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 Soooo ~ we're BACK!  Actually we have been for awhile however with a new 'puter & a new O/S, it's taken me a while to 'get things together'.  April 2 marks a month returned and I'm hoping by the time that date arrives I'll have some pics up & a report done.  Just hope I haven't forgotten too much!


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Trip Review

Itinerary

Photos

Travel Info Links

Celebrity 'Mercury'

Acapulco

Cabo

Manzanillo

Puerto Vallarta

Mazatlan

Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa

San Diego Area

Mexico OVERVIEW



 Your ALT-Text here   The Ship ~ Celebrity Lines "Mercury"

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Mercury is a 77.7 ton ship built in l997 which, at full occupancy, holds 1870 passengers.  Full info on her can be found here.  Our only comparison is to Sun Princess at 77.0 tons which entered service in 1995 and carries 1950 passengers at full occupancy, thus Mercury is a touch smaller with less maximum passengers and a couple of years newer.  (We did sail on the original HAL Rotterdam several years ago but memory fades . . . )  We've read excellent reviews on Mercury and are looking forward to sailing on her.  


Mercury / Mexico Tips + Tidbits

As always, please take what I and others say with a grain of salt. This is especially important if this will be your first cruise. Everyone's experience is unique but I found, thru reading both positive and negative reviews at various sites, it gave me an idea of what to expect. I also found past guest recommendations to be invaluable. One person may find something very irritating while it does not bother another at all.  I've even found two people on the same ship, speaking of the same set of circumstances, and each varying greatly in their experience of same.  Please keep this in mind when reading the following.  Once I've had personal experience, I will comment on my impressions & feelings.  

Cabin Picture Links:
Note that many of the number links contain pictures of the ships public salons as well.
Royal Suite ~ 1
Sky Suite ~ 1 + 2  +  
Cat 1 Suite ~ 1
Cat 2 Suite ~ 1 (this cat 2 is on Sky Deck thus has a much larger balcony than most Cat 2's)
Cat 3 ~ 1
Cat 5 ~ 1
Cat 10 ~ 1
Inside Cabin ~ 1 

The Sushi Bar:  starts at 6pm and ends at 10:00pm.  They serve several varieties of fish and shrimp, including very fresh blue fin tuna, California Rolls and others.  (See Navigator Lounge comments below.)

Manhattan Dining Room:  Dinner Sittings in the Manhattan Dining Room are Early at 6:30PM and Late at 8:30PM.  If you have any special requests at dinner, speak to the head waiter. And if you don't like something, don't be shy; speak up.  I understand the dining room staff will do just about anything to make it right.  You will find a card in your cabin on your arrival giving your dining room table assignment.  You may want to check it's location out in the dining room shortly after you board.  If you aren't happy with it for some reason, you can then request a change early in the game.  If your table number starts with 6_ _ then you're on the top level. If your table number starts with 5_ _ you're on the bottom level. The even-numbered tables are on the starboard side and the odd-numbered tables are on the port side.

Various Comments on Vibration:
 

Some find this 'an issue' & others do not.  Here are some comments regarding this situation.  
~  As far as vibration, I did not notice any where our table was. We were seated portside on the top floor (Deck 6), closer to the rear of the dining room. However, the one night we were at the Captain's table, the vibration was noticeable. It did not bother me, and I really didn't even notice it. . .. The Captain's apprentice said the worst vibration is in the AFT passenger staterooms on Deck 4.
~  The vibration does occurs when the ship starts to move and shift. It has always been a problem with these ships. The rear (aft) cabins are most affected by the vibration.  My cabin (8261) was a FO category at the very back of the ship. The vibration, noise and rattling were so severe that it seemed that the ship was ready to fall apart! Simply a poor design. But I knew that when I booked this larger cabin. But for the uninformed cruiser, this will be a major issue.
~  Iím not sure what causes the vibration.  I didnít really even notice it until it was  pointed out. It didnít seem like a big deal to me at all, and Iím not sure why deck 4 would be worse, b/c that night we were on 5 aft center. I canít imagine one floor below being so drastically different. I seem to recall someone saying that it had to do with the rudder????
~ On the vibration issue, I just don't get people's concerns. I stayed in Cabin 9197 on the Millennium (Aft Cat 3) and felt nothing other than during a few maneuvers coming in or out of a port, yet I read all the comments about feeling vibrations. Same thing on Mercury. I guess it is a little like clouds, they can either be a part of the sky passing along or they can be a foreteller of possible rain.
~ The only time I really noticed any severe vibration was when the ship was backing out of the dock in SF. It was pretty intense, but over in a few minutes. Didn't notice anything similar during the rest of the cruise.
~ I had no problem in the dining room as far as excessive noise was concerned. My group was at table 573 and 575 on deck 5, close to the middle of the dining room. I had no problem carrying on a conversation with anyone at either table, 2 tables for 8. 

