April 17 - 27

Princess 10-Day Mexican Riviera Cruise

Toby and Alan, Mom and Dad, Auntie Amy and Noe take a 10-Day 'Mexican Riviera' Princess Cruise from San Francisco with ports at Acapulco, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th Anniversary while on this trip.

Day 1 - Friday, April 17th - San Francisco

They day has finally arrived.... VACATION.

I pick up parents from my brother's house Friday late morning and then head over to San Mateo. We load into Toby's father's car and head up to Pier 35 in San Francisco where the cruiseship was docked. The Star Princess arrived earlier that morning from South America. We unloaded the car, the luggage was portered away, we quickly entered the terminal and before we knew it, we were onboard the cruiseship. We were able to access our rooms and put away our carry on luggage. Toby and I were on the Aloha deck 12th floor room A227, my parents were next door in room A223. We had a balcony suite which had a spectacular view of San Francisco. After unpacking we headed up to the Lido deck for lunch. We explored the ship afterwards, then headed back to our rooms, by then our luggage had arrived. My Auntie Amy and Noe had boarded and around 4pm we met down in the Princess theater (our 'Muster Station') for the life jacket demonstration. Immediately afterwards was a "Sail Away" pool party on the Lido Deck. The weather was surprisingly warm and people were already in the pool! The ship departed at 5:47pm and we headed up to the Sun Deck as the ship sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, a spectacular view.

We had a late dinner that evening in the Amalfi dining room, where we made a request to the Maitre'D for our entire party to be together for early seating. Our travel agent Kathy of Redhill Travel treated us to a bottle of wine which we use on our first night at sea.

  • Mom, Dad and I in the backseat of Bill's car en route to Pier 35.

  • Our stateroom Room A227 on the Aloha Deck.

  • Our cramped little bathroom and shower stall, small but functional.

  • Our stateroom had spectacular views of San Francisco and Pier 39.

  • Toby and the view of San Francisco.

  • Lunch onboard and their specialty drink of the day, The Mucho Mango!

  • Mom and Toby by the indoor Calypso Pool.

  • Mom, Dad and I on the Sun Deck, 15th floor.

  • On the front of the ship, just above the navigation deck.

  • The sun deck juts out on either side so you can view the entire length of the ship.

  • The mandatory life jacket drill at our 'Muster Station' (or Princess Theater)

  • Auntie Amy and Noe!

  • At the 'Sail Awa' Party by the Neptune Pool. My parents are dancing by the pool.

  • The ship sets sail! We depart the City by the Bay.

  • Auntie, Noe and I as we approach the Golden Gate.

  • We pass under the Golden Gate.

  • Auntie, Toby and I past the Golden Gate.

  • A spectacular view of the city through the Golden Gate.

  • Toby on our stateroom balcony as the ship heads out to sea.

  • We have a late dinner in the Amalfi dining room.

The Sail Away party and our cruiseship passing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

Day 2 - Saturday, April 18th - Sea Day

Our first full sea day was bright and clear with a slight breeze. We started our morning with a buffet breakfast at Horizon Court, then we headed down to the Vista Lounge for line dancing lessons. Toby and I then spent a good portion of the day exploring the ship and the numerous levels. Since the weather was bright and clear, many people had 'sun' on their minds and layed out by the pool despite the low 60 degree temps. We found a pocket of windless sun in a glass enclosed area off the Lido Deck, we lounged in this spot to soak in some sun. We then swam in the Calypso pool, the indoor swimming pool, then out to the outdoor Neptune pool.

We arrived back to our room that afternoon, and received a letter confirming early dining for our entire party. Prior to dinner there was a LGTB gathering at the Wheelhouse Lounge, there were over 30 attendees! There we met passangers David and Robert from Vancouver, Doug and Roger from Kansas City, Sam and Ken from nearby Belmont. Early dining was at the Amalfi Dining room on the Fiesta Deck (6th floor), table 203, our waiter was Ricky from the Philippines and our assistant was Alla a cute blond from the Ukraine. During dinner I decided my drink for the cruise would be Sapphire Gin and Tonic!

After dinner Toby and I headed up on deck to view the spectacular sunset. Later that evening we headed up to the Skywalker Nightclub where we met up with Doug, Sam and Ken who we met earlier at the LGTB gathering. That night we met Sarah and her partner Laurie. Sarah pulled me out onto the dance floor! Whoo hoo!

