Introduction : All of our pictures are posted on : http://www.flickr.com/photos/34128007@N04/ From the day we booked this cruise, our main objective was to get-a-way (no phones, no internets) and no big plan for 10 days, we are going to go out there and basically "just do it" at the spur of the moment.
Missing-link : Comparing to the past cruises with RCCL, ONE biggest thing that we missed : Ship-Shape Dollar, yes.... those yellow paper you collected for participating on board cruise activities and at the end of the cruise day you may exchange for some gifts (key chain, lanyard, towel, t-shirt, etc) = those are gone = As this was our motivation to join those fun activities on board RCCL. No welcome-back gift (except the coupon booklets) for repeat customers.
Our story begins with : We took Amtrak (Surfliner Southbound) from Union Station Los Angeles to San Diego Santa Fe Station, and walked to the awaiting Radiance Of The Seas. We had to wait little bit more than half-hour an the Atrium, before they let us walk to our cabin after 1:30 pm. Cabin # 3045 was ready and clean when we checked in. Cabin attendant was not available until 4:00 pm, and so our luggage still not arrived, yet So we went up to Windjammers buffet to have lunch and taking leisure walk in order to get familiar with the ship & with camera in hand. Before emergency drill, we went to our room, we met Ed our cabin attendant and notice some wet spot inside the door, seemed the water came from the left side. We asked for more towel-mat, and he also provided with air-blower. Cabin supervisor Ms. Mercedes also came by to check and to make sure.
We went to our second seating (08:30) dinner at table 469, and apparently 4 out of 6 people of our dining-table-mates also members of Meet & Mingle Roll Call on this site. Our waiter, in my opinion, little bit too uptight & too serious, while our assistant waiter was more playful and an out going persons. Some how they are too worried if their services were up-to-par. We missed several dinners, as my wife & I end up nibbling too much snack before 8:30 seating time at Seaview Cafe or Windjammer Buffet and we could not eat dinner anymore.
Sea View Cafe was great, simple yet satisfying. Windjammer Buffet offered similar menu as main dining room, PLUS other choices, minus the waiting time for second seating. Windjammer offers Sushi Bar, carving station, and other things they kept on changing every night. So we end-up eating too much "snacking", as the result several nights we could not come anymore for dinner at 8:30pm.
CABIN 3045 : Before we left for Acapulco City Tour, we noticed new wet spot on the right side of the room, and reported to Ed to be taken care of while we are off-shore in Acapulco. By the time we returned to our Cabin, we smelled quite strong wet carpet odor. This time the right side of the room was soaking wet, when we pulled away the sofa, the water was abundantly visible and the sofa fabric was absorbing most of the moisture. Ms. Mercedes already left a phone message, and she could move us to another cabin. So we decided to take up the offer and to move to Cabin 3144, an-upgrade with window. Immediately new task at hand, we had to pack and unpack, and our new cabin attendant Analiza was cheerfully welcomed us at the new cabin 3144.
ENTERTAINMENT : We love the Tango Buenos Aires, and took a lot of captivating pictures of their dancing on the stage. We saw Kenny James & Fallon Magic on the other RCCL Ship (I believe on Monarch Of The Seas).
CAPTAIN ERIK TENGELSEN : We have to mention his name, as he (and his team) had done a wonderful & professional job in handling the "Oscar-incident" (man-overboard).
ANSWER TO MOST COMMON INQUIRIES : Is it a vacation of a life time ? [no] Are we going back to cruise again ? [yes] Did we achieve our vacation objective ? [yes]
Cabin 3045 : standard inside Cabin Category N. This is what we did not even mentioned anywhere before. The safe at this room was jammed before we check-in. I have asked cabin attendant immediately upon check in if he could open the lock, and he suggested for me to call Maintenance and wait in the room until they come to fix the problem. We do not see any need to use the safe, so we did not call at all.
Here's the logic : if the safe already jammed before we moved in, why we have to call? Could they not just open it and fix it before the new guests check in ? Or is it the responsibility of the new-arrival guests to make sure all things in working order as we move in ?
Cabin 3144 : everything was in working order.
The very last cabin on deck three.
You can hear & feel a lot of people walking in/out during crews-shift time.
After the second night, we did not hear a thing, as we already get used to it.
CABO SAN LUCAS : We just walk to local Catholic Church (Parroquia De San Lucas) for Sunday Mass, and we met a lot of people from the ship as well. The rest of the afternoon we just had leisure walk in town and took the tender back to the ship.
MAZATLAN : Again, we walked to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, and to our surprise the Bishop himself was the celebrant for 12:00 noon Mass. The rest of the afternoon we just walked around town visiting Zocalo and the Market Place, and walked back to the cruise..... very good exercise for the day !
ACAPULCO : We joined local tour with ROSIE the pink lady, together with 9 other people from the ship. When we booked the tour, we had requested to be grouped with people that do not like shopping, and we got our wish. Our van had similar interest ~ city tour and less shopping ~. Rosie herself drove the club-wagon-type van with her witty narration and provided with all sort of beverages (water, soda, and, yes, beer too) After Lunch break, most of the people wanted to go back to the ship, we requested to be dropped off at the Zocalo & Cathedral and willing to walk back to the ship on our own way. She was so worried that we may get lost ........ Radiance Of The Seas is a huge ship and she was visible from the Zocalo ...... Although, we appreciated Rosie's concern in this matter.
ZIHUATANEJO : Our plan was to rent a scooter, but the place was still not open until after 10:00 am. By then we had walked all over the places and decided not to rent the scooter, as the ship sailing time was earlier than any other ports.
PUERTO VALLARTA : We took Blue Bus to the central town (Malecon). The bus shook and rattled like a thrill ride at the amusement park, but hey ... what do you expect for 50cents per person one way to El Centro ! A lot of tourists in the bus as well. We told the bus driver to drop us off at the "Iglesia", and he did drop us off exactly in front of Lady Guadalupe Cathedral. It was St. Joseph Day, and the 12:00 noon Mass celebrated complete with full Mariachi Band, that was our treat for the day ~ beautiful singing with Mariachi Band ~ even though we do not speak Spanish Language it was simply beautiful !