Water Pressure in the Shower:  Some have commented that it was cold much of the time while others say it was great, and still others that it went cold for a few seconds once or twice during a shower. While there have been some comments on this subject, they aren't great in number thus personally I'm considering it to be a minor and intermittent issue.

Electronics:   The cabins have VCRs and there is a VCR rental library on board with a pretty good selection.  There are only two outlets in each cabin however, one in the bath which is a shaver plug only and one on/by the vanity/desk which is 110V.  If you have several 'electronic devices', perhaps wise to bring an outlet expander or power bar.  Better yet, bring along an adapter (and extension) to utilize the 220v outlets found behind the head of the bed(s). Extension cords are very helpful.  And, if you've any amount of hair at all, I understand one is well advised to bring one's own hairdryer as the one supplied in the bath is on the weak side much like those found in many hotels.   Totally useless unless you have a brush cut.

Internet Access:  The computer equipment on board is mostly designed for Internet use. There are some software programs available like Word, Excel, etc.   Computer stations are located in a couple of spots on the ship & are reported to have 3 or 4 computers each.  The online charge is presently 59 cents a minute so likely you'll not be wanting to spend a bunch of time online.

Spa:  The Aquaspa is regularly reported to be a fabulous experience.  All the 'Elemis Elves' will pamper you, shelter you, fluff you, and celebrate you every time you set foot in the region of their territory. The Thalassotherapy Pool ("T" Pool) is a highlight.  One person described it thus - "The water rocks around, and the bubbles whoosh around, and when the ship is swaying pretty well, the water has a life of its own, as does the silver bars that you hold on to in there.  It can be an interesting sensation."  There have been reports that the water in the "T" Pool fades one's bathing suit so you may want to bring an older model for that experience just in case it's true.  The "T" Pool is free to suite passengers and $10.00 per day to non-suite passengers...or $50.00 for the week.  Here you'll find some of the Aquaspa's offerings.  One note --> book your spa appointments early. 

Shore Excursions:  It's generally advised to book all shore excursions online before you sail.  If you want to go on a ship sponsored tour, book well before you cruise on Celebrity's shore excursion page (click link top right on page) as, once onboard, the shore excursion desk is open only a few hours a day.  The link has a downloadable brochure on the various excursions offered.  The most popular excursions book up quickly so if you wait you may be out of luck.  You might want to compare the price of taking various excursions on your own versus the cost of the ship's shore excursions (you can get this information on line.  You'll find several links below providing information on shore excursions in each port.

Navigator Lounge (Deck 12):  Happy Hour is 6:00-8:30 and is worth checking out, as their drink specials are reportedly very generous at $3.25. A great place to watch the sunset, not to mention the ocean for wild life.  Bring your binoculars!   The Navigator Lounge affords a great view off the bow of the ship.  Some report getting Sushi at the Sushi Bar and taking it up to the Navigator Lounge to enjoy with a cocktail.  Sounds like a plan!

Upgrading:  Get to the Concierge Desk (Guest Relations/Purser's desk) early if you are looking to upgrade your accommodations.  The possibility of an upgrade, as well as the price of an upgrade, seem mainly dependant on 2 things; the cabin you currently have, and the number of cabins (upgrades) unoccupied/available at sailing.

