My Husbands Daily Cruise Blog from The November Cruise

My Husbands Mexican Riviera Cruise Blog

While we were on the cruise my husband wrote a daily blog of our activities on the cruise. I did a little editing and thought I’d post it here for you. If you are curious at all about cruising on Celebrity or to the Mexican Riviera, and from bit different perspective than just me, I think he does a good job of detailing the cruise.

Day 1 – Pre-cruise drive and stay in San Diego

Well, we arrived in San Diego yesterday afternoon after a bit of a drive. I had wanted to fly to San Diego to get to the cruise ship, but Suzanne wanted to drive. In a compromise, we agreed to drive, but she would do the driving, which is a challenge in of itself, as I don’t like being a passenger, but even less so when she drives.

It took us about 7 hours to get here with a half hour stop for lunch. It wasn’t all that bad as the kids were behaved and the scenery was new as we had never driven to San Diego before. By 3:30 pm we were checked into our room and all settled. We stopped by the hotel bar for a quick cocktail and to chart our plans for the evening. We didn’t really want to do too much as the drive was still long and my foot continues to bother me.

We decided to walk about a mile to the Gaslamp Quarter and find a nice Italian restaurant for dinner. There was three of them right near each other. One seemed very upscale which interested me. Another was a trattatoria and the third was an osteria. From my business travels to Rome and Suzanne’s one trip, she picked the osteria because that usually means small home cooking type restraunt. All of them looked very nice and inviting. The restaurant was Panevino.

After a modest bottle of wine ($46), appetizer, dinner and dessert, we managed to rack up a $250 bill. It was very nice and good though. Suzanne had Cioppino (spelling?) which caused her to repeat many times that she was in heaven. It was a plateful and if you like seafood, looked wonderful. I went with one of my Roman favorites, Saltimbocca, and it didn’t disappoint though it came with spinach that went uneaten.

For dessert, we went with tiramisu and it was fantastic. I have yet to find a tiramisu in the states that was as good as what I used to get in Rome. Last night was VERY close. It was wonderful. My daughter called it a tie with my own version of tiramisu. My son had to be different (that’s an inside family joke) and had gelatto – Italian ice cream. It came in a cone of almond brittle. My son didn’t leave any behind.

This afternoon, we board the Celebrity Mercury for our Mexican cruise. It should be an enjoyable couple of weeks.

Day 2 – Embarkation Day on Celebrity Mercury

The first day of our 2006 Celebrity Mercury cruise to Mexico is in the books and it was a fun one!

We boarded the Mercury in San Diego about noon. We grabbed a quick lunch on board at the grill and plotted out our day. The first day, Suzanne always likes to take her video camera and walk the whole ship and film it. With folks still coming on board, its a good time to get the public areas captured. I did a good job of making sure my favorite seat at the sky bar was still there.

We actually left San Diego on time at 5:00 pm. Usually, we are late leaving. We met some folks from her cruise forums groups that she chats with every day. The kids quickly became acquainted with the kids club and made some new friends in a hurry.

With the kids with us, we signed up for early seating dinner. We prefer the late seating, but the kids may not be able to stay up that late, especially on the big production show nights since those are after dinner and they like to see them. We had a nice table for four in the dining room which I prefer with kids, plus I like eating with just family. Suzanne likes to eat with others and meet them, but she is an extravert and I am an intravert.

For the first night, I choose the fettucini carbonara as my main dish. They also had veal picatta, so I asked them to bring me one slice of that too since I love veal. It was wonderful as usual. Suzanne went with the veal picatta for her main entree. Both My daughter and My son chose roasted spring chicken. They both also loved their shrimp cocktail appetizers.

After dinner, we watched the welcome aboard show in the theater. As usual, Suzanne became part of the show. At one point, the singer on stage was getting ready to sing an opera song and asked if anyone knew any Italian opera. Of course, Suzanne’s hand shot up and he called her up on stage and was a bit incredulous that she might be able to do that. Well, they sang some opera together, though Suzanne didnt really know that one. I think we are already up to a couple of dozen folks coming up to us and asking if she was a plant in the audience. She did pretty well. Quite often her singing gets us some free drinks, so I am hopeful.

We retired for the night at about 11:00 pm to be well rested for the next day. Its a formal night and the kids get a slumber party in the kids club until 1:00 am, so Suzanne wants to go out dancing tonight, which may be a challenge with my foot, but its getting better.

