Mexico Cruise - First Days at Sea and Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Hey everybody! Welcome to my blog about our Mexico Cruise!
This is the third cruise Jaime and I have been on, and while we were critical of the whole cruise experience after our first one on Carnival, these past two on Norwegian changed our minds - a bit. I feel this is a great way to travel with friends, and to go to places you only have a light interest in seeing, or to places you have been before. We definitely prefer going to a country/countries and staying there whether at a resort, or all around like we did in India/Iceland. That is not to say that this was a wasted vacation, we had an absolute blast, and were very excited to have Sue and Gerry join us, who were great travel partners. Not to mention the amazingly great deal we got, thanks to our credit from our Bahamas cruise. AND, we got our room upgraded to a mini-suite (with a balcony) a few weeks before we left. We felt pretty fancy.
I will need to format this blog a bit differently as I have to choose a location for each entry, and there is such place I can tag as a location for being "At Sea" so I will break this down into two blog entries, but will separate the days in each entry as we had two port days and three sea days. All of which were an absolute blast.
Day 1 - Sunday January 12 - At Sea
We arrived to the port and checked in with plenty of time to spare thanks to our friend Brandon who graciously gave us a ride. Our room was not ready when we boarded the ship, so the four of us found the first restaurant we could find, sat ourselves down and had lunch and some beers. It was very lovely. We did not even explore the ship at all as we just wanted to get some food (and drinks!) in our bellies. We could already tell the ship was beautiful.
After we ate, we wandered around with Sue and Gerry to check out the amenities of the ships. We walked out onto the back deck where the pain pools and waterslides were. Since there was a football game on, and a humungous television screen towering this area, many people had already staked out their seats and were excited for the Seahawks game.
Our ship included two waterslides, a mini-golf area in the back, a lazer tag course, and yes, a go-kart track. We booked a race for the following day. The casino was large and beautiful, and lights and artwork and decoration inside the ship was nothing like I had ever seen. Definitely the most impressive of any ship I have been on.
Once our rooms were ready, we were excited to check it out. Our min-suite was HUGE in comparison to other rooms we have had, and it included a balcony, which was the real treat. Our bathroom was the biggest I had ever seen on a cruise ship with a fancy shower with multiple spouts, a dual sink, and a ton of space. We also got a complimentary bottle of Champaign for booking with Norwegian cruise line for this second time. We were also able to witness a beautiful sunset from our balcony before dinner.
After our mandatory lifeboat orientation/drill thing, the rest of our day/evening consisted of gambling at the casino - Jaime did amazing at roulette, and it was his first time! Getting drinks at every bar we passed by, and just more walking and exploring. We went to a tour of the spa on board, and for doing that, Jaime got a sizeable discount on a haircut/beard trim/facial, so he booked that for the following day. The cruise package we got included specialty dining, but we made our reservations for those on our port days, so our first night we enjoyed a lovely meal in one of the main dining rooms, not the buffet. But oh man, were we excited for breakfast at the buffet, as it was HUGE! We are talking a whole section for just Indian food, salad bar, burger bar, dessert bars, an actual bar in the middle, meat carving stations, build your own pasta stations, and that is just to name some of it!
As if all of this was not enough, a production of Footloose was one of the many entertainment options on board, and we booked a showing on this first night. So we enjoyed a broadway-scale production of Footloose, and it was incredible. We also enjoyed some time in one of the brewery bars and were serenated by an amazing piano player/singer who sang soft version of rock songs. Was pretty cool.
Before we went to bed, we did enjoy a late night snack or "second nums" as we call it, at the same restaurant we ate at for lunch. They had different late night snacks, which really hit the spot. We found the buffet closes at 11:30pm.
Day 2 - Monday January 13 - At Sea
Since we had absolutely nowhere to be, as we parted ways the night before, we decided to meet up with Sue and Gerry after lunchtime at the Go-Kart track as Jaime and I booked a 2:30pm racetime. That morning he and I enjoyed breakfast at the buffet, he then went to his appointment at the spa while I just hung out and enjoyed some more drinks. Our drink of choice on this trip turned out to be the Mudslide, and it never disappointed. They would even make cool designs in the drink with the chocolate.
