Have you ever been on a cruise? The 7-day Princess Mexican Riviera Cruise has everything you need - beautiful staterooms, fantastic food and exciting shore excursions. Thank you to Princess Cruises for helping me share this post with you.
As you may have read in a couple of my other posts, I went on a fantastic Princess Cruises 7-day Mexican Riviera Cruise a couple of months ago. I told you a little bit about it when I shared my packing list, and when I re-created my favorite meal, the cocktail I drank at every happy hour and my Mazatlan-inspired shrimp salsa.
Princess Cruises slogan is #comebacknew and they certainly didn't disappoint! From the roomy staterooms, relaxing spa treatments and adult-only lounging areas, well-run and adventurous shore excursions and vast array of wonderful food choices, I came back feeling rejuvenated and pampered.
Let's dive into the details and highlights of the cruise...
Maybe it's because I had the stories of friends in my college years. Stories of spring break cruises, stuffed four to a room, spending as little time as possible in the room for fear of claustrophobia. With these images in my mind, I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised when I opened the door of our stateroom aboard the Ruby Princess. The room was set up perfectly for my friend and me - two twin beds, a balcony with table and chairs and tons of storage space.
With all of the drawers, shoe storage and hanging space, we were able to completely unpack our suitcases and settle in properly for our week of cruising.
Being able to step outside on the balcony first thing in the morning and again when the sun is setting is truly one of the joys of cruising. There's a feeling of peace and solitude as the ship pushes through the waters of the open sea. Some mornings we ate our breakfast and sipped our tea on the deck and other times we lounged with a book snuck in a blissful afternoon snooze.
As for the rest of the ship, there were bars and restaurants at every turn, balanced with the peaceful promenade deck, poolside lounge chairs and a full service spa. Since there's no timetable during the days at sea, we spent the days rotating between the pools, the International Cafe, the Sanctuary (more on that later) and our balcony, capping off the afternoon with a pre-dinner drink in our favorite lounge (Crooners) before heading off to dinner at one of the restaurants. Not a bad way to live!
Let me say this...there is no shortage of food aboard the Ruby Princess. Mornings at the breakfast buffet or on our balcony, thanks to room service. Lunches and afternoon lattes at the International Cafe when we weren't exploring the local cuisine on our shore excursions. And dinner was always an event, either at one of the regular rotation restaurants, at one of the specialty restaurants or during a special evening touring the kitchen and at the chef's table.
Lunch at the International Cafe was definitely a favorite. Each day they had a selection of fresh salads, such as a watermelon mozzarella salad, a light orzo and chickpea salad, shrimp and green beans and a mixed fruit salad, to name a few. If you're in the mood for sandwiches, they have that too, either served cold or hot and melty.
For dinner, we rotated between the main dining rooms and the specialty restaurants. The specialty restaurants were such a treat and we dove into mushroom ragout and fresh pasta at Chef Curtis Stone's SHARE restaurant, fantastic steak and seafood at the Crown Grill (one of my favorite meals) and creative pub fare at The Salty Dog.
See my re-creation of the spectacular mushroom ragout.
And let's not forget the cocktails. Our nightly happy hour ritual at Crooners usually kicked off with a bottle of Pellegrino (you have to stay hydrated, right?) and the Ultimate Cooler, a passionfruit vodka cocktail that I just had to re-create. The wine and beer lists are extensive, and pretty much any cocktail you can dream up is available at the various bars and lounges.
The three port stops on the journey were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, and there was a huge variety of shore excursions available in each location. Some people in our group choose to swim with dolphins in Cabo San Lucas, others drifted aboard luxury yachts and some choose to see the highlights of each town by traveling on the hop-on-hop-off buses.
The highlight excursion for me was the snorkeling/horseback riding adventure out of Puerto Vallarta. The day started bright and early as we hopped on a large zodiacs and whisked up the coast, wind in our hair, to two tiny fishing villages. At the first stop, we jumped on horses and rode to a beautiful waterfall tucked away in the forest accessible only by a narrow trail. The rest of the afternoon was spent snorkeling, eating lunch and lying on the beach at the second village before making the journey back to the ship. For tips on what to pack for these types of excursions, see my post on Cruise Packing List: The Unexpected Items.
In Mazatlan, we took an invigorating hike up to a lighthouse that is touted as the highest lighthouse in the Americas. Between the heat and the hike, we were more than ready for lunch and headed into town for a meal of guacamole, shrimp ceviche and shrimp tacos. I had been looking forward to fresh seafood and guacamole the entire trip and was not disappointed!
I didn't take any pictures of the Lotus Spa and treatment rooms (I didn't want to be that creepy person), but let me assure you that it is well worth your time to book a treatment or two during your cruise. The spa offers everything from massages and facial to pedicures and scrubs. I've never been one to turn down a great massage, and the hot stone massage was beyond blissful. My massage therapist was incredibly skilled, and worked out every knot in my hunched-over-the-computer back and neck.
If you have some extra time during some of the sea days and you don't have kids with you, the Sanctuary is a must! There is a small charge to use this area, but it is well worth it. When you make a reservation at the Sanctuary, a lounge chair will be reserved just for you for a half or full day. There is a special featuring light meals and signature beverages, and if you're lucky enough to be there in the afternoon, you'll be treated to a wonderful afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches and pastries.
We read, chatted, snacked, snoozed, took a dip in the pool and just completely relaxed during our time at The Sanctuary. Such a fantastic experience!
This is just a taste of what the cruise had to offer and I really can't recommend the Princess Cruises 7-day Mexican Riviera Cruise enough. It was just what I needed and I truly came back rejuvenated.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Princess Cruises. My travel and the cruise was provided to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.