So we just got back from a 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was one of those “free, but that’ll be $1000″ cruises, but we figured it was probably the only way we’d ever actually do it. So we did it.
We flew into LAX on Saturday and took a shuttle to Long Beach. Long Beach is a pretty cool town. The Queen Mary is there, anchored next to a Russian submarine. Both were interesting to see, although we didn’t tour either. They also had an exhibit about Princess Diana, which we also didn’t attend. Oh, and there was a Halloween thing at the same place, but we didn’t go to that either.
What we did go to was the Pirate Festival over on Rainbow Harbor. It sounded interesting and it was free. And it was near all the pretty ships. I love marinas. Wandering up and down, dreaming of the day I can afford to buy a sailboat and the lessons on how to actually sail it.
So we wandered around the pirate festival (which wasn’t much) and saw the boats and then went back to our hotel, dreaming of the next morning.
The next morning came and we got on the Carnival Splendor and headed to Cabo (we thought). Turns out Hurricane Paul was also visiting Cabo at the time, so we diverted to Puerta Vallarta, although we did catch the edge of it. I think it had been downgraded to a tropical storm by then, but it was still quite interesting. I’d hoped for a little wave action, and it was something to remember, but I would have enjoyed having another sunny day to spend on deck instead. I didn’t really get enough of those.
We spent two days in Puerta Vallarta. Not terribly impressed. They say prices are better there than in Cabo, but the salespeople are so obnoxious it’s worth going elsewhere and paying more. They practically throw a gunny sack over your head and drag you into their stores. We took one of the excursions there, a wild dolphin and snorkeling adventure. The snorkeling was nice but there wasn’t so much of a mention of the possibilities of dolphins. I guess they weren’t in season. Need to learn to time those things better. I’m still trying to figure out how to spot a whale. Five years of trying and I haven’t even gotten close on that. It was too early to see them in California in October, but with my luck when I get to Seattle in November they’ll all have headed south. Grr.
Anyway, Gena went to swim with a dolphin in Puerta Vallarta and she said it was a lot of fun. (No, dolphins in captivity don’t count. I’ve seen dolphins before. I want a whale, damn it!)
Cabo was much, much, much nicer. The town looked beautiful, at least from a distance, (it wasn’t bad up close either) and they have those gorgeous rock formations. We walked around and then thought we were taking a water taxi back to the tender dock to catch a ride back to the Splendor. What it turned out to be (for $10!) was a water tour of the area. We could have ridden around for a couple of hours if we’d had the time. As it was we saw the beaches and the rocks and a few sea lions. It was pretty cool.
As for Carnival, it was mostly good. The dining room had fantastic food and great service. The buffets were less impressive (I saw two raspberries the first day and not a single strawberry the whole trip) but certainly adequate. Their pizza was good, and the ship was pretty much set up so that kids would hang out in one area and adults in another. That was nice. Someone said there were 800 kids on board, but I wouldn’t have guessed that.
So I would definitely do it again. Our room was nice, everything worked, they had a bunch of different pools and hot tubs to choose from, and they left cute little towel-origami animals in our room every night. My main complaint was the lack of strawberries and chocolate. And if I were to do it again I’d choose a cruise with more sunny days at sea rather than more ports.
My goal is to start a romance convention cruise some day. I think a whole cruise ship of romance readers and authors would be a blast. We met some very nice people on our cruise, but a whole shipload of people that you’re pretty sure you’re going to like? Heaven!