Saturday, February 12, 2011

From The Archives: Mexican Riveria Cruise, Summer 2009

We were late adopters of the whole "web logging" thing, so I feel the need to go back and share some of memories we've been collecting in our  (almost) three years of marriage. These posts will be titled "From The Archives" so you can easily identify and skip them. Enjoy!

As a graduation present from my incredibly generous parents, we got to go on a cruise! We had planned to go immediately after my graduation in April of 2009, but that whole swine flu scare  (yeah, remember that?) messed things up. Carnival, instead of cancelling our cruise to Mexico, just told us one week before we were supposed to leave that it had been 'rerouted' to Canada.

Great! Instead of warm, beautiful Mexico, we can go spend a week on the freezing coast of CANADA! No offense to Canada (I'm kidding - definitely offense to Canada), it's not the tropical get away we had in mind. But, after several long hold-times and conversations with "vacationers service" (Carnival's adorable answer to "customer service"), we were able to reschedule for August and go to our original destinations:  Porta Vallarta. Mazatlan,  and Cabo. Yippee!

It was a very full week of eating, relaxing and playing. We tried to keep a balance of having fun and just doing nothing. (We even hit up the gym a couple times to keep energized. I have to say the ocean sunrise was a more inspiring view than I've ever seen on a gym television.)

Of all the good food we had, this Molten Chocolate Cake
was the item we had to order with every meal.

When it came to the meals in the dining room, I'm not going to say the food was all Michelin-star worthy, but the service was top-notch, and the food definitely better than I've been served in some restaurants.  Our favorite meals came not from the formal dining room, but the  sushi bar, the tepanyaki, the seafood/steak grill, and the various buffets on the seven decks of the ship.  And of course, everything was complimentary, including the fully-stocked sundae bar.

A new cute towel animal in our cabin every day!
We had a monkey, a parrot, a dog, a rabbit and this little humanoid.
Overall, we were impressed by how comfortably the ship and staff accommodated over three thousand people all week long. Our days aboard the ship were just as enjoyable as our days on shore.

Our favorite excursion was in Porto Vallarta where took a speed boat (pictured), then a jeep, and finally a donkey to get to the top of the Sierra Madre mountains. From there, we repelled down a 100 ft waterfall and and ziplined at 50 MPH down to the other side of the mountain where we enjoyed a delcious lunch on the beach.

We were so dirty after the ziplining that we washed up public
fountain. (Hey, other people were doing it too.)

In Porto Vallarta, we saw a couple kissing parrots. Cute.

This is our cabin. Very cozy. We were just grateful to have our own bathroom.

Not sure if I've ever felt whiter than when we took this picture in Mazatlan.

These next three pictures capture a lowlight of the trip:

Ryan entering the water in Mazatlan. Note the glasses on his face, where they belong.

Returning from the water moments later, longingly
looking back for any sign of his glasses.

Resigned to having lost them, a picture of discouragement.
After a wave knocked the glasses off Ryan's unwise face, I purchased some goggles from a passing beach vendor and swam around, looking for them. The surf was pretty clam so I thought there was a chance of finding them, but the water was so murky that I couldn't see a thing. We went to a local mega-mart with an optomotrist,  but they said it would take six hours to make him new ones.

With only an hour before the ship set sail, Ryan had to return to the ship mostly blind. We cancelled the scuba excursion we had planned for the next day since Ryan wouldn't have been able to see a single fish.  He squinted for the last three days of the cruise, which I found pretty amusing.

Free room service! A delicious pairing for whatever junkfood
movie was on HBO that night. Something with Jennifer Aniston.

Day 6, Cabo San Lucas

Ryan pointing to my tiny floating head.

Cabo had the best beach of the cities we visited. White sand,
clear water and amazing snorkeling.  (The fish were so close
that even Ryan could see them a little bit)  

(More brilliant than they appear. Bluish purple).

With our Scuba trip cancelled, we had a chance to tour the city and do a little window shopping. I didn't expect to get anything, but Ryan insisted on spoiling me with these beautiful tanzanite earrings and necklace.

 Apart from the stone, the best thing about this necklace is its versatility.
It's  sterling silver on one side, 18k gold on the other so I can
wear it with a bunch of different pendants (and I do)

Back on the top deck of the ship, we played
some mini golf. Ryan won by two strokes.
Towel Monkey hanging from the ceiling of our cabin.
(Note Ryan squinting to look at it without his glasses)

Our last night on the ship was  "Formal Night", and we
were a little unprepared. Ryan didn't even have a coat!
Oh well, at least we weren't wearing sneakers like some folks.
Each night there was a plethora of events to keep even the most ADD child happy.  Live music,  karoke, and gambling (we played no stakes) around every corner, as well as a main show in the theater which seated about a thousand people at a time.  We didn't go to all of the main shows, but the ones we did attend were worth watching.  Our favorite was a stand up comedy set by a hilarious gentleman whom I had definitely seen on Comedy Central, but whose name I can't recall. The Vegas-style singing and dancing chorus was a big hit with the 70+ set, and I secretly liked it too.

Enjoying some live lounge music and a virgin Miami Vice
on our last day aboard the Carnival Splendor.

By the end of the week Ryan had made friends with the
chef at the 24-Hour Pizza Bar. We visited him at least once a day.
There are definitely worse ways to spend a week! We both agreed that next time we visit Mexico, we'd like to go by ourselves and do some real exploring, without a cruise director pandering to our laziness. But it sure was nice being so spoiled. Thanks Mom and Dad!

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