Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

Once again we were in bed until 8:00 AM or so. By the time we had each taken a shower and gotten ready, the time was after 9:00 AM.

We eat at the buffet…trying not to eat too much so we can eat lunch before 2:00 PM for the first time on our cruise. After breakfast, we spend some time looking at the photos that Carnival had taken of us.

Here we are in the Dynasty Lounge.

In the Dynasty Lounge on the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

At 11:00 AM was the disembarkation session to learn what we have to do tomorrow when we get off of the ship. This was followed by the Military Appreciation Gathering to honor those service members. It was quite moving especially at the end when an elderly black man who served in Vietnam shared about losing his buddies in the war and then the disrespect when coming home. He shared about his family’s heritage of serving in the military and his great love of America.

Here’s a group photo that Alex, our cruise director, posted on Facebook. The black veteran is about a third of the way in on the right side of the picture wearing a white cap and a black and white striped shirt. Tim is just behind him with his hand raised. Jeri is on Tim’s left.

Military Appreciation Gathering on the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

After the gathering, we finalized our photo purchases. Because Jeri did celebrate her birthday on the ship, Carnival gave her one small photo for free.

Next up was little walk around the ship in preparation for lunch. We skipped the hot foods and just enjoyed a green salad plus a number of their tasty cold salads. Tim really enjoyed their pesto pasta salad.

Lunch at the buffet. Click photo for full size.

Today was when Carnival has their Chocolate Extravaganza! Plenty of chocolate desserts especially cakes. Yum!

Jeri’s dessert selection. Click photo for full size.

Here’s Tim standing next to the desserts.

Tim at the dessert bar. Click photo for full size.

We couldn’t resist taking another silly picture after lunch.

Silly picture in the Lido Restaurant buffet. Click photo for full size.

At 2:30 PM, we joined in the Q & A session with Alex and two other crew members. We enjoyed hearing their stories…like working every day for the duration of your contract (two to 10 months), then getting a few months off. Alex, our cruise director, likes to go backpacking in various countries during his breaks. He shared about being in Japan in a hot tub springs spa (no clothes allowed in the water) with a man who was fighter pilot for Japan at Pearl Harbor.

Alex taking questions. Click photo for full size.

Afterwards we sat down to read and write (this journal). We walked around and then rested in our room for 20 minutes or so.

Here we are up high on the ship.

Up on high on the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

At 5:00 PM was the Holiday Show which featured Christmas music with live singers and dancers but with (high quality) recorded music. Kids from the cruise joined on stage for the final few numbers.

Before the show, a young boy (maybe eight years old) with a green shirt wandered on stage. After someone finally noticed him, one of the child staff got him off of the stage. At the end of the children’s pieces, the boy started bowing multiple times. Alex, the cruise director who was narrating the show, came back on and said, “Hey kid in the green shirt, take another bow.” The boy did and everyone had a nice laugh.

Here’s a picture. The boy with the green shirt has his back to the camera.

Holiday Show with the Grinch. Click photo for full size.

After the show, we went to the Atrium for a Christmas sing-along and an ugly Christmas sweater contest. Next up was supper.

Supper from start to finish was well over an hour. We noted how much we enjoyed sitting and relaxing without having to worry about tomorrow and all of its cares.

Appetizers were Four Season Salad for Jeri and Lychee Bisque for Tim. We each got the root vegetable pie as our main dish…it tasted better than its name sounds. For sides, Jeri got creamed spinach and garlic fries. Tim also got the creamed spinach plus Singapore rice noodles.

Here’s Jeri’s salad.

Jeri’s Four Season Salad. Click photo for full size.

Some of the dining room staff sang a special version of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” with the words changed to the passengers leaving the cruise ship shortly.

Our server was Isabelo from the Philippines. He checked up on us often and brought us more fries when asked.

For dessert, Jeri got the cheesecake with tropical fruit. Tim got the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake…so rich, chocolatey and delicious! The cheesecake was excellent! Tim even enjoyed sampling it and he’s not normally a cheesecake fan.

After dinner, we went back to our room and packed our bags while watching the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Around 10:00 PM, we sat our bags out and went for a walk. We peeked in and caught part of the music production. Then about 10:45 PM, we headed to Xanadu Lounge for the final two comedy shows: Jerome was at 11:00 PM; Jaylyn was at 11:45 PM. These two shows were “adult” rated and featured material more appropriate for married couples. Once again we enjoyed having many good laughs!

Carnival Imagination Day 1
Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures
Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures

First we wanted to get a picture of ourselves with the cruise ship in the background.

Ship Selfie 1. Click photo for full size.

Then we tried to change the framing by zooming in a little.

Ship Selfie 2. Click photo for full size.

Tim had zoomed in too much and wanted to zoom out for the next shot. Unfortunately he zoomed in even more.

Ship Selfie 3. Click photo for full size.

Jeri thought that the photo was hilarious and decided to get goofy.

Ship Selfie 4. Click photo for full size.

Now we’re both laughing.

Ship Selfie 5. Click photo for full size.

And we can’t stop. LOL!

Ship Selfie 6. Click photo for full size.

Here are all of the pictures combined into an animated GIF.

Ship Selfies

Carnival Imagination Day 1
Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures
Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story

Here we are on the main shopping drag, Avenida Adolfo López Mateos.

