I love visiting Mexico any time an opportunity comes around, I’ll sign up for it, but I’d never cruise the Mexican Riviera and when I received an invitation from Carnival for their educational seminar at seas, I didn’t even think twice about it, I signing up. The itinerary included Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta out of the port of Los Angeles.
On the day of our cruise, I took the first flight out to make sure I arrived to Los Angeles with plenty of time before my embarkation. I had purchased the transfers with Carnival and when I was picking up my luggage I spotted the Carnival Representative dressed up in his uniform and holding a Carnival logo. I walked up to him, told him my name and after a few more guests showed up he escorted us to the Carnival motor coach.
We arrived to the pier at about 11:15 am which I thought it may have been too early to check in, but after a welcome speech from a Carnival staff we were allowed to get off and gather our suit case to then proceed to the check in. I really liked the check in process, being that our shuttle was the second bus to arrive, there were no crowds so our check in process was perhaps 30 – 40 minutes before arriving to the Lido Deck where one can find the buffet. Boy was I happy to be able to sit down and enjoy a meal. A few hours went by, and as I was doing a ship inspection of the top decks, an announcement came on the loud speaker, our cabin was ready and everyone could now go to their cabins. I of course was ready for a small siesta after over eating at the buffet so I headed to my cabin.
I had an ocean view cabin on deck three, close to the stairs and elevator. I was hoping to see my suitcase when I walked in to my cabin, but that was not the case. It was a good thing I had my carry on suitcase, so I could freshen up after a long day. I set my alarm for 3:45 pm so I can wake up before the safety drill at 4:00 pm and it seemed that I was barely falling asleep when the alarm went off. I put on my shoes, as I turned on the TV to hear the announcements and sure enough a few minutes later I hear over the loud speaker to head over to deck four to take part of the safety drill. That lasted a good hour, which seemed to go on forever, apparently not everyone felt they had to attend and had to be found and accounted for before everyone can be dismissed.
October 7: Day at Sea
The next day I had to get up early enough in order to have breakfast before attending my educational seminar schedule at 9:00 am. After introductions, and a short welcome to all of us attending, we had an hour of Carnival 101 followed by an hour of ASTA about taking classes to become certified vacation planners, the benefits and the cost. After getting a packet of things to do while on board, and before our next get together, the floor was open for questions and discussion. I left the workshop feeling very optimistic about my educational cruise. I had signed up for excursions at every port and after dinner I attended a musical show, spend some time at the main Piazza which had been dressed with Halloween decorations to bring in the Halloween spirit. After listening to the piano music and the accompany singer for about thirty minutes it was time to call it a night. Our next port of call was Cabo San Lucas and I was super excited to get off, and do my excursion there.
October 8: Cabo San Lucas
We arrived at Cabo San Lucas at about 9:00 a.m. and as I sat at a table in the Lido deck, having my breakfast, I could see the tender boats lining up to take those of us going on land for the day. I had about an hour before my excursion so I finished my breakfast and headed over to the main auditorium where I was to meet the shore excursion staff. The staff gave us a brief safety and summary of expectations about the excursion before escorting us to the tender. I had signed up for the top 10 best of Cabo. Once at land we boarded a motor coach than off we went with our tour guide leading the excursion. The excursion is a three and a half hour tour of the top ten sites in Los Cabos. We stopped at Playa Empacadora Beach. Next, we visit Cabo San Lucas’ Town Square and the old church while learning about the history and the legends of the area.
As we got to San Jose del Cabo, our next stop was “El Mirador de Costa Azul” what a fantastic view of the “Sea of Cortez” that was as well as the view of the shoreline of San Jose. Here is a pic.
Our next stop was at the center of San Jose del Cabo, where we had a short narrated walking tour of Plaza Mijares, the old Mission Style Church and City Hall (Palacio Municipal). After wards we were given about 20 minutes of free time so we can explore and shop.
Last, we visit the Glass Blown Factory where we sat and watch how artisans create unique glass blown crafts, an ancient method passed down to them by their ancestors and still used to this day. We had some time at the end to shop and purchase some glass creations done there at the factory.
Our time had come to an end and we were to board the motor coach to return back to the pier. Our ship was to leave at 7:00 pm so we had some free time before taking the last tender back to the ship.
I decided to use my reminder time in finding a good authentic Mexican restaurant, where I can have some tacos. I found a local spot, where there were a lot of tourist, but it was not 100 percent authentic, I understood then the reason as to why it was so popular with the tourist and not the locals Over all it was ok. I finished my meal, paid and headed back to the pier to catch the last tender to the cruise ship. I was exhausted with all the walking I had done that day. I was super happy to get back on board, and rest before the evening dinner than catch a show. It was time to sail off to Mazatlan and say Adios to Cabo.
October 9: Mazatlan
We were woken up by the captain’s voice over the loud speaker letting us know that due to the Hurricane effects of Hurricane Sergio and for everyone’s safety on board, we would not be stopping at Mazatlan and that we would continue on to Puerto Vallarta where Hurricane Sergio was not yet causing any disturbance with the weather. That was a disappointment, but we understood it was for the best and so everyone enjoyed a day at sea. We were told that if everything looked good we may make up that port by going to Ensenada on the last day but we would have to wait and see. Anyhow, I decided to make the best of it, by doing some rest and relaxation. I took a tour of the gallery, and after dinner spent some time at the Piazza where they had a karaoke with fifties and sixties music. It was also a lot of fun playing the music trivia game, I wish I could say I won, but some of those songs were before my time and didn’t know the lyrics. It was a lot of fun. It had been a very long day with nothing to do but eat, rest, walk eat again and rest. I could feel those pounds coming on from all the buffet food. Oh but it was oh so good, so good that one serving was not enough. Well, the next day was Pueto Vallarta and I had an excursion so that time to get some rest.