Seasick Meds:  While I've never had a problem with this malady and have been on vessels large & small, in weather of all kinds, I plan to take some 'just in case'.  What follows are my gleanings on this subject;  Meclizine (generic name) aka Bonine and Dramamine (get the Less Drowsy Formula) is readily available over the counter in drugstores around the country.  You will also likely find it at either the Purser's Desk or the Medical Center onboard. They are used for motion sickness and for a related middle ear imbalance.  Those susceptible to motion sickness/car sickness/sea sickness should start taking this product at least 4 hours before the ship gets underway.  
Dosage suggested is 1 to 2 tablets (each tablet is 25mg I believe).  Above 170 lbs, or for those truly incapacitated, 50 mg will do the trick.  It's once a day stuff.   You can avoid the drowsiness which sometimes results by taking a 25 mg tablet every 12 hours, (start first pill before bed) beginning one or two days prior to embarkation.  That way the side effects tend to be minimized as the body adjusts to the slight drowsiness (not half as bad as the original Dramamine type formulation, though).  Remember: If you wait until you feel seasick it is too late!  
They also work well after the cruise to relieve the feeling of motion once you get back on land.  If there is a problem beyond that then you can request a shot from the ship's Doctor.  Alternatively, you can request a patch from your own Doctor at home but likely that's overkill as most cruises are pretty calm unless you're on a Trans-Atlantic crossing.
Still another remedy is The Relief Band (the electronic band that looks kind of like a watch, not the elastic wristband things).  No meds, no potential side effects, but it is expensive, and is more for those who really have a problem with this ailment & know they will be cruising again.  If you order these, I gather it is wise to also order 'extra gel'.  Check out Drugstore.com or SafeHomeProducts.com for this product or there is always ebay.
Lastly,
Mexican Silver:  True Mexican silver comes from Taxco, Mexico, a city south of Mazatlan.  Look for a stamp, not on the clasp, that marks the piece as 9.25 silver. If the silver mark is only on the clasp check with the vender.  Many times the only part that is 9.25, the purest you can get, is the clasp.  A rough conversion is about $1.25 USD per gram, but this amount will fluctuate with the foreign exchange rates. 
Make sure that the 9.25 stamp is not plated over. They can put it on the copper and then plate silver over the top. The recommendation is to go to a good (read reliable) shop.  Also of interest perhaps is
Taxco history  and the yearly "Silver Fair" .  

Good Idea:  Before your cruise departure, send yourself an e-mail to your webmail account (or create a hotmail or MSN account if you don't have an existing webmail account) listing your itinerary info, flight info, credit card number(s) without expiry date, passport numbers & any similar/important information.  Then, should there be any 'crisis situation', you can easily retrieve this info over the internet using 'webmail'.  Another thought worthy of consideration is you and spouse using (and carrying) different credit cards.  If one is lost or goes astray, the other will not need to be cancelled and can still be used for the balance of your trip.

On Embarkation:  You may not care about these items thus may choose to 'go with the flow' however here is a 'to-do list' for the day one embarks (in no order):

  • Check out Dining Room Seating Assignment (and ensure time is as requested) then make a change request if desired
  • Make Spa Appointment(s) for cruise
  • Check for Mattress Pad & request if not already on bed
  • Meet with cabin personnel (butler if in suite) and arrange/discuss specific requirements &/or requests you may have
  • Register credit card as soon as possible to avoid long lines 
  • Wander ship & familiarize yourselves with the location of all venues plus the location of your muster station (lifeboat drill)

 


 Your ALT-Text here   Mexican Riviera Itinerary


Mercury leaves from San Diego at 5PM on Friday Feb 20th.  We are thinking we may fly down a day or two previous to embarkation, spending the afternoon and overnight in La Jolla.  Then we'll 
return to San Diego in the AM & take the ferry to Coronado and lunch at Coronado Del Mar before we embark.    Have yet to find out exactly how far La Jolla is from San Diego although it's in my mind it's about 30 minutes.  Below are both a picture of the itinerary and a day-by-day schedule.  I'm looking forward to this trip as I was last in Acapulco & Mexico City in the early 70's 
(Yikes !) but have not seen Mexico since and Billy has never 
been there.  Will be most interesting to see Acapulco again 
and to experience ports we've only heard of.