Today is a day at see, our favorite time. We plan a leisurely day enjoying being away from it all.

Day 3, our 2nd Cruise Day, first Sea Day

Yesterday was a wonderful day at sea on our way to Mexico aboard the Celebrity Mercury. The days at sea are the best for me. Most ports, I don’t really care if we get off the boat or not. We usually do, but it’s certainly not a priority for me.

The weather yesterday was absolutely wonderful. The temperature was in the mid-70’s, mostly clear skies and very little wind. It was perfect for sitting up on deck and relaxing. The water was almost a sheet of glass. It was the calmest I have ever seen the ocean on a cruise. And to think, there was some apprehension before leaving about hurricane/tropical storm Sergio messing up the area.

The kids enjoyed most of the day in the Kids Club. They had a bunch of activities planned for them. We all got together for one of them – a family scavenger hunt. We had 30 minutes to scour the ship for a list of items. We did pretty well and finished 3rd overall. The kids won a Celebrity Kids Club backpack for our efforts.

I was in follow mode for most of the adult activities. Suzanne wanted to compete in several trivia contests that were held the first day. They are not my favorite thing, but were still relaxing. We actually took first place in one of the trivia contests and won a Celebrity pen apiece. I did manage to get to the duty free shops and pick up my obligatory Celebrity Mercury hat. I always get a hat of the ship I am on.

Last night was a formal night, so we got all decked out for dinner. My son and I had on our tuxedos with matching taupe vests. Since we zeroed in on cruising as our family vacation, we own our own tuxes. Suzanne wore a nice gold dress. Since that’s the best I can describe it, I am sure I will be in trouble. My daughter wore a nice ivory dress that I think she got for her first communion. She got lots of compliments on it.

Dinner was wonderful once again. The kids were excited because they had escargot as an appetizer choice. They really love those snails. My son and Suzanne had Gulf Shrimp in a sauce for dinner. My daughter had a nice looking roasted pork tenderloin. I had a filet mignon with a nice sherry sauce.

After dinner, it was the first big production show of the cruise with the Celebrity Singers and Dancers. We went as a family and enjoyed the show. The kids got a big kick out of meeting the cast afterwards and sharing with them all the dance classes they are taking. Some of the dancers said they will come by the talent show and watch the kids do their dances. I don’t know if they will or not, but they were very nice to the kids.

It was a late night for everyone last night. The Kids Club was running a slumber party for the kids until 1:00 am so we let them go to that and Suzanne and I went out “on the town” for the night. We enjoyed several of the different clubs and the live music in them. Suzanne likes to stay out late on the formal nights when she went to the effort of dressing up. Also, we were scheduled for a late morning arrival into Cabo San Lucas so we could sleep in.

As I type in this post, we are anchored just outside of Cabo and tendering operations have begun. Its another beautiful day in Mexico. Our plan is to enjoy a lunch and then take a water taxi out to the El Archo on Lands End.

More to come from the beautiful Celebrity Mercury on our 2006 Mexico cruise…

Day 4 – Cabo San Lucas

Yesterday was our first day in port as we visited Cabo San Lucas. It was another beautiful day with temperatures reaching about 80. You can feel the heat rising as we head South. Skies were once again clear and calm although the harbor where we dropped anchor was a bit choppy.

We had a scheduled arrival time of 10:30 in Cabo and we arrived right on schedule. It was very beautiful to watch the Mexican coast pass by as we approached Lands End (the end of the Baja California Peninsula). The rock formations that jut out from the end, such as El Arcos, were stunning.

We decided to lunch about noon and then take a tender into Cabo for our water taxi tour and ride out to Lovers Beach. Since they started launching the tenders about 11:00 and we didn’t go there until about 1:00, we were able to get on a tender with no wait. I like the little boat rides in, but some people get really freaked out by them. Half a dozen folks turned around instead of getting in the tender and riding it ashore. I also heard others on deck saying no way they would ride in a tender boat which is actually one of the life boats. I guess they don’t like small boats. Last time we did this itinerary, all I did was ride the tender back and forth a few times.

