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Old 10-03-2011, 05:33 PM   #1
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Los Alamitos (Rossmoor), but most of the time we are at Disneyland.
Posts: 566

Mexican Riviera - Party of 13!!! - ohhhhhh yeahhhhh!!! - Updated w/ Cabo resort inf

My MR 9/25/11 trip report with some extra tid bits of info……trip included Me, DH, my two DD and my favorite teenage brother….(my only brother…LOL), my sissy, her DH and DS, my friend, her DH, DS and two DD…..ALL in ALL tons of FUN!!!!!!!

Day 1 – Check in & Boarding process I thought the check in process ran pretty smoothly. This was our first time sailing out of the Port of LA (San Pedro). We arrived at 9:30am and were let in the terminal at 9:45am, we were the FIRST ones up the escalator and in line to check in for the Castaway Club line………….
For those of you who have not been to the San Pedro terminal there are three lines for check in:
1. 1st time Cruiser
2. Castaway Club Members (returning cruisers)
3. Consierege Line

RIGHT as you walk in to the terminal you will be given that days Navigator (daily DCL newsletter) this will provide you will a WHOLE LOT of information, times for everything, shows, photo ops, character appearances, adult activities, teen activities, kids club (oceaneers club and Lab activities)…..following this first day the Navigators will be put on your bed every night for the next day….it will be right next to the towel animal of the day and the nighttime chocolate.

Following check in you will head to a separate area where they will x-ray your carry on baggage and give you a boarding # card, the number card given will determine the order in which you will board the ship once it is cleared by customs, at this time you will take care of your kids club registration (kids will be checked in for kids club and given a identification bracelet) For those of you who don’t know you can request that this band go on wrist or ankle, I prefer the ankle so it is not showing in most photos .
Also there will be photo ops here with Mickey and Minnie......

Also another tid bit that DCL does not advertise is you can carry on water bottles and alcohol, whatever you can carry on is fine, wine, beer, you can also take on a cooler to transport your drinks in as long as it does NOT have ice and can fit through x-ray machine you are good.

Once your boarding number is called you can proceed to board the ship, there is quick photo op for your family, and then you head down to the ship as you are about to step foot onto the ship there will be a cast member who will greet your family, they will ask your family name (last name) and announce you as you walk onto the ship…… “Disney Cruise Line would like to welcome the Limosnero Family”………very cool!!!

Following this you can head to either Parrot Cay or the Beach Blanket Buffet for lunch. This will kill some time until the staterooms are ready, which usually happens around 1:30-2pm. If you have small ones who can’t wait to jump in the pool I suggest letting them wear their swim gear under their clothes. ALSO if there was any issues with the dinning rotation you were given (this info can be found on your key to the world card which you are given at check in) at the bottom of the card you will see a series of letters……Mine for instance said Table 23 / APTAPTA (Animators, Parrot Cay, Tritons) or if you were not able to pre-book any Palo reservations at 1pm in Wavebands (Wonder) or the Rockin D’ Bar (Magic),depending on the ship, you can head over and take care of all this. Here you will be able to make Palo reservations, make ADDITIONAL Palo reservations, or modify existing reservation, table number or table rotation.
I also suggest heading over to guest services and asking if for your cruise they will be having a character tea party……..they usually offer this every cruise and it usually fills up SUPER fast, like first day FAST……there is no additional charge for this, but it is super fun for the kids.

Once you arrive in your room you will have your dinning tickets will you will NOT need for dinner every night but are basically there to spell out your dining rotation for the duration of your cruise, your ticket will also once again list your table number which will be the SAME table number for every restaurant, keep in mind this table # will not always be in the same exact same location for every restaurant you will eat in. Your dinning tickets will also list what time / date and restaurant you are assigned for your character breakfast. You will also find a paper that list out what type of menu each restaurant will be offering on each night, it will also list what nights are FORMAL, SEMI-FORMAL and PIRATE night, ours is listed below but depending on the cruise yours may vary. You can give DCL a call prior to your sailing date for information on what days of the cruise these events will fall on. I highly suggest trying to book a PALO dinner around these nights so you dont miss out on anything.
Night 2 - Formal Night / Golden Mickeys Menu
Night 5 - Pirate Night / Pirates of the Caribbean Menu
Night 6 - Semi Formal Night / Captains Gala Menu....means LOBSTER.....YUMMY!!!