Itinerary Map


Daily Itinerary

DAY

DESTINATION

ARRIVE

DEPART

Fri Feb 20

San Diego

 

 5:00PM

Sat Feb 21

At Sea

   

Sun Feb 22

Cabo San Lucas

 9:00AM

 6:00PM

Mon Feb 23

Mazatlan

 7:00AM

 5:00PM

Tues Feb 24

Puerto Vallarta

 7:00AM

 5:00PM

Wed Feb 25

At Sea

   

Thurs Feb 26

Acapulco

 7:00AM

 11:00PM

Fri Feb 27

Zihautenejo/Ixtapa

 7:00AM

  2:00PM

Sat Feb 28

At Sea

   

Sun Feb 29

At Sea

   

Mon Mar 1

San Diego

 8:00AM

 

 

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Travel INFO Links

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Spanish Language:
English -> Spanish  Translator at http://dictionaries.travlang.com/EnglishSpanish/
Basic Spanish with sound bites of pronunciation of the  words used by travelers
Basic Travel Spanish Words & Phrases + lots more 'free stuff' on the menu.
More Spanish Language Links

 

Weather:
Current Weather in Mexican Cities

Weather.com has a city forecast finder + weather tools


Travel Journal: 
If you enjoy keeping a travel log of events and observations on your cruise, here you'll find suggestions and pages formatted for 5.5 x 8.5 plus a couple of links.  (Still working on this page.)

Travel Insurance: 
Considerations when buying travel insurance plus links to resources & a comparison site.

Currency Conversion:
Currency Conversion Calculator with printable Cheat Sheet 

Packing List:
I've made my own packing list for my travels and included links to other lists on the web.  (Still working on this page also.)


In And Around San Diego


 Your ALT-Text here   La Jolla And North County
La Jolla Map

Excepted from a couple of San Diego natives comments:  . . .for the upscale/sophisticated venue, there are a number of smaller, snooty hotels in La Jolla, a little to the north of San Diego proper (stay in the cove/village/beach area, rather than the University Towne Center area for more of a small town/vacation atmosphere. . .  As to North County San Diego, for the visitor with more than just a day or two, La Jolla is everyone's favorite, just to stroll around, shop and eat. . . Del Mar is a great destination for the horses (which I understand don't run in February), when they're running or for the fair when it's on...Did I mention the folks who do the hot air balloon rides...they take you over Rancho Santa Fe, among other places, and the really big homes look great from the sky...The Wild Animal Park just east of Escondido has always been a favorite...A round of golf at La Costa or Rancho Bernardo or any of the other many great courses in the area...Some hiking at Torrey Pines State Park...all fun things to do.

This map provides a rough idea of the areas of La Jolla referred to above and this link provides more detail.
A local newspaper, The La Jolla Village News is, at end of Sept '03, rather sparse in content however I will add the link as perhaps it will improve in a few months time!

I understand an area called the Green Dragon Colony found on Prospect St.  is La Jolla's historic shopping area however am unable to find any link to it.

 

 Your ALT-Text here   Coronado
Coronado Ferry Information - where to get the ferry, rates + schedules.

The Landing Marketplace at Coronado - lists shops, bike rentals, restaurants, etc.  More info can be found here and here.

Hotel Del Coronado Website - the official 'HotelDel' site.  Check the photos page for the 'old photos' (see bottom of photo page).

Hotel Del Coronado - interesting background information.

Coronado Map - very clearly marked with attractions, Marketplace, Ferry Landing & shuttle routes.  Gives one a good feel for what's where on Coronado Island.


 Your ALT-Text here   San Diego
Port of San Diego - Cruise Ship Services + Map

San Diego International Airport  -  here you'll find a .pdf  formatted terminal map you can print & take with you.  Also ground transportation info and SanCam - a webcam of airport activity.

