t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Cruise Log

 

Day Entry
1 We arrived in Miami at 6:30 AM.  What a confusing airport!  As we approached the baggage area, we saw a guy with a Princess sign and a baggage cart, so we went up to him.  He said, "Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Ross."  We were floored!  He gave us the cart and showed us where to be at 11:00 for the bus.  The bad thing was that he was really negative and complained about Cubans and Alaska Airline ad nauseum.

We had a leisurely (2 hour) breakfast at the MIA hotel.  We individually went into the bathroom to change into shorts.

When we finally boarded our shuttle to the ship, we could not help but notice that everyone else was very much older than us.  All the young people who had been milling around waiting for a Princess shuttle had gone off on shuttles to the Caribbean Princess.

We boarded the ship around noon.  It's an older ship, small, but everything is easy to find.  Our balcony is long and narrow.

We were pretty tired by late afternoon, so we had pizza for dinner, went to the early show, and were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

2 Slept late till 9:00 AM and then went to the Palm Court dining room for sit down breakfast.  We worked out for an hour (the elliptical trainer was pretty hard to use but Karen stuck with it). We hung out by the pool in the shade for most of the day.  There was a lecture on early sea navigation; Lou enjoyed it and Karen dozed off.
3 Hung out by the pool all day, and even though we were in the shade except for swimming, and even though we slathered on the sunblock, Karen got a bit burned. 

We ticked off our Brit dinner mates when we sat in their seats at the table. But these are not assigned seats!  We like to move around to get a different view and talk to a different person every night.

4
Did you get our message off your cell phone?  Strong winds blew the satellite dish off the ship 3 weeks ago, so still no internet access on the ship.
 
We are in Aruba, in an Internet Cafe, drinking icy diet coke.
 
Very very hot here.  We dropped out of the snorkelling trip because Karen accidentally got a little sunburned yesterday and could not face a day in the sun.  Instead we went on a bus tour around the island; it was fun.  Most people live in little cement houses painted cheery colors.
 
We saw the natural bridge, some beautiful white sand beaches, lots of hotels, huge oil refineries, ostrich farm, tanks where they process hotel wastewater into golf-course lawn water, desalinization plants, and downtown Oranjestad.  Whew!
 

Our handout from the cruise ship said that they found oil on Venezuela in the 1920's so perhaps that is where all the oil comes from for these refineries.

 

So this cruise attracts quite a "mature" crowd.  We were shocked.  There are a handful of people in their forties, and there is actually one child aboard (3 years old) but everyone else turns when you shout, "Hey Grandpa!"  We talked to the Future Cruise lady, who pointed out that the 15 day itinerary does tend to drive away people who still work.

 
Did we tell you anything about our flight?  It was fine, dozed a bit, and then spent a couple of hours in the Miami International Airport Hotel restaurant eating breakfast and drinking cup after cup of coffee.  It worked out great, but that first night, we sort of crashed in the late afternoon.  We had pizza and went to the early show and then straight to bed -- never went to our formal dinner that night at all.
 
We have met our dinner table companions. They are all retirees and fun to talk to.
 
We really are having a blast. Hope you are well and the doggies too.
5
Hi Guys!
 
Thanks for the update. 
 
You know, Lou said there was no way you heard that voicemail but I said, "Oh no, I showed them both how to access voicemail!  She got the message."  Ha!
 
Last night, we went to Karaoke.  These two guys, Barry and George, were the only ones who wanted to sing, and they were AWFUL.  So we cheered our heads off!  We screamed and clapped the worse they got.  It was a blast.
 
We had pictures taken on our first formal night, and they came out really fabulous.
 
OK, I have a massage appointment and have to hit the road.
6 [No time to email; spent the whole day observing our passage through the canal.]
7
The Panama Canal yesterday was awesome.  It was pretty cool to see all the US Military stuff (where some of the barracks were, parts of Panama City, etc).
 
Karen did laundry today.  Lou settled in for the long haul in a comfy chair in the Atrium and people-watched while Karen trotted back to the laundry room occasionally to check progress.  She chatted with a guy who had been stationed at the Panama Canal a million years ago.  He said that his barracks were now used as a school.
 
I am glad that you dragged us to the locks in Seattle because this was basically the same thing only much much larger.  There were three separate sets of locks.  The first set we arrived at 6:00AM -- we had been woken up at 4:00 AM with thunder and lighting.  So we had continental breakfast and wandered around.  We arrived at a "secret" door onto an overlook at the very front of the ship and sat there for 45 minutes till they unlocked the door.  They had to wait till it was light outside or else the light from the passageway could blind the pilot (the bridge was right above us).  So we got a great spot and Lou set up his tripod and took pics for 2 hours.  I gave up my spot next to Lou after awhile to let other people see and take pics.  It was a lot of fun.
8
Puntarenas Costa Rica!
 