After getting ashore, we began searching for a water taxi to hire. After some haggling, we agreed on a price and plan. The water taxis are glass bottom boats about the size of a row boat with an outboard motor. The taxi driver gave us a little tour of the harbor and then headed for Lands End. The scenery near Lands End was very nice from the glass bottom boat. We saw some wonderful coral formations and many different kinds of fish. He gave us some nice close of views of the El Arcos and the other formations that make up Lands End. To be safe, we didn’t bring our new digital camera with us, but wished we had. We did have a disposable underwater camera that we snapped a few pictures of. Hopefully, they will come out well.

After the Lands End tour, we had the taxi drop us off at Lovers Beach near El Arcos. The kids were able to swim there for about an hour before we boarded the water taxi for the return ride to the harbor. It was a fun afternoon.

On the way back to the ship, we noticed the water had gotten a bit rougher, but the weather was still very nice although a bit humid. The tender Captain had a some trouble getting the tender tied up at the Mercury and at one point we crashed into the ship dock pretty hard. The fiberglass side of the boat creaked and bent pretty good. A small hole formed in the side of the tender. A couple of folks became panicked though I didn’t really get why. The hole was a good 4 feet above the waterline and was no danger to the tender. Even if the hole had been on the direct bottom of the tender, it would have taken hours to take on enough water to cause issues. Oh well, someone still has some repair work to do.

Dinner was an informal night. Our son still wanted to wear a tie, so we let him. The kids also noticed on the menu in small print that escargot was one of the things that could be ordered any night of the cruise which just got them excited. So, they enjoyed a second straight night of escargot. For the entree, my daughter and I enjoyed pan roasted baby spring chicken seared with rosemary olive oil. It was very delicious though a bit small which actually was quite pleasant because we have eaten too much food as usual. Suzanne enjoyed a three fish combo plate and my son ordered Sirloin Roast Beef with some Lamb shank on the side.

After dinner, the kids went to the Kids Club and Suzanne and I took in the show which was a ventriloquist. He was very good and hilarious. We had a good laugh at the show. The kids probably would have enjoyed it too. Late night meant karaoke night. Suzanne sang three songs. We retired for the night again about midnight.

The late night mean another short sleep night as we were docking at 7:00 am in Mazatlan the next morning and we had an excursion planned for the day. We will need a vacation to recover from our vacation at this rate.

Day 5 – Mazatlan

Today was in the Mexican port city of Mazatlan. This city is an industrial port with lots of commerce shipping. Upon leaving the boat you get on a little trolley that takes you through the port to the exit so you don’t get lost or run over by the port activity. As has been the case for the entire cruise, the weather was impeccable.

This was the one port on our itinerary that we had booked an excursion through the cruise line. Suzanne, and the kids all take folklorico dance classes and they really wanted to see some authentic dancing while in Mexico. So, we booked a shopping, dance and beach tour. (it includes a folklorico show)

Open air taxis picked us up at the dock and drove us about 15 minutes to a shopping area in Mazatlan. We had about two hours to shop before the folklorico dancing and the Paplanta Flyers show. That’s two hours of my life I will never get back! Suzanne and the kids completed their souvenier shopping in about 30 minutes so we had a bit of wait for the show.

Our daughter has been searching in every port for Barbie type dolls in Mexican folklorico dance costumes of the Mexican state that we are visiting. She has been successful thus far. Our son’s goal is to buy a souvenir a day. He has come prepared as he has saved up about $125 for the cruise to spend on souvenirs. Thus far, his big expenditures have been a sombrero and a poncho type pullover. Thus far, Suzanne and I haven’t bought anything ashore for ourselves.

The folklorico dancing was fun and nice. The kids really enjoyed it. They knew several of the dances that were performed as they do the same ones in their dance classes.

The highlight of the show was the Papantla Flyers. They are a long historied Mexcian Indian tribe that worships a Sun god and perform high flying acts to pay homage to the god. The highlight was their performance from an 80 foot pole. Five flyers climb to the top of the pole. Four hang off of bars while the fifth and leader Indian does a dance on a 1 foot square platform atop the 80 foot pole. There are no wires or nets and concrete is below. When he is done, he sends the four flyers outward. They are attached to ropes, but swing around and perform stunts as they descend. The show was quite nice.

After the shows, we got to go to a local Mazatlan resort to enjoy a buffet lunch and the beach. The kids had a ball swimming in the ocean. Mr Papa relaxed under a tent and enjoyed a beer. All in all, it was a nice excursion.

