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NCL Joy Mexican Riviera Review 12/8 - 12/15


lindseylu8
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This was our 8th cruise, 5th on NCL, 1st on Joy. We have done the Mexican Riviera before but Mazatlan was not included. This was LA, Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallerta. This cruise was just hubby & me.

 

We drove to LA from Phoenix, woke up super early to ensure no issues and arrived plenty early. The check in line was pretty long but went fast. Actually the longest lines we have encountered checking it but like I said, all went fast & no issues checking in. 78226761_10157935867612090_4978334916786782208_n.thumb.jpg.48daddae456a8fa0a90113f7f4353228.jpg

 

Once on board I forgot to reserve comedy shows, etc so we actually missed out on anything that had to be booked on board. That night I did remember to book an early tender for Cabo & luckily there were still a few available as we had an early non-NCL excursion booked. We walked around & checked everything out. Ate at the buffet- the Indian food was good, everything else was as expected buffet food. Not great, not horrible. We checked out the Sugar Cane Mojito bar and as usual, loved this place. I got myself a cute tiki mug to add to my collection and we enjoyed some drinks there. I thought I had the picture still but I must have deleted it. Here is the atrium from the casino area.

 

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Next day was a "relaxing day at sea." We dont love sea days and found that, like usual there isnt a ton to do, especially if there is a pay activity (like bingo) they plan nothing else around that time. They do a lot of the stuff in the atrium and since theres very little to do otherwise, its packed. Every seat filled for all the trivia, gingerbread house demo, etc. Hubby doesnt really like any of these free activities so he spends time in the Casino and sometimes joins me these filler activities. We spent most of our day enjoying our unlimited beverage package, eating and some time by the adults only pool area. 

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Joy has the spice H2O area that we like, we dont really enjoy the family pool area. It looked like huge hot tubs in this area and not an actual pool- someone correct me if I am wrong, we didnt actually get in.

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That night we went to Footloose. I had reserved this ahead of time. This was the first time we had seen it. It was good, not amazing. It was nice seeing a show we hadnt yet seen. We did see the Elements show again later in the week but I think we have seen this already on every other NCL cruise we have been on. As usual, it was good.

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Day 3: Cabo San Lucas 10am-8pm. We have been here once on a previous cruise & once we did an all inclusive resort. We had prebooked a tour with Juan More Taco and we really enjoyed it. Its a culinary walking tour. We have done these in a few places and usually like them. It included like 8 different tacos, a drink, ice cream, tequila tasting and the guide did a great job of showing us sights as we walked around.  

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After our tour, we still had plenty of time so we walked around some,took some pics, hubby had brought his drone so he took some footage from a water taxi, that turned out really nice.

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Some tour co. approached us and we ended up biting. The sales guy was actually from AZ and had recently been deported to Mexico.... Long story short, absolutely crazy story and he was very thankful to end up with this company that sponsored him & got him up and going. So we did a clear plastic boat that you could see through the entire thing. Much better than the "glass bottom boats" we have done before. 

 

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These photo collages I do on Walgreens to print out for my scrapbooks.... heres the best pic I have of the clear boat.

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Heres some drink pics from the day. We didnt end up buying any tequila at the tasting but learned that tequila in Mexico is 38% vs 40% in the US. We require the 40% for some reason or another and according to our guide, the 38% is smoother, it did taste pretty smooth.

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and ice cream bars. Hubby got eggnog & I got mocha - they were both VERY good. Hubby actually got stung by a bee as we ate our ice cream.

 

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Edited by lindseylu8
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Day 4: Mazatlan 8-5. We had booked an excursion to go to Playa Sur, it included a boat tour of the bay, 3 hours at the beach, 2 activities, lunch and drinks. It was like $40 pp and seriously a great deal. Lunch was great, drinks werent that great but for the price, totally worth it.