San Diego Happenings

Gaslamp District and Horton Plaza Area hotels are the Westin Horton Plaza + The Westgate

Guide to the Gaslamp Quarter

SD Convention and Visitors Bureau

Go San Diego

San Diego Reader Online

San Diego Magazine Online

San Diego Restaurants

SignOnSanDiego - if you scroll down a ways, on the left menu bar you'll find some useful resources including maps & directions plus "San Diego Kids" information.

Here you'll find a list of stores for San Diego area shopping and this is about.com's San Diego shopping info page.

List of Horton Plaza Stores 


San Diego's Mardi Gras Celebration is usually held in latter part of February or early March.  I haven't yet located info on the 2004 celebration.  I'll add it when I do.

Rancho Santa Fe

Priceline for Hotels

San Diego Zoo

Seaport Village Area - hotels are Embassy Suites, Hyatt, Marriott

Manchester Hyatt is across street from Trolley, Seaport Village next door and you can walk to Gaslamp  District.

If you like Jazz or Blues music, I understand Croce's or The Juke Joint are great spots to enjoy this.

Balboa Park links here & here

Mission Bay Area

The Ports:

 Your ALT-Text here   Cabo San Lucas  (Tender Port)
I understand this is a neat little town, clean, modern and colorful...Shopping is nice, though not particularly cheap...take a boat ride out to Los Arcos for that classic Cabo photo, the one you've seen for years on countless travel brochures...The scenery is spectacular... Cabo has all the preferred snorkeling spots...especially over on the Sea of Cortez side... For a first hand account of a day in Cabo, read this very informative review.  We are going to pretty much follow this reviewer's agenda for Cabo.

La Concha Beach Club, formerly a private club, is now open to the public.  I understand it has a magnificent beach (with water sports) located on the Sea of Cortez and isn't crowded at all. A 15 minute cab ride from the pier, the water is very clear, calm and warm, as opposed to the Hacienda (on the Pacific side), which is pretty rough. 

Cabo San Lucas is world renowned for fishing as soon as you leave the bay. There are boats that will take you out for a short trip.   Do a search early via the web and get a price, out time and back time hammered down. Deep Sea Fishing out of Cabo can't be beat by that in the other ports. It is customary to tip the Captain and leave it to him to distribute the money. 10% - 20% of the trip price is recommended - its their living - base their tip on the work and effort of the captain and crew.


Lover's Beach -- Playa Del Amor see Diana Ball's review above.

Renting ATV's in Cabo -- someone suggests trying Salta Tours right off the ship - short pier that leads to a market along the water, right there you will find the guys for Salta tours - they have a Dos Mares shirt on and will have all sorts of things to offer. Going early is best as it gets very hot. Sneakers are a good thing as well as lots of sunscreen. You can rent singles $50 or doubles $70. You are taken by a guide to the lighthouse preserve and from there you have about two hours at least to "play".  Their comment: " It was awesome! "

Other Cabo Links to explore:
http://www.allaboutcabo.com/
http://www.go2cabos.com/
http://www.loscabos-tourism.com/cabo/
http://www.loscabosguide.com/index.html


 Your ALT-Text here   Mazatlan (Dock Port)
A big, industrial port and not particularly picturesque however the shopping in "The Golden Zone" is said to be terrific.  

The "Sierra Madre" tour gets you way out of the city up into the small colonial mountain towns of Concordia and Copala, both dating back to the 1600s.

Randi's Happy Horses receives many great reviews as a not-to-be-missed excursion!  Take an apple or two to treat your happy horse and if your a dedicated horse lover, they would be thrilled if you brought a box or two of sugar cubes from home (not available in Mexico).  This review provides a good feel for what you'll experience (with photos) on this excursion.

I understand the El Cid Hotel welcomes 'day people'.  You can purchase a day pass to use their facilities.  If this interests you, E-mail them for info regarding the cost of the pass and what it entitles you to.

Other Mazatlan links to explore:
http://www.mazinfo.com 
http://www.go2mazatlan.com/
http://www.mazatlan.com.mx/
http://www.mexonline.com/mazatlan.htm


 Your ALT-Text here   Puerto Vallarta  (Tender Port)
A popular city in Mexico...beautiful, nice architecture, stone streets, good restaurants, great sea food, nice shops...relax, enjoy...