Shopping on Avenida Adolfo López Mateos. Click photo for full size.

Here’s one memorable story from our day in Ensenada. First of all most of the shops are small with lots of items packed onto display racks. There were a few “real” jewelry stores…ones that only sold jewelry and that actually looked like a jewelry store with display cabinets and bright “diamond” lights shining on the rings, necklaces, and earrings.

Like many places, this jewelry store had someone out front who was smiling and calling to us (and others) as we walked by, “Mis amigos, come in and see our great deals!” Because shopping was our game, we took the bait.

The sales guy took us inside and began showing us some different stones. Some were pretty cool and would change colors under different lights. To get an idea of pricing (we figured that it would be high), we asked about a certain ring. He had to get his calculator (to convert pesos to dollars, I presume). It came out to over $400! Whoa! That’s way too much! Not our exact words but something to that effect.

A morganite ring (this isn’t the actual ring that we saw)

After more looking, he showed us a ring that Jeri kind of liked. We asked the price. He gets his calculator, does a little math, and tells us “$290.” “That’s too much,” we tell him. “We’re not looking to spend that much.” He asks, “How much can you are you looking to pay?” Even though he asked us this question several times, we never give him an answer. So he comes down to $200.

We’re still talking about it. Although Jeri likes the ring, we tell him “No” again. His next price is $150. At this point, he tells Tim, “Stop being so Mexican on me.” (He’s referring to him playing hard ball on the price.) Next he comes down to $140. We give him our final “No” and start walking out. He calls out, “$120.” Tim answers “No” as we continue walking. He follows us out the store and calls to us on the sidewalk saying that his best price is “$100.” “Sorry but no” was our answer.

An hour or so later, we happen to be walking by the same store again and the same sales guy is out front. “Ninety dollars!” he calls out. “Sorry but no” as we continue walking.

Carnival Imagination Day 1
Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures
Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada

We relaxed in the morning. Our only plans for our day in Ensenada were to get off the ship and shop. Offshore excursions like we did last year are definitely fun but relaxing is rewarding too.

Unlike at Catalina Island, our ship actually docked so we could simply get our cruise card scanned and walk off of the ship. Carnival (just like Princess and I’m sure other cruise lines) was always taking our pictures for free. You only pay if you decide to purchase them. As we disembarked at Ensenada, we were greeted by parrots and photographers. These pictures were fun so we actually purchased them.

Jeri with a parrot. Click photo for full size.
Tim with a parrot. Click photo for full size.

The weather was nice…sunny with an afternoon high near 70. Here’s a selfie after we disembarked.

Next to the Carnival Imagination in Ensenada. Click photo for full size.

The first thing that we noticed was this HUGE Mexican flag.

Jeri and Tim in Ensenada close to the flag. Click photo for full size.
Huge Mexican flag in Ensenada. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a picture of a portion of a fish market. The entire market was quite large. The prices were pesos per kilogram. If my math is correct, 100 pesos per kg (as seen in the picture) would be about $2 a pound. The conversion rate that day was around 21 pesos per dollar.

Fish Market. Click photo for full size.

We didn’t really know where we were going but a local guy directed us to the main tourist shopping street. So we wandered in and out of various shops. Inexpensive, pretty, Mexican-made jewelry was everywhere. So we had fun picking out gifts for Jeri and our girls. There were dozens and dozens of shops and restaurants all packed in several blocks. Besides jewelry, these shops sold clothing, hats, toys, leather goods, wind chimes, wood carvings, hammocks, stone art, and much more. A lot of interesting stuff!

We saw a number of guys making and selling wrist bands with your name on them. They can make the bands very quickly.

Guy making and selling name wrist bands. Click photo for full size.

We bought a pair of earrings from this guy…he was really nice.

Buying jewelry. Click photo for full size.

After a few hours of shopping, we walked back to the ship for lunch. After eating, we returned to finish our shopping. (Today was an ideal day for Jeri: sleep in, eat, shop, eat, shop, eat again.)

After lunch on the ship. Click photo for full size.

Here’s Jeri next to a clothing vendor. Note the NFL gear on the left. Lots of places sold stuff with NFL branding…I doubt that it was “official.” Note the “John Deere” tractor shirts on the right…it is “Juan’s Deere” and it’s a donkey. LOL!

Juan’s Deere. Click photo for full size.

Here’s picture of our ship at port in Ensenada.

The Carnival Imagination docked in Ensenada. Click photo for full size.

You can really see how big the flag is from this picture taken on the top deck of the ship.

Jeri on the ship looking back towards Ensenada. Click photo for full size.

At 5:00 PM back on the ship, we caught the Magic Mystery Show. The magician was a mentalist. He “guessed” the number on a die for two ladies. Then he “guessed” one of the ladies phone numbers. Next he had five random people draw five random, simple pictures. He couldn’t see who drew what. Starting with one picture, he would ask each person, “Did you draw this picture?” He told them in advance that whether or not they drew the picture, they were to answer him with “No.” He successfully identified the artist for each of the pictures. Finally he did some escape tricks–first from some chains and finally from a straight-jacket.

