Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mexico Part 1

I wrote three extensive emails to one person, and decided to publish them on here, as my Mexico Cruise recap for anyone interested to read, rather than retyping it over and over. Hopefully I've caught all the personal email references and taken them out. I mainly highlight the ports, and don't really touch on the five days at sea at all.

If you ever get the chance, you must take a cruise. Some people hate it, I don't know why!, but I just love it. It's a great way to see multiple places and not keep packing and unpacking! It's like two vacations in one, you have your port time and your sea time.

This cruise left from San Francisco - which was so convenient. No airports! This cruise we were on NCL. I won't say it was better or worse than Royal Caribbean, they offer different things and are rewarding in their own way.

Because we were in a suite, we got the first class treatment all the way, from the time go stepped onto the sidewalk until we left. We were able to wait in a special area, with snacks and beverages until it was time to board the ship, and we were the first four onboard. That was kind of fun! NCL greets their guests with champagne or a mimosa when you first board. We were escorted to our rooms, where a complimentary bottle of champagne was waiting, chilled in a bucket. Our room was dead center, at the front of ship, which was awesome! I loved seeing where we going, watching the ship dock at each port, passing under the Golden Gate and so on. Now I'm spoiled, and don't ever want to be anywhere else on a ship again! We were also under the ship's bridge, so there was nothing to keep us awake at night! I had some friends take a cruise last year and they were under the karaoke bar, kept away all night by people attempting to sing!

Our first two days were at sea, which was great, because it felt like we got to relax and enjoy the ship this time. Last year we had one day at sea and didn't get to enjoy the ship at all. Our first port was Mazatlan. We took an excursion that lead us an hour away to El Quelite. This is a great colonial style Mexican village. It was very much "old Mexico" with the cobblestone streets, the detailed and colorful buildings, clean and friendly. We took the ATV adventure. I had never been on an ATV before, and took to it like a bird to flight. Some people were a bit afraid of the ATV's, but I loved it!! September is a great time to travel, because all the vacationers are basically done, which means, less crowds and more time at things - like on this excursion. During the busy months the group is divided, because there are only 10 ATV's; we were lucky, with the number of people not driving, but riding on the back, we had the exact number covered and were all able to go out together, giving us a longer adventure! I was in the back of the group, the perfect place to be. I could hang back a little, allowing the group to get a head of me, then hit the gas and go for a real ride! The ride itself was fantastic, we went out into the country on a dirt road, lined with gorgeous flowers, trees, beautiful countryside, horses and literally 1,000's of butterflies that grew larger the further into the countryside we went. We stopped at a small village for a beverage and a tortilla, then headed back into town. When we arrived, the entire troop was covered in dirt! We were a mess!!! But all smiling! We had a small meal at a local restaurant that I would love to have here! We dined in a beautiful open air bar space, had a friendly poodle and a parrot to keep us all company while we drank our Negro Modelo's and ate our tacos - which are nothing like the crappy Americanized versions we have here. We had a scenic ride back to the ship, where we found a nice spread of cheese, crackers and chocolate covered strawberries in the room to enjoy before dinner! That is, after the best shower I ever had!!! The tub was orange when I was done!!!

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