Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mexican Rivera Cruise (lots of photos)

I am back - We had a great time on our cruise - we traveled with Norwegian Cruise Lines on their "Mexican Rivera" vacation; traveling 8 (or 9 days, depending on how you count it) from Los Angeles to Acapulco, Ixtapa (Zihuatanejo), Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, returning to Los Angeles- it was an amazing and relaxing time - full of fun excursions - and actually quite reasonably priced! We went for Gregg's birthday - (he turns 40 this month!) Here are some photos (sorry for those of you with slower connections) - showing a selection of what we did. I was really photo happy on this trip (over 400 photos) and since my camera is waterproof, it made for comfortable photo taking in the pool area, snorkling, etc. etc.
Los Angeles (boarding day)
We saw the ship (WOW it's much larger than I thought!) - it didn't take much time to board and find our rooms - we toured the ship, found our room and began the muster exercises...
Here we are in our room - with our life jackets on - within the first bit of time on the ship, some law somewhere (international?) requires that we do a muster drill - putting on the life jackets, and meeting in our location in case we're sinking- of course, they don't say where to go if our section is under water or on fire... but I guess just knowing where the life jackets are is helpful.... but wow - there were so many people who couldn't even properly put on the life jackets... eek.
Touring the ship, I found this urinal with a view... aah the sights you can see while tinkling! (sorry ladies, I have no idea if your bathroom had such a view!)
All over the ship, they had these anti bacterial systems - motion activated dispensers that spit out the precise amount of solution to keep your hands germ free. The ship had some sort of incident a few cruises before and lots of people got sick - so they have these everywhere (you can buy them online for about $100) and for the first 2/3 of the cruise, we weren't even allowed to serve ourselves; the crew was serving our buffets, filling our glasses at the self serve drink stations, etc. It took a bit of additional time, but the precautions were appreciated. Near the end of the cruise, this procedure was removed, and we were free to serve ourselves....
In the room, I found my favorite spot - sitting in the window knitting - looking out at the waves as we sailed at around 22 knots (around 25 mph)- we were on the 5th floor (I think about 3 stories above the water) and it was nice. We had friends on the 10th and 11th floors, and they both had balconies - I think next time (with membership discounts, etc. we'll try for a balcony; the only part I didn't like about the room was that the window didn't open)...
there was art everywhere on the ship - this was part of the permanent collection - but they also had art for auction... I saw a Salvador Dali original that I loved and wanted to buy - we went to the preview to find out the minimum bid - and I left when I found out the minimum was $6,500.00! (eek) - that's a lot of yarn!
A view of things I don't understand at the top of the ship - lots of cameras everywhere... we were sitting playing cards when I took this pic... during this time, our friends were baking their backs... lobster red... ouch
towel animals inside the staterooms... cute!
during the morning walk I snapped this photo - on deck 6 - (7 is where all the lifeboats were) - 4 times around the ship on this level was just over 1 mile.
Stop #1 - Acapulco, Mexico

We left the ship (it is HUGE) and went on a snorkling excursion - the water was in the 70's - and was really salty (yes, I know; it's the OCEAN) - the water burned my face because I forgot that it's not wise to shave the day of a snorkling dive! The people we went with were lots of fun - the best part of snorkling was sitting on the boat, in the middle of a small bay, watching everyone search for creatures. The guide brought up a small octopus and a beautiful puffer fish for us to see!
We had our choice of many drinks, including Corona (after snorkling), Coke light (diet Coke) and these two - I tried the Manzanita soda - carbonated apple juice is quite tasty!
Here's the best photo of underwater friends - the water was kind of cloudy so it was hard to see - I had never snorkled before, so it was a little unnerving - we kept being moved slowly closer and closer to rocks that were covered with little crabs - I just couldn't handle it for very long so after about 30 minutes I had to get back on the boat...
My camera is waterproof - (I love it) - and I took this "self portrait" from under the water facing up at myself... silly.
Photos come out much better out of the water - here's a sailboat that was going around the peninsula across the way -
Either this house or one a few houses down belonged to a famous actor from Fantasy Island - or so the tour guide said!
In town, later that evening, I found these mermaids - Barbie has apparently undergone an "Extreme Makeover" in Acapulco!

Zihuatanejo, Mexico
(my favorite stop)

This town was quaint - and it felt untouched by tourists... although it was clear most of the shops were there to cater to us, it was still pristine.... the boat had to stay out in the bay, and we used "tender boats" (the life boats from the ship) to take us to the shore. There was no pier here and they're actually fighting against getting one - I bought a Tshirt here in support of this cause - the building of the pier will bring bigger commercial development and it'll mess up the beauty of the town - it's an adorable fishing community - they don't need a huge concrete pier - and they don't need the commercial "McDonalds" or "Wal Mart" mentality destroying the beauty (enough rambling)
Fishing boats and part of the fish market (I tried not to take photos of the fish for sale; ick)
funny shop - the fat mermaid.... I bought a tin figure of a mermaid (man) skeleton with a fish lower torso here - it also had wings (I think) and is cute...
I did find yarn in Mexico... at a rug shop - they had beautiful (itchy) wool and I tried to buy some just to have it... but they said that they couldn't spare any - it's used for incredible rugs they weave by hand - outside that shop was this spinning wheel - hmmm... I am not sure if it's a spinning wheel or not but sure looks like one!
angels and masks in the market
this person is beading a skull - it's covered in clay and then they put these tiny beads onto the clay, pressing them in and covering it in amazing patterns - time consuming (this person had the beads on a toothpick or a needle) - I'd like to try this one day but would want to take a class here... perhaps in a studio and not in the middle of the shopping area.... but somewhere in Mexico...