Magic Mystery Show on the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

Supper was a relaxing hour. For appetizers, we each got two vegetable spring rolls…hot and fried to perfection. (Sorry Hong Kong Express. Although yours are bigger, they aren’t as good.) We also shared a cold mango soup.

Vegetable spring rolls. Click photo for full size.

For entrees, Jeri got the vegetable lasagna; Tim got the Indian dish which was similar but slightly different from the Indian dish that Jeri got on the first night of our cruise.

Vegetable lasagna. Click photo for full size.

For dessert, Jeri had blueberry pie a la mode along with a cup of decaf coffee. Tim had the S’mores Parfait.

Blueberry pie a la mode. Click photo for full size.
S’mores Parfait. Click photo for full size.

We always enjoy sitting down for dinner, ordering from a menu, and enjoying the meal…all at a very leisurely pace. As we continued relaxing after we were done eating, Jeri realized that it was 7:20 PM. The comedy show starts in just 10 minutes! So we delay heading to our room to brush our teeth and went straight to the Xanadu Lounge for the show.

Jaylyn Bishop was SO funny! She shared funny stories related to shopping in Ensenada (which we could totally relate to). She shared stories about being in the movie “San Andreas” with the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and getting star struck and forgetting her lines. She also did a great impression of President Obama. Her final segment on eating on a cruise ship and then having to use the bathroom was hilarious…we were laughing so hard that our stomachs were hurting! What fun!

Jaylyn Bishop in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Click photo for full size.

Jerome did a second comedy show (also PG-rated) at 9:15 PM. We thought that he was funnier this time than when we heard him the previous night. He had a segment on how different races and religions would stop Dracula or Godzilla. He finished with a very nice Michael Jackson impression…complete with the hat, hair, white “glove” (actually a white sock), and moon walk.

Jerome as Michael Jackson. Click photo for full size.

The towel animal of the day was a frog.

Frog on our bed. Click photo for full size.

Carnival Imagination Day 1
Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures
Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina

We woke to the smell of fuel or paint in our room. Maybe it was from the tender boats which were getting ready to shuttle people from our ship to Catalina Island. The tendering area wasn’t too far from our room. Jeri had a slight headache and took some Tylenol.

View of Avalon from the ship with the Catalina Casino near the center of the picture. Click photo for full size.

A little after 9:00 AM, we head up to the buffet for breakfast. Jeri only ate a little fruit. Tim had potatoes, French Toast, muffins and oatmeal. After breakfast, we went back to our room and got ready to go ashore. We waited in line to get on a tender boat.

Once on shore, we walked around the town of Avalon and walked to the Catalina Casino. This building isn’t a gambling casino but rather a theater and ballroom. We bought tickets for guided tour. Since we had an hour till the tour, we walked back to the shopping area.

On Catalina Island with the Carnival Imagination in the background. Click photo for full size.
Walking up to Catalina Casino. Click photo for full size.

After a little shopping, we headed back for our tour. Frank of Avalon gave us a tour. We enjoyed seeing the theater, projector room, ballroom, dressing rooms, and more. Frank has lived in Avalon since the late 50’s and had plenty of stories to share. We learned that William Wrigley, Jr. (of the Wrigley Gum fame) bought the island and led its development. He spared no expense when building the Casino. He used gold and silver leaf, imported woods, and more.

The theater is on the lower level. Although talking movies were just coming out, Wrigley didn’t think that they would succeed. So the theater has a pipe organ located in the front. Standing on the left is Frank, our tour guide. They still show movies in the theater; Dr. Strange is currently playing once a night.

The theater in the Catalina Casino. Click photo for full size.

Apparently the acoustics of the theater are renowned. New York City’s Radio City Music Hall (which we saw from the outside in June) visited this theater to learn from its design. The domed ceiling enables a person speaking in a normal voice to be heard even in the farthest seats.

Because we purchased the longer “Behind the Scenes” tour, we got to see additional areas such as the projector room. On our way to the projector room, we looked out a window into the theater.

View of the Theater from a window opening in the back. Click photo for full size.

The early projectors (prior to the late 1960’s) used carbon arc lights as the light source. The light source looked very similar to welding rods–each rod could burn for up to an hour. A machine would feed the rod at the right speed so that an arc would result.

Projector using a carbon arc light source. Click photo for full size.

Here’s Jeri taking a picture in the projector room.

Inside the Projector Room. Click photo for full size.

If you look closely at the signatures on the wall, you can find “Stan Lee.” It is near the center of the main signature area on the right.

Projector Room. Click photo for full size.

We were able to walk on stage of the theater.

Tim and Jeri on the stage of the Casino Theater looking towards the back. Click photo for full size.

After seeing and learning about the theater, we went up the ramps to see the ballroom.

Inside of the Catalina Casino Ballroom. Click photo for full size.

This ballroom was once the scene for many of the dances featuring famous big bands like Benny Goodman. Many from Hollywood would take a boat to the island from a night of dancing and entertainment. Back then, the dance floor could hold 3000 dancers.

The Catalina Casino Ballroom. Click photo for full size.

Here is a picture of the lounge where dance-weary ladies could relax and freshen up.

Women’s Lounge for relaxing near the ballroom in the Catalina Casino. Click photo for full size.

A balcony outside of the ballroom.

