Cabin review: VS4237 Vista Suite
Our suite was a Vista Suite which is in the back of the ship and has a good wrap around balcony. The suite is so tiny it would appear as if our friend had made it for one of her miniature rooms. Neither my wife or I are gymnasts or lithe dancers but we do generally manage to maneuver through the world without bumping into things but we found in this room that it was nearly impossible to keep from hitting your head or bumping a shoulder or elbow however after a few days we managed. The suite is not badly decorated with signed and numbered prints and a special shout out about the drapes which are bordering on decorator elegant. We have a living room, dressing room, walk in closet, bathroom etc. but not large any of them. In fact the drawers by the bed are so small you can't even put a magazine in them. And when you open the drawers the whole night stand tips over. The space between the wall and the bed is very mingy. The bathroom is large with two sinks and plenty of storage. There is a bathtub with a shower. The living room is adequate. There is a desk, a chair, and a table. The balcony is large and is blessedly covered. You can close off the bedroom and dressing room area for privacy. The hallway is grand and has a glass shelf on one side and a "for no apparent reason" marble shelf on the other that is too small to put anything other than a small toothpick collection on it. The closet is large with very adequate storage. The dressing room is a good size as well. There are windows along the back and side which makes it a great room from which to watch the world sail by. One interesting note is that they have to VHS players in the room. Why? I can't imagine many people travelling with some of their old VHS tapes and it would appear there are none to be borrowed. Which brings us to the TV's which didn't work well and the remotes were a joke. The room is a bit 'down at heel' for example one of the covers for the recessed lighting is held on with packing tape. When we arrived we discovered a pile of peanut shells hidden behind a drape. No doubt a gift from the previous occupant and it is understandable that they were missed as they were hidden behind a drape and sheer that were tied back but still. I do not blame our room steward Nengah who is and was a paragon of service going above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable. When we found something amiss it was immediately corrected by the room steward and checked upon by his supervisor.
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Port and Shore Excursions
Cabo day 1:
Fortunately Carnival uses the Cabo tenders which are ever so much better than using the lifeboats. Ever so much better. Ever. They are open and thus cooler.
We got to Cabo and took a taxi to the Hotel Mar de Cortez our favorite hotel. Not touristy and more like the Cabo of old before it became LA Sounth. As they say in their brochure "A charming and popular colonial style hotel in the center of what was once a quaint fishing village." We had drinks there.
It was hotter than a fire on a griddle in July. We shopped a bit and bought nothing and went on to El Squid Roe where we had a delicious lunch. They make the salsa at your table and is it good. We had tequila con Sangrita (sort of the Mexican equivalent of a Bloody Mary tequila in one glass the Sangrita in another. The Sangrita is made with citrus and chili. Delicious.) and margaritas then we ordered Victoria chicken and if you do nothing else in Cabo avoid the Victoria Chicken but we also had quesadillas which were wonderful and most of their food is too. The service is as warm as Cabo and friendly.
Then on to the big shopping center which has far fewer shops than before but it is much cooler. Sad the bit about the shops not about cooler cooler is good especially with a hot temperature outside. We went to our favorite liquor store and bought some Herradura Reposado our new favorite tequila. Then we took a picture of the metal pirate. I said to him in Spanish that he must be hot in his outfit. He answered in American English. "It's not so bad." Blazing international connections wherever I go.
Then to the drug store and home in a taxi. Long wait on the water taxi but we finally got back to the ship and cool blessed cool. The water taxi guy sat us on top so we caught the breeze. He stopped when I wanted to take a picture of the ship so I could get a better shot. Very, very nice.
Cabo San Lucas: (Day 2)
We decided to view Cabo from afar and stayed on board.
I find it interesting that we sailed away from Cabo the first day and circled during the night and came back the next day. We are booked on a Princess Cruise that also does two days in Cabo but stays in Cabo overnight. When I asked why I got a myriad of answers including "It's the law." "Too difficult and dangerous to tender at night." etc. When I told them about Princess they finally said that if they stayed in Cabo they couldn't open the casino and shops. More likely the truth.
As many times as my wife and I have been to Mexico on cruises (many) we have never been to Ensenada. I had always heard about Hussong's and we had to go there. It did not disappoint. One rather expected Pancho Villa and the gang to saunter in at any moment. A great place opened in the 1890's. A lot of fun places to eat and drink around Hussong's. We went to one of them and had tableside made guacamole that was delicious. One of our favorite stores in Mexico is Michael's Gallery in Mazatlan which stocks very unique items. We despaired that we were not going to Mazatlan on this trip not only because we love the town but because we always find amazing things at Michael's. We found this wonderful store along the main street named Bazaar Casa Ramirez which has an incredible selection of unusual items from all over Mexico. We were thrilled and found some great things there. After that we went to a restaurant for drinks and snacks and then taxied back to the ship. Amazingly enough it was the same price as the hot crowded bus that we came took into town.
Many people on board had been to Ensenada numerous times and weren't fond of it but we found a lot to like.
Many people hated Manzanillo but we loved its authenticity.
We were greeted by locals playing music as we disembarked.
I hadn't been there in years. I stayed twice at Las Hadas and was eager to see it again. We hired a taxi with a wonderful driver who showed us the destruction from the recent hurricane and gave us an excellent tour of the area.
We went to Las Hadas. It is still nice but far from the spectacular hotel it once was.
Our driver took us back into town and we were fascinated by the downtown area. Very authentic. The market was wonderful bustling and filled with wonderful sights, sounds, and smells. Back along the Malecon we found a great place called the Bar Social. They had delicious bar snacks and good drinks and a man in the corner playing the guitar and singing. It was out of a movie. Great place.
Having been there many times we just returned to favorite haunts. Cocktails at the River CafÃ© along the Rio Cuale.
A visit to the local market.
Lunch at La Destileria overlooking the Malecon. Delicious food and a great view refreshing ocean breezes and at the end a complimentary trio of tequilas to taste. While we were dining Mariachis played and a Native band with dancers came through.
We finished up at our favorite bar with a drink with our favorite bartender.