Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cruising!

This year was our 20th anniversary, and we celebrated by taking a cruise.  I took a 2 night cruise when I was in college, but Anthony hasn't - and he's been wanting to.  He watches the travel channel a lot and decided that we should take advantage of our anniversary and go.

We flew to Long Beach airport, took a shuttle to the port and boarded the Royal Caribbean "Mariner of the Sea" on Sunday, May 23rd at about 11:30 a.m.  Our rooms weren't ready till 1:00, so we were all ushered to the buffet for nch until then.  The food was good.
Our room was small, but with lots of mirrors and hidden storage didn't seem as small as I was expecting, except the bathroom (I've never been able to use a toilet and the sink at the same time).  Besides the bathroom, we had a closet with shelves, desk with chair, drawers and shelves, tv, small fridge, couch, table, queen bed with night stands.
The ship is huge!  There are 15 decks, we were on the seventh floor in an inside cabin.  There was what they call the "Promenade" which was an open area in the middle of the ship about three floors high, kind of like a mall area - a very high priced mall.
We loved the entertainment!  We got to go to a live show every night.  There was juggling, singing and dancing, variety shows, comedy, ice skating and music.  We also went to the "Name That Tune" games they had almost each afternoon.  They had 70's night, 60's, 50's, movie music, etc - and our team actually won once.  I went to a couple of Sudoko challenges, but I wasn't nearly fast enough!  We also went to some of the art shows and auctions.  Anthony found a Warner Brother's lithograph that he couldn't resist bidding on.  He won it and along with that got two more pieces for free!
The food was wonderful!  It was like dining at a 5 star restaurant every night.  We were able to book a cosy table for two in the main dining room which we attended each night.  Anthony tried escargot, and I tried several different kinds of fish.  Fresh fish cooked right is delicious!  We also went to the buffet for breakfast several mornings and afternoons.  We were also able to have room service for free and had breakfast delivered a couple of mornings and lunch a couple of afternoons after our excursions.
The ship made three stops - the first at Cabo San Lucas.  At this stop we took "tenders" or smaller boats from the ship to the pier.  We decided not to book a tour but just go to the beach and play in the water, so we paid $4 each for a water taxi to the beach.  Unfortunately the sea was so rough, we just about got pulled under.  We were so exhausted after fighting the waves, we decided just to go back to the ship and rest.
The 2nd stop was at Mazatlan.  This time we got caught by a time share spiel - they would give us a free taxi and tickets to the Aquarium and taxi back to the dock if we would just spend an hour "touring" their beautiful resort.  We decided an hour was well worth the two free taxi rides and tickets to the Aquarium, so we did it.  At least it was cool in their resort while we listened to their pitch.  Of course, we declined, but they came through with the freebies.  The Aquarium was smallish and older, but it was fun anyway.  We did a little souvenir shopping at the docks, and then went back to the ship for the evening.  Not a bad little excursion for free!
The third and last stop was Puerto Vallarta.  We had done okay on our last two stops, but this time I decided I wanted to book a tour so we were assured transportation and a guide who spoke English with other people from our ship so we would know we would be taken care of and not get lost or anything.  We chose the "Mexican Fiesta" tour which was $48 each (one of the cheapest tours available, yet still hard for my tight fist to pay for).  It included a bus, guide, tour of a Tequila factory with free samples (they thought we were weird when we declined), mexican fiesta luncheon with dancers, tortilla making contest, dancing horse, pinata, etc.  After the fiesta, we took a short walking tour along the boardwalk and downtown area of Puerto Vallarta and visited their Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, then had a little time for more souvenir shopping.  The fiesta turned out to be really fun, the city was much nicer than the last two stops, and the tour was well worth the price.

We loved our cruise and didn't want the trip to be over, but of course the last day came.  We packed and waited for our turn to exit the ship.  We were towards the last of the groups to leave so by then it wasn't as crowded and the lines were very quick.  We went through customs in mere minutes, and at the terminal we were able to get a shuttle back to the airport fairly easily.  Once back at the airport (at about 10:00 a.m.) we decided to rent a car and do something with our day since our flight didn't leave to come home until 8:00 p.m.  We drove around looking for a movie we could go to, but nothing looked interesting.  By then we were practically at Disneyland so we had to drive by just for fun, and when we found out it would be almost $100 each to go for the day we bagged that idea.  Then we decided we could grab some lunch and head to the beach for a while.  We completely forgot that it was Memorial Day weekend and it happened to be the first really warm weekend they had had there and found that the beaches were jammed.  We drove along Seal Beach for a while catching glimpses of the beach between houses, but we couldn't find a place to park.  So we gave up on that idea.  Then I remembered that we could go to Downtown Disney for free.  At least I would be on Disney property and feel a part of the magic!  (Yes, I'm a Disney nut!)  We had fun wandering in and out of the shops and just looking around.  That was a fun end to a fabulous vacation.
I highly recommend cruising, and especially recommend Royal Caribbean - it was wonderful!
For more pictures of our trip, see the slideshow below!

2 comments:

Pam said...

Looks like lots of fun. Maybe one day we will make it on a cruise...

Cindy Quick said...

You created a great ad for cruising - makes me want to go right now - how fun for you two. Congratulations on the 20 year anniversary too.