Soooooo now that we have the basics out of the way…….here is our cruise in a fun little NUT SHELL……

Day 1 – Following Check-in / boarding We headed to our room 7092 it was a Verandah room……..LOVED the room and LOVED the location of the room, BUT here is the thing about having a Verandah room it is a gamble……..
If you end up by smokers then you may have to close it time to time to prevent the smell of smoke from finding its way in your room. The stateroom itself is a SMOKE FREE zone but the Verandahs are far game…….Once your room get’s the smell of smoke in it is can be a bit hard to get the smell out especially if you can’t open the Verandah to let air circulate. If the smoke smell ever becomes too much you can request that your room be provided with an air purifier……this helps if one is available.
Ok so for this cruise SMOKE was NOT a problem so our gamble paid off and we enjoyed many nice days and nights out on our verandah.
Once we settled in we headed to Deck 9 and 10 for the sail away party, which by the way are tons of fun……don’t miss out on this!!!

I am going to skip the sea day stuff…….really too much fun and sooooo much to tell you but basically a lot of time spent hanging with our family and friends by the pool…..and really all over the ship.

I will also sum up our time at PALO……WORTH EVERY PENNY……if you were not able to pre-book any of the Palo offerings (High Tea, Brunch or Dinner) I highly suggest doing so right when you board in Wavebands as mentioned above. Each one is an experience all on its own and should be tried at least once…… husband an I personally like to do ALL three each time we cruise. For Palo the dress is anywhere between office / church attire to down right dressy…….I can tell you one thing for sure that is not acceptable and that is JEANS!!!! While having dinner in Palo this cruise we saw a couple who was waiting to be seated, which is odd cause you never have to wait to be seated at PALO……well at least it was odd until I realized that the gentleman had on JEAN PANTS……a BIG NO NO……anyway the couple had to wait until slacks were brought up to him by Palo’s Maitre D (Marco......LOVE HIM), once he changed he was seated. So if you want to avoid this hicup remember NO JEANS!!!

Our cruise stops were Puerta Vallarta and Two days in Cabo, we had been BOTH places previously with Disney when we did the Panama Canal Crossing in Jan of this year.

Puerta Vallarta –
Last time in Puerta Vallarta we did the beach resort getaway with Disney, this included about 30 minute bus ride to the resort, all you can drink a lunch buffet. The resort had a great pool area and beach was nice as well. I would recommend this excursion to anyone who was thinking about doing it.

This time however we did LAS CALETAS, through Disney, I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this. It was GREAT!!! From the ship you take a short 5min walk over to your catamaran which will take you to this gorgeous beach getaway….the ride is a short 40-45min, I say short because the crew is sooooo AWESOME and ENTERTAINING both over and back that time really does just fly. Upon arrival you realize that this is not your typical beach getaway….the beach is white / tan sand and blue water. There is so much to choose from, you can lay by the beach on the sand or in a hammock, or lounge in a beach chair……you can scuba dive, snorkel, kayak or paddle board. ALL the drinks are free…alcohol, soda, even bottled water. During your time there they have tons to offer, cooking class, hike, zip lining for the kids (this is extra), and animal interaction with photo opts. The kids can hold a parrot, a monkey, a snake……….
They do take photos while you are on the ride over and while you are at the the end of the day on the boat ride back you will be offered your welcome photo at the price of $18.00 or you can purchase a CD with ALL your days photos which includes everyone in your group that was snapped on the original welcome photo, the CD cost $37.00 and will payment is due at the time of purchase. The CD will later be mailed to you.
Following about 3-4 hours of play and relaxation you will be directed over to your hot Mexican lunch buffet…..Yummy, after this unfortunately it will be time to head back…….again another short 40 minute ENTERTAINING ride back.
Once back we had time to go back to the ship shower the sand and salt water off, drop the kids off at the club and head back out to explore and shop…….ALL in ALL a great day in Puerta Vallarta.

Cabo (day 1) –
Last time in Cabo we booked the beach resort getaway through Disney, this worked out ok……..through Disney we got a tender into the main dock, from here we boarded a bus and took a 10 –15 min bus ride to the resort. We were given wrist bands and a drink ticket. At this time we were told this would provide the adults with 1 mimosa or glass of champaign and a lunch buffet (available between given hours). We spent about 3-4 hours at the resort and headed back to the ship. The resort itself is soooo nice it had a several pools, and was beach front. I would recommend this resort for anyone considering it.

