Hi everybody, and welcome to Part Three of our Cruise aboard the Carnival Splendor in August. Sorry it's taken so long to get to part three but, well, it was scary season.
We promise the wait is worth it, as today we're looking at our shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta which was all kinds of amazing.
And lastly we'll take one last look around the ship which is actually in dry-dock right now getting refurbished before going to it's new home in Australia. Definitely interested to see how it will look when it's done.
If you missed Part One or Part Two of our cruise, be sure to check them out!!
Written by Gregg Condon
Good Morning Puerto Vallarta!!
We sat and watched them docking, it was super cool.
Amazing music to greet us!!
And I met a friend!!
Today we are going on a snorkel adventure!!
It was nice that we could just walk from one ship to another right in the port.
Let's go have some fun!!
So at this point of the update, we switched to our 10+ year old Olympus Tough camera. It's not the best camera, but it's water proof and drop proof.
Our excursion was put on by Vallarta Adventure and they couldn't have been more amazing.
First stop was Majahuitas for a bit of snorkeling.
And of course, each update must include a video of me looking like an idiot. =)
Oooooh, Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, Fish
As you can see, the water was amazing.
Floating around in the ocean
Then it was off to Yelapa. This looks like a postcard. The only way to get here is by boat, which is kind of awesome.
There were two options here, the first included a hike to a waterfall and the second included extra time relaxing on the beach. We took option 2.
Is it wrong I want to buy one of those condo's and just work from here? No? Good.
We spent the next 2 hours lounging in the sun, enjoying the amazingly warm water and just enjoying our amazing vacation.
After finding our relaxation it was time to head back to the ship.
These are the faces of two totally relaxed and content people.
The crew put on a really fun show as we made our way back to port.
So long Mexico, we've got two sea days coming up!!
Dinner that night was pasta something, and it was amazing.
And bread pudding
Rockin' night at the theater. It was awesome!!
Over the next two days we spent a lot of time exploring the ship and of course relaxing A LOT. This also included our second formal night.
We've come to refer to this as our "Prom Picture".
Our last day at Sea
Had to get our St Jude shirt!!
And of course get a selfie with our amazing Cruise Director Leigh
Oh, and Bingo with the amazing Captain Cash (who's a huge Disney fan we found out)
Also, just a shout out to the amazing service team at all of the restaurants, our room steward and basically everybody. You get SO spoiled while on a cruise, nothing can prepare you for the amount of pampering.
Flatbread, it was so freaking amazing.
Our final Sunset
We're not really "party" people, but we had such a fun time the last night at the departure party.
Sadly, the next morning we woke up to find ourselves pulling into Long Beach.
Get out. We mean, Please, Get out. (a little Jungle Cruise humor)
Thank YOU Carnival!!
So that's our trip, we hope you enjoyed our adventure and we seriously can't wait until the next one. It's literally our Xmas present to each other this year.
Today we're back with part two of our cruise on the Carnival Splendor to the Mexican Riviera. For this update we're going to concentrate mostly on our days in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. We'll talk a bit about what we did on shore and some things we noticed that may help future vacationers.
Written by Gregg Condon
Pictures by Gregg and Kristi Condon
We'll start off this update with a video we did of the ship. It's definitely not the most comprehensive tour of this ship we've seen (that one is linked in the video) but we wanted to show off some of what we enjoyed on the ship as first timers.
In addition, I tried a few times to get a sunrise or sunset time-lapse on the GoPro but it never quite worked out. The last morning I was finally up early enough, but of course hadn't charged the GoPro.
So this video isn't exactly what we wanted, but I will admit, I liked the set-up I came up with for mounting it. I thought it worked great. If it wasn't for the technical issues on my end.
If you're celebrating something make sure the cruise knows, I got a nice little gift card for the spa and for pictures for my birthday. I didn't use the spa one (not really my thing and never really found the time) but we did use the picture one.
A little pre-Cabo fuel. =)
After being at sea for over 36 hours it was actually kind of nice to see land
The famous arch
As you can see, we were quite happy on our vacation. =)
No I'm not ignoring my wife, I'm trying to not get too much sun. Trust me, you'll only sunburn your head once. =)
Cabo was a Tender port (no, not Tinder) so we had to take a boat to shore.