Tim on the balcony outside of the Catalina Casino Ballroom. Click photo for full size.
An outside view of the Catalina Casino. Click photo for full size.

The weather was cool with temperatures in the 50s. It was foggy and, at times, misty. After the tour, we headed back to the shops.

A look back towards Avalon from the Catalina Casino. Click photo for full size.

We wandered into a number of shops and saw a bunch of fun stuff especially jewelry. Jeri found a pretty necklace and earring set. I “bought” it for her for her birthday. Now it’s around 3:00 PM (last boat leaves at 4:00 PM), so we head back to the tender boat and get back on the ship. Back in our room, Jeri takes a short nap while Tim showers.

Every day our room steward makes a different towel animal. Today it was an elephant.

Our towel animal for the day. Click photo for full size.

We get dressed up for our one elegant dinner of the cruise. We head out. Carnival had a dozen or so places to get your pictures taken. We stopped at two spots for photos. Jeri looked extra pretty!

Elegant night on the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

Next was supper. For appetizers, Jeri got chilled strawberry bisque and asparagus cream soup. We thought that we tasted a meat-based broth in the soup. Our waiter confirmed that it wasn’t vegetarian. Tim got the stuffed mushrooms which had a spinach and Romano cheese filling.

Chilled Strawberry Bisque. Click photo for full size.
Stuffed Mushrooms. Click photo for full size.

We each got the Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan…lots of thin layers of zucchini, a fried slice of eggplant, and a rich sauce. Doesn’t sound like much but it was fabulous.

Under the parsley, you can see small pieces of tofu on top of the fried slice of eggplant.

Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan. Click photo for full size.

Here is an inside look at all of its yummy!

A look inside of the Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan. Click photo for full size.

For dessert, Tim got the hazelnut chocolate cake. Jeri got the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake. Click photo for full size.

At 7:30 PM, we caught Jerome (a standup comedian) for the first PG show. After the 30-minute show, we hung around for the 9:00 PM show with Jaylyn Bishop. We enjoyed the second show more as she used the cruise experience as the basis for a lot of her material. We really enjoyed these comedy shows.

In the Xanadu Lounge. Click photo for full size.
Jaylyn Bishop in the Xanadu Lounge. Click photo for full size.

Carnival Imagination Day 1
Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures
Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

Carnival Imagination Day 1

Back in September, Tim found a cruise deal that was too hard to resist…$36 per person per night! The total for four days of fun was just under $600. That is all-inclusive for lodging, food, entertainment, taxes, port fees, and gratuities!

On Saturday, Justin and Josiah dropped us off at the cruise terminal in Long Beach. It’s about a 30-minute drive from our house…SO convenient!!! Short lines made check-in painless…unlike last year with Princess Cruises when we had to wait for an hour or more in the (September) heat.

Bon Voyage on the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

Our room was on the lowest cabin level (Deck 4) and towards the front (three rooms back). The room had a slight smoke smell but it was better after I opened the air vent to get better circulation. The room didn’t have a thermostat…so the temperature was what it was. Although it was cool (we’re guessing 68 F), the down comforter kept us warm at night. Other than bedtime, we didn’t spend much time in our room.

On top of the Carnival Imagination. Click photo for full size.

The ship, Carnival Imagination, was smaller than the Crown Princess which we were on last year. We could definitely feel the ship gently rocking. Fortunately we never felt seasick at all. Also given our room location, we could hear and feel the forward engines when the captain turned the ship around to get into or out of port.

At 4:45 PM was the mandatory safety drill. Although it was only 30 minutes long, it seemed to take forever.

Next we explored the ship and then headed to dinner around 6:00 PM. They had two vegetarian entrees. Jeri had the Indian dish which had several smaller dishes: one with beans, one with potatoes, creamed mushrooms and peas, basmati rice, fried flat bread, and more. Tim had the Crispy Portobello Mushrooms which were slices of portobello with a thin layer of spinach, then batter dipped and fried and topped with a sauce. Excellent! Also we each got a side of steamed broccoli and enjoyed a basket of bread and butter.

For dessert, Jeri got the Hazelnut Tiramisu and Tim got the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake. The latter is very chocolatey…the cake is at the top with the bottom of the dish being more like a hot chocolate sauce. It is served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. We shared with each other. Overall an enjoyable meal!

Hazelnut Tiramisu. Click photo for full size.
Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake. Click photo for full size.

After dinner, we wandered the ship and caught part of the “Hasbro, The Game Show” in the Dynasty Lounge. We didn’t stay up for the music and dance production. We noticed that the entertainment was geared more for the younger crowd than compared to last year’s Princess cruise.

Carnival Imagination Day 1
Carnival Imagination Day 2 – Catalina
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Ensenada Shopping Story
Carnival Imagination Day 3 – Silly Pictures
Carnival Imagination Day 4 – At Sea

2015 Mexican Riviera Cruise Food

Even though we (Jeri and Tim) are vegetarians and a lot of the food was catered to meat-eaters (lobster, steak, seafood, etc.), we still enjoyed the food very much. So here are some of our favorites.

Most of the highlights were desserts. And many of those centered around chocolate.

One of Jeri's Favorite Desserts. Click photo for full size.
One of Jeri’s Favorite Desserts. Click photo for full size.