This time we did the same beach resort getaway but on our own, arranged EVERYTING straight through the resort itself. We took a tender to the main dock; a taxi for the 13 of us was $21.00 each way to and from the resort. Once we arrived at the resort we paid for our day pass (HALF the price of what DCL charged us for adults, and about a fourth the price for kids) our day pass included…..ARE YOU READY FOR THIS???? ALL you could drink…..mixed drinks for kids and adults with or without alcohol, soda included……ALL you could eat, you would order off the hotel menu or you could go to their breakfast and lunch buffets…….if you ordered drinks or food it was delivered to you pool side……..we spent as much time as we wanted at the resort and felt NO rush at all. Once we were done with our LONG day at the resort we headed back to the main dock and took a tender back to the ship.
Side Notes:
1. I suggest paying CASH for EVERYTHING in Mexico!!!
2. When you settle in at the resort by the pool or on the beach I would suggest finding one waiter letting him know that you are on a day pass with the resort and tell him if he takes care of you at the end of the day you will take care of him. We did this with our group of 13 and had a very very attentive waiter. At the end of the day you will have to sign for your bill BUT this is only for record keeping purposes to show what guest ate and drank what, you will not have to pay a dime…… the end of the day we racked up a $600 bill U.S.………..and we left the waiter a $140.00 tip….that was over 20% (he was soooo very pleased).......still after you add up all the charges….day pass cost / taxi ride over and back and tip you still spent way way less then you would have with Disney and you got way way more drinks, food and time………..

Between days in Cabo was PIRATE NIGHT…….so much fun. The kids all dressed up and after dinner we ALL headed to deck 9 & 10 to participate and enjoy the PIRATE PARTY. There was music, dancing and fireworks!!!!! I was great. The kids had a BLAST, following the PIRATE PARTY there was a PIRATE BUFFET of food and desert lined up on deck 9 for your enjoyment………SUPER YUMMY.

Cabo (day 2) – We woke up early and took one of the first tenders into port. Had breakfast at a restaurant right on the water with an amazing view……a HUGE plus was the restaurant had FREE WI-FI……yayyyyyyyyyyy!!! Most restaurants DO NOT advertise FREE WI-FI but if you ask they will tell you the name of their WI-FI and the passworkd. Following breakfast we walked around town and did some shopping. In Cabo you can find some good deals but you can NOT be afraid to haggle and even walk away…….name your price and stand firm, because believe me there are 100's of small shops in Cabo ALL selling the same stuff. Some people believe that just because you are in Mexico you will find a great deal, this is NOT always true and sometimes the same item will be cheaper back home….I believe a lot of the times because they see you are a tourist they assume you have money and are willing to throw it away. I found some of the best deals on my walk back to the ship where the vendors are lined up along a fence……..I asked how much, they named a price, I said No and I named a price, they said NO, I walked away and they followed…….the walk away can be very some great deals following my walk away.......
On our walk back to our tender we stopped and decided we would take the kids parasailing…..we did it with the company that has a Happy Face on their boats and advertisements. They were all about safety and it was a great experience. Before you agree to their price make sure you ask them how many minutes you will be in the air, and tell them it needs to be a min or 10-12 minutes, otherwise it just is not worth it. The cost was $35.00 per person who participated and you can either go up one at a time, two at a time or three at a's up to you, each additional person who wanted to go along on the boat for a ride had to pay $10.00 I of course negotiated this down to $5.00 per person. Well worth the money and TONS of FUN!!!

I have to say this was one of my favorite Disney Cruises…..maybe it was the fact that we had family and friends joining us, or maybe it was our FUN FUN FUN port adventures. Either way I loved every minute and would do it again in a heart beat. Matter of fact I am going to do it again, November 2012 if I can wait that long I will be heading with my family and friends to the Western Caribbean!!!!!!!!

That is another thing……if you end up loving your cruise as much as we did book your next cruise on board………even if you don’t know exactly where you wanna go I would say book something……ANYTHING. At the time when this cruise ended ALL I knew was I wanted to do a Western Caribbean I did not know when but I wanted to do it and I wanted to do it with Disney so I booked what many refer to as a dummy cruise. By booking anything you are able to take advantage of the 10% off / the ONLY 10% down and on board credit that Disney offers to future cruisers that book while on board. This 10% off is fully transferable and so is the onboard credit. For example, this cruise I booked a 3 day Bahama Cruise in December 2012 for two adults in an inside stateroom…….my deposit was only $98.00 which was 10% of that cruises cost. Once I narrow down when exactly I want to go to the Western Caribbean I can call Disney can tell them to change my December Bahama cruise to my decided Western Caribbean cruise, when they do this my 10% off will be applied and I will also get whatever On board credit is being offered for that length of a cruise which will be more then what I was going to get on my 3 day cruise, I will of course have to pay the difference in the 10% deposit since my cruise will cost more and I will now be adding on two children to the reservation but ALL that matters to me is that I still get all the perks of booking onboard without having to rush to do so……
Now for those of you that know exactly what future cruise you wanna do and what date I say book that cruise ASAP on board if you can….this way you book early as possible and have a bigger variety of available rooms to choose from.