Before I get to the Go-Kart race, Jaime's spa appointment went very well! He said his facial was so relaxing and amazing, and he got a complimentary haircut to go with his beard trim, and wow did he look sharp!
We met at the Go-Kart track and it was kind of a long wait/process to get to the racing part. It was definitely fun and worth doing it once, but it is not exactly a speedway. Even though it is called the "Norwegian Joy Speedway." The cars did not go very fast, and the track was so narrow it was hard to pass people. I was lucky enough to be behind two people who had no idea how to drive or turn and I crashed into them a couple of times, which in turn made people crash into me. And since these were not bumper cars, it was not all that pleasant, but all around, was very cool to do this. Because, hey, might as well. Not like we had anywhere we needed to be. It was definitely cool to be on a racetrack at sea.
The waterslides and pool (and 18 and over hot tub area) were all in the same area of the ship, so Jaime and I had our swimming stuff with us and were eager to try out the speed slide. Now THIS was a speedway. The slide was so fast, it was actually rather frightening, but let me back up.
Sue and Gerry were so awesome to hang out and take photos of us and cheer us on as they did not have their swim stuff with them. But as Jaime and I walk up to the slide attendant at the bottom of the stairs, she instructs us to take off all of our jewelry first. Jaime hands me his wedding ring, and is like "done!" But I am standing there with my nose ring, lip ring, eyebrow ring, 4 rings on my fingers, two toe rings, and 9 earrings in my ears going "ALL of my jewelry?" The attendant nodded yes. So off I go kind of defeated, because I was in no mood to remove all of that. Jaime is climbing the stairs, he zips down the slide, comes out the end and is like WOW! So much fun! And convinces me to just do it. So I remove everything, and finally jewelry free, walk up the stairs, and get ready to go on the slide.
Now let me paint you a picture. This slide is very curvy. Part of it goes out and over the edge of the ship. You have to climb a ton of stairs and then you stand on this little platform thing that drops out, and you just shoot down the slide faster than you even know what the hell is happening. Part of the slide you are even going upwards so you need a lot of momentum. Well, I was a lucky one who did not have enough momentum, and I did not make it to the end of the slide, but got stuck in the middle of it. I wear contacts, so had my eyes closed as water is shooting up in my face, so when I stopped, I was like, "thank goodness it is over" because I was legitimately scared. I could see why this slide did not have a large line. But I open my eyes just to see I am stuck in this giant blue slide. I start banging on it, yelling "Help!" Then like two feet from me, a slide attendant opens a trap door and is like "Hello!" So getting stuck in the slide is a common thing. And I guess why you can't have jewelry as things 'catch' on the slide and you can get caught. A girl before me got stuck in the slide as well, but she was far enough she could push her way to the end.
Anyways, at this point, a couple of on-lookers became interest in my inability to make it through the slide and as I come around from a different deck, ask if I am going to try it again. I was like "no way!" that was frightening! But Sue made the point I had already removed my jewelry and I might as well try it again. Jaime was already on his way up to go a second time. And he made it through the whole thing again, no problem. So I too give it another try. I asked the attendant at the top what I could do to avoid getting caught again, and she said to just keep my body really tight. Which I did. Which still didn't work. I got stuck AGAIN. But this time I did not freak out as I knew right where the trap door was. But as I came walking out in shame for the second time, I was exhausted. And was like, I gave it a very good effort, but I did not want to go through that again.
This cruise I do not have a good drink too much story, however I did get stuck in a waterslide. Twice.
After that mess, we went to the 18 and over area on the back deck to enjoy more Mudslides and the hot tub. Was very lovely to watch the sea, drink, and relax. And forget about the dumb waterslide.
Every day on a cruise ship you get a list of events, and man were there a ton. This first night at sea was "formal night," and optional get fancy and dress up night. Which all four of us did. Gerry and Jaime looked sharp in their blazers and Sue and I wore some pretty nice dresses. We ate in the main dining room once again, and then took advantage of us being all dressed up and got our photos taken by several of the ship photographers.