Although it doesn’t look like much, we savored each bite of this one.

Chocolate Raspberry Mouse with Vanilla Crème Brûlée and Crunchy Shortbread. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Raspberry Mouse with Vanilla Crème Brûlée and Crunchy Shortbread. Click photo for full size.

The Inside of the Chocolate Raspberry Mouse. Click photo for full size.
The Inside of the Chocolate Raspberry Mouse. Click photo for full size.

This was an appetizer, Sushi with Bacardi Wasabi Emulsion and Kimchi.

Sushi with Bacardi Wasabi Emulsion and Kimchi. Click photo for full size.
Sushi with Bacardi Wasabi Emulsion and Kimchi. Click photo for full size.

The dessert menu changed every night. However a few items were standard. The Love Boat, Chocolate Mousse on a Chocolate Brownie, was one of the ones that was always available.

The Love Boat - Chocolate Mousse on a Chocolate Brownie. Click photo for full size.
The Love Boat – Chocolate Mousse on a Chocolate Brownie. Click photo for full size.

We (Jeri and Tim) are glad that we don’t have any nut allergies so we could enjoy this one.

Another Chocolate Dessert. Click photo for full size.
Another Chocolate Dessert. Click photo for full size.

We did eat other foods besides desserts. Here we are at breakfast.

Jeri at Breakfast with Her Watermelon Dress. Click photo for full size.
Jeri at Breakfast with Her Watermelon Dress. Click photo for full size.

Tim Enjoying the Breakfast Buffet. Click photo for full size.
Tim Enjoying the Breakfast Buffet. Click photo for full size.

The International Cafe was open 24 hours and offered drinks (including specialty coffees) and snacks.

Jeri Ordering Coffee at the International Cafe. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Ordering Coffee at the International Cafe. Click photo for full size.

An Afternoon Snack from the International Cafe. Click photo for full size.
An Afternoon Snack from the International Cafe. Click photo for full size.

Another standard menu item was the Fettuccine Alfredo in Crisp Parmesan Basket. I (Tim) was afraid that the dish might contain milk and give me a stomach ache. But I was fine so they must prepare it using cream and butter (milk fat without any milk protein).

Fettuccine Alfredo in Crisp Parmesan Basket. Click photo for full size.
Fettuccine Alfredo in Crisp Parmesan Basket. Click photo for full size.

Here’s another dessert that was only available for one night: Chocolate Lovers Delight – Dark chocolate truffle mousse, tiny gateau opera, hazelnut chocolate parfait. By the way, these three items were on a large dinner plate.

Chocolate Lovers Delight - Dark chocolate truffle mousse, tiny gateau opera, hazelnut chocolate parfait. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Lovers Delight – Dark chocolate truffle mousse, tiny gateau opera, hazelnut chocolate parfait. Click photo for full size.

Chocolate Lovers Delight - Up Close. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Lovers Delight – Up Close. Click photo for full size.

On “sea days”, we usually had lunch at one of the buffets.

Jeri Sitting with Our Lunch Salads. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Sitting with Our Lunch Salads. Click photo for full size.

Jeri had this for supper one night: Zucchini Ripieni Gratinati – Baked zucchini with cheese and onion stuffing, cannellini bean ragout.

Jeri with Her Zucchini Ripieni Gratinati. Click photo for full size.
Jeri with Her Zucchini Ripieni Gratinati. Click photo for full size.

Zucchini Ripieni Gratinati - Baked zucchini with cheese and onion stuffing, cannellini bean ragout. Click photo for full size.
Zucchini Ripieni Gratinati – Baked zucchini with cheese and onion stuffing, cannellini bean ragout. Click photo for full size.

Our waiter, Gary, was kind to bring us steamed vegetables each evening.

Some Steamed Vegetables. Click photo for full size.
Some Steamed Vegetables. Click photo for full size.

Another fabulous dessert was their Tiramisu – Espresso, zabaglione cream, bittersweet cocoa.

Tim with His Tiramisu. Click photo for full size.
Tim with His Tiramisu. Click photo for full size.

Tiramisu - Espresso, zabaglione cream, bittersweet cocoa. Click photo for full size.
Tiramisu – Espresso, zabaglione cream, bittersweet cocoa. Click photo for full size.

Here are yet again some of the dishes from another evening meal. Starting with our appetizer, Thai Wraps with Cucumber and Bean Sprouts – Grilled spring onions and silky tofu in rice paper with roasted chili and rice wine vinaigrette.

Thai Wraps with Cucumber and Bean Sprouts - Grilled spring onions and silky tofu in rice paper with roasted chili and rice wine vinaigrette. Click photo for full size.
Thai Wraps with Cucumber and Bean Sprouts – Grilled spring onions and silky tofu in rice paper with roasted chili and rice wine vinaigrette. Click photo for full size.

Here’s the salad: Belgian Endive, Boston Lettuce and Tomato.

Belgian Endive, Boston Lettuce and Tomato. Click photo for full size.
Belgian Endive, Boston Lettuce and Tomato. Click photo for full size.

Here’s the soup: Roasted Tomato Cream Soup with brioche croutons and basil pesto swirl.