  • Morning line dancing lessons in the Vista Lounge.

  • The Neptune Pool as seen from the top deck of the ship.

  • Toby and I find a warm protected spot on the Sun Deck.

  • Alan taking a dip in the hot tub by the indoor Calypso Pool.

  • Toby all by himself in the Neptune Pool, not too chilly.

  • We could just catch some sun on our own stateroom balcony.

  • Mom, Dad, Toby and I by our new dining location in the Amalfi dining room.

  • Sunset pictures from the Sun Deck.

  • Toby on the Sun Deck on a gorgeous sunset evening.

  • A golden sunset over the Pacific.

  • Meeting new friends: Doug, Sam and Ken at Skywalker's Nightclub.

  • I found a new dancing partner Sarah at Skywalker's Nightclub.

Day 3 - Sunday, April 19th - Sea Day

Our second full day at sea. We start off that morning with buffet breakfast. Later I try to connect to the internet and check emails in the Piazza area, but that was an ordeal (slow and expensive), so I poo poo'd that idea. While down in the Piazza they had a fruit/vegetable carving demonstration.

We again spent the day exploring the ship and then laying out in the sun. The weather was getting warmer each day as the boat traveled south. We tried to layout on the top deck but it was too windy for us so we found a protected location on the Sports Deck by the Santuary (An adult only area).

That evening was our first formal night, so we dressed up in our suits for dinner. After dinner was the Champagne Waterfall Party in the Piazza, where there was a huge pyramid of champagne glasses. Passangers were lined up to pour bottles of bubbly at the top of this tower and then witness the gold liquid cascade down. At the party our captain, Bob Oliver, welcomed the passengers and introduced his senior staff.

Outside on the Promenade Deck we took some nice sunset pictures. Later that evening I headed to the Vista Lounge with my parents to listen to Big Band music.

  • Early breakfast at the Horizon Court buffet, the ocean is so calm.

  • Fruit and veggie carving demonstrations in the central Piazza.

  • The three story central Piazza.

  • Fwee! jumping on the sundeck.

  • My dad playing ping pong.

  • Toby and Alan laying out in the sun on the Sports Deck (16th floor)

  • Catching rays on the Sports Deck.

  • Toby and Alan on our first formal dinner night.

  • Dad and Mom on formal dinner night. Dad owns his own tuxedo.

  • Auntie Amy and Noe on formal night.

  • Me and Mom just outside out dining room.

  • The Champagne Waterfall Party in the Piazza.

  • Dad pouring champagne!

  • Captain Bob Oliver welcomes the passengers onboard.

  • Auntie and Noe on a gorgeous sunset night.

  • Me with Mom and Dad.

  • A great photo of Dad and Mom.

Day 4 - Monday, April 20th - Sea Day

Our third full sea day and the weather was nice and warm, we were definitely off the coast of Mexico somewhere. Immediately after breakfast we secured a couple of choice lounge chairs on the Sun Deck by the Neptune Pool. We laid out in the sun for a good portion of the day.

While up on deck numerous activites occured around the pool... there was an ice carving demonstration, live music by the pool, 'bar wars' which had men and women compete for the best drinks, then later they had pool games where two teams completed in various tasks. Just a whole lot of fun.

After dinner we saw the big production show "Destination Anywhere". A lavious production showcasing a hodge podge of locations around the world with some interesting musical interpretations. I loved the contemporary Sound of Music portion during their 'London' segment. Later that evening we stopped off at the Skywalker's Nightclub for late night drink.

  • Toby at the very front of the ship on the Emerald Deck (8th floor)

  • Crowds gather to see the ice sculpture demonstration.

  • Can you make out what the sculpture is??

  • We got choice seats on the Sun Deck around the Neptune Pool.

  • YES I wore Speedos! Who cares, I'll never see these people again... ha!

  • Noe and Dad won GOLD medals in the shuffleboard contest!

  • "Bar Wars" drink competition poolside (girls won!)

  • Dad still wearing his gold medal from shuffleboard.

  • Relaxing on our stateroom balcony.

  • After dinner we stroll on the front of the ship during sunset.

  • In the Princess Theater ready for "Destination Anywhere"

  • Look familiar, similar to Beach Blanket???

  • "Destination Anywhere" had great dancing skits.

  • A night photo from our balcony.