Comments from a forum member on Puerto Vallarta.  Although the excursions are referred to as Carnival and RCCL options, I'm sure you'll find similar tours offered, either by Celebrity or independently.  You'll find anothers comments on the Unimog Tour a little farther below ~~ 
As to recommendations in PV, we've done two shore excursions there...one is called the Unimog Adventure by Carnival and the "Sierra Madre Excursion" by RCCL and we enjoyed it immensely...a four-wheel drive trip to a 2.5 mile nature hike, then a beach BBQ with ample, free-flowing beer, tequila and rum the whole way...The other excursion we took was a very interesting tour of a tequila factory...our kids did the horseback riding excursion there and really enjoyed it...I also like just getting a cab into town and shopping and eating...Some recommendations: For a fun and cheap lunch, the "Taco Tray for Two" at Carlos O'Brien's...it's enough food for four...For a serious meal of Lobster, Crab or whatever, Le Bistro on Ile Cuale...I had a lobster stuffed with crabmeat and melted cheese there to die for...For atmosphere, "Chico's Paradise"...it's way out of town, you need a cab, in the jungle, over a waterfall...Also, check out the shops, especially those selling native crafts and artwork...

The Canopy Tour is a Tarzan-like adventure where you glide through the treetops using pulleys on cables.   Read more information in this CruiseCritic Review and another reviewers thots here.  Another provider of this adventure, this one is an off-shoot of the original canopy tour in Costa Rica.

Dolphin, Whale & Turtle Eco Tours can be found with Wildlife Connection

Another cruisers comments on the Unimog Tour:  We took the Unimog tour in PV while on the Elation in August 2000...Absolutely loved it...I'd describe it like this:
They load you in small groups onto Unimog trucks and drive you out of PV to some little town... something "de Banderas" I think... Give you a tour of the town: the church, the town square, the tortilla factory...Then, they pour you some beer and/or soda in the main square, then you reboard the trucks and head out over dirt roads to a clearing in the jungle where they have bread and cheese and fruit and more beer and soda...Then, you do a 2.5 mile nature hike through the jungle...BTW, the guides were EXCELLENT, well informed, informative, spoke great English, were humorous, witty, charming... At the other end of the hike, they pour some more beer and soda...then you get back in the trucks and they take you to a private beach...where they have a very good beach barbecue set up: Steak, chicken, corn, potatoes, bread, etc...and an open bar with beer, rum, tequila...
After the BBQ and beach time, they load you back in the truck...and your guide brings on an ice chest with all the rum and tequila they didn't quite finish off at the BBQ...and he pours shots the whole way back to PV . . . . . . Needless to say, we were all a little sloshed by the return...
Warning: They seem to be willing to pour beer, rum and tequila for
everyone...age is no bar...a lot of the teenagers were doing a bit of drinking...If this offends or worries you and you have kids with you, just watch them carefully...
Overall, the excursion was very enjoyable and I heartily recommend it...

Los Caletas is, I understand, a beautiful and somewhat private beach, about a 45 minute boat ride from PV.  Here you can snorkel, kayak, etc. and they have spa treatments.  You can read others opinions (which seem to vary) at Trip Advisor and this link is one of several providing tour info to this area.

"PV Pam", once a US resident & citizen, now a 13 year plus resident of Puerto Vallarta and a Registered Nurse, has allowed me to print the extensive information she provides on this city.   I'll be creating a separate page with all her wonderful information shortly.  Meanwhile you can contact her at pmt@prodigy.net.mx.

