We woke up to find ourselves in the Port of Puerto Vallerta. Apparently this means “Port” and “Vallerta” is just the last name of one of the governors of Jalisco. Our first view from our verandah was that you looked out across the street and there in front of us was both Walmart and Sams Club! Announcements were being made constantly about where to go etc if you had Port Excursions booked. We already had our tickets as these had been left in an envelope in our stateroom on our bed when we first boarded the ship and on there were the instructions about where to meet.
As usual we went up to Deck 9 to the Beach Blanket Buffet. Trying to convince Kirsten she had to eat was another thing. She’s a people watcher and used to Mummy carrying snacks. Trying to explain to her that we were in another country and Mummy wasn’t permitted to take food off was another thing. It didn’t work. All Kirsten ate were a few mouthfuls of fruit and I think a small piece of French toast, but that was it. We tried to tempt her with a Mickey Waffle and syrup but she wasn’t impressed. She was impressed with the Mickey, but not with the eating it.
We then had to meet at 9 for 9.15 in Wavebands on Deck 3 for our shore excursion. I think almost all excursions were meeting here. Some had already left, others would be after us. Of course you didn’t need to do a shore excursion you could also go off and explore on your own. Tony, our server from Palo yesterday, had suggested if we just wanted to laze by the pool etc a lot of staff in particular made their way to a hotel called Krystal Palace. He claimed that for the price of drinks you could lounge by their pools for as long as you wanted. Now I never checked this out, but when we saw Tony that evening in Palo he claimed he’d spent a number of hours there from mid-morning.
I mentioned we had a shore excursion booked. We were on the City Tour. We had never been to Mexico and as Kirsten was only 4 years old this reduced our choice of activities greatly. We didn’t want to just sit on a beach but wanted to see a little of what was there and decided that this was a good option. The tour started out by taking us to a small shopping area where we were given 30 minutes to look at the merchandise. Apparently everything that the stores sold was made locally. I will own up to the fact that John and I spent absolutely no money whilst on our 2 shore excursions (one in Puerto Vallerta, and one in Cabo). From here we boarded our coach again and drove into the main town area where we were dropped off to walk just a few short blocks to one of the main churches. Although John and I are used to the heat living in Phoenix, AZ we certainly aren’t used to the humidity. The foliage was stunning but our guide pointed out that Puerto Vallerta is on the same latitude as Hawaii hence the reason that they have such similar forms of vegetation and weather etc. Kirsten was already complaining that she was hungry, but that was to be expected and I’d brought water with us so at least we weren’t thirsty. From the church we then hopped back into our coach and took a drive around the coast to Mismaloya. We pulled into an overlook to look down onto the sheltered beach of Mismaloya. If any of you are into useless facts this is where “Night of the Iguana” was filmed and was how Puerto Vallerta was “put on the map” so to speak! For those that wanted to there was a man standing in the overlook with his giant iguana and for the price of a tip (I think) you could have your picture taken with the Iguana draped around your neck. We passed on this option.
Our last stop was the El Set restaurant. This is where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor would go to eat in privacy during their affair whilst Richard was filming “Night of the Iguana”. It was a lovely restaurant with amazing overlooks round over Puerto Vallerta. As part of the City Tour we all received a drink (whether it be beer, margarita or water) and 2 small quesadillas with guacamole. I have to say the quesadillas were definitely the best I’d ever eaten. Kirsten polished them off extremely quickly whilst the other 2 little girls sat at our table decided they didn’t want to eat them. The trip finished off with the children going up on the roof of the restaurant and bashing out any excess energy on 2 pinatas. Of course we were told the real meaning of the pinata first!
We were enjoying ourselves but our friends Jennifer and Steve were worrying about their son Andrew. He was having problems and kept having to visit the Medical Centre.
We got off extremely lightly, but Andrew was having problems. Our thoughts were with him. Jennifer and family hadn’t organised a shore excursion in Puerto Vallerta. They were planning on winging it and they did manage to get off for a few hours to enjoy one of the local hotels. I’ll have to find out which one for all of you as I know they enjoyed themselves except for the fact they could not communicate so didn’t order food as another of their sons, Will, has food allergies.
Now back to the ship. We were dropped off, but then John, Kirsten and I walked as far towards the bow of the ship as we were permitted by security so that John could get some pictures. We weren’t the only cruise ship in port, but we were definitely the better looking one.