Mazatlan was an enjoyable town, but there was a couple of things that were a bit off. One, the merchandise vendors at the show and the beach were incessant and omnipresent. I certainly could have done without them. Second, the emcee at the show made several comments about how great Mazatlan was and how it was off the beaten path and we would enjoy it the best. Plus, he claimed there was no crime in Mazatlan. Well, there were many police pickup trucks with armed guards in the back with M-16’s out driving around town. Either there is no crime because of them or the opposite is true and thats why they were out there. I strongly suspect it’s the latter. That said, we always felt safe though it was odd to see those guys in the back of the pickup trucks with the guns at ready.

Thanksgiving dinner was enjoyable. Suzanne and my daughter enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of Turkey and all the trimmings. We have usually passed on the turkey on our past Thanksgiving cruises, but Suzanne thought the presentation sounded better than in the past. My son opted for a marinated beef plate that he didn’t really care for. I went for the rack of veal, but had them add a slice of turkey to the plate. The veal was fabulous. I think I have had the veal three times now and enjoyed it each time.

Tomorrow our port of call is Puerto Vallarta.

Day 6 Puerto Vallarta

Today, our port of call is Puerto Vallarta. The weather is fabulous once again. There are very few clouds in the sky and no wind. The weather is comfortable with moderate humidity which I could do without. As it has been the entire cruise, the water remains unbelievably calm meaning very smooth sailing.

Suzanne frequents a several cruising sites every day and makes multiple posts in them. She has made many friends from these forums and tries to hook up with these new founds friends whenever possible. We have met half a dozen or so on this cruise who had booked the same cruise. Another couple, Rosie and Dew N Gr8, just happened to spending a couple of weeks in Puerto Vallarta at the same time as our cruise. They invited us to spend the day with them at their resort while docked in Puerto Vallarta. We accepted.

They were staying at the Velas Vallarta. It was a very nice complex of hotel, pools and beach. The kids got to enjoy several hours in the ocean and another couple of hours in the pool. Dew and Rosiewere fabulous folks and we thoroughly enjoyed the company. They are 15 – 20 years older than us, but we all related well and got along. We enjoyed many, many drinks and lunch at the resort all for about $45, quite a good deal. I think we would have a great time cruising with them.

We returned to the cruise ship in time for the sail away party and dinner, though we were slightly delayed, as about 30 minutes out of Puerto Vallarta, we stopped and waited for the pilot boat to bring out a passenger that had missed the sailing. It had to be embarrassing for her as they announced it on the PA and everyone was at the railing on the topside decks to great the passenger back to the boat with a round of applause. Frankly, I was a bit surprised they stopped the ship and waited for the passenger to rejoin the ship.

Dinner was great once again and I sound like a broken record. The food is one of the reasons we really like Celebrity. We have not yet found a person who thinks another cruise lines food compares to Celebrities. The kids enjoyed a third night of escargot – I think they are going to turn into one. My daughter tried a filet of sole and just loved it. I was a bit surprised that she ordered it as we dont eat much fish like that. She responded “Papa, I have to try something new every meal”. Well, she ate every bit of that fish and loved it. I suspect she will be eating more fish in the future. My son got a pasta dish. Arggh, I cant remember what Suzanne ordered. I couldn’t make up my mind between the ultra thick pork chop and the prime rib, so I got both. I skipped the rest of the courses and had them put one slice of prime rib and one pork chop on a plate with a baked potato and that was my dinner. Wow, they were good. The sauce on the pork chop was out of this World. The prime rib was cooked to medium rare perfection.

After dinner, we attended the show. It was an Australian singer that had a four octave range. He sang pop to opera and was enjoyable. After the show, it was 50’s and 60’s sock hop time. That party was incredible and the most attended event outside of the theatrical shows on the ship. The Pavilion Lounge was standing room only. Suzanne, my son and my daughter were dressed like the 50’s. Mr Papa was the fuddy duddy again. They looked cool. My son even got asked to dance by the hottest dancer in the Celebrity Dancer troupe and did quite well. That should be some good fodder for the school playground. It was a wild and loud party. In all of our cruises, we hadnt yet attended this party. I dont think we will miss another one. The kids finally petered out about midnight and took them off to bed. Suzanne hung around a bit longer as her and one of the dance hosts were having fun doing some pretty wild dancing.