We walked around quite a bit as we wanted to take advantage of us all being so fancy. We ended up in a whisky bar that had barely any people in it, made friends with the bar tender, and enjoyed drinks and each other's company there until we turned in for the night. But yes, we did go up to the buffet real quick for some light "second nums."
Day 3 - Tuesday, January 14 - Cabo San Lucas
You know, you just can't have a trip without some kind of nonsense happening. I didn't realize this, but Cabo is actually one hour ahead of California time. Generally the ship changes time zones if you are to cross a time zone, however for some reason, they did not. And they did not announce that until the morning of us being in port. We did not have to meet our tour (which we booked independently, not with the cruise ship) until 11:30am, so we got up kinda late, were going to take our time with breakfast, figured we didn't have to catch the tender boat until maybe 10:30am. Which was all true, but now we were an hour behind everything! So we didn't have time for breakfast (which we were really sad about) Sue and Gerry called our room to tell us this, and we hadn't hear the announcement. Thank goodness we were still in our room, or we would have missed it. So we went straight to the tender line, which was a mess because everybody was in our same situation, and was trying to catch their shore excursions. Priority was given to those who booked with the cruiseline, so there was a ton of waiting, but finally, we got off the ship, and on land and made it to our excursion, with very little time to spare. None of us had eaten, so I ran to a nearby store and got us some chips, and holy cow were those Pringles the best things we had ever tasted. It was a good thing we ate too, because lunch was not happening for a while.
So now that we were fed, and with our excursion group, we could relax. We boarded a boat to go take a look at the Arch, which is a really cool rock formation. It is a very popular thing to see. There were maybe 20 or so people on this tour with us. They had music playing, drinks were included and it was all around a very cool vibe. We got some cool photos with the rock formations, then went to another area where we went snorkeling. We remembered to bring our super cool full face snorkels and were able to use those. This area we snorkeled in was pretty remarkable as there was just so many fish. And they would just swim right under your face. Was very beautiful.
After this, lunch was served. Not surprisingly no veggie option for me, but I did get to enjoy some potato salad. I was not worried as I knew plenty of food awaited me on the ship. The crew played music and brought us more drinks, we danced, and best part of all, we saw a ton of whales! This wasn't even a whale watching trip, but we saw them breach, and saw the tales come up out of the water. It was fantastic! And such a nice surprise, because that was not included as something you were likely to see.
After this tour was over, we negotiated with a water taxi driver to take us back to the Arch so we could get a closer view and get more photos. For $10 each, was pretty cool, and it was just the four of us on the little boat.
Once we got back to land, Sue and Gerry headed back to the ship and Jaime and I stuck around to do a little bit of souvenir shopping. We got back to the ship and washed up to get ready for our first night of specialty dining at a restaurant called Tappanyaki - a Hibachi restaurant.
I have only ever been to one of these types of restaurants, and it was while we were in Costa Rica on our honeymoon, and this was a similar experience. So much fun to have the cook make everything in front of you, and they are so entertaining. I had my food cooked separately in the kitchen so it was not mixed with the meat, but was still fun to watch! We all ate so much, it was so filling!
After dinner we went back to the theater to watch a magician! His show was absolutely amazing! I could not believe the high quality of entertainment on this ship! We even were able to get our picture with him at the end! The photo turned out pretty blurry because my phone is on it's way out, but was still cool to meet him. So because my phone is super old, I had left it in the room to charge. But when we were told we could get a photo, Jaime didn't have his phone either, so I RAN up all of the stairs since the elevators took so dang long. The theater was on the 7th floor, our room was on the 13th floor, and the RAN back down so we wouldn't miss the photo op. I was out of breath, and didn't want to go back to our room. Lucky for us, the late night comedy show was starting in the theater right then, so we went in for that.
The comedian said he wanted a female volunteer from the audience, so I stood up and waved my hands, and he picked me! He was doing improve, so he asked me to stand behind him and put my hands through while he put his hands behind him, and I had to be his hands while he talked! People were laughing, so I think I did a pretty good job! They ask you to not take video or photo, but Jaime snuck a few shots with my phone. I guess it was worth it to run all that way for the phone! We headed up to the buffet for "second nums" then headed to bed. But phew, talk about an eventful day!