You Gonna Eat All That?

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise: the ship, Dawn Princess

By Jim (Biscuit Boy)

We boarded the Dawn Princess on Sunday. This ship was christened in 1997 by members of the Love Boat cast. Yes, there is a Lido Deck. Yes, there is shuffleboard on the Lido Desk. Unfortunately, Julie wasn’t our cruise director.

I’ll be making a lot of comparisons in this to our cruise on Celebrity’s Mercury in 2005; Barbara wrote about it at the time. The short answer is that it wasn’t as nice, wasn’t as pampering as the one on the Mercury.

The formalities were easy: someone took our bags, we got our passports scanned and our credit card swiped for our onboard account, got our card keys (used for our cabin locks and purchasing drinks and other things on board), and boarded and headed to our cabin. The minisuite was sweet.

Living Room



Separate shower


Efrain, our cabin steward, took good care of us. Our first meeting was when he stopped by and welcomed us onboard with a glass of champagne. He was the best of the staff that we encountered on the cruise. He made sure we knew how to get in touch with him, and he was there to take care of us. He was from Acapulco, and I wish we had gone there just so he could have told us the best places to go there. Our dinner waiters were nice, but didn’t come close. The dining room didn’t have sommeliers, so we were ordering drinks from our waiters.

The food onboard was OK, sometimes very good, sometimes meh. We had heard that beef onboard wasn’t that good. This was not the case. Fish and shrimp were more likely to be crummy. I’d recommend most anything over the fish, which was typically overcooked and tasted frozen. I love fish, I cook it at home frequently, and will order it when out over about anything else, but not on this trip.

Below are night two-Cabo dinner pics. Night one, we forgot our camera.

Crab Quiche - o.k.

Smoked duck breast - good

Crawfish - OK, although our tablemates from New Orleans didn't order it.

Pasta with Veal Sauce - meh.

The pizza parlor on board made very good pizzas. The dough tasted like it was made fresh that day. Unfortunately, everyone else figured this out as well and waiting times for lunch took time, like 20-30 minutes. Lunch, however, was when people should have been in the dining room based on our experience, and it was dinner when they should have sought other food. Princess plays games with the pizza parlor, though. It’s free, but if you want it in your room you have to pay a delivery charge.

This was one of the things that aggravated me most about the cruise. There were so many rules that seemed to be focused on preserving a profit center for Princess. In addition to the pizza, breakfast in the room was restricted to continental only. At dinner, it was only the limited sandwiches on the room service menu, not the items in the dining room. Our last night, we wanted to take the strudel back to our room (Barbara saw them making it earlier that day) but the waiter was concerned that the staff might not let us take it out. We did take it out, and would have run over anyone who told us not to.

Another fiction is “formal night”. At our table, that meant maybe a suit, but more likely a sport coat, tie, and dark pants. It worked for me, and for everyone else. Don’t bother renting the tux.

Onboard activities sucked. On the last cruise, we struggled to decide what to do because there was so many options. On this cruise, we struggled to decide what to do because we had so few options, and there is only so much time you can spend in the casino or bar.

For the shows, the ventriloquist was pretty good, but the other shows were crummy. The other comedian on board was seen having drinks in Cabo and delivered a pretty crappy show afterward.

Anyway, my overall impression was that the Dawn Princess kinda sucked. It wasn’t bad, but it should have been a lot better. I had been told by other experienced cruisers that, for them, the ship was their destination, and the ports were just extra. I would have been bored to death if that were the case. Fortunately, we had some great port experiences which I’ll describe in the next posts.

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Blogger SteamyKitchen said...

wow. if the ventriloquist was the highlight of the entertainment - the other stuff must have been BBBAAAADDD!

Though love the cabins. Beautiful.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Yea, we were not as pleased with Princess as we were with Celebrity Cruise Line. The latter really made you feel pampered and the crew seemed much friendlier overall.

And yes, our cabin was very nice. It was a mini-suite. We probably would opt for an oceanview in the future unless we got a really good deal on a suite like we did this trip.

Jim's next posts about the ports of call are what really made the trip fun. We're already talking about going back to Mexico.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Ramona said...

I love Celebrity too. I love cruising in general. The thing is tho, all I want to do is eat salads for about a week after doing several course dining over 1 week or so.
Last cruise, we had the later dining and the night that they did the big food extravaganza, we had just finished eating. I snuck a few chocolates back to the room!

2:05 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

The last cruise we went on (March - Royal Caribean) was terrible too. The food was just OK and the staff treated us like an annoyance. It left a bitter taste in my mouth to say the least.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We were on the same cruise as you and completely agree with your assessment. The ship was really pretty warn down and unfortunately, it was the most disorganized cruise we have been on.

We really enjoyed the fact we were on vacation, but it is important to give an accurate review of this Cruise compared to others we have been on.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We, too were on the Dawn Princess the same week you were (also in a minisuite), and can offer this: This was the 3rd time we sailed the Dawn Princess, and it was a tiny bit worn, but is still our favorite ship! We enjoyed this week onboard... and to some extent, how much you enjoy it depends on what attitude you approach it with. FYI - the Sun Class Princess ships' minisuites are much larger and nicer than the minisuites on the Grand, Caribbean, etc.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

The attitude we approached this cruise with was quite positive. And while we found things we liked and disliked, the dislikes tipped the scales more heavily.

And having slept on the horrible beds in our mini-suite for a week I suffered from a stiff neck every day. Not pleasant, especially when once I get home it caused me to be taken to the emergency room and finding out that it has caused a disc in my neck to bulge to the point of nearly rupturing. So if my attitude isn't positive enough about this cruise and the fact that Princess's bedding caused me injury that kept me out of work for 6 weeks, then so be it.

5:17 PM  

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