Tomorrow is a day at sea and we plan to sleep in for a change and catch up on our sleep.

Day 7 – Sea day

And a glorious day it was. The weather remains perfect and yesterday was the best day of the cruise for me. I just love days at sea. They are so peaceful and relaxing. One is free to do what they want on the ship. I like to spend time just staring at the ocean of the Mexico coast as we pass by approximately 15 NM offshore.

We actually slept in until about 9:00 in the morning and just plain skipped breakfast. It felt pretty good to skip a meal as we have eaten lots of good food already. The kids spent most of the day in the Kids Club doing a lot of fun activities. They had a ship building contest, pirate fun and other stuff. Suzanne spent the whole afternoon in the cabin sleeping. That’s not my idea of fun, but thats what is great about sea days – do what you want. I walked some laps on the exercise track, stared at the ocean and had a couple of beers at the sky bar. All in all, it was a very nice day.

Prior to dinner, we went to the Captain’s Club Reception. They provided some munchies and champagne. With all the concern about Norovirus on cruise ships these days, this was the first time you couldn’t shake the Captains hand as you entered the room. The kids and I still had our picture taken with the Captain. Suzanne wasn’t in the picture as she wasn’t quite ready in time.

I sound like a broken record, but dinner was again fabulous. Everyone but me started with Frog Legs. For the main entree, My daughter had Rigatoni Amatricianna as did my son. I actually had them bring me a small plate of that as my appetizer as it was my second or third favorite pasta dish when visiting Rome on business. Suzanne ordered the quail for dinner and I went with the filet mignon.

So, being a day at sea and not a lot of activity to report on, I thought I would pass along a few other tidbits that may have flown under the radar in previous posts about the cruise thus far:

* Mercury is scheduled for 2 weeks of dry dock in April. We have gotten conflicting reports on the extent of the dry dock. We are curious because we will be sailing her again in June to Alaska. We do know that all the interior public areas are going to be redone. A couple of Celebrity folks told us that the back public areas behind the aft cabins will be converted to balconies for the aft cabins. We like that since we have booked the exact same cabin for the June cruise. However, the cruise director said no cabins will be touched in this dry dock or balconies added. He says that will occur about 15 months later.

* While in Mazatlan, the Carnival Pride and a Princess ship were also docked there. Lots of discussion about cruise line comparisons between various folks from the ships. Celebrity was the hands down winner from the folks that had sailed on multiply lines. Lots of complaints about the food on Carnival and Princess. Well, to be fair, not really complaints, just statements that Celebrity had better food. We also got into discussions about the number of kids/families on the cruise ships. Here is where I talk out of both sides of my mouth. One of the reasons we like Celebrity is because there are less kids running around on the cruise ship, yet we take our kids with us. On our cruise, there are 103 kids on the cruise. On the Carnival Pride, there was over 700 kids on the ship. Wow, thats a lot of kids.

* At the Captains Club reception, they awarded certificates to frequent cruisers. The most cruised couple was this lady and man from Japan. This was their 250th cruise. Another couple was given a certificate as they had sailed on Celebrity more than 25 times since 2003. Wow, that’s are a lot of cruises. This cruise will count as our 5th on Celebrity and will get us to the next Captains Club level.

Tomorrow our port of call is Acapulco. Its an all day affair with arrival at 7:00 am and departure at 11:00 pm with a wonderful sail away party Mexican style.

Day 8 Acapulco

Today our port of call was Acapulco, Mexico on our wonderful cruise to Mexico on board the Celebrity Cruises Mercury. The weather continues to be outstanding though it was overcast this morning. However, the clouds burned off by noon and the sunny weather continued. The humidity has also risen to high numbers, but its bearable.

For Acapulco, we didn’t have any excursions booked, but still had a full day planned. The day started with Suzanne and the kids getting off the boat and going across the street to the historic Fuerte de San Diego and its museum. This fort was built by the Spaniards to ward off pirates of their lucrative trade from Acapulco. Mr Papa really doesn’t like to do museums, so he passed and got caught up on some relaxation time up on deck.

When they returned, we all went back ashore, grabbed a taxi driver with a van and made arrangements for him to spend the day hauling us around. First, we had him take us to the Acapulco Cliff Divers as we wanted to catch their early afternoon show. We went to the restaurant and had perfect front row seats for the diving while we ate some delicious chicken tacos (though we would call them tacquitos). The divers put on a nice show although a bit short at only 20 minutes. I don’t know if the night shows are longer or not, but we were impressed but surprised at the brevity of it.