The ship is an older one, but she's got a lot of personality. Will be interesting to see what she looks like after her upcoming refurb.
We did not eat here, but we of course had to get a pic.
No matter what your political affiliation is, this is funny. I forgot to pick it up on the way back to the ship.
Cabo was definitely the most "touristy" of our three ports.
I love little things like this that are kind of out of the way.
Just on the other side of the harbor area are more classic restaurants and the diamond store. =)
Not once, in any of our three ports, did we ever feel unsafe or unwelcome. The people of Mexico are amazing.
We actually took a couple of really nice pics. I'm proud of us. =)
After walking what seemed like 10 miles (it was about 2k) we arrived to the restaurant a friend recommended. Aaaand it was closed.
But right next door was a beach club, and as you'll see below, we weren't suffering at all.
We each had 4 tacos, chips and guacamole and 4 beers (each). Grand total with tip $40.
I'm sure we could have found cheaper but we didn't care. It was amazing, the service was great and this would have cost us at least double that at home. We were very happy.
After all that there was no way we were walking back (there's really not an easy path from the Cruise terminal to Medano Beach where we ate) so we took a water taxi back.
It was $5 each. Again, we probably could have negotiated more than we did, but we were happy to support the economy.
Of course, once we were on our driver asked if we wanted to see the arch. For another $20. We politely declined.
After doing a bit of shopping it was back on the ship!!
We were actually back on the ship about 3 hours before disembark, and it was so nice and quiet. We sat by the pool and relaxed a bit. And took a nap.
We don't drink a lot of soda, but can't say no to Mexican Coke.
It was 80's night that night, the show was amazing!!
We had brought 80's stuff to wear for the glow party, but it wasn't until 11:15pm. And we were tired. Next time!!
The next morning after a trip across the Gulf of California, we arrived in Mazatlan. It was absolutely gorgeous.
We had booked an excursion this day, to an all-day resort with a pool and beach.
Apparently Mazatlan is a newer cruise stop, this is your view at the shore. It gets better than this though. =)
On the way to our resort we got to see some of the city.
People waiting to pay their water bill. For real.
As seen from the bus window
After about a 30 minute drive we arrived at our resort, the El Cid Marina.
This resort actually had two options. An "all inclusive" option which included a buffet or an "open bar" option. We went with the open bar and got food on our own.
This ended up working great for us as the buffet was on the beach side, and we stayed on the pool side all day. You'll see why.
Lots of Iguana's wandering around. Be careful, they like chips.
We drank a lot of cerveza and ordered some nachos and quesadilla from the menu. Total, $20. We also gave our server a nice tip as we drank free beer for 4+ hours.
2 seconds after this shot was taken I was asked to not jump by the hotels staff. Ooops.
The pool was amazing. It had underwater caves, waterfalls and we could even sit on the edge of the pool and enjoy our drinks.
And a bonus, the bathrooms were not only immaculately clean, there was also AC in them.
Definitely recommend this excursion if you're looking for a nice day to relax in Mazatlan. We've even talked about just coming down to stay at this resort for a week sometime.
After a full day in the sun it was back on the bus and back to the ship. There is a nice little flea market outside the cruise terminal so we were able to do some more shopping.
We got a 33oz bottle of Pure Vanilla Extract for $12. Don't even want to know how much that would cost here.
Back on the ship we took a nap (again) and enjoyed another amazing dinner.
We were back to bed a bit early as the next day we had another shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta. In hindsight I think we would have preferred to not have back-to-back excursions but it's hard to argue with the two that we did.
As Puerto Vallarta was our favorite as you'll see in our next update!!
Until next time ...
Welcome to our newest page on Park Journey, the aptly named Cruise Journey!!
If you're new to our site it should be pretty clear from the list of other pages on the site that we mostly talk about Theme Parks and everything to do with them. This includes new rides, Halloween events and more.
But more than all of that, our mission for the past almost 6 years has been to have fun, and we've had a LOT of it. And it was in that spirit of fun that led my wife and I on our first Cruise aboard the Carnival Splendor and to the amazing Mexican Riviera (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta).
Needless to say we loved it, so much so we decided to create a new page on the site, and we've already started looking for our next cruise.
So while this page may not be updated as much as some of our other pages will be, we hope that quality over quantity will be sufficient enough.