We got an hour back last night.  We are now in MST.  So we were awake long before the 7:00 AM wakeup call.  We went to the breakfast buffet for the first time.  We could feel the ship thrusters moving us into position at the dock while we ate.
 
Our table mates were on our tour, but we did not end up on the same bus.
 
We sat on the bus in single seats, Lou in front of Karen.  That was really great, so we were not squished together in the heat.  The air conditioning worked great.
 
Our tour guide was Empy, which was short for something really long and complicated.
 
We drove an hour and fifteen minutes to a private forest with a series of suspension bridges up in the canopy of the trees.  We saw birds and iguanas and lizards and lots of vegetation.  The guide was impressive in her knowledge of the flora and fauna.  (Lou talked to her during lunch and found out that she had wanted to major in Biology but that she had ended up in Tourism instead.)
 
We were really hot.  It was muggy and hot and a lot of walking.  A lot of time we were in the shade. 
 
When we finished the skywalk, Karen was pooped.  They drove us to a hotel and gave us fruit and fruity iced tea.  And we got to shop a little.  Lou bought coffee.
 
There was a lady on our bus who fell down on the first day of this cruise and sprained her ankle, so she was using a cane and had a big plastic broken-leg type of boot on.  She was a good sport about it.
 
We went to a lunch of salad, bread, rice, BLACKBEANS, chicken and fish.  Plus some cookies after.  We were lucky enough to sit with Empy and Lou asked her a bunch of questions.  Later, on the bus ride home, she said, "Someone asked me an interesting question about this, so let me explain to you all..." 
 
After lunch, we walked through a formal garden in the beating down killer sun.  We saw a nice waterfall and a beautiful view of the Pacific.
 
We saw a parrot and a toucan at this Pura Vida Garden.  Lou took a bunch of pictures.
 
We stopped on a bridge on the drive home so we could get out and walk and see some crocodiles in the water below.  There were a bunch of them.  Huge one, lots of medium ones, and a couple small ones.  They were still for a long time and then they all sort of re-arranged themselves.  It was creepy.
 
We got back to the ship, jumped into our bathing suits, and then jumped into the pool.  We ate some sandwiches and are now headed for the photographer to buy Panama Canal pics.
9 Tonight when we went to dinner, it was just Mick, Jennifer, and us.  We had a great time!  We laughed alot.
10
Hope you had a great lunch at the British pantry!
 
Today we were in Hualtalco, Mexico.  We turned in our tickets for a boat tour of the various bays and beaches, and instead we just walked into town and did a little shopping.  The people in the shops were not aggressive, so that was nice.
 
It was incredibly hot though and we were dead after the long walk into town.  But we had skipped working out this morning because we knew we could walk into town.
 
The port is pretty, with colorful buildings and clean blue water and sandy beaches right there by the pier.
 
It looks like a lot of hotels and condos are being built, so it will probably become more crowded.  (It is supposed to be like Cabo San Lucas used to be.)
 
There was a funny moment.  There was this little boat with three guys in t shirts driving along side of us as we pulled away from the dock tonight.  The boat did not look official at all, so we could not believe they were so close.  Then they got really close and we realized that they were going to pick up the local pilot.  We have seen this many times before.  The pilot's boat pulls into an alcove sort of under the ship, and the pilot gets on but you can't see any of it happen.  Well, this time, they just came really close to the ship and the pilot climbed down the side of the ship and sort of hopped onto this boat!  It was so funny because it looked incredibly dangerous, and the whole idea of the local pilot is to avoid danger.
 
Love ya,
Karen and Lou
 
 PS We hope the dogs are being good.
 
11
Acapulco Deluxe took us to the old part of Acapulco where we saw the famous cliff divers.  There are
40 divers, and they are all part of one extended family.  They earn about $55 per show.  The show has been going on since the 1960s.  No one has ever been killed.  A few of the guys had bandages on their wrists and other parts, though.  We watched six guys dive.

Along the way we saw Johnny Weismueller's (Tarzan) house.  Also John Wayne's place. 

 
Did some shopping at Taxco Plaza and got Omer a money clip (silver).  All was 30% off but we had to ask for it before it was given.   Karen had a gold money clip in her hand, but gave it right back to the salesman when he said the prices was $600!  There was an open bar to keep men happy while women spent $. 
 
After that we saw beach where Acapulco residents go to play.  Saw rich homes on hillside AKA Beverly HillsPassed by Las Brisas hotel where 80% of the guests are honeymooners so the rooms have no TV or radio, just a bed and a pool and a Jeep for each room.
 