Day 5 - Tuesday, April 21th - Acapulco

We see land! On a hazy yet very calm morning our cruiseship slowly pulls into Acapulco Bay. It was warm in the mid 80s, but it felt hotter since there was no breeze and higher humidity. We arrived around noon. Many of the passangers where up on deck to view our arrival to this vacation mecca.

We booked a shore excursion to see the cliff divers and then tour the city by bus. Toby and I departed the boat early since our excursion left promptly at 12:15. We boarded our air conditioned bus and headed out to La Mirador Hotel at La Quebrada where we saw the diving performances from the hotel restaurant. Everyone steaked out a nice table and waited for the show. The diving occurred around 1pm where half a dozen young men prepared to dive. Some men climbed up the cliff from the waters below to dive. Two men jumped in tandem and for the finale, one man jumped from the very top of the cliff. Quite a spectacular sight, especially since they need to jump out away from the cliffs.

After our show, we did some shopping before boarding the bus to tour the city. The bus drove south along "Avenida Costera Miguel Aleman" which skirts the bay toward the exclusive hilly area south of the city. We made a quick stop for a great elevated panoramic view of the bay, then drove by the ritzy Las Brisas area over the hill toward the Inca pyramid shaped Fairmont Hotel by the Pierre Marques golf club. Then the tour bus proceeded to head back to the center of town to drop us off at our cruiseship, or as our tour guide referred to 'Canoe'.

Once back to the dock we then ventured off on our own, we first took the bridge over to Fort San Diego which was just across the street from the cruiseship. Then we headed into the center of town to the main plaza, or "Zocalo", where there is a central bandstand and the unusual Acapulco Cathedral. We walked along the waterfront, or "Malecon", to the quaint small beach Playa Tiacopanocha, a great location to view our cruisehip. We both walked thru the warm waters then headed back to the Zocalo. This area wasn't exactly the best place to shop, so we headed back to the boat. We did most of our shopping at the cruise ship port stores.

Back on the boat we all missed our early dining time due to all our late arrivals from the shore excursions so we just ate at the buffet. Around 8pm the cruise ship departed and we headed up to the top deck to view the city lights as the ship headed north along the coast. That evening we saw the new production show "Motor City" in the Vista Lounge, a tribute to Motown music.

Panoramic view of Acapulco bay by the cruiseship terminal. Directly in front is the "Zocalo" or town center, the old part of Acapulco. Fort San Diego is the white trimmed brick structure on the right.

  • Me and Dad on the Sundeck as we approach Acapulco.

  • Toby and Alan as we closely approach the dock in Acapulco.

  • The picturesque hills around Acapulco's "El Centro" district.

  • A view of Fort San Diego as seen from our stateroom balcony.

  • Back on solid ground! We head to our waiting tour buses.

  • The La Quebrada cliffs, you can see the shrines by where the diver's jump.

  • A view from the restaurant at the La Mirador hotel.

  • Toby and Alan at the La Mirador hotel.

  • The divers getting ready for their show.

  • Some divers climbed the cliffs from the sea.

  • The first diver launches from upper mid cliff.

  • Tandem divers.

  • Perfect swan position.

  • The finale, a diver jumps from the very top of the cliff.

  • Alan with the La Quebrada cliff divers.

  • Famous celebrities signed the walls of the hotel restaurant.

  • Our tour bus traveled to the southern end of Acapulco Bay.

  • Fwee, had to jump. We had great views from this vista point.

  • Toby with the famous Acapulco bay in the background.

  • Our cruiseship seen from the bridge to the Fort. Our room is circled in red.

  • Fort San Diego was the most important Spanish fortess along the Pacific.

  • Toby out and around the Fort.

  • Alan in one of the five turrets. The moat around the fort is now empty.

  • The picturesque bay as seen from along the Malecon.

  • Along the waterfront area of the El Centro district.

  • Alan at Playa Tiacopanocha.

  • Colorful umbrellas lined the playa.

  • Toby by the fountain in the Zocalo (or town center)

  • The Cathedral of Acapulco.

  • Mom and Dad went to the memorial cross at the very top of the hill south of town.

  • They toured the sultan's home, one he never occupied, he died before it was finished.

  • Time to get back on board!

  • Up on the Sun Deck as the sun sets over the horizon.

  • Everyone hangs out on deck as the city lights come twinkling on.

  • Mom and Dad enjoy their visit to Acapulco.

