The adventures Nichole and I went through just to get to the boat is probably the best story. So, here goes. Our flight left SeaTac at 6:40am on Saturday, so I drove down to Redmond on Friday night after work so I could have one night with Joel before I left him for a week. We got to bed pretty late, but I had my suitcase already packed, and my carry one ready to go. Joel set two alarms and we went to sleep. I remember Joel waking me up, saying "Honey, you need to get up!" I sat up and looked at the clock; it was 6:20am!! CRAP!! We flew out of bed, I tossed some clothes on, and Joel graped my luggage and we went out the door. Joel doesn't even remember carrying my HUGE suitcase up a flight of stairs and tossing it in the trunk like it was a pillow. We drove as fast as we could to the airport, but luckily didn't encounter any police officers.
Nichole had been trying to contact me, as she took the shuttle to Seattle and was wondering where I was. She was trying to hold the plane for me, telling the flight attendants that I had been in a car accident. But it was too late. The ticket counter took my luggage (after I paid them $35 because my luggage was over weight) and gave me a security pass to get through security. Getting through security was an ordeal, apparently not too often do people without boarding passes try to get through. But once I was on the other side Nichole and I started the up-hill battle of trying to get out SeaTac. Thanks to the fact it was spring break, every airline was over booked. Even though we were on the wait list for five flights, everyone was telling us we weren't going to get out of SeaTac that day. By the pure grace of God, I ended up the Alaskan Airline counter. After being turned down by almost every other airline, an angel in disguise found a flight for Nichole and I to Santa Anna, California. Santa Anna is about an hour north of San Diego so we jumped at the chance to get on a plane.
Joel went online and reserved a rental car for us to drive from Santa Anna to the San Diego where (cross-your-fingers) our luggage should be waiting for us. When we landed in Santa Anna we had an hour and forty minutes to make the one hour drive, pick up our luggage, drop off the rental, and get a ride to the cruise ship terminal. It is a good thing that Californians like to drive fast (everyone, including a cop, was going 90-95 in a 60!) cause we had some serious ground to cover. Well, we made it, our luggage was there, and Nichole's grandma picked us up to take us to the cruise ship terminal. We hurried through customs, questionnaires, and other pre-boarding activities. When we finally got on the boat, we left out a huge sigh of relief... with only ten minutes to go!!! And then we were off to empty the mini bar in our room!
Day One: At Sea
We started the day with breakfast in our room (free room service!) on our private deck as we watched the sunrise over the ocean. Then we headed to the pool deck where we laid out and spent the day drinking Miami Vice's (1/2 Daiquiri and 1/2 Pina Colada). It was wonderful, until I realised later that I had burned. Even though I had 60 SPF on, the sun is intensified by the reflection off the ocean and the proximity to the equator. Oops.
Today, we got to swim with dolphins!! It was so much fun! Our dolphin was Monet, a seven year old male who was found injured in the wild. He was a lot of fun. He did tricks for us, sang us a song, let us pet him and even took us for rides. Cool Dolphin Fact - they can sense when a person is pregnant and want to spend all their time with the pregnant person! What a way to find out, if you didn't previously know. We spent the rest of the day walking around the town, shopping, and we even got our hair braided into many tiny braids.
Day Three: Puerto Vallarta
Once again, we had breakfast on our private deck as the sun came up, and then got dressed for a day in town. We had to take a cab into the main part of the city. There was a beautiful white sand beach, lovely stores all over the place, and so much to do. We walked around, shopped, relaxed, and explored this wonderful city. Then we went on an excursion to Los Caletas. This is a place only assessable by boat. When we arrived, we were served an authentic Mexican dinner. It was so good. We ate and ate and ate. Everything was so delicious. Then we watched an authentic Aztecan ceremony. It was amazing! I think my mouth was hanging open during the whole show, I loved it! Then it was a boat ride back to the cruise ship and time to call it a night.
Day Four: Manzanillo
When I woke up and looked out our deck I was disappointed. Normally we have amazing views of the ocean, the coast line, or a cityscape. But not this morning. Instead, it was stacks and stacks of semi truck crates. It was a HUGE shipping yard. Oh well. After a shuttle ride for 15 minutes through the shipping yard, we were taken to the heart of Manzanillo. Nichole and I spent the day exploring the city, and getting lost in a true Mexican town. It was neat to leave the tourist section of the town and walk around in the "local" side of town. It was a mix of buildings I wondered how they were still standing, and new buildings. Laundry drying on porches, children in classrooms located between stores, alleyways with dogs, shrines to Mary, beautiful churches... It was amazing.
Day Five: At Sea
Today was pretty windy and a bit too cold to lay out on the pool deck. So Nichole and I spent the doing activities around the ship (there was never nothing to do!), eating the delicious food, and attending speakers on many topics. Even though we weren't in port, it was a great day.
Day Six: At Sea
It was finally warm enough to lay out in the sun. It was my last chance to try to even out my tan after burning my front side. I laid on my tummy the entire time we were in the sun, trying to make my white backside match the front. Once the sun went down, Nichole and I enjoyed our last dinner in the Vista Lounge and headed back to our rooms to pack up our bags.
Day Seven: Back in San Diego
It was sad leaving what had been our home for seven days. The people were so friendly. All it took was one time meeting you, and they had your name memorized. They would greet you by name when ever they saw you. I miss the sun. I miss the food. I miss the fun. I miss the service. I miss no-work. But it was nice to be home. Nice to be back in Joel's arms. Nice to back in my own bed. Nice to making money, not spending it. Nice to be back with my family. Nice to home.
So there you have it. A very brief recap of my cruise through the Mexican Rivera. I can't wait for my next cruise. People are wrong when they think cruises are for old people and boring; they are amazing! I can't wait for my next vacation.