 

 

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The activities included horse riding, horse cart, banana boat, snorkeling (that ended up being crappy snorkeling) and I think boogie boarding. We ended up just doing the snorkeling. It wasnt fantastic, we saw these 2 cool guys in a puddle on the beach before we even got in. 

 

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We didnt do the banana boat but we hopped on it for some photo opps

 

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Edited by lindseylu8
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Day 5: Puerto Vallarta 8-5pm. We booked an ATV tour. Hubby actually got sick the night before with stomach issues and he was unsure if he was even going to make it off the ship but powered through & did fine, thankfully. He ended up with a fever that night on the ship & crashed hard after getting back on board and was out of commission the next day. I dont know if it was the noro that had been on the previous Joy cruises or what. It was short lived (less than 2 days) at this time.... more on that later. 

 

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DH drove our dune buggy and we followed a guide. In Aruba we rented one & didnt have to stick with a guide and we preferred that a lot more but I dont see that offered in most places. I dont like following someone because the dust flys in your face the entire time & we were filthy by the end but we still had a lot of fun & would recommend this tour. It was a good price- it was $125 total (not per person) and it was just us and our guide.

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We drove through the city then to a waterfall, then a restaurant for lunch (not included) and then to a tequila place for tequila tasting and we did end up buying a few bottles here. It was a family owned place and the tequila was very good. 

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This is me "living my best life" tacos, guac, and margaritas - really who can ask for me. I ordered the ceviche and I didnt think it was cooked all the way through. So that evening my stomach was bothering me to but only for the evening & I was fine the next day. 

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The last 2 days were "relaxing days at sea" One day DH was basically sleeping off the stomach bug but was fine for the last day of our cruise. Here is some of the food we ate throughout the cruise. We were not blown away by the food. We ate in the buffet for breakfast & lunch mostly, and stuck with the Indian food & salad. The food in the observation lounge buffet looked better but it was a small selection so we didnt actually eat there. We had dinner mostly at the main dining room and it was ok. One night we ended up in the steak restaurant. I had grilled seafood & DH had filet. Both were very good. The best thing we had in the main dining room was the lamb shank- it is always one of my favorites. We ate at the Local or whatever is usually O'Sheehans and it was ok. I think I like the O'Sheehans menu better but it was fine.

 

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Here is a pic of the casino. The casino is mostly all non-smoking which is a HUGE plus. There is a small room of slots that is doored off that is smoking. The casino is super spread out on this ship.

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There were Christmas trees around the ship the entire cruise, one port day we came back on and they had this awesome gingerbread village set up. It was very cool.

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and this is our ship from one of the ports with a nice colorful sunset going on. 

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One morning I got in line early, (first in line at 10am sharp) for the water slides. I wasnt able to go on one because they said I had to take out my nose ring which is  a tiny stud and I didnt fell like messing with it so I didnt get to do the fast one but I did the other & it was really fun. You go on an inter tube and part of it is clear so you can see that you are hanging off the edge over the ocean. The last night we got in one of the hot tubs. It was cold since we were approaching LA and we had it to ourselves. Here are the waterslides

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We docked early Sunday morning and just carried our bags off so we didnt have to deal with leaving them out the night before, etc. The lines for customs were long but no big deal. We got off relatively easily and were on our way. About 1/2 way through our drive home, my throat started hurting and I knew I had caught a cold. Woke up the next morning with sore throat, and cold. Then by Wednesday both DH & I were both sick to our stomachs and couldnt eat for days- good news, we probably ended up losing weight lol bad news we were out of commission until Sunday. 

 

We both work from home & werent out and about so I have to think it was from the cruise.... we have never gotten sick from cruising before so we just really did not have the best luck on this cruise in that aspect. 

 

I hope you enjoyed the review. If you have any questions please let me know. 

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29 minutes ago, Love my butler said:

Gotta wash those hands with soap and hot water, several times a day.  Best defense while on a cruise.

yes we did this. we always do. we heard about the outbreak before we went and were even extra diligent but we cant control others that dont wash theirs. 

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