Stuart – Holland America Line Mexican Riviera Cruise

I just returned from a 7 night Mexican Riviera Cruise on Holland America from San Diego. And wow wow wow is all I can say.

Stuart Ingram

The 7 night itinerary has 3 days at sea and 3 days on land. Ports of call are Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos/Cabo San Lucas/Mataclan. All very different and interesting places to see.

A great way to start or end your cruise is a stay at the US Grand Hotel San Diego staying on our Signature rate exclusive to Destination HQ.

There was a really good mix of guests onboard. Lots of USA families. HAL cater really well for kids with CLUB HAL and the kids all seemed to have a blast.

What is there to like about HAL?

  • great mid size ships (15 in the fleet) ranging from 800 to 2300 passengers
  • largest balcony cabins in their class
  • superb food
  • faultless service 
  • 6 different dining options to chose from and none ever seemed too busy 
  • HAL have aligned themselves with some really cool brands such as Americas Test Kitchen, BBC Earth, Billboard records. Makes for a really fun cruising experience.
  • The show each evening was a countdown of the Billboard record charts.

I have to say HAL does cruising so much better than many of their competitors – they have been doing it for 145 years and it shows. Service throughout was just faultless. Crew are all Indonesian or Philippino and deliver first class service at all times. I thoroughly recommend this cruise to anyone. I just loved every minute of it.

Stuart Ingram

Managing Director Destination HQ

Stuart was the winner of the NTIA award for Best Travel Agency Manager in Australia in 2017. Stuart has vast industry experience having worked in the airline, wholesale and retail travel agency sectors of the industry. Stuart loves to travel and to share his excitement and passion for travel with anyone he meets. Having travelled to Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, North America and throughout Australia/NZ, Stuart has a wealth of knowledge. His favourite destinations are London, Paris, San Francisco, New York City, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong and the Maldives. He has also cruised with Oceania, Viking, Uniworld, Avalon, Seabourn, Silversea, Holland America, Windstar and Celebrity Cruises – just to name a few!

Contact Stuart to book your next holiday

Holly: Culinary Tour Of California

This year I was lucky enough to join a culinary tour of California, which proceeded to unveil many hidden treasures in and around Los Angeles.

We started by flying with United Airlines, sampling their new Dream Liner and Economy Plus Seating – there is no need to fly economy again when the extra seat and leg room was such a minimal additional cost.

Downtown Los Angeles proved to be a real treasure, contemporary, clean, safe and very easy to navigate.  An absolute must is to dine at the Commissary, showing off the massive shift in LA toward the “farm to fork” style dining.  Then of course we only had to take the lift up to our rooms at The Line Hotel.  Waking up and looking out on the Hollywood sign was very cool experience, and the rooms were very funky.  The Line also had great coffee and cold pressed juices – who would have thought!

Many of us have walked the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, but have you dined where the famous did nearly 100 years ago?  The incredibly stylish Musso and Frank Grill, with its red leather booths and mahogany bar was a regular to the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Munro, serving up the best steak (and martini’s) in town.

Disneyland is an obvious choice for many travellers, but did you know you could experience fine dining in a theme park!  The beautiful, peaceful Carthay Circle was inspired by the theatre  where Walk Disney showcased Snow White.   The contemporary menu was amazing, and away from the crowds where you can enjoy the nightly parade go by, before of course joining in on the World Of Colour.

Enough action was had by now, so off to the pristine Temecula Valley we went.  Not only home to world class wineries and 6 top golf courses, it also boasts title of USA’s best Casino – Pachanga!!

We met the charming Bill Wilson whilst lunching at Wilsons Creek Winery, this place was beautiful and the food and wine were to die for – I particularly enjoyed the famous “Yes Dear” Chardonnay!

Temecula Valley was a real highlight, if you can spare a couple of days whilst transiting or visiting LA please try to fit this in.  Our accommodation at Temecula Creek Inn was outstanding, and the whole area was very picturesque and relaxing.  We noticed again that shift to “farm to fork” dining, with a major focus on home grown and sustainably raised meats in the award winning Cork Fire Kitchen.

Only an hour away from Temecula, we headed back to the coast, to San Diego – another wonderful surprise.  We explored farmers markets, the USS Midway, drove our own speedboats across the vast San Diego Harbour.  La Jolla proved to be another hidden treasure, we dined at Georgias Roof Top, overlooking the spectacular Pacific Ocean – it was truly breathtaking!

Our journey was coming to an end, but not before visiting Coronado, a small island off San Diego – I urge you all to google search The Del Coronado – words cannot describe how amazing this 18th century luxurious resort is.  Perched on one of the worlds’ most beautiful beaches, this resort was pure luxury, offering fine dining, private beach front cottages, and many activities including an ice skating rink set up in front of the beach to operate during their winter months.

My journey has certainly changed my perspective of visiting LA – there is just so much more to do than Santa Monica Pier and Anaheim, I urge you all to find a few extra days and see more of what Southern California has to offer.

 HOLLY.Commissary Restaurant at The Line Hotel                                                        The Commissary Restaurant at The Line Hotel