Thursday, March 16, 2017

Just Returned From the Grand Princess

After visiting friends in the San Francisco area, we boarded the Grand Princess for a round trip cruise to the Mexican Riviera.

Our ports of call were Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan, Manzanillo, and Cabo San Lucas. With 5 days at sea (3 going and 2 coming), and having visited 3 out of the 4 before, this cruise was just an excuse to extend our winter time away from home.

The Grand was in dry dock in December. The scheduled dry dock was cut short because of a problem the Grand had on the sailing just previous. On its way back from Hawaii, a tender door came unlocked and fell into the water. Still attached to the ship, the Grand slowly made her way back to HI to have it closed. After disembarking all of her passengers in HI (I understand Princess did an excellent job getting everyone home), the Grand was full speed ahead to dry dock, arriving a couple of days late.

I don't know what was planned for the dry dock but there were certainly signs of work that still needed to be done. Some (very noisy) work was performed while we were in port. We could see that the work had to be done but it required our settling ourselves elsewhere on the ship, Which actually worked in our favor. Because the area around the pool was undergoing repairs, we discovered the small adult only pool on the aft of the ship and spend several very relaxed hours there.

We were concerned about spending three days at sea. No problem. Went faster than we thought they would (and I'm now ready for a transatlantic BG). The staff was excellent. The food was very good to excellent.

In Puerta Vallarta, we took a taxi to the beach (the water turned out to be a lot rougher than I anticipated) and walked the Malecon before taking a taxi back to the ship. In Mazatlan we got some exercise walking the streets outside the port and then wandering (me) the shops that are inside the port area. Town center in Manzanillo is very close to the pier and we wandered there a bit. And in Cabo, we took a zodiac whale watching tour which was excellent.

All in all, we had a very nice trip but returned home way too soon. Four days later we got a major snowstorm.  :(

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Island of Palma da Mallorca

(I guess better late than never. This was our next to last stop on our May 2016 Windstar cruise. Barcelona up next.

I had a hard choice to make here. We were only in port until 5 p.m. and that afternoon was the Windstar special event for this leg. Did we want to take the train (on our own) through the scenic countryside and stroll around the small and picturesque town of Soller? Or did we want to skip that and go to the special event?  Based on the experience we had at the special event in Morocco, we decided to do the special event. While it was very nice, I think we made the wrong choice.

Titled "Bolero, Fandango & Other Works of Art" the event started with a short drive through the town. The destination was to visit the March Palace where we had a guided tour through the home.

We also had the opportunity to see works of art by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Auguste Rodin, Eduardo Chillida, and Salvador Dali.

After the tour, we went out to the terrace where we were served tapas and a choice of beverage including vermouth (didn't like it), wine, beer or water.

Next, we got to see Mallorcan folk dances including the jack, the fandango, the bolero and the copeo.  We had beautiful weather and it was a pleasure watching the dancers. It was a nice experience but I think I would have preferred the train.