We’re back from Mexico!

mexican-cruiseWe just returned from a wonderful cruise vacation!  If you would like to see several interesting places but unpack just ONCE; if you like a vacation that includes all the food you’d like to consume and a lovely clean room to return to nightly, I really do recommend a cruise.  This was our 4th and probably not our last cruise.  We were away 7 nights with three ports of call, places we’d never been to before.  This time we got to cruise with son #2 and our daughter in law, which was a real treat!  What’s especially nice when cruising with another couple – or even a group – is that you have plenty of time to be together, and also plenty of time to be on your own if you wish.  We think we had a great mix of both J  My dear husband always complains about “nothing to do” on the Sea Days, but it seemed like we ended up keeping plenty busy!  We played mini golf, ping pong, lounged a bit by the pool, and enjoyed a glass of wine or two on our balcony. 

 

Our first port of call was Puerto Vallarta.  We had two shore excursions planned for that day – one on a canopy tour over the jungle (a “zipline”) and an evening with native dancers on a far off beach with traditional food called “Rhythms of the Night”.  DH and DS managed to make it to the zipline, while DIL and I stayed back at the ship.  We were both fairly disappointed that an intestinal flu bug had to rear its ugly head and keep us from ziplining!  Yet, after hearing all about it, I know it was truly a Godsend that we didn’t go.  Apparently it was VERY physically taxing, and I’m sure with the 85 degree heat and 80% humidity, I would have hated all the climbing they had to do.  Thankfully, I was recovered enough to attend the evening excursion.  It was fantastic!  The setting was sort of like a mix of “Survivor” and “The Blue Lagoon”.  Totally lit by torches and candles, the native dancing and food were simply excellent. 

 

We had to be up bright and early the next morning for our tour into the Sierra Madre Mountains outside of Mazatlan.  It was a 7 hour tour to a working brick yard, handcrafted pottery and furniture place, and then to a very remote mountain village for lunch.  For me, this day was without question the most memorable.  To get away from the ocean front façade, away from the high-rise hotels and “Americanization” that lingers near the water was a VERY good thing.  Frankly, it’s something that every visitor to Mexico ought to do.  We were able to see first hand the REAL people of Mexico – how they struggle just to survive.  The feelings that ran through me were many.  I was in awe, at the way the folks can live in such “basic” conditions in this day and age.  I felt sympathy for these people, and then immediately felt guilty for feeling sorry for them.  Then I began to feel such gratitude for what I have and how I live, and then sort of felt guilty about that too.  What a mixed bag of emotion I felt.  What I do know is that I need to find something I can do to help – especially the children. 

We enjoyed a delicious lunch of traditional Mexican food (which I LOVE!!) and then made our way back to the ship. 

 

On Friday, we arrived at Cabo San Lucas.  It is a beautiful port and it was here that we got on a real America’s Cup Yacht and went out into the ocean for a sail.  This was something that DH had been dreaming of, and while we didn’t get to “race” the other yacht, we still had a fantastic time.  I would have loved a bit more shore time at Cabo, but they had us back on the ship by 3:30 and sailing away by 4. 

 

 Cabo

Some general cruise thoughts: 1. Cruise food is really NOT as great as it’s cracked up to be.  I mean, it’s ok, but it’s not “great”.  2. Yes, you can eat as much as you want, and the guy at our table ordered THREE lobster tails the night that was on the menu.  3. It was fun to meet our tablemates, Brad and Mary from California.  4. The bed and pillows on this Carnival ship were very comfortable, much more so than the previous cruises we were on.  5. Having a balcony room was fantastic! 6. Cruise ships should truly make an effort to separate smokers cabins from NON smokers cabins.  Our stateroom smelled strongly of smoke – but only from time to time!  We think it was coming in through the ventilation system!  7. Don’t expect the entertainment to be as good as Las Vegas.  If you keep your expectations down a bit, you’ll be satisfied.  8. I wanted to bring my cabin steward home with me!!  Having our room cleaned twice a day was a dream! 

Sunset from our balcony

Sunset from our balcony

 

 

Now it’s back to work, back to real life, and sadly, back to winter weather.  Ahhh, but without all those things, I wouldn’t appreciate my vacations nearly as much J

 

 

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Time for a cruise!

Well folks, it’s that time again – time for a few days off work; time for some R & R; time for some fun with family; time for A CRUISE!  I’m so excited about our upcoming trip to Mexico!  For one, we’ve never been to any of the places where our ship docks (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta), and this time we are going with family!  Dear son #2 and DDIL will be on the same cruise with us – their first, our 4th.  A few years ago, my dear husband was totally against the idea of taking a cruise.  He said he would go “stark raving nuts” stuck onboard a ship, even a big one, for a week at a time.  Somehow, I managed to gently convince him that we should at least give it a try.  That was in 2000.  We were living in southern California and took a short 3 day cruise from L.A. to Ensenada Mexico.  It was a borderline disaster.  It was horribly disappointing.  We were assigned to a table for eight each night for dinner.  That part was A-OK with us, we enjoy meeting new people…. our tablemates were… well, quite an odd bunch.  First there was the couple who spoke ONLY Chinese.  They seemed quite nice, but it was nearly impossible to converse with them.  Then there was the “Father/Daughter” duo – who we were pretty certain were NOT father/daughter!  Then there was the couple from Chicago who we actually did enjoy visiting with.  The food was ‘so-so’.  The onboard activities included watching NAPKIN FOLDING and ICE CARVING, which we were not too thrilled with.  We had one shore excursion – to a winery near Ensenada which was OK.  We met quite an array of folks onboard who had ONE and only ONE plan – and that was to get into downtown Ensenada to buy DRUGS!  In Mexico, you can purchase over the counter, a lot of drugs you can only get with a prescription here.  People were heading to town to bring back their year’s worth of antibiotics like penicillin, and only God knows what else.  One woman informed us (proudly!) that this was her 18th time on this same cruise to Ensenada.  Hmmmm.  The only real bright spot was when I managed to annihilate my dear hubby at Ping Pong – fair and square!  Ahhh yes, a moment I’ll remember always!! This grand moment in our married lives has never again been repeated, unfortunately.  After that cruise, DH said he’d never ever do another. 

Once again, somehow, I managed to gently convince him that going to Alaska on a cruise ship would be MUCH different than the little 3 nighter to Ensenada.  We boarded in Vancouver B.C. and had the time of our lives — truly loved every minute of it!  Since that experience was sooooo good, he was easily convinced to do New England and Eastern Canada last year.  It was so much fun – we had a great time!  This year, it’s the west coast of Mexico and we are certain it will be fantastic once again.  I am SO looking forward to our balcony cabin (this is a FIRST for us) and also spending relaxing moments with son #2 and DDIL.  Photos coming next time!!!  Bon Voyage!  🙂