Roasted Tomato Cream Soup with brioche croutons and basil pesto swirl. Click photo for full size.
Roasted Tomato Cream Soup with brioche croutons and basil pesto swirl. Click photo for full size.

Here’s the main dish: Rollatine Ripiene con Zucca, Mascarpone e Noci – Baked crepes filled with roasted pumpkin, mascarpone and walnuts thyme-cream sauce.

Rollatine Ripiene con Zucca, Mascarpone e Noci - Baked crepes filled with roasted pumpkin, mascarpone and walnuts thyme-cream sauce. Click photo for full size.
Rollatine Ripiene con Zucca, Mascarpone e Noci – Baked crepes filled with roasted pumpkin, mascarpone and walnuts thyme-cream sauce. Click photo for full size.

One of our favorite desserts: Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine.

Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine. Click photo for full size.

Inside of the Chocolate Pistachio Dome. Click photo for full size.
Inside of the Chocolate Pistachio Dome. Click photo for full size.

I (Tim) had a fresh veggie burger for lunch. Sorry to say this…but I think that I prefer the store-bought veggie burgers.

Veggie Burger with Fries. Click photo for full size.
Veggie Burger with Fries. Click photo for full size.

Strawberry Parfait. Click photo for full size.
Strawberry Parfait. Click photo for full size.

Our lunch dessert was Chocolate Marquise Slice with Coffee Sauce.

Chocolate Marquise Slice with Coffee Sauce. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Marquise Slice with Coffee Sauce. Click photo for full size.

This was supper on our last night.

Chilled Curried Pumpkin Cream Soup spiced with cumin, coriander and cardamon in coconut milk. Click photo for full size.
Chilled Curried Pumpkin Cream Soup spiced with cumin, coriander and cardamon in coconut milk. Click photo for full size.

Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant with Sundried Tomatoes Chives and Hearts of Romaine. Click photo for full size.
Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant with Sundried Tomatoes Chives and Hearts of Romaine. Click photo for full size.
Eggplant and Basmati Rice Timbale with crisp-fried fritters, juicy mango cheek and spicy tomato sauce. Click photo for full size.
Eggplant and Basmati Rice Timbale with crisp-fried fritters, juicy mango cheek and spicy tomato sauce. Click photo for full size.
Baked Alaska. Click photo for full size.
Baked Alaska. Click photo for full size.
Apple Pie a la Mode. Click photo for full size.
Apple Pie a la Mode. Click photo for full size.

Breakfast on our last morning…just before we disembarked the ship.

Breakfast - English muffin, croissant, muesli, peaches, cereal, orange juice, and soy milk. Click photo for full size.
Breakfast – English muffin, croissant, muesli, peaches, cereal, orange juice, and soy milk. Click photo for full size.

Tim and Jeri on our Last Morning. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Jeri on our Last Morning. Click photo for full size.

Cruise Days 1 and 2
Cruise Day 3
Cruise Day 4
Cruise Day 5
Cruise Day 6
Cruise Day 7
Cruise Day 8
Cruise Day 9
Cruise Day 10
Cruise Food

2015 Mexican Riviera Cruise – Day 10

Friday was a “sea day” and our last day on the cruise. We had a relaxing morning. However Jeri didn’t want to stay in bed, she wanted to get up and get going. So we compromised and laid there only for 15 minutes. And as our usual routine, we watched “The Wake Show.”

After showering and getting ready, we got a coffee for Jeri and two fruit bowls plus a chocolate croissant at the International Cafe.

Breakfast at the International Cafe. Click photo for full size.
Breakfast at the International Cafe. Click photo for full size.

We stopped at the three-hour outlet sale where prices were up to 75% off. A lot of people were rummaging through Alaska memorabilia, clothes, $10 watches, $10 jewelry, and lots more. I heard one lady tell her husband, “This stuff is junk!” (We kind of knew that and didn’t buy anything.)

Later in the morning, we watched “The 60-Second Frenzy.” The cruise staff had fun party games with little prizes. One game was to get a balloon into a paper bag without using your arms or hands. Another was bouncing a ping pong ball into a stack of 10 cups. Each time you succeeded, however, you had to take a cup from the bottom of the stack and place it on top of the ball in the top cup.

Catching Ping Pong Balls During the 60-Second Frenzy. Click photo for full size.
Catching Ping Pong Balls During the 60-Second Frenzy. Click photo for full size.

For lunch, we had our first sit-down lunch of the cruise in the Da Vinci dining room. (Normally we would eat lunch at one of the buffets.) We sat at a table with two other couples. I had a veggie burger that was made from fresh vegetables. Although we started around noon, we didn’t finish until close to 1:30 PM. We ended up missing the ice carving demonstration which started at 1:00 PM. But we enjoyed lunch and visiting with others.

Veggie Burger with Fries. Click photo for full size.
Veggie Burger with Fries. Click photo for full size.

Strawberry Parfait. Click photo for full size.
Strawberry Parfait. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Marquise Slice with Coffee Sauce. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Marquise Slice with Coffee Sauce. Click photo for full size.

We then rested a bit in our room. I (Tim) took a nap. Jeri got a hot drink called “Double Chocolate Mocha Madness.” We watched an episode of the “Deadliest Catch” while we began the sad process of packing up.

