This will be my last post on our Mexican cruise. Maybe … I might think of something else to write.
Our last stop was Puerto Vallarta … the place where “The Love Boat” always made a stop.Does that tell my age any better? The Love Boat … ran from 1977 until 1986. The show took place on the Pacific Princess for all but 2 episodes. The original Pacific Princess was retired from the Princess fleet in 2002. There is a new Pacific Princess that is bigger than her predecessor. Enough with the rambling already get on with the post.
Puerto Vallarta was our last stop. Once again we are changing our watches ahead. I lost the 3 hours gained by going to LA. It doesn’t really matter, time that is. You just need to be back on board the boat before it sets sail. And if you have a problem making it at this stop I have no sympathy. We are in port for 14 hours. We get there at 8am and leave at 10pm. More than enough time!
We slept in until 8:30am (I was up at 6am and hit the workout room). Had breakfast around 10am and went ashore at 10:45. This was by far the best stop. The port was designed for cruise ships. It was not a shipping yard and we didn’t have to take “tenders” to get from the ship to shore. It was clean. It was white. It was made to make you feel welcome. It didn’t have the third world atmosphere Cabo and Mazatlan had. We got off the boat and made our way to the terminal. There we greeted by an organization trying to save parrots. You got to have a real parrot sit on your shoulder and even give you a kiss. It was cool. This was Daughter2 and the parrot. Daughter1 is scared of birds! Go figure.
We hopped a taxi to downtown and really marvelled at the scenery. Everything was greener here. We were getting accustomed to the dirty dusty look. That was not the case here. It was cleaner. It was greener. It was friendlier. Our taxi driver took us right to the edge of downtown and the boardwalk. The downtown area was right on the ocean front. We quickly discovered that if you walked on the boardwalk side of the street you could “see” the shops better. And you didn’t have people trying to steer you into their shops. Of course we had to deal with people trying to sell us bracelets and rings and toys. Not like it was in Cabo. At least here if you said no the listened to you and went on to the next tourist. One little fella came up to us that actually had some nice looking bracelets but he wanted $10 each. We said no and moved on. Well I turn around and D2 is looking at them closer. She really liked 2 of them. The man told her $10 each and she said “No thank you. That’s too much.” and walked away. He said “Make me an offer.” and D2 replied “$5 for both.” The little man laughs a real hardy laugh and says “For you little one I will make a deal, $12 for both.” And she said “OK”. We pay the little man and he walks back to his buddy still trying to sell to my wife and D1 and his buddy gets flustered. My wife spent $10 and got 5 bracelets. They weren’t as nice as D1’s. D1’s had colored stones set in her’s and they were polished very nicely. That was the best $22 we spent. Any time a little vendor popped up we showed him the bracelets and they moved on without another word. D2 was happy she had something from there as was D1. Wife, D1 and mom-in-law were still on a mission to find a t-shirt shop and pick up some cheap souvenirs and gifts to take back home. They got a great deal on shirts and since they spent over $60 they got a free beach tote … bright pink with “Puerto Vallarta Mexico” embroidered on the side. I ended up having to carry it for part of the walk downtown. Now all the cute senoritas knew I was taken.
D2 and I hung out on the boardwalk watching tourists, much like ourselves, para-sailing off the beach and landing right back where they started. It was pretty cool. Would I have done it? Maybe. But $40 for a 5 minute ride was steep! Now if it was $40 for 10 minutes that would have been better or $20 for 5 minutes … $40 doesn’t seem like much but multiply that by 12 .. and you get $480 for an hour!! The girls found a Del Sol shop and picked up some color changing nail polish and rings. We found a Burger King to get a snack to tide the kids over until we got back to the ship.
We got to see Our Lady of Guadalupe Church which is located in El Centro. It is probably one of the more famous landmarks in Puerto Vallarta. They have really strict dress codes regarding what people have to wear when they enter their churches. Short are not permitted. Your knees must be covered. And tank tops are not allowed either. I walked into the opening and looked around and snapped a few photos, but did not enter out of respect for their traditions. It was a beautiful church. I wish I had worn jeans to be able to go in, sit in a pew and take photos of the interior. All I can say was the church was beautiful. Stained glass windows and gold leaf trimmed out most of the alter. The coloring from the stained glass just lit everything up with a warm glow. Just down the road from the church was a Dippin’ Dots! The kids were in heaven. We stopped there. Kids got a treat and cooled off a bit. We made our way to the open market and then back to the center of town to catch a taxi back to the pier. We got back, changed in to swimsuits and hit the pools to cool off. We got a snack from the Windjammer and enjoyed the sun. Dinner was 6pm. And all 14 of us were there. Which really surprised me! We thought with being in port until 10pm some of the group would be in town for dinner.
Later that evening as we pulled out of port there was a huge party and bar-b-q on the deck. D2 and I were exhausted. We didn’t even get up from the chairs on the deck to enough the party. We went to our room and crashed. This was our last stop until we got back to LA. Little did we know it would be the last warm day as well!