We did an October cruise of the Mexican Rivera aboard the Grand Princess. This was our first “real” cruising experience. We embarked and disembarked in San Francisco. The day of our voyage just happened to coincide with fleet week so we had a front row seat to the airshow and it could not have been a more beautiful day. The Blue Angels put on quite the show passing under the Golden Gate Bridge and running various high speed maneuvers. We set sail at sunset passing under the Golden Gate bridge. If I were to take this cruise again, I would want to schedule it for fleet week. It made the bon voyage so much more special.
The sea days were relaxing and the weather was nice. We saw lots of dolphins and humpback whales. My husband and I did feel a little young for cruising. Most of our cruise mates were much older than us. We did take our teenage daughter and her friend. They enjoyed the teen center, activities and made new friends.
Our first port of call was Puerto Vallarta. We planned an excursion through the cruise line to Las Caletas. This proved to be a great value. It was all inclusive meaning drinks (alcoholic and non), food, zip lining, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and petting zoo were all free. The food was served buffet style and was delicious! I would do this again if I had the opportunity.
The second port of call was Manzanillo. On this day it was so hot. We had planned to do some exploring and shopping, but found we were melting. So, we hired a van driver, with an air conditioned van, and he took us on a tour of the area. Manzanillo is a port city that relies heavily on shipping as an industry. The driver took us through the resort communities, to some scenic view points, and to a local market. While everyone else was spending time at the market we sat at the beach side bar and had drinks. The only down side of this is that vendors walk back and forth trying to sell you stuff.
Mazatlan was our next port of call. We walked off the boat and found that there was a blue line on the pavement and if you followed the blue line it took you into the city center. It was a short fifteen minute walk. In the city plaza we saw street performers and vendors selling souvenirs. We then found our way over to El Clavadista to watch the cliff divers. We walked on into town and found a nice beach front place to have lunch. After lunch they let us sit in there lounge chairs, so we spent the day hanging out on the beach having drinks. Again we had to deal with a lot of beach vendors.
Cabo San Lucas was our final port of call. This is very touristy city. They have a very nice mall right at the port. They also, have a wide variety of activities. We took a boat tour and we went parasailing on this excursion. We negotiated the boat tour and parasailing at the pier.
One thing that cracked us up is that every port of call we got off at had stands selling Viagra and Retinol. Those were very popular products at the cruise terminals.
Advice for cruising –
- Make sure you turn off your cell phones while at sea, so you don’t rack up ship to shore calls
- Read your daily schedules and take advantage of happy hours
- Shows fill up fast, so get your seat 20 minutes before showtime
- One feature we really enjoyed about Princess was that their ships have an outdoor theater. We enjoyed several evening movies in the lounge chairs. They even supply you with a blankie.
We didn’t find cruising was a good fit for us because we like spontaneity, but you might find it a great adventure for you. It did not help that the day of my return I discovered I had salmonella. Do take care what you eat when you travel.