12-Day Cruise; April/May, 2008
This was our tenth cruise on Holland America, the Mexican Riviera followed by repositioning from San Diego to Vancouver so that the Ryndam could begin the Alaska cruise season. As always, the Indonesian crew in the dining room and the Philippine crew in the lounges and cabins did an excellent job. The food in the main dining room and the Lido (buffet) were also as we remembered it. I don't know how the ship's upscale Pinnacle restaurant survives with its surcharge of $30.
HAL has really worked on their embarkation and disembarkation processes. Both went very smoothly with minimum lineups and a lot of people to give direction. We were scheduled to leave the ship in Vancouver at 0930, but actually left at 0830 and were at YVR by 1000, despite a side visit to custom's secondary that seemed unusually busy. (I think they were training people.) This allowed us to catch Central Mountain Air's 1130 flight to Comox instead of waiting for our scheduled 1430 flight.
To began our cruise we arrived in San Diego a day early and shacked up at the Holiday Inn that, although not cheap, is as handy as it gets. The location is 1.5 miles from the airport by hotel shuttle and the Ryndam docked about two ship's lengths from our balcony from where I took this picture as the lines were let out. The location is also an easy walk to a large shopping centre and the main railway station. From the station we took the "Coaster", a commuter train, for a one-hour ride through a series of coastal communities to Oceanside and then returned. Our very good dinner was at Anthony's Fish Grotto, just a block from the hotel.
Like most "Cruise-a-holics", we don't schedule a lot of the overpriced land tours and activities at the various ports of call. We did go to a "Shrimp Fest" in Mazatlan that included a brief tour of the area.
At the other ports of call, we disembarked for a look at the local scene and tried some of the local brews. The Ryndam tied up at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and La Paz, but anchored offshore at Cabo San Lucas.
La Paz Businessman
Radiance Of The Seas anchored off Cabo San Lucas
An idyllic beach very close to Cabo San Lucas
It was all sun and warm breezes in Mexico but we encountered weather on the run up the coast to Vancouver, with storm force winds and rough seas. Our amidships cabin on the veranda deck was an ideal spot and our sleep was undisturbed. However, one of the scheduled entertainers, a comedian, made a hasty exit from the theatre stage located in the bow and did not return. He completed his act with a matinee performance when the seas had subsided. One weary looking seaman told Eleanor he had been sick four times.
It was a very good cruise but not our best. The best have been the Inside Passage to Alaska and the Panama Canal, especially the two cruises when we were accompanied by our son and his family.
What's next? I'd really like to do South America and touch on Antarctica and the Falklands but I'm not sure that it would be Eleanor's bag. Bill Lynn's experience is still available as a link on this site. It's enticing.