  • Toby on a warm evening with the glow of city lights.

  • Alan and Toby say adios to Acapulco.

A complete 360 degree view from one of the turrets of Fort San Diego, which is directly across the cruiseship terminal. Click on photo to expand, and then click on photo to get full size, then use scroll bar to view areas of the image.

Video of our cliff divers as seen from the Hotel Mirador.

Day 6 - Wednesday, April 22th - Manzanillo

On day six we headed north to the quaint seaside village of Manzanillo. Our original port was Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, but the captain changed course due to increased violence reported in the area due to the drug cartels. The captain did not want to place any passengers or crew in any possible danger. Prior to arriving we had breakfast again at the buffet and later I watched my Dad win another gold medal in shuffleboard. As the noon hour approached we could see Manzanillo and we headed up to the top deck to see our cruise ship dock in the industrial port area. On our arrival we saw a pod of dolphins in the bay.

We didn't know anything about Manzanillo, so it was interesting to see what lay before us. Mom and Dad signed up to visit the Cayutlan Turtle Sanctuary, Toby and I just decided to take the shuttle bus into downtown Manzanillo or "Jardin" (garden / town square) to go sightseeing and shopping. Auntie Amy and Noe did the same. I really liked Manzanillo and it's less 'pushy sales' atmosphere, it made shopping a much more pleasant experience. The center of town had a huge open plaza with a monsterous metal marlin sculpture. We walked up and down the colorful streets popping in and out of stores for souveniors. The downtown had a nice waterfront walkway which was lined in bright bougenvilla flowers.

After a long day of shopping we headed back to the cruiseship via the shuttle bus and then took a dip in the terrace pool at the rear of the ship. We didn't see my parents nor auntie or Noe all day, so during dinner it was just me and Toby at our table. After dinner we headed back up to our room where we saw my parents next door. The ship left port around 7:30pm, just in time to wave goodbye to the friendly people of Manzanillo and to see a gorgeous sunset over the bay.

  • A view looking down from our balcony. The 9th and 10th floor had larger balconies.

  • Dad entering another shuffleboard contest.

  • Dad WINS another gold medal!

  • Toby and downtown Manzanillo in the background.

  • The enormous metal marlin sculpture in the central plaza.

  • An arched walkway covers pedestrians while shopping.

  • Mexico was filled with colorful garments.

  • A historic hotel in downtown Manzanillo had a popular restaurant.

  • Toby along one of the picturesque side streets in Manzanillo.

  • Colorful homes dotted the hillsides.

  • The main shopping area by the central plaza.

  • A large plaque shows exactly where we are.

  • I found the hillsides very picturesque.

  • The ship as seen from the waterfron walkway.

  • Bougenvilllas lined the waterfront.

  • Restaurants dotted the waterfront.

  • Back onboard, relaxing in the Terrace pool.

  • Mom and Dad went to the Cayutlan Turtle Sanctuary.

  • Toby and I had the whole table to ourselves for dinner.

  • Looking out our balconies as the ship departs Manzanillo.

  • Another spectacular sunset in Mexico.

  • The sky became ablaze in golden hues.

  • Later that night I had drinks in the Piazza with my parents.

Day 7 - Thursday, April 23th - Puerto Vallarta

Day seven, we arrived at Puerto Vallarta before sunrise. We didn't have much time to see the sunrise before having to eat breakfast and then meet up for our shore excursion at the dock by 8:50am.

Toby and I along with my dad signed up for the Jungle Canopy Adventure, where we would go zip lining thru the tree tops! Our new friends Sarah and her partner Laurie also came along with us on this adventure. There were only 12 of us on our excursion. While on the dock we saw Auntie and Noe preparing for their boat cruise down to Yelapa and Majahuitas. For our excursion we rode in back of an what seemed like a coverted army jeep. The ride took us along highway 90, past a tequila factory and a scary prison. After going up a bumpy dirt road, we arrived at our destination (a 45 minute drive from our boat). We quickly met up with our zip line crew and became familiarized with our equipment and zip lining techniques. We headed up to our first zip line (an easy one), it was first of around 10 zip lines. We got the technique down fairly quickly. The narrow platforms around the trees were a little scary since they were high up and not a lot of room. At one tree it seemed like all 12 of us were on the tree! The whole tree shook as each of us departed down the zip line. The crew kept us entertained and informed while we zipped thru the tree tops. Dad was sure a character on this trip, he had a blast. After the last zip line we had to repel 80 feet down from the last tree and then we hiked back up the canyon to the starting point. There was a photographer who came along on the journey, we bought the entire set of digital photos (some are shown below). We then boarded the jeep or 'yellow limousine' as they referred to, and then headed back to the boat.