October 10: Puerto Vallarta
I was getting ready to go have breakfast when I glanced out my window and saw in a distance the coast of Puerto Vallarta. I hurried to the Lido deck so I can get a small breakfast before going to meet the excursion staff at the main auditorium. As I sat having my breakfast and the ship got closer to the pier, I could see vendors, people, and mariachis waiving to those on higher decks of the cruise ship. The people at the pier seemed eager in receiving us with such warm welcome. I met the shore excursion group and we were escorted off the ship and on to an area where our tour guide was waiting. My shore excursion was Give back with a purpose community tour. We drove to San Miguel Village to meet with Mayan descendants, and to learn about age-old traditions as we help the local community by participating on this tour!
We visited an orphanage and meat the amazing people who work there and we learn how our visit supports their efforts. Finally we enjoyed a delicious Mexican lunch at a local restaurant where we helped prepare our own lunch. Going to a new place has the power to change you and this will leave a memorable impression. We were given about 20 minutes during our tour to shop some of the local artisan memoirs. We visit a chocolate factory, where they still make chocolate the old fashion way and last on our way back to the ship we stopped for about 45 minutes at the little town ow Sayaulita, a surfing town about forty minutes out of Puerto Vallarta. That was lots of fun.
We then boarded the motor coach back to the cruise ship, we arrived to the port at 6:30 pm we had about two hour before departing. I decided to use about half of that time to do some shopping nearby. I’m glad I did, found a couple of souvenirs for my grandchildren. Mostly toys but a couple of the local candies which I knew they would enjoy. I boarded the ship about an hour before departure time and again with all the walking and running from one place to the next I was tired. However, I decided to get dressed up and dine at the main dining room for a change. I had been eating buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Lido deck and thought I was due for a little change. I’m glad I did, there was less choices at the main dining room which meant less eating. The food was excellent, gourmet food is very filling but small portioned which was more than enough for me.
October 11: Sea Day
I had a workshop with our Carnival representative at 9:00 am this day, and so we were to meet at the meeting room deck four and bring in our experience on the cruise thus far. Our group showed up on time and the workshop began with what are some of the ways to reserve groups with Carnival, the advantage of using social media, they gave us an overview of their Carnival passport training web site where one can complete all six levels for a free cruise. I’m all for learning and doing that training for a free cruise. I will be getting busy on that. It was a very uplifting and learning workshop, I felt very confident knowing the new information and what I needed to reserve more Carnival cruises. As we said good bye to those I meat on the cruise I realize that our last day was next day and the time had gone by so quick. I decided to make the best of the rest of the day. Once again, I dressed up for dinner, than I attended a fantastic musical show, danced with the Latin boys at a fiesta all before going to bed. It had been a great day.
October 12: Ensenada
I was woken up by a bang from the ships’ dropping anchor, we had arrived to Ensenada. Last time I had been there was sixteen year ago and the port had changed a lot. It was not what I last remembered, it was improved and clean compare to what I remembered. I had not signed up for excursions; therefore, I took my time getting off the ship. Our time back was 4:00 pm boarding time, and I figured getting off by noon and spending some time in town for a few hours was more than enough. I took a shuttle to down town Ensenada than walked the streets and stopping at the little local shops to find some gifts to take to my kids who I know would be waiting to see what mom brought them back this time. I found some t-shirts, ceramic nick knacks, and natural vanilla. I love Mexican vanilla; it always has a better taste than ours here. I stopped and had lunch at a local restaurant, and before I knew it was time to walk back to the shuttle or walk back to the pier. As I started walking I notice that I was only about fifteen to ten minutes away from the pier so I decided to walk and skip the shuttle. Most of all, I thought that was a great way to lose those extra pounds I had gained eating at the buffet. Yea right! It would take more than a ten to fifteen minute walk. Oh well it was a start. My day ended with a visit to the buffet line, where I made up for the loss calorie earlier plus more. I just had to go for seconds; after all it was the last dinner on board. After dinner, I attended a comedy show, walked around the main deck and turned in early to start my packing. I had to leave my luggage by midnight on my front door and take care of any incidentals. I felt a little sad about my cruise coming to an end, it had been so much fun, and I had learned so much from the excursions, the Carnival rep, and met such nice people, but I was glad I to have had the opportunity to take part of the Seminar at sea and I could now sell the Mexican Riviera with and Carnival’s Splendor with more confidence.
October 13: Los Angeles
I woke up early, since we had to be off the ship by 10:30 am and if I wanted to have breakfast first I better get to the Lido deck before they close at 9:30 a.m. I checked out, grabbed my carryon and made it to the breakfast buffet before they closed. My shuttle to the airport was not until 11:00 am so I took my time until 10:00 a.m when I headed out to the main deck to disembark and catch my shuttle. It was a cold day, with drizzle rain and smog. It seemed that even Mother Nature was providing us with some sad departure weather. As I posed for a photo getting off the ship, I thought of the many clients I had before me in this very same cruise and how I could have made their cruise so much better had I knew then what I now knew. I can’t wait to sell this destination to new clients, because I’m now better prepared and super excited about the Mexican Riviera. Asta la vista, until we meet again.