Then we had the driver take us to a few tourist shopping areas as my daughter is looking for a Mexican barbie type doll in every stop wearing an authentic folklorico dress of the state we are visiting. However, we were not able to find one for Guerrero which is the state that Acapulco is in. Hopefully, we will find on in Zihuatenejo as it too is in Guerrero.

Suzanne had also located this little hidden away place on the internet that is supposed to be the best spot in Acapulco for snorkeling, so we had the driver take us there. The place was Boca Chica. It’s basically a small, hidden, out of the way hotel/resort. It cost us $30 to get in the place, but it also meant that we could get up to $30 in food/drink while there for free. The snorkeling was an additional $15. I chose to sit at the bar and drink some Pacifico Cerveza while they snorkeled. That would also give me the chance to take some pictures and video.

The kids really enjoyed the snorkeling. After they were in the water for about 15 minutes, one of the guides that runs the place came out into the water and gave they a guided tour of the whole area. They got to see a bunch of stuff they would not have seen if he hadn’t led the way. Three Pacificos later, they were done and we were ready to leave.

Suzanne and my daughter got dropped off at a marketplace near the cruise ship to continue their doll hunt while my son and I got dropped off at the ship. The girls struck out again. The entire time the guy was driving us around, he was telling us about Acapulco and some of the history. It was a wonderful way to see the town. He spoke good English and we kept trying to use our broken Spanish which made if kind of fun.

Dinner continued to be amazing. I can’t say enough about the quality of the food on board Celebrity ships. The service staff continues extremely friendly and helpful. This is a major reason why we choose to sail on Celebrity if possible. I also guess we must be doing something right with the kids because not a dinner goes by where some other guests come by and compliment us on the behavior of the kids and how nice it is to see a family on a cruise experiencing it all together. They really like seeing the kids dressed up in the dress code of the night and displaying good manners at the table. We must be their worst critics because we always hope for more, but the compliments are definitely showing the kids to be capable of handling themselves on the cruise ship.

Tonight was the big Mexican fiesta night. Sailing time wasn’t until 11:00pm with a big sail away party up on deck. Also, the entertainment in the theater was Mariachis and Folklorico dancing. They were wonderful and the kids had a ball watching them as they currently are taking Folklorico dancing.

After the show, the Mariachis moved to the top deck and played some more. My daughter requested some of the songs that she knows Mexican dances to. She and Suzanne then proceeded to entertain the party goers with their Folklorico dancing to the Mexican Mariachis. The musicians were impressed with their dancing and surprised some “Rubias” (Blondes) from the USA would know their dancing.

It was a big party with an excellent turnout from the passengers. After departure, we enjoyed a wonderful view of Acapulco at night as we sailed away.

Tomorrow, we make our port of call in Zihuatenejo, Mexico.

Day 9 – Zihuatenejo

Today, our ship, the Celebrity Mercury, docked in Zihuatenejo, Mexico. This town is a small, quaint little fishing town on the coast of Mexico. It looks almost the same as it did 3 years ago when we last visited. Most of the other ports we had visited had changed somewhat in the past three years.

I suspect the reason it hasn’t changed, is because the Mexicans don’t want it to change. To keep it the same, they started another town on the other side of the peninsula called Ixtapa. The Mexicans see Ixtapa as the Western coast version of Cancun or Cozumel and have master planned it that way. They have the standard big resort hotels and chains (Senior Frogs, etc). A lot of growth continues over there, but Zihuatenejo remains the same. It is a short walk or drive from Zihuatenejo over to Ixtapa.

We had planned a relaxing day at the beach in Zihuatenejo with no plans to go to Ixtapa. The kids, however, were a bit tired and wanted to take it easy and not swim. So, Suzanne and My daughter went ashore in search of their doll. They spent about 3 hours and were sucessful in finding the Guerrero doll as well as some other souveniers for everyone. My son had been looking for a chess set that depicted some Atztec and Spanish history and they finally found one for him. I think My daughter has now expended her souvenier money but my son still has some left.

My son and I stayed on board and did some cool father/son things. We played ping pong, board games and participated in a spelling bee where we came in second place. We enjoyed a lunch together of Cheeseburger and French fries. It was an enjoyable morning and early afternoon with the just the two of us while the girls were off shopping.