We went back to our cabin after checking in (needed photo ID for myself and John and our key to the world cards for all 3 of us. John and I used passports as we are only Green Card holders) and changed into something a little cleaner than what we had been wearing for the morning. Back up to where….yup that’s it….Beach Blanket Buffet on deck 9 and had some sandwiches. This time we had put Kirsten’s swimsuit on and we took our lunch to the side of the Mickey Pool and let Kirsten play for about 30 minutes. We decided that was enough and went back to our room for a bath and hairwash and a nap. I had decided this was going to be the best time to get her cleaned as she was going to bed so late I didn’t want her in the bath then, and when she woke up she wanted to get straight out. She slept for 60 minutes and then I had to wake her. John and I were booked for dinner at Palo at 6pm and we had been told that if we wanted Kirsten to be fed at Oceaneer’s Club she needed to be there by 5pm. Of course, this wasn’t the case. When I dropped her off she actually only needed to have been there by around 5.50pm so that they knew that they were feeding her at 6pm. Again, I notified the staff that we were going to be at Palo so as not to be disturbed. Got to love these evenings out. John and I had more one-on-one time on this cruise than we have had since Kirsten’s birth back in May of 2007!
Because we had booked ourselves a 6pm dinner at Palo we were only the 2nd couple to arrive. We thought the host was joking when he said to the server, Tony again, give them the best seat in the house. We had right against the window at the aft (back) of the ship and overlooked everything. Seating is provided in Palo in a first come first basis ie the first people to arrive get the better seats and the later you arrive you just get those that have been vacated. John and I eat early so hence the reason we booked early, but highly recommend this time to everyone. The other reason was Tony had no other customers so he could focus as much attention on us as we wanted. We then got to see the sun set on the horizon and leave port later too. What more could we have asked for. It was beautiful. If you are booked into Palo and your server asks you when he takes your order whether or not you’d like the chocolate souffle as this needs to be put in around the same time as your entree don’t think about it just say yes! It was to die for. I chose the calamari to start with followed by the Rack of Lamb and John started with the shrimp and then had the Lobster Ravioli. Sorry I didn’t get any photos of the food or menu from Palo. You just have to trust me that it is definitely worth it. Both of us said yes to the chocolate souffle!
After dinner at Palo John went back to our room to change into something a little more relaxed. Don’t forget it is formal wear for Palo and I went and collected Kirsten. Then we went to the Walt Disney Theater for “Toy Story the Musical”. We bumped into Jennifer and Meg waiting in line so got to sit with them although Meg got thirsty so didn’t stay for the full show. There are no pictures of the show as there are announcements before all the shows saying please no flash photography. It’s amazing to me how many people ignored that, but staff were all over it so that the moment a flash went off a member of staff went and “had a word”. All 3 of us thought the show was fantastic and it is definitely a must see whilst you are on board. Then it was back for our usual tour of the shops and Shutters before heading to bed.
Overnight was fairly rocky and I can’t remember if it was last night or tonight there was an amazing thunder storm at around 2am. I was amazed when I got up how many people hadn’t even been aware of it.
I have realised now that I have finished this post that pictures wise it is very “top heavy”. I’m running out of time for this evening so instead of going back and alter it to make it more “pleasing to the eye” I am going to leave it be. Apologies!
I mentioned towards the start of the post that Jennifer and family went off and did their own thing and I would try to find out what it was. For those of you who haven’t seen/read Jennifer’s comment I thought I would add it to the post. In Jennifer’s own words:
“Fun to read!!! In PV we did a beach day at the Crown Paradise hotel. They had a day rate that was all-inclusive. I think we paid $35/adult and $18/child. It was fun! The beach was great – HUGE waves for my older boys. BUT, I think it was a public beach. We were asked thousands of times to buy things. It got really annoying. I’m not a rude person, but I finally started getting rude just to get them to GO AWAY!!!!!!
The pools were a lot of fun for my younger two (11 and 5). Shallow pools with slides.
The only problem we had there was that my 11 yo is peanut/tree nut allergic. We were told he could eat anything on the buffet. There were nuts all over the desserts!!!! I’m not sure if language was the barrier or if they just aren’t used to food allergies. Very few of the employees spoke english and there was only one other english-speaking family there while we were there (they were also on our cruise!). The food was just okay. But, it was all you can eat and drink (including alcohol!).
I am told that this resort has a deal on massages – 2/$50 for an hour. Pretty good!!! I didn’t do it though.”
I just wanted to share this information. Thanks Jennifer!