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Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman


Sea Princess
November 10-17, 2001
Los Angeles, Mexico, Los Angeles

by Rob Holloway

This was our second cruise, with the first on Celebrity's Infinity during 
August (2001) of this year where we cruised Alaska. We live on Vancouver Island in Victoria, BC, Canada. This year we decided to split our vacation from work into two sections and experience cruising. I'm hooked and once my wife Elizabeth felt the warmth on a private balcony with her morning coffee while cruising down the Baja coast line, that was it.

Saturday: Departure Day
We were up at 3 am to check in at 4:30am for a 6 am flight to Seattle and an 8:45 flight to Los Angeles with arrival at 11:20am. Security wise, allow at least 2 hours between flights just in case something goes wrong. In Victoria they made sure my palm pilot worked and took my picture with my camera to ensure it worked. That was my first picture at 5:10am.

We landed in SeaTac via Horizon about 6:40am, through customs and immigration, took about 30 minutes and transferred our bags with ship tags on in clear plastic tape for LA Alaska flight. Went though another security check even though we were still in a secured area and up to S terminal for a transfer bus that runs between terminals on the tarmac. We were going from S to D concourse. Reminders in airport to not leave your bags alone, people called for random carryon checks, picture ID and ticket check can occur random and everybody prior to boarding.

Flight was nice, arrived at LA about 11:30am, at baggage pickup around 11:50am. Princess rep present with clipboard to check off you arrived and another to direct us where to leave bags. Bags not off belt till about 12:15 pm. We had Princess voucher to pier from airport. We then waited for another "X" number of flights to arrive prior to them calling a bus. 

On bus about 1:15pm, arrive at pier about 1:55pm. Regardless if you checked in on the web, we now had to wait for a single rep to review our tickets and ensure we filled it out on the bus. All 40 or so of us were off the bus around 2:30 and into terminal, another round of airport style security and into two lines. Those with suites, those without or seemed like. Another 30 minutes and surprise, you are on the computer all checked in.

Whew, we now have our precious sailing card, another picture and on board for the sailing card check in and picture. Its about 3:15pm, we have been up for twelve hours, traveled about 1,200 miles though numerous security checkpoints and are only 1 hour 45 minutes away from departure.

Yea... it's time to relax.

No one takes you to your cabin but people point you to the elevator and down the hall. We were on Deck 10, BAJA, B515--an outside balcony. A small room but enough closet space for two adults and bags under the bed. Our steward 'Narciso' checks in with us within 5 minutes, we ensure our lifeboat drill on deck 7 Promenade at Rocky's Disco is known for 4:30pm, and we are off  to the Horizon Court Buffet on deck 14 LIDO. Its about 3:30pm and we are starved.

Ah, relaxing... have a drink, some hot food, and watch the LA waterfront. We locate Rocky's disco and we did grab the Princess Patter before we left our room and we agreed on the safe combination and left everything in the safe prior. Walk around a bit, back to cabin, get our life belts and over to Rocky's for the life belt/boat drill.

It was all over about 4:50pm and we went on deck to watch the Sea Princess depart LA at dusk on schedule. Beautiful and chilling that evening though. We have late seating, so we go back to our cabin and find our bags. Watch the coast guard sail with us until out of the harbor.

Our late seating is 'traditional' so its of to the Sicilian Dining room on deck 6 EMERALD which is mid ship towards the stern. You either take the stairs or go forward and get the lifts. We arrive dressed as smart casual for table 188 and discover its for overflow dining from the Princess Choice Neapolitan Room on deck 5 PLAZA. Course the waiters have to look at our cards and cannot believe it does say 188. We stand in the entrance for about 10 minutes, wondering, do I need this, I just paid for this cruise and want to eat. The staff reset the table just for us as we discovered and we dined in quiet splendor at a table for eight. In the meantime they took my sailing card and re-issued a new table 160 for us, which turned out with great dining mates.

We slept like babes that night and woke up to 66 degree temperature the next morning and a beautiful sunrise.

Sunday and Monday: Sea Days
It just got better and better, and, of course, warmer. We are now up in the 70- 80's. We ate at the buffet and ordered in breakfast two days, continental style. We read on our balcony, brought coffee and pastries down from the Horizon court with my Cruise Addict mugs. Went swimming on the LIDO deck in the adult only pool all 4 feet deep, watched the folks around and walked on the teak Promenade deck 7.