On this page we'll also share Cruise news (we already share Disney Cruise info on our Industry News page, we'll do that here now) as much as we can.
So if you're new here, enjoy. Check out some of the other pages. If you're one of our long-time followers, we hope you enjoy this new page of the site just as much as the others!!
Enjoy our first update below, the first of a few updates from our cruise last week. We'll also have a video walk-through of the ship later this week. - Gregg
Mexican Riviera on the Carnival Splendor - Part One
Written by Gregg Condon
Pics by Gregg and Kristi Condon
We'd been talking about going on a Cruise for years, in fact, in our 23 years of marriage this was the first vacation we've ever taken without kids that was anything more than a long weekend (coaster trips to the east coast, Vegas, Bay Area, etc). Something about getting married and having kids at 20 and 21 puts a cramp in all that (but no "regerts" as we've had a truly blessed life).
A few months back we decided to finally just do it. We talked to our good friend Kurt (The Coaster Guy) who has his own Cruise Travel Agency (seriously, look them up if you are looking to book) and plopped down the money. Our countdown began and finally, last week, it was here!!
The good thing about having kids young, when you're in your early-mid 40's they can drop you off at the airport or cruise terminal and you don't have to pay to park (just a tank of gas).
Seeing that we were boarding in Long Beach, we had to get some Dark Harbor construction pics
Heading into the terminal
We're in and ready to go!! Love that they have a "too early" line. We were on the ship by about 11:45.
The first of too many good meals!!
After a nice quiet meal and exploring the Lido deck a bit, our room was ready about 1:30. And our luggage was waiting for us which was nice!!
We had originally booked a portal room but had an upgrade offer not long after we paid off our cruise. So glad we upgraded.
The books I planned on finishing during our week at sea, I didn't. Although both are fantastic.
We spent most of the first day just hanging out, doing the safety drill of course (totally new experience for us), sitting by the pool and just adapting to our new home for the next week.
We had originally made steakhouse reservations for our night in Cabo but we then heard that if you book the steakhouse on night 1 you get a free bottle of wine. Doesn't take much to convince us!!
And in hindsight, the absolute best way to start off our first night on our first cruise!
It's funny, when we were planning what we were going to do on the ship it mostly consisted of sitting on the balcony or the pool and reading. And we did a LOT of that.
But we also found ourselves increasingly joining in on the cruise fun due to the amazing Fun Squad! More on them in future updates.
The amazing Leigh, our Cruise Director.
We also decided to attend the night one show which gave some more information about the cruise and what we should expect!!
I then got picked to go up on stage and make an ass out of myself. But it was SO fun. And we won Entertainment VIP for the week which consisted of reserved seats for all of the shows. Which was amazing!!
I will neither confirm or deny if there is video of this, and if that video will be posted in a future update. =)
After a full day we turned in rather early and had night 1 of the best 7 nights of sleep we've had in our lives. Rock-A-Bye-Gregg and Kristi!
Day two we were up rather early, but instead of rushing off we took the option to have coffee delivered to our room. We sat on our balcony and enjoyed our coffee most mornings. It was magical.
We also saw that very first morning that there was breakfast in one of the restaurants every day, the Gold Pearl. Apparently it was kind of a hidden secret as there wasn't a line here until Thursday morning. We ate at the buffet exactly once all week. And we had some of our best meals of the week during breakfast.
And apparently we were so hungry we didn't take pics that first morning. Sorry.
That first sea day was spent mostly by the pool, reading, having a couple of drinks and honestly, thoroughly enjoying being "disconnected" from the world. Even though D23 was going on, I didn't find myself wondering what was being announced at all. It was sublime.
This was also the first of our formal nights, it's nice to get dolled up and we were very glad to see most of our fellow guests followed suit (pun intended).
I had lobster 2 nights in a row. That was a new one for me.
We turned in pretty early that night as we were to arrive in Cabo the next morning. We were looking forward to our first day in Mexico. But that will have to wait until the next update. Stay tuned!!
We usually share related videos and updates whenever we have a new post, but since this is our first blog post on Cruise Journey we got nothin'.
We did post a couple of water ride videos, that counts right? =)
So for those of you who are new, some of our recent updates from elsewhere on the site. Be sure to like our social media channels and subscribe on YouTube!!