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Cruise Activities and Experiences on the ms Oosterdam Cruising the Mexican Riviera - A Cruise Review

The fun part, for me, of this planning was the day we stood on the deck of the Caribbean Princess and Bill said "Can't we go back on the Oosterdam?"

Finally a moment to sit down! Up early this morning to pack. Then we corralled the cats and whisked them away to the French Bunny Suite at the Cat's Pajamas Bed and Breakfast... spoiled kittens and I bet they don't even appreciate it. Today we fly to San Diego where we will spend the night at the Holiday Inn on the Bay for a close up view of the Oosterdam as she sails into port in the morning.

The fun part, for me, of this planning was the day we stood on the deck of the Caribbean Princess and Bill said "Can't we go back on the Oosterdam?"  That man should have learned by now not to suggest a cruise option to me.  As soon as we got home, I checked the Oosterdam schedule and lo and behold she was sailing to the oh-so-convenient for us Mexican Riviera and on my birthday too.  Now this will be the first birthday in my entire 57 years that I have not spent the day at a desk (unless of course it fell on a Sunday but I was usually too tired then to care) either in school or at a CPA's office preparing tax returns.  Double treat there for sure!!

Feb 23 - San Diego

We traveled to San Diego yesterday. Pretty uneventful but then that is how travel is supposed to be... got a taxi at the airport... at the hotel in no time at all and in our room which overlooks the bay in San Diego.  Lovely view, so so hotel... But and this is a big but, from our room we look out at the dock where the Oosterdam will arrive. 

Dinner at Anthony's was wonderful.  I had Lobster Puerto Nuevo and it was so good. 

Then we met some of the other cruise critics at the Elephant and Castle Pub for drinks.  What a great group.  I can see that we will have a wonderful time.  John and I are the smokers in the group and as luck would have it we have cabins right next to each other on the ship so smoking on the balcony just got easier... only one side of each of us to complain about the smoke out of doors.

It is now five AM and believe it or not, I am up waiting for the Oosterdam to pull into port...

Feb 24 On the Oosterdam at sea

Finally upon the high seas... ah yes it feels like coming home.

This was the smoothest embarkation we have ever experienced.  We dropped off our bags and walked into the terminal where they checked our ID's and boarding passes, grabbed a health form, went through the metal detectors and were in the check in line and through it and on the ship in a matter of minutes.  We were literally on the aft pool deck within 30 minutes of leaving our hotel.

At 3PM we met on deck 5 forward for the banner wave.  And then off to Bobbie & Dave's suite for a wine sail away. ( We can definitely tell you... White Truck Pinot Grigio is not the best wine you will ever have... but Dave is a generous host and drank that himself )  Nice meeting new friends as we sailed away from San Diego.

Today is a sea day and that means sun and relaxation in my book.  So we did some eating, some visiting with new friends and some eating and some drinking and then a little eating... well you get the picture.

Last night, we went to dinner and our table for 8 had magically turned into a table for 4 with one gentleman who was on his first cruise by himself and dismayed to find himself at such a small table as well.  We had an enjoyable time but it was not really what we had in mind... so we went to see the Maitre D at lunch and he was actually happy to have another couple with this problem since he had a lovely table for 6 with two other couple who felt the same way and had requested a change and he was happy to fill the table.  So that worked out great!  Looking forward to putting on the formal duds and meeting more people.  Nothing like cruising for meeting people !!

We met our new and delightful table mates, Nancy and Tom from Atlanta and Joan and Walter from Erie Pennsylvania.  Joan and Walter had quite a trip getting to San