After another enjoyable dinner, the family enjoyed a couple of hours of board games, playing some Carcassone, one of our favorite games.

The girls retired for the night after the game while my son and I went to catch the cruise ship version of the Newlywed – Not so Newlywed game. This hilarious game is patterned after the old TV show except they chose four couples with various marriage times from 9 days to 57 years. It was a lot of fun and I havent laughed that hard in a long time. The cruise director was very funny as the host and kept it very lively. I think a lot of the jokes went over my son’s head (or at least I hope they did) but he still laughed hard and had fun. One of the funniest moments was when they asked this one old guy what his favorite condiment was and he replied “Trojan”.

Tommorow, our final port of call on this wonderful cruises is Manzanillo. Based on the fun we had on board playing games and relaxing and such, it is doubtful we will even get off the boat. The girls may make a quick souvenir run but we will have to see.

Day 10 Manzanillo

Today was our final port of call in Manzanillo, Mexico. The ship docks in a large industrial shipping port.

The main thing to do in Manzanillo is to go to a resort hotel and spend the day on the beach/ocean. The kids said they were beached out and would rather spend the day on the ship. Since Suzanne and I have seen Manzanillo before, we readily agreed to a day on the ship.

We participated in some trivia games and the kids spent a lot of time in the Kids Club. Suzanne and I spent a couple of hours researching our next cruise after the upcoming June cruise on the same Celebrity Mercury to Alaska.

We really like days at sea and fewer ports, so the Mexico cruise would be a possibility since we wouldn’t feel the need to see the ports. We loved Hawaii and get 9 days at sea with that one. In addition, they have changed the itinerary a bit since last year and now include an overnight stay in Lahaina that would allow us to go to a Hawaiian Luau on shore.

We enjoyed yet another fine dinner last night and attended the comedian show in the theater. The comedian did the somewhat familiar routine of cruise ship life. I smiled most of the time, but didn’t have any outbursts. Suzanne had a few, but the majority of the crowd was in full laughter most of the time. I don’t know if being somewhat frequent cruisers and having heard most of the cruise jokes before had us not in full laughter, but the show was still enjoyable. My son liked the show, but My daughter had decided to go to the Kids Club instead.

After the show, the girls turned in and the boy went up on deck for the Party Gras celebration. We enjoyed some good time together and My son did some dancing. It was fun and we finally turned in about midnight.

Tomorrow, we will enjoy the first of two sea days on our return to San Diego.

Day 11 & 12 Sea Days

The last two days of our wonderful cruise to Mexico have been spent at sea. We absolutely love the sea days on a cruise and always wish for more of them. To our surprise, the kids have recently said the same thing. I think they get a little bit run down going ashore and doing a bunch of stuff.

Wednesday was another fine day though it started clouding up later in the day. I spent several hours in the Navigator lounge just staring at the ocean, land and any other boats passing by. It was very relaxing. The kids spent a good portion of the day in the Kids club having a ball. Suzanne ended up sleeping all afternoon in the cabin. Thats her version of heaven.

It was also the last formal night of the cruise and the Captain’s farewell dinner and party afterwards. The dinner was again fabulous though a part of me can’t wait to get back to the NutriSystem food back at home. I think it’s my bulging gut that can’t wait. As usual on Celebrity, the formal dinner ended with a grand processing and presentation of the Baked Alaska Dessert. The kids had a lot of fun waving their towels as our service staff passed by carrying the desserts.

The formal night activities concluded with the final Celebrity Singers and Dancers tribute to Dance Around the World show in the Theater. The kids have really enjoyed going to the various shows.

All of the other kids in the Kids Clubs wondered what they are doing going to shows. Of course, a lot of those kids don’t even know the names of their waiter in the restaurant. A lot of the kids don’t even eat with their parents. I guess they just drop them off at the Kids Club in the morning and pick them up at night. Not us. Our kids ate dinner with us every night in the restaurant and we enjoyed many other great family moments. After all, it’s our family vacation time. The fact that they do like to spend some time in the Kids Club does also allow Suzanne and I some alone time.

By the end of the day Wednesday, we started to encounter some rougher water. The entire cruise thus far had been spent on very calm seas. Trying to sleep Wednesday night was difficult as we got tossed about pretty good. Of course, the kids never even noticed and slept right through it. The seas calmed a bit by morning though was still considered moderate.