Here’s a view of the atrium decorated for the final day. The volunteer choir was singing selections from “The Sound of Music.” (You can only see a few of the choir members at the very bottom of the picture.)

Choir Singing Selections from the Sound of Music in the Atrium. Click photo for full size.
Choir Singing Selections from the Sound of Music in the Atrium. Click photo for full size.

We went down to dinner at 5:30 PM. After enjoying another great meal, we got a photo with our waiters, Gary and Wilfredo, who served us supper each night during the cruise. Gary reminded us of Bob Hope–his looks plus his happy nature.

Wilfredo, Jeri, Tim, and Gary after Our Final Supper. Click photo for full size.
Wilfredo, Jeri, Tim, and Gary after Our Final Supper. Click photo for full size.

We finished the day with our last show of the cruise, “Matilda and Patrick Murray.” Patrick is a ventriloquist. A lot of “their” jokes were about cruising and traveling.

Matilda and Patrick. Click photo for full size.
Matilda and Patrick. Click photo for full size.

Tonight we visited with Darwin, our room steward. He heads back to the Philippines in a week. He has worked every day for nine straight months (the term of his contract). Now he gets three months off. He’ll go back and spend time with his young daughter. He’ll start another nine-month term in January. He has been doing this for 15 years. He’s seen the world but it is a tough life.

Next Cruise Food

Cruise Days 1 and 2 – Departure and San Diego
Cruise Day 3 – At Sea
Cruise Day 4 – Cabo San Lucas
Cruise Day 5 – Loreto
Cruise Day 6 – La Paz
Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Cruise Day 8 – Puerto Vallarta
Cruise Day 9 – At Sea
Cruise Day 10 – At Sea
Cruise Food

2015 Mexican Riviera Cruise – Day 9

The final two days of the cruise were “sea days” (meaning that we were sailing) as we traveled back to Long Beach (called Los Angeles by Princess Cruise). With no planned excursions, our days were much more leisurely. We watched some different programs on the ship including Bob, the cruise director, sharing his story. Here’s a Zumba class.

Zumba Class on Top Deck. Click photo for full size.
Zumba Class on Top Deck. Click photo for full size.

After an early lunch on Thursday, we watched the movie “Now You See Me” outside up on the top deck. I (Tim) had seen it a few years ago but I couldn’t remember the final twist in plot at the end. Jeri hadn’t seen it. So we both enjoyed watching it.

Thursday was the second of the two formal nights. So we enjoyed dressing up for a nice meal. Here we are in our room.

Tim and Jeri on Second Formal Night. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Jeri on Second Formal Night. Click photo for full size.

On our way to the restaurant, they were taking pictures of baby. How cute! (Sorry for the blurry photo.)

Taking a Baby's Picture. Click photo for full size.
Taking a Baby’s Picture. Click photo for full size.

The dessert (as always) was fantastic! From the menu: Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine. Featuring a moist almond cake, the rich Sicilian pistachio crème brulée is encased in a light bittersweet chocolate mousse that sits atop an almond pistachio crunchy nougatine, and glazed in a milk chocolate glacage.

Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine. Click photo for full size.
Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine. Click photo for full size.

After dinner, we saw the show “Magic To Do” in the Princess Theater. The show was entertaining…mostly song and dance with some great visual effects plus some magic and illusions. Sometimes people (or even an “elephant”) would magically disappear or magically appear. We sat in the back row.

In the Back of the Princess Theater. Click photo for full size.
In the Back of the Princess Theater. Click photo for full size.

Scene from Magic To Do. Click photo for full size.
Scene from Magic To Do. Click photo for full size.

After the show, we dashed back to the Explorers Lounge. Although the 9:00 PM show would begin in just minutes, we were able to find good seats. Rollin’ Jay Moore had another funny show that had us laughing a lot.

Rollin' Jay Moore. Click photo for full size.
Rollin’ Jay Moore. Click photo for full size.

As a side note, a retired couple sat at a table very close to ours at supper. The wife asked if we were newlyweds. When we told them that we were celebrating our 30th anniversary, the husband said that we must have gotten married when we were in kindergarten. We were flattered!

Next Day 10 – At Sea

Cruise Days 1 and 2 – Departure and San Diego
Cruise Day 3 – At Sea
Cruise Day 4 – Cabo San Lucas
Cruise Day 5 – Loreto
Cruise Day 6 – La Paz
Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Cruise Day 8 – Puerto Vallarta
Cruise Day 9 – At Sea
Cruise Day 10 – At Sea
Cruise Food

2015 Mexican Riviera Cruise – Day 8

Wednesday was our final day at a port (Puerto Vallarta). This would be our best day yet! Prior to the cruise when we first started looking into possible excursions, we were concerned about Jeri’s back and thus we were hesitant to try zip lining and rappelling. Early in the cruise, after talking with some people at the excursion desk, we decided to sign up for it. We’re so glad that did!

We got ready and got off of our ship. Because we had almost an hour prior to departure, we had time to visit a shopping area close by. Fortunately a local told us about golf carts that shuttled back and forth. So we easily saved ourselves a 10-plus minute walk (each way) by hopping on a golf cart. Shopping in these little stores in Mexico is fun because it’s easy to find neat stuff at good prices.

Shopping in Puerto Vallarta. Click photo for full size.
Shopping in Puerto Vallarta. Click photo for full size.