Other Puerto Vallarta links to explore:
http://www.accessmexico.com/puerto-vallarta/index.htm
http://www.allaboutpuertovallarta.com/
http://www.go2vallarta.com/
http://www.hypermex.com/
http://www.vallarta-info.com/
http://www.puertovallarta.net/
http://www.vallartaonline.com/
http://www.vallartatoday.com/
http://www.virtualvallarta.com/


 Your ALT-Text here   Acapulco  (Dock Port)
Founded by the Nahua Indians (the predecessors of the Aztecs) around 3000 B.C., Acapulco was conquered by the Spaniard HernŠn Cortes when the Aztec Empire fell in 1521.  Acapulco retained its importance as a world trading port for the next 400 years and during that time became a haven for pirates including Sir Francis Drake. Acapulco began its transformation to that of a vacation destination in the 1920's when the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, visited the bay on a fishing expedition.  Wealthy Mexicans, American writers, Hollywood Stars and European jet-setters soon flocked to Acapulco. It was here that Elizabeth Taylor married Mike Todd, John F. Kennedy and Brigitte Bardot honeymooned, and Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Harry Belafonte and Baron de Rothschild became regulars.

Acapulco has a English speaking tourist police force to assist any tourist in need. They are dressed in T-shirts, displaying the "Policia Turistica" logo, and Bermuda shorts.

Acapulco is an easy place to do things on your own, if you choose. LOTS of taxis and you can hoof it many places.  Walk across the street to the Fuerte de San Diego (Fort of San Diego) and poke about.  You can  walk straight along the street from the Fort (about 5 minutes) to the Zocalo (town square).  You can also walk to El Mirador Hotel to see the Cliff Divers (about 10 minutes).

Shopping ~ There are two major shopping centers in Acapulco. Plaza Bahia, which caters mostly to tourists, has a lot of imported clothing and is a good place to get Cuban cigars. The Gran Plaza, with over 135 shops, is a typical American Shopping Center. Bargain hunters will do well to discover one of the best kept secrets in Acapulco - the AFW store. (I'll research this! - more later)

Specific Places of Interest:

Fuerte de San Diego ~ This amazing fort, built in the sixteenth century to protect the bay from pirate attacks, hosts a Museum with ten different showrooms with exhibits regarding the history of Acapulco. (see link above)

Acapulco Zoo ~ A modern zoo located on Roqueta Island where you may observe many animal species. It has a children's playground, food court and swimming facilities.  Caleta is located next to Roqueta Island and has calm waters, ideal for swimming and playing.

Isla Roqueta ~ A beautiful island located in front of Caleta Beach. You can get there by crystal bottom boats, where you can see the marine fauna as well as the Virgin of Guadalupe (patron of fishermen) in the bottom of the sea.

Condesa Beach ~ This is the most visited beach located right in the middle of the Acapulco Bay shoreline.  Here, you will find all kinds of entertainment centers, restaurants, water sports such as jet skis, parasailing, boats and banana rentals.  Off shore is "The Rocks", an area primarily used by Gays.  Another similar area on Condesa beach is located close to Beto's Restaurant.  Just a heads up so one isn't suddenly very surprised!  :-))

Revolcadero Beach ~ ideal beach for surfing, due to its strong waves.  Also the location of the Acapulco Princess Hotel.

Day Trip to Taxco ~ Located about 170 miles north of Acapulco, Taxco is a relic of its colonial past.  An old mining town, Taxco remained isolated for centuries until William Spratling, an architecture professor from Tulane University, fell in love with the town and started reviving its silver mines in 1929.  Today, the town is dotted with silver shops and tourists trying to strike a deal on beautifully designed silver jewelry and other items.  Although shopping in Taxco is not what many would consider "cheap," shoppers definitely find good value for their dollar.  Comfortable bus service is available from Acapulco for about $20, and information about schedules can be obtained at any hotel concierge or tour desk.

La Quebrada Cliff Divers ~
at El Mirador Hotel.  The main attraction in these rocky cliffs is observing the brave divers jump into the sea, from a 35 meters (100 feet) above. The show is even more spectacular at night, when divers jump with torches in their hands.

Las Brisas is now a Westin resort though it still retains it's pink Jeeps with pink & white striped awnings.  As it's set high on the hill overlooking Acapulco Bay, the view is outstanding.  Great place to go for lunch or a cocktail and take a few pics. 