Once back, Toby and I quickly hopped into a jeep and headed to the seahorse statue along the Malecon or downtown area of Puerto Vallarta. Dad went with mom shopping along the dock area. The taxi quickly took us to downtown where we walked along the sidewalk to see the various shops and glance at the numerous sculptures that lined the Malecon. The waterfront was gearing up for a spectacular firework display at night (which we missed). We walked over to the picturesque church in center of town or "Our Lady of Guadalupe". We didn't have much time to spend exploring since we had to board the boat at 4:30pm.

Back on the boat we went up to the Sports Deck to shoot some hoops and play minature golf. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship "Mariner of the Sea" was docked next to ours. Their ship was newer and bigger! We met up with Mom and Dad, Auntie and Noe for dinner at 5:30pm. Afterwards we gazed at the ocean from the Promenade Deck, spotting an occassional turtles swimming in the ocean.

Later that evening Toby and I ventured up onto the Lido Deck where the big "Tropical Deck Party" was taking place, the entire deck was lined with palm fronds to simulate a tropical oasis. We met up with the boys and gals who had secured a choice table by the pool. The band was playing music and people where dancing the night away. Once they played the 'Electric Slide' I was out on the dance floor, that then followed with the macarena and the cha cha slide! Whoo Hoo.

  • Early morning along the Puerto Vallarta coastline.

  • Mom and Dad in their balcony as seen from the Sun Deck

  • Dad, Noe, Auntie and me out on the dock in Puerto Vallarta

  • Toby, Dad and I board our yellow 'limo' to our zip line adventure.

  • Our jeep heads uphill passing military guards. Our guide in the back of the jeep.

  • Toby and Dad getting outfitted for zip lining.

  • Laurie and Sarah getting ready for their tree flying adventure.

  • Nice horns!

  • Vogue.. strike a pose!

  • Toby zipping high among the tree tops.

  • Dad taking off on a zip line.

  • Alan showing such good form!?

  • Fwee!!

  • While high in the trees we all became tree huggers.

  • One zip they twirled us around like crazy!

  • Can these platforms be any higher?

  • Enough of these twirling zip lines! I'm about to vomit!

  • Dad... fweeee...

  • Alan... fweeeee....

  • Toby... fweee......

  • Dad repelling down the final tree.

  • Can I possibly have more fun?

  • Toby was the last one down the tree.

  • The three zipliners!

  • Toby by the seahorse statue along the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.

  • A huge firework display setup for that evening's festivities (we missed it!)

  • The crown topped tower at the famous church in Puerto Vallarta.

  • Toby outside the "Lady of Guadalupe" church.

  • Inside the picturesque church.

  • Numerous sculptures lined the Malecon.

  • A huge sand sculpture lined the beach.

  • Mom and Dad went shopping along the shops close to the ship.

  • A colorful display of clothes at a streetside vendor.

  • Dad outside our cruiseship.

  • Back on board, we head up to the Sports Deck to shoot some hoops and gulf.

  • Mom and Dad with our waitstaff, Ricky and Alla.

  • Pirate photos outside our dining room.

  • We all gaze at the ocean watching passing turtles float by.

  • Tropical Deck Party! Nice glasses David!

  • The gang! Doug, Alan, Roger, Sam, Toby, Laurie; seated: Ken and Sarah.

  • Toby, Alan and Ken.

  • Dancing with Sarah under the stars!

Day 8 - Friday, April 24th - Cabo San Lucas

Our cruiseship arrived before 8am to our final port at Cabo San Lucas. Earlier we had breakfast with the family at Horizon Court. Toby and I along with my mom signed up for the Land's End Boat Tour and Beach Visit which met at the dock at 11:30am. There is no dock for the cruiseship in Cabo San Lucas so we had take 'tenders' from the cruiseship to the marina area. Dad left early for his deep sea fishing excursion.

We decided to head off the boat early so we can do some shopping in Cabo. We quickly boarded the tender for a ride to the marina. The marina was filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, an ultra luxury yacht named "Attessa" was in the marina, a multistory yacht with a helicopter! Once on land we were hounded by hoards of vendors and people selling souveniors and iguana photos. (very irritating to me) We walked along the water front toward a small fleamarket which was a little quieter. Time was running short so we decided not to purchase anything until after our tour.

