I am taking one blog and dedicating it to the review of my cruise and the accommodations.
We arrived at the Long Beach terminal at 1:30pm on Sunday and proceeded to check in, before we knew it we were on the ship without our kids :) We went to our room and dropped off our carry on bag and proceeded to explore the ship. First off on the 10th floor is the running track (1479 feet around, or 3.5 laps to about one mile). On the three days at sea, I was able to get in a 10, 14.5, and 5 mile runs) That would be my first international 1/2 marathon! :) The fitness center is also on the 10th floor. In the fitness center they have about 10 treadmills, a aerobics floor, some machines, and dumbbell's. We checked into the Vitality program and that is a program where if you partake in one of their fitness activities they give you a vitality token which you can cash in at the end of the cruise for some gifts. I still have 4 or 5 left, so if someone is going on a Royal Caribbean cruise and would like them, send me an email. Also on the 10 th floor is the shuffle boards. From there we went up to the 11th floor which is a night club. We then proceeded to the 9th floor where at the front of the ship is the buffet, then making our way back is the main pool and 4 hot tubs (although not too hot more warm, this is one of my few complaints about the ship). Behind the main pool is the indoor pool with the glass roof and two more hot tubs, this area is for adults only, is seemed to be a social area for adults and was decent area to hang out, because you do not have the wind that you get at the other pool, remember the ship is going around 25 miles an hour. Finally behind the indoor pool is the spa, where Lori and I both got a couples massage (90 minutes) which was in a corner room with the wall of windows looking out the side and back of the ship. I wanted this room for my cabin. The two ladies that gave us a massage, did an excellent job.
Some other notable items about the ship, our room was on the fourth floor inside in the very front of the ship, next to the main theater, so we hear the music/ performance each night. Although this was not too bad, we could have had the dining room next to us or above us. I heard from someone on the 8th floor, that they could hear people walking by the pool above them, if they listened carefully. While researching the cruise ship, I learned to bring clothes pins to hang up the wet clothes in your cabin, however I did learn that the hangers will hang from the privacy screen in the room, so you can hang the clothes from the hangers.
This being our first cruise, I brought the sleeping pills, and we did not need them, the ship literally rocked us to sleep each night, it was so peaceful and great. I did set my alarm to go off at 5:30 each morning, so I could get up and go running. I would start in the pitch dark and watch the sun slowly creep up into the sky. With that and watching the dolphins in the water while running, was a nice treat. Running on a moving ship, is a lot like trail running. Although the surface is flat, with the movement of the ship, the track would go up and down very slowly with the waves, I have heard some people complain about it, but I loved it. The track went from the front of the ship to just before the smoke stacks, so you never smelled the exhaust of the ship.
The first night we went to the dining room and was escorted to our table, and was greeted by our waiter and assistant waiter. Boon was our waiter and he was from China I think. The assistant waiter was Mariska and she was from South Africa. I told her that I want to bring her home with us (OK, her fiance can also come along). This was her first cruise as a employee, and she did an extremely wonderful job. I ordered a coffee and Lori ordered hot decaf tea with dinner. Each night, we would get to the table and my coffee cup and creamer was on the table and Lori's tea cup and teabags were there waiting for us. By the time we would get seated, the hot water for the tea and coffee would be pored for us. We shared a table with two other people, a lady and her 4 year old son. We somehow only had dinner with them 3 times during the entire cruise. Very nice people and a pleasure to have at the table.
We were anchored in Cabo San Lucas, because of the shallow bay, on Tuesday and we signed up for the activity of swimming with the dolphins at the dolphin pool, worth every penny that we spent. After the briefing and getting life vests on, we were able to sit on the side of the pool and pet the dolphins, then we would jump into the water one at a time and the dolphin would come up and kiss us on the cheek, and then we would be able to kiss the dolphin. We then went into the middle of the pool with a bar and held it up for the dolphin to jump over (I did it twice, holding the bar not jumping). I then had the dolphin roll over and laid on its stomach and went for a ride around the pool WOW that is awesome. Near the end we all (about 8 of us) got into the pool and the dolphin swam around us and we got to pet it and splash around with this awesome animal. We decided to purchase pictures of us with the dolphin and they cost $25 each or a CD with 8 for $100.00 which is what we did. I will upload them later. We then proceeded to go to Poncho's Mexican restaurant. Lets face is around the bay, is the tourist trap area and even a Hooters there. We started to get away from the main area and asked a taxi driver where he would recommend and he sent us to Poncho's which was real good food and great Margaritas. The restaurant is located at N 22° 52.900 W 109° 54.795. After lunch, we did a little shopping and made our way back to the ship.
The next morning we docked were in Mazatlan and when we got off the boat, we walked along the dock to the front of the ship between ours and the Princess cruise ship in front of us and caught a catamaran boat that took us to the island across the water way, where we walked a short distance to the beach where we put on life vests and went for a short 4 mile paddle in a kayak and this was done as a large group of 10 to 15 boats of two. About 1/2 way around cactus Island I decided to jump into the water to cool off. Very refreshing. We then proceeded to paddle the boats back through the surf and to the beach, where we had food and drinks available to us. The group then had the option to go hiking, or swim. Lori and I decided to go swimming in the ocean, since we can go hiking anytime at home. Lori got her hair braided on the beach and I bought a hammock swing. We made it back in plenty of time to do some shipping near the port terminal.
The next morning we arrived in Puarto Viarta, where we caught a zodiac boat and took it to the small town of Boca located at N20 30.760 W105 18.949 where we then boarded some big trucks and that took us to the to the base camp for the Zip lines at N20 28.776 W105 16.044. Here we got fitted with equipment and got on some mules to take us to the top of the mountain where we did about 12 different zip lines ranging anywhere from 50 feet with a angle of 50 degrees to 600 feet with a much less angle. The first several zip lines are above the jungle trees and have a great view and maybe 300 feet down to the ground. After about 7 different zip lines we then rappelled down a waterfall into a crisp clean pool of water. A couple of more zip lines then we walk out onto a platform over a waterfall and do a free fall rappel. The last zip line is set up as two, so two people can race across the 500 foot canopy covered run. You get going about 50 mph at the fastest part, this was such a rush, and once again worth every $$. The pictures that their photographer took sell for a couple $100.00 for a CD. They do not print pictures there, but you get a CD.
The next two days at sea started with the captain getting on the intercom to announce that we would be pulling into Cabo San Lucas to drop off someone that needs medical attention. Some elderly lady was walking on the deck and apparently slipped and broke her hip. So, we pulled in to the bay and dropped a lifeboat that they loaded her into and drove her to a waiting ambulance and the boat returned and we headed back out to sea.
We were in Long Beach on time on Sunday morning where we elected to take our own bags off the ship rather than having the valet service do it. We were one of the first off the boat and were heading to Six Flags for the day. We got there 10 minutes before it opened.
Let me say this about Six Flags Magic Mountain. If you are going there for any other reason than roller coasters, you will be very disappointed. It is full of teen agers and dirty. There is gum everywhere from people spitting it out and even throw-up on some of the ride platforms. They have about 12 good roller coasters and it costs $60 to get in plus $15 to park. Weigh your options before going. We did have fun riding the rides and some scared me to death (X2 ride).
Over all a great vacation, and now back to catching up on all the work.