Cozumel, too. There was a woman in the bathroom there, handing people paper towels. I know she was wanting a tip.

We visited the Dzibilchaltun ruins - plan to swim/snorkel in the cenote - it was extremely refreshing and very unique. I'd recommend a quide here or you'll have no idea what you're seeing. The few signs are in Spanish.

Pros: kids program gave all of us some freedom, people

Cons: boat movement, activities, food

Recommends Holiday (RETIRED)? No.

Ship Quality
This is obviously an older ship, but they work constantly to keep it clean. I kept seeing crew with a rag in hand, wiping the railings, and emptying the trash. The sink water is quite discolored & makes you feel "not as clean". I HATED the smoking areas on deck. They surround the pool with the slide (slide is only open certain hours). You had to walk through there. If you wanted to eat on deck, the only tables were in the smoking areas.
Food and Dining
The food was inconsitent. Most meals were good, but not outstanding. Some entrees were served cold. One night we waited over an hour to be served our main course, and then we were rushed out so they could get ready for the later dinner seating. The portions are smaller than what I'm used to seeing in the US. (That's good since there is no plan to deal with leftovers!) You can always order more. They offered lobster tail one night, and had a crab cake appetizer one night. Much of the food was served fried. One of the best foods, in my opinion, was the omelet station.
Cabin / Stateroom
The room was small for the 4 of us (2adults, 2 kids, 10 & 13), but the fold-down bed & the roll-away bed were put away for us in the am, and put out for us in the pm. The ocean view room was on Riviera Deck (4 - the lowest), and the windows could have been cleaned better. The bed was extremely comfortable. We never had a problem getting hot water, but the shower did not have a lot of water pressure.
Service and Staff
No one learned our names. The cabin steward & the restaurant server treated us very nicely. The Purser's Information Desk could not answer most of the questions that we asked. It was difficult to understand the multi-national crew members when they got on the PA system to make announcements. The photographers were fantastic, but the prices were high. The multi-national crew had trouble understanding some people's Southern Accents. I overheard one lady asking where the ahz (ice) sculpture was & the poor guy couldn't understand what she was saying.
Children's Programs
My teenager liked the freedom of hanging out with kids her age & checking in with us at certain times. We left a notepad & pen in the cabin in case our paths didn't cross in person. Our 10-yr-old did not have a lot of kids his age (9-11), so the group games and such were boring. Again, they did not have a good plan B for small groups of kids.
Not enough variety. They scheduled the ship tour & the info on shore excursions at the same time! When we were unable to stop in Cozumel (swine fllu), they did not add any extra activities for our unexpected extra "fun day at sea". As a parent, I thought it was inappropriate to have the hairy chest & sexy legs contest at the pool with all of the children watching. They were handled like a wet t-shirt contest or something, with the judges being allowed to rub the men's chests and the women's legs. There was only one comedy show during the week which we missed.

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