We walked back to the pier for our 11:30am departure. Sam and Ken, Doug and Roger also were on our tour. Around 11:30am we boarded a large touring yacht for a 45 minute tour of the rocky "Land's End" formation to see it's famous water arch. The waters were rough along the tip but the boat ventured as close as possible for some spectacular photos. The ship then rounded the corner so we could see the formation from the other side. The Pacific side of the point had rough sea swells and the boat was rocking! Along the coast we can see condos clinging to the cliffs above the long stretch of pristine white sand beaches. After our boat tour we boarded a bus which took us to a hotel beach resort where we had lunch and lounge chairs to relax. We had tacos and nachos for lunch on a shaded beach table. Mom relaxed under the umbrella while we lounged on their cushioned mats. We then headed out to the beach and swam in the warm waters. The beach resort had their own sectioned off ocean. Hoardes of beach vendors stood ready to sell their wares just outside the roped off section. By 3:30pm it was time to board the bus and head back to the marina. We stopped at the indoor flea market to make last chance purchases before leaving our final port.

Back onboard Toby and I hit the pool to refresh ourselves before getting ready for dinner. During dinner we found out that Auntie and Noe went on the wrong excursion but still had a good time, and that Dad's deep sea fishing excursion was a bust, not even a nibble.

That evening Ken and Sam invited us to their stateroom for drinks, once there we met up with Sarah and Laurie, Doug and Roger. They presented us with sombreros which we wore up to the nighclub. Not much was occuring that evening at the club so we called it a night.

  • What a beautiful view while having breakfast.

  • We rode 'tenders' from the cruiseship to the pier in Cabo San Lucas.

  • Alan and Toby along the marina waterfront in Cabo San Lucas.

  • The bustling marina of Cabo.

  • Mom and Alan.

  • The Attessa, owned by industrialist Dennis Washington.

  • Mom and I on our excursion to Land's End.

  • El Arco at Land's End.

  • Toby at Land's End.

  • Alan at Land's End.

  • The rugged coast at Cabo San Lucas.

  • The beach resort stop. We have lunch here.

  • Toby in the warm waters off Cabo.

  • Alan refreshing his feet in the water after walking in hot sand.

  • Toby and Alan.

  • Ken and Sam relaxing in the shade.

  • Toby and Alan.

  • The yellow umbrellas seemed interesting to me.

  • Back on the ship, we take a dip in the Neptune pool.

  • Sombreros courtesy of the guys! OLE!

Day 9 - Saturday, April 25th - Sea Day

Now it was time to head up the coast back home, the weather drastically changed from the 90 degree temps of Cabo to the mid 60's. The wind picked up which made laying out in the sun nearly impossible. After breakfast we roamed the Promenade Deck and explored areas of the ship we have yet to see. There was a culinary demonstration in the Princess Theater where we sat in to watch the head chef make a raspberry chocolate cake type dessert. Immediately following the demonstration we had a tour of the galley, which was huge and spotless. Afterwards we tried desparately to get some sun, so we steaked out some lounge chairs on the upper deck. They had another ice carving demonstration poolside. That afternoon we hit the gym, did some weights and relaxed in the steamroom / sauna.

That evening was our second formal night of our cruise, we had a nice dinner celebrating my parent's 50th anniversary. During dinner the mariachi band played for my parents and the wait staff presented them with a small cake and candle. After dinner we stopped to take a professional group photo. We then headed to the Princess Theater to see the production of "Cinematastic" a tribute to movie songs, the theater was packed, not an empty seat in the house.

After the show Toby and I headed up to the Skywalker Nightclub where it was happening! First, I danced with some ladies who pulled me up on the dance floor then the gang appeared and the music slowly got better. We dance floor quickly filled up and soon we found us all dancing with 'Barbara'! That gal can get down!

  • The rear of the ship as seen from the Promenade Deck.

  • The rear of the ship by the Terrace Pool on the 12th floor.

  • The culinary demonstration in the Princess Theater.

  • We get a tour of the galley, just one of three galleys on board.

  • The galley was spotless and cavernous.

  • We viewed numerous areas of the galley.

  • The ice carving demonstration by the Neptune pool.