Discovered the shops on deck 6 EMERALD in time to rectify a small emergency when yours truly had not packed one item of a 3 piece silk dress for my spouse. I just pack what I see, not question what I see! We bought Elizabeth a nice black knit number and she was now ready for the first formal night which is on Sunday.

That evening we went down to the Wheel house Bar on deck 7 Promenade for our 7:30 to 8:30 pre-supper drink, after having had our 4pm tea time on our balcony. We decided this was a great place and met our constant server from Scotland "Krista" who even gave me a menu to take home. We decided to try a new drink every evening. The wheel house bar is just before the Princess Theatre where one of the nightly shows are. Its very comfortable in British or men's club style and ship motifs, with nightly dancing, music is played from 50-60's, line dancing, etc., go figure.

We met our new table mates at table 160 and discovered two couples had gone to the Sterling Steak House on deck 15, so it was just the four of us. Pictures were taken but nobody pushed you to buy and it was your choice to get formal photos taken in the Atrium Lounge or area between deck 5 & 

Tuesday: It must be Puerto Vallarta
We docked with a beautiful sunrise and in our case took an excursion of the city and countryside. Price included a drink at The Kliffe. We had a nice trip and were back on board in time for a 1pm lunch. 

By this time I've discovered the Patisserie area and ordered a coffee with Irish Cream, am on vacation so do not have to worry about driving. Watch the ship depart on schedule at 6pm, as our Captain said with good British humor, as we did dock fine today we should be able to move away with no problems.

Wednesday: It must be Mazatlan
Another beautiful sunrise, a more complex docking as the channel is narrow and surprise we do not have to tender today as we are docking in the industrial area beside the shrimp boats and cars from Korea. Today we took a walking tour of the old city, a new tour, from about 8:30 at the ship until about 1:30pm when we returned. Our guide Juan Carlos was excellent and took us to family shops, bakery, bar, museum of culture, opera house, market place, and around the small streets themselves. We also saw a cliff diver and had a rest/drink break every 60-90 minutes. It was about 91 degrees but heat was not overpowering. He took us to places a bus would not have been able to, the group was about 20 folks including Jason from Princess lines who helped insure we did not forget someone.

We got back to the ship in time for a late buffet and did our usual exploration of more spots on the ship and relaxed. Again we left at 6pm with the entire cruise guides waving to us as we left and the town folks waving to us as we left on the piers.

Thursday: It is Cabo San Lucas
The waters off this area are just beautiful and the sunrise again was wonderful. This port is a tender port from 7am - 1pm and we elect to relax and stay on the ship. Up to deck 15a for deck chairs nobody knows about including a small pool overlooking the bow and the crews pool down on deck 9. If you go towards the stern on deck 12 Riviera, another pool and deck chairs. Ah... serious reading now, and then to lunch.

The coast as we depart and come on the Pacific side of the Baja coast line is wonderful. It is warm and the swells are starting but a good book and a drink are a good combination.

Thursday afternoon until Saturday Morning: Sea Days
Thursday evening is the last formal night and now they take your table picture also.

Friday is a great sea day, a bit up and down, depending where you sit but nothing one cannot enjoy. Bags have to be ready by supper time (yours) or at latest by 10pm. I had gone to pursers second day with my flight tickets as we had a 12:41pm flight out of LA for SeaTAC and onwards to Victoria.

Saturday: Los Angeles
Into harbor San Pedro area about 6am as its foggy and we docked about 7am with customs on board about 730am. We were up at 5am, breakfast at 6am, customs and Immigration at 7:45 - 8am and finally off ship at 9:20am. We had Green 1 tags and were on our bus with our bags within 15- 20 minutes. Time to walk off ship, pick up bags, walk to bus area and get on bus. At the airport about 10:30am.

More security, but Alaska Air lines were not crowded as in other terminals we passed. Princess deserves top marks for how they handled us and the speed in getting to our buses. It was worth the $21 US or $31 CDN for bus voucher especially as taxis and private cars can get stopped at LA security outside.

The best part was for us Canadians because of security going through the International check in line for Mexico and Canada instead of domestic lines even though we were intransit. Mind you Horizon checked all Elizabeth's carryon including nightie in SeaTAC to go on our flight to Victoria.

Sea Princess gets a 9 out of 10 in our eyes and we will do it again but on a ten day cruise.

Oh, yes, the entertainment staff are great and 'Billie' the cruise host did a great job with his Mexican party time on deck 14 at 11pm one night. The bull fight and the Senor contest were just out of this world. I've not laughed so much.

Cheers and gracias!

Rob Holloway

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