Acapulco Princess Hotel - This hotel was built in 1971 and had just opened when I was last in Acapulco.  Now a Fairmont hotel, it was entirely refurbished in 2000.  I understand this huge (over 1000 rooms) resort has Day Passes available enabling you to use their facilities.  I will add details on this as I receive them.  The Willow Stream Spa is here as well as La Hacienda Restaurant open for Sunday Brunch & Dinner daily.  There are several other restaurants plus two swim-up bars plus two challenging 18 Hole Golf Courses.  

El Zorrito Restaurant (The Fox) has, I'm given to understand, most excellent (and hot) Chille Rellenos if your an afficianado of those.   

Shotover Jet
- This is a 30 minute jet boat ride on the Papagayo River which gets great reviews.  The website seems to be in the process of moving servers and is unavailable at the moment (July '03).  I imagine a few days (or weeks more?) and it will again be available.   Meantime here's another site with info on Shotover Jet Boats.    

For Kids in Acapulco check this page out.

Other links to explore:
http://www.acapulco.com/en/index.html
http://www.acapulco.org.mx/ingles/Acapulco_menu.htm
http://www.accessmexico.com/acapulco/index.html
http://www.allaboutacapulco.com/
http://acapulco.go2mexico.com/
http://www.acapulcoscuba.com/
http://www.visitacapulco.com.mx


 Your ALT-Text here   Zihautenejo / Ixtapa  (Tender Port)
Zihautenejo (affectionately referred to as Zihua) is described often as picturesque, beautiful and unspoiled.  Ixtapa is about 4 miles from Zihautenejo, a 'Golden Zone' resort area with Radisson hotels and a Club Med plus the usual shops.  

LaCasaQueCanta ~ A gorgeous resort in Zi/Ix.  Seems they don't "do" day passes but no reason not to go for lunch & mmmm - stay awhile?

Playa Los Gatos ~ a small beach area with very good snorkeling in shallow waters.  See the review below to read more about it.

Reviews ~ 
This is the one with Los Gatos info: http://www.ianchadwick.com/mexico/zihua.html
This one has streaming video on Zihua: http://www.rainsong.net/journal/zihuat/index.asp

Other links to explore:

http://www.zihuatanejoixtapa.com/index.htm
http://www.ixtapa-zihuatanejo.com/
http://www.zihuatanejo.net/
http://www.ixtapa.net/


 Your ALT-Text here   Manzanillo

Our cruise doesn't stop at Manzanillo however I'll add links as I come across  them for those folks whose cruise includes this port.

Here is what one person had to say:  Manzanillo is primarily a shipping port. The area surrounding the pier is not a tourist area in the sense of Acapulco, or Cabo San Lucas. In many ways Manzanillo is more relaxing port because cruisers donít have to fend off scores of street vendors. The locals were friendly and helpful and although fewer people speak English here (and neither my husband nor myself speak any Spanish) we did not run into any great communication problems.

We did not take an excursion from the ship. We do our homework before we leave home so we feel comfortable with our independent plans. We walked into the business area and changed a few dollars into pesos and then caught a local bus for a ride to a beach about 20 miles up the coast. The bus trip cost us 2 pesos each out of Manzanillo (about $0.20 US) and 5 pesos each ($0.50) back into the city. Not a bad investment for a day's adventure! We like to do this type of outing as we get to see the ďrealĒ country we are visiting. Since you said you were having trouble getting information, there is a website that might help you. It is www.gomanzanillo.com. Select the City Guide section and it gives an general explanation of the bus routes and other useful information. 


http://www.go2manzanillo.com/


 Your ALT-Text here Mexico In General

http://www.mexconnect.com/index.html
  
http://www.mexicovacationguide.com
Mexican Riviera Cruise Guide 
Visit Mexico 
Family Travel in Mexico lists activities in many cities and towns including most cruise ports.
http://www.peoplesguide.com/  ~ supposed to be an excellent travel guide to Mexico

 


Other Reviews
 Your ALT-Text here This is a Caribbean Cruise on Mercury but has some good shots, interior & exterior , of an inside cabin, and scans of the "Mercury Daily".  (Click the button in the right bottom corner to enlarge).

 Your ALT-Text here Another MexRiv review, this on the Sun Princess.

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