  • Alan, Mom and Dad outside our staterooms.

  • Auntie Amy and Noe.

  • We order a bottle of Merlot for the table.

  • Cheers!

  • Saluté!

  • Another marvelous meal for dinner.

  • The mariachi band performs at our table.

  • Alan and Toby on our last formal night dinner.

  • The dining staff present an anniversary cake to my parents.

  • Mom and Dad blowing out the candle on their cake.

  • The head Maitre'd takes our group photo along with our waitstaff.

  • Our group formal picture.

  • Alan watching the sunset on the Promenade Deck.

  • The production show "Cinematastic" in the Princess Theater.

  • Toby and I on our last night at Skywalker's Lounge.

  • Alan, Doug, Roger and Ken.

  • Get down, and get FUNKY.

  • Alan and Sarah dancing away. Inset: Barbara dancing with me and also Doug.

Day 10 - Sunday, April 26th - Sea Day

Our last full day at sea was a quiet one, the weather was too cold to do any outdoor activity, the seas were rough and the swells made the boat rock constantly. Toby wasn't feeling too great that day so we didn't do much. We did workout for a little bit and hit the steamroom / sauna for some warmth. It was difficult doing the cardio machines with the boat swaying side to side. I started packing my stuff and gathering everything since the suitcases had to picked up around dinner time.

That evening was our final dinner onboard and the traditional night for the Baked Alaska dessert show. Toby wasn't feeling up to dinner and stayed in the stateroom. That evening we thanked our waiter Ricky and assistant Alla for their attentive service during the entire cruise, they made our dining experience on board outstanding.

After dinner Toby and I ventured down to the Promenade Lounge where we met up with Sarah and Laurie, David and Robert, Sam and Ken, Doug and Roger, Will and ?, the two brother's (?name). We then stopped by the Explorer's Lounge for last drinks. There was a country band, we saw my Aunt and Noe, and my parent's dancing away. After a few drinks we bid our new friends farewell.

  • Noe and Dad pose outside the Explorer's Lounge.

  • Our waiter Ricky and his assistant Alla with our dessert, a Baked Alaska.

  • Ricky and Alla serving us some Baked Alaska.

  • Our assistant Maitre'd Francesco.

  • Saying farewell to our friends: Jay, Sam, Ken, Sarah, and Roger

  • On our last evening, Mom and Dad country dancing in the Explorer's Lounge

  • Dad and I just outside the Princess Theater.

A video of the Baked Alaska event on our last night of our cruise. Our assistant waiter Alla is first in the procession. Due to fire issues they use fake candles to simulate a fire, they dining room was dimmed to enhance the effect.

Day 11 - Monday, April 27th - San Francisco

Early morning the cruiseship enters the calm waters of the San Francisco Bay. It was around 5:00am when the ship headed under the Golden Gate Bridge. We didn't sleep well that evening and were wide awake for this passage, surprisingly many people were awake and up and about. We walked up on deck to take early morning photos of the bridge and the city. After we showered I had breakfast at the buffet with my parents. Around 8am we headed down to the casino for our disembarkment. Due to immigration issues with some passengers, our disembarkment was delayed. There was some confusion on who where to exit the ship first and my parents and a slew of other passengers exited the ship before they were suppose to (they had to wait for their luggage)

We finally left the ship around 10am, and found our luggage in a sea of baggage along the pier. It was a zoo waiting along the Embarcadero for Bill and Jim to pick us up. The swine flu outbreak in Mexico made our arrival interesting, news crews were interviewing passengers who just got off the boat, as well as those waiting to board the ship for the next Mexican cruise. The passangers on our ship were mostly unaware of the flu outbreak in Mexico. Porters onshore wore face masks as they helped passengers off the ship, as if we were all infected with the contagious swine flu. The traffic was barely moving so we wheeled our luggage down the Embarcardero to Jim and Bill's cars.

We had a magnificant time on our cruise. The staff on board were very attentive and made our experience enjoyable. The food was delicious and always plentiful. The bars were stocked with my Sapphire gin ('... just get a double!'). We met some fun people on board. And the ports of call were interesting and each unique in their own way. Until our next adventure... BON VOYAGE!

  • The cruiseship slowly approaches the Golden Gate in the early morning hours.

  • The south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • The skyline of San Francisco before sunrise.

  • Monday morning at Pier 39.

  • Adios mi amigos!