Saw the Princess hotel where we almost stayed a few years ago but went to Caribbean instead.  Great buffet lunch at the Acapulco Mayan Palace (which is all timeshare).  Spent the afternoon in a mile-long pool chatting with Linda and Tim.  Linda has been on 28 cruises - 15 on Princess, so she is close to getting FREE laundry service

We liked our guide, Emilio. 

 
Our plan for Cabo is to get our own snorkeling trip along with Bill and Roberta.  Then go shopping and Cabo Wabo for lunch.
12  
13
Cabo San Lucas, Day 13.
 
It was excellent!  We got up at 6:15 AM and went to breakfast buffet.  Then we got to the place where they hand out tender tickets -- and we were the fourth and fifth person there!  So we ended up on the first tender, which is amazing. 
 
Bill and Roberta came along with us.  We walked a bit down the pier and all these guys were yelling about fishing trips.  We shook our heads and kept walking.  Then one of use said, "Snorkeling," and one of the fishing guys came over and said, "You want to snorkel?  Come with me..."  At first he said $40 each for the trip, but then he dropped it to $25 with the equipment.  We wanted to go to Chileno Bay, which is where our original Tropicat trip would have brought us.  It turned out it would take 45 minutes by boat, but only 20 minutes by regular taxi.  So he got us Ramon our taxi driver.
 
On the way, I took out our water and we drank, and then Roberta asked Ramon if there would be a place to buy drinks on the beach.  He said, "No."  I asked if they forgot water, and she said yes, so then Ramon took us to a little grocery store.  We got water and cookies; Roberta treated us, which was very nice.  They also had a basket of fresh tamales which smelled fabulous but we did not get any.  We broke into the cookies as soon as we continued the drive.
 
The beach had a bathroom and showers -- but the bathroom was disgusting and the showers had no water.
 
It did not matter though because we had a great snorkeling.  The waves were rough right at the shore, but once we got our fins on and into the deeper water, it was fantastic.  There were a lot of fish.  Karen took a lot of pictures with the underwater disposable camera.  We saw a star fish and some coral.  We actually got all fogged up and had to go in to re-de-fog!  But then we were fine.
 
Roberta did not snorkel.  She does not like to even go in their pool, Bill said.  But she was a good sport and hung around cheerfully on the beach.
 
We snorkeled for an hour, took a cookie and water break, and then snorkeled maybe 20 more minutes.  Then Lou got out and Karen stayed in the shallow water with mask and snorkel picking up sea glass.
 
Ramon was waiting for us at 11:00 AM as promised.  We paid him the remaining $50 plus a $10 tip.  And then he drove us back into town and dropped us at Cabo Wabo, where we were going to have lunch.
Lunch at Cabo Wabo was great!  Bill and Lou had the drunken burrito (chicken marinated in tequila).  Karen had a burger and Roberta had popcorn shrimp.  Lou had two waboritas!!
 
Lou got a t shirt and bottle of tequila when we left.  Then we wandered around to shop.
 
We stopped at a bar on the pier to have a cool drink and were accosted by salespeople.  We got back on board, went swimming, and then at 7:00 went to Shirley and Paul's cabin to celebrate Roberta's 60th Birthday with guacamole and veggies and wine and diet coke.  It was really nice.  It was also low, on deck 5, so the water out the porthole was RIGHT THERE!
 
Dinner was great, and Roberta got a tiny cake-mousse thing with a candle, and waiters sang.  Then we had another comedian, who also sang, and was amazing.  Blair Shannon.
 
Then off to bed.  Slept the best ever -- woke up today at 9:15 and ran to breakfast in the Palm Court dining room because the doors close at 9:30 AM.
14  
15
Time to clean up the house and get dressed!  Yep, one more day and we are coming home.  The last 2 days have been at sea and they have been quite chilly.  Since we left Cabo San Lucas, the temperature has dropped to mid 60s, and today we had low 60s with strong wind. 
 
We are scheduled to go under the Golden Gate Bridge around 5 am.  So Lou is going to get up at 4:45 to take pictures as we do so.
 
Friday and Saturday (day 14 and 15) have been very laid back.  Today is the final part of a 4 part lecture on Howard Hughes.  Very fascinating lecture.  Last week there was a 4 part lecture on navigation.  Lou wishes we had seen all 4 parts, but we missed 2 of them.
 
Roberta and Bill (our dinner mates) came to our cabin today to check out  mini-suite balcony.  They loved it since they currently have an inside cabin.
 
It was cold this morning to do a 2 mile walk.  So Lou and Bill only did one.  Maybe if it warms up, they will do another mile this PM.
 
We are apprehensively awaiting our final bill tonight.  Lou thinks it will be around $1500 which is pretty low for us ;-)  Karen thinks it will be $3000 in which case she's walking home ;-)  Lou hasn't bought anything on the ship.   Hum, I wonder who spent all that money ;-)
 
Don't reply since we won't check email again today.  See you at SeaTac.
 

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