Thursday was the last day of the cruise and as such was talent show day. Both the kids and Suzanne were performing. Mr Papa was in charge of the camera. As a good portion of the morning was spent in rehearsals, I was able to enjoy some more time in the Navigator lounge staring at the wonder of the ocean.

The kids were up first in the family talent show. My son and my daughter danced a couple of Mexican Folklorico dances together (La Negra and the Mexican Hat Dance). They did exceptionally well and won over the crowd. My daughter also performed her song and dance solo to These Boots Were Made for Walking. Suzanne and my daughter also did another Mexican Folklorico dance together though I cant remember the name of the song/dance.

Next, Suzanne was up to sing Someone To Watch Over Me in the adult talent show. The adult talent show was held in the Celebrity Theater on the big stage and was staged like a regular show. They did a first rate job putting on the adult talent show. All of the singers and performers were quite good. Suzanne was the last to go and brought the house down.

The last dinner was a casual dinner. The kids asked if they could go to the Kids Club for dinner and then stay for the slumber party that lasted until 1:00 am. Since they had eaten with us every night of the cruise we said okay. After Suzanne and I had eaten our appetizer, My son suddenly showed up in the restaurant. He had eaten dinner with the kids but had decided he wanted to conclude the cruise eating with Mama and Papa. Plus, he wanted to say farewell to all of the wait staff that had served us the last 11 days. It was a nice little moment for us. Despite having eaten already, my son still promptly managed to eat an order of escargot, shrimp cocktail, soup and shrimp entree. He also said my daughter wanted to be picked up for dessert. We all then enjoyed dessert again together.

Our farewells to the crew were another fine moment that evening. We had developed some bonds with Cesar our waiter from Peru, Alexys our assistant waiter from Dominican Republic, Marcel our assistant maitre’d from Slovakia, Shiva our sommelier from India and Ewona our cellar master from Poland. They all gave us wonderful service and spent a lot of time at our table just talking to us. My son actually shed a few tears when saying good bye to all. This is a large part of why we sail Celebrity more than any other cruise line.

After dinner, my daughter went back to the Kids Club while my son, Suzanne and I went back to the room to finish packing. Suzanne did 95% of the packing and ended up going to bed at 8:30. My son and I went and played some chess and participated in the final trivia contest of the cruise, tying for first. We picked up my daughter at 11:00 pm and we all retired for the night bringing our cruise activities to a close.

Day 13, Disembarkation

Our wonderful Mexico cruise on board the Celebrity Mercury has come to a conclusion. On Friday morning, at about 7:00 am, we docked back in San Diego.

Being that we were driving home and didnt have a flight to catch, we had a late disembarkation time. We were able to enjoy a bit of breakfast and take one last stroll around the ship before finally getting off at about 10:30 am. As usual, getting your luggage and getting away from the terminal was a bit of chaos. Since we had parked our car at a lot, we had to wait for the van to come pick us up. There was about 6 groups that had done this and we were the fifth group, so we had to wait for the second van. By the time we had gotten to the car and loaded up, it was about noon when we hit the road for Arizona.

We stopped and got a nice Mexican lunch in Alpine, CA before the trip across the mountains. Traffic was pretty light and the weather was good with unlimited visibility. In a strange quirk, the weather was about 20 degrees cooler than when we had come to San Diego two weeks earlier.

After a brief Wendys stop for dinner in Marana, AZ near Tucson, we finally arrived back home about 9:00 pm. It seemed like a long drive, but with two food stops, and a 1 hour time change, I guess it wasn’t too bad. The time would have been shorter if I had driven instead of Suzanne, but hey, those of us relaxing in the passenger seat can’t complain too much.

Sue Ellen, our dog, was ecstatic to see us. She was going crazy. We unloaded the car and decided to watch some of our cruise video. And that’s the way our night and cruise trip ended.

Only six and a half months until we re-board Mercury for our Alaskan cruise. It will be interesting to see what Mercury looks like after her dry dock refurbishment in April of 2007. Other members of my family will be going on that cruise, so it should be fun. We actually have the same cabin booked for that cruise. Suzanne and Savannah wrote themselves a note and taped it to the bottom of one of the dresser drawers and are anxious to see if it is still there in June.