My LAST tid bits but MOST IMPORTANT would be:
1. Travel with a mini pharmacy....As much stuff as you can think of you never know what might happen…….
2. ALWAYS carry US CASH in don't want to use a credit card in MEXICO if you can at all avoid it. The Hotel where we did the day pass at accepted it so NO NEED for a credit card there. ALso having some small bilss like 1's and 5's can help with your shopping when it comes down to buying stuff in Mexico most everything is up for negotiation......if they say $20.00 and you say NO and you are able to pull out $12.00 in CASH and say "this all I have"......well then 9 times out of 10 you just got yourself a deal.......If they think they are taking your last dollars and you REALLY have NO MORE money to work with they may take your offer...........
3. TRIP insurance is sooooo worth the money you can visit ***************** for trip insurance rates. A family on this cruise had to rush their son in Cabo to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, they had travel insurance at it covered everything (hospital bills, hotel stay, flights, missed vacation cruise time....EVERYTHING) and because of this story alone I will never travel without trip insurance again!!!!!!
4. A yummy drink to try in Mexico is a Michelada, they offer this drink at BOTH Las Caletas and the resort that we went to in cabo.....It is made up of your choice of beer, tomato juice (clamato), fresh squeezed lime juice, and a salted you want a little extra kick add a tid bit of Worcestershire sauce and tabasco sauce, it is a Mexican Bloody Marry kinda sorta.....

Link to Navigators thanks to fellow MR cruiser.

Cabo Resort Info
The resort is Villa del Palmar, day pass is available on the day of arrival. Hotel phone number from US line is 011 52 624 145 7000 (this # gets you hotel and not service center like the 888# does) or you can try 888-317-2226 in case you wanted to just call and confirm day pass prices, but what we paid was $50.00 per adult and $25.00 per child under 11. Day passes are purchased when you arrive at hotel at the front desk. There is no real reason to call the resort in advance other then to confirm that day passes will be offered in the month you trip is taking place, but I was told they are ALWAYS offered. The ages of children are not checked and children don’t even have to stand with you at check in so if you have kids 11-15 I would suggest you just say they are 10 or 11, the purpose of charging and adult $50.00 is to cover the fact that alcohol drinks are included in all day pass price. It is an excellent deal and excellent price for all you get. Soooooo don’t be shy to order as much as you want off the menu for drinks and food……. Oh and something the kids will love is the day pass covers all you can order ice cream and smoothies…..YUMMY
Not all waiters there at the resort are familiar with the day pass so I would make sure you waiter knows that you have paid the front desk for day pass and that includes all you can eat and drink, if you have any problems a quick talk with the front desk will resolve the situation. I was told at the time that they usually give day passers a wrist band but when we went they were out. I again would suggest paying cash, at the end of the day you will have to sign for your bill…..DO NOT FREAK……this is just for hotel record keeping purposes, you do not give them a credit card and DO NOT write in a tip. As I suggested in my report I would tell your waiter that if he takes care of you all day you will take care of him before you leave the resort, it makes the tipping so much easier and this way you don’t feel like you have to tip him for each drink or food item you order. REMEMBER ALL DRINKS and FOOD is free. Please try and keep it low key that you are from the Disney Cruise Line because I am sure if Disney got wind of this deal they would either prohibit the hotel from selling day passes to cruisers or stop doing business with the hotel because if you look at it from Disney’s point of view the more people who know about hotel day passes the more people who will do a day pass directly with the hotel and skip the overpriced excursion with DCL.
We did the day pass on day one when we were in Cabo it worked out best with time, day pass is good until 6pm and we arrived to Cabo at 11am and departed at 6:30pm so we had more then enough time to enjoy the day pass.
It is about a 10 min taxi ride from where the tender drops you. Make sure you reach a rate for the taxi before you get in. As FYI our original taxi rate was going to be $3 per person each way for 13 of us in a van, but we got them down to $21 each way.
Have fun and enjoy……

I hope you enjoyed reading my trip report and hopefully you found some usefull tips.........

Last edited by LimoFam5; 04-17-2012 at 02:43 PM. Reason: UPDATED CABO RESORT INFO
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