After shopping, we were able to hop on another golf cart back to the ship where we would gather for our excursion.

Traveling by Golf Cart Back to Our Ship. Click photo for full size.
Traveling by Golf Cart Back to Our Ship. Click photo for full size.

Our excursion started with a boat ride to a location south of Puerto Vallarta. Then we boarded the back of a truck, fastened our belts, and held on as we traveled up the mountains to our base camp. The last part of the journey was on unpaved roads.

Looking Out the Back of the Truck as We Traveled. Click photo for full size.
Looking Out the Back of the Truck as We Traveled. Click photo for full size.
A Look Over the Front of the Truck. Click photo for full size.
A Look Over the Front of the Truck. Click photo for full size.
In the Back of the Truck. Click photo for full size.
In the Back of the Truck. Click photo for full size.
Back of the Truck. Click photo for full size.
Back of the Truck. Click photo for full size.

The trip started on paved roads but ended on up on dirt roads. We were held on tight as we were bounced and tossed about.

Truck that Took Us to the Base Camp. Click photo for full size.
Truck that Took Us to the Base Camp. Click photo for full size.

At the camp, we changed clothes and put on our gear.

Jeri Getting Suited Up. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Getting Suited Up. Click photo for full size.
With Our Rappelling Harness. Click photo for full size.
With Our Rappelling Harness. Click photo for full size.

First stop was an orientation session.

Tim Walking to the Orientation Session. Click photo for full size.
Tim Walking to the Orientation Session. Click photo for full size.

Jeri Walking to the Orientation Session. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Walking to the Orientation Session. Click photo for full size.

We listened attentively.

Jeri Listening to the Orientation. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Listening to the Orientation. Click photo for full size.

Tim Listening to the Orientation. Click photo for full size.
Tim Listening to the Orientation. Click photo for full size.

We posed in front of the truck.

Posing in Front of the Truck. Click photo for full size.
Posing in Front of the Truck. Click photo for full size.

Then we were assigned a burro. This was our first time riding an animal! These burros were quite strong and sure-footed carrying us farther up the mountain.

Tim on His Burro. Click photo for full size.
Tim on His Burro. Click photo for full size.

Jeri on Her Burro. Click photo for full size.
Jeri on Her Burro. Click photo for full size.

Once at the top, we hiked a short distance to the first zip line. Jeri went first.

Jeri Ready for Her First Zip. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Ready for Her First Zip. Click photo for full size.

Jeri Zips Down the First Zip Line. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Zips Down the First Zip Line. Click photo for full size.

Then Tim went next.

Tim Prepares for His First Zip. Click photo for full size.
Tim Prepares for His First Zip. Click photo for full size.

Tim Zips Down His First Zip Line. Click photo for full size.
Tim Zips Down His First Zip Line. Click photo for full size.

After a couple of zip lines, we rappelled down besides a waterfall. The scenery was beautiful!

Jeri Rappels. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Rappels. Click photo for full size.

We ended up in the pool at the bottom.

Jeri Rappelling Down Next to the Waterfall. Click photo for full size.
Jeri Rappelling Down Next to the Waterfall. Click photo for full size.

Tim Rappels. Click photo for full size.
Tim Rappels. Click photo for full size.

After some other zip lines, we did our first water slide. Tim sat in front; Jeri was holding on to him from behind.

Coming Down the Water Slide. Click photo for full size.
Coming Down the Water Slide. Click photo for full size.

We slid down the slide right into the water.

Hitting the Water. Click photo for full size.
Hitting the Water. Click photo for full size.

Although we got a face-full of water, we thought it was hilarious and were laughing so hard.

Coming Up for Air. Click photo for full size.
Coming Up for Air. Click photo for full size.

Having a Good Laugh. Click photo for full size.
Having a Good Laugh. Click photo for full size.

Now we were thoroughly soaked.

Thoroughly Soaked. Click photo for full size.
Thoroughly Soaked. Click photo for full size.

Towards the end, we did one zip line upside down.

Ziplining Upside Down. Click photo for full size.
Ziplining Upside Down. Click photo for full size.

Eventually we end up back at the base camp. We picked out our photos. Then we hopped back on the truck for a ride back to the dock.

Leaving the Dock. Click photo for full size.
Leaving the Dock. Click photo for full size.

We take the boat back to the port where our cruise ship was docked.

Returning Back to Port. Click photo for full size.
Returning Back to Port. Click photo for full size.

Passing by the Crown Princess. Click photo for full size.
Passing by the Crown Princess. Click photo for full size.

The guys that took care of us were great. Here they are hamming it up.

Looking Back at the Boat and our Crazy Crew. Click photo for full size.
Looking Back at the Boat and our Crazy Crew. Click photo for full size.

We thoroughly loved the day!

Next Day 9 – At Sea

Cruise Days 1 and 2 – Departure and San Diego
Cruise Day 3 – At Sea
Cruise Day 4 – Cabo San Lucas
Cruise Day 5 – Loreto
Cruise Day 6 – La Paz
Cruise Day 7 – At Sea
Cruise Day 8 – Puerto Vallarta
Cruise Day 9 – At Sea
Cruise Day 10 – At Sea
Cruise Food