Puerto Vallarta

This birdie was right at the port - when we got off the ship - - it's an endangered species.... pretty.

We went on the "Canopy" adventure - about an hour outside of town in the wilderness - it's a zipline tour where you fly through the trees... here's how they describe it on their website:

On this spectacular eco-adventure tour you will experience what can only be
described as a pulse-stopping view of one of the most beautiful and complex
biological communities on earth. Feel the rush of adrenalin pump through your
veins as you whoosh from platform to platform, 90 ft (30 meters) above the
forest floor! A series of thrilling zip lines gives you the maximum opportunity
to marvel at the stunning, tropical setting as you effortlessly traverse through
the huge tropical trees, amongst wild orchids and a diversity of native birds
and reptiles.


Pelicans on the bay...
heading out of town....
here's a donky (at the adventure place) - they didn't let us bring our cameras - I'm actually glad; it would not have been fun if I had worried about taking photos - of course, they had a photographer along with us - and we bought one photo each from the trip - we haven't received them yet.... so for now, the donky will have to do! :)
more scenery from the drives... one hour each way got us lots of gas fumes (we were in the back of a Mercedes all wheel drive millitary style truck)
Here we are in Puerto Vallarta - we did lots of shopping, but this was not my favorite port - I did buy a wallet but now I'm sorry I got it - it's not the most practial but it's pretty...
as we left port, I got a photo of the pirate ship (it's another excursion thing that you can do there... I thought it looked kinda fun but not something I'd spend precious port time doing) - cute photo though.... and an amazing ship!
dinner each night on the ship was multi course... 4-6 to be exact, and usually ended with a selection of desserts... I felt no shame in selecting 2 desserts for myself... (and as you can see, the others had no problem with it either!) - the food was almost always exceptional!

Cabo San Lucas

Here's a shot of a tender (lifeboat) taking people to the port - this was a long boat trip (about 15 minutes) and the water was actually kinda rocky by the time we ventured out...

more birdies...

Cabo was interesting - we did some walking - I found this guy climbing across that skeleton of framework - they were fixing that sign - look to the left - there's a store called "die trying" - it seemed like an appropriate location to be climbing around on the fragile framework of an awning... see where his ladder is on the right? doesn't look too smart, amigo....

Cabo Wabo - I took the photo - we went in for a drink - it was small and pricey. Gregg (and Tom) both went to the bathroom to wash their hands and the light didn't work - there weren't any towels... I went in about 2 minutes later, and flipped the light switch and the light came on... and there were towels.... I'm not sure if the wiring was wacky, or if they couldn't find the light switch, or if the people there changed the lightbulb or what... but it was wierd....

more boats...

back on the ship, we met lots of new friends from all over the country (others not pictured from other parts of the world) - a random passenger took this photo - she took another with her camera and said she was going to title it "Hot Man Soup" - funny.

The morning of the 12th we woke up to Long Beach (Los Angeles) CA port - we decided to do the unique "walk off" procedure instead of waiting for the regular disembarkation - basically, between 730 - 830AM you take your luggage and roll it off the ship - go right through customs and immigration and out the door - it was special for people living in the US - and we walked off and were in our car in about 30 minutes! A great end to a beautiful trip.

I got much less knitting done than I thought I would - but we had a fantastic time and so many memories of our time in Mexico. I recommend highly a cruise for anyone looking to do something really relaxing. it's not overwhelmingly expensive and it's definately good to get away - no phone, no internet (by choice; they actually had internet on the ship) and a true vacation. I am still working on the scarf I left working on... and hope in a few days to be back in my knitting groove... for now, I'm finishing this scarf~~


Judy G. said...

Welcome back!
Sounds like you had a great trip. The pirate ship is mostly a booze cruise; even during the day. You're right; I wouldn't waste port time on it, but it's a pretty neat looking ship.

Email to follow.

Charles said...

Hey Kyle~

Youguys did such GREAT time togeter! Looking at the pic, feels like a I was there in Mexico!


Dave Daniels said...

Those are some great photos, and I like your reviews of some of the hot spots.
I agree, that bathroom is great, and the railings are PERFECT!

Judy G. said...

Love the new header! the only thing missing is your beverage.

Cheryl :) said...

I love going on a cruise! Glad you had a good time. Your pictures are great!! :)

loopykd said...

Great photos! I like hot man soup! It's one of my favorite entrees! Plus I love your new banner at the top.

Linda said...

Thank you so much for including so many photos of your trip! It's a welcome sight for those of us up here in the North Country. ;-) Welcome home!

Eric & Tony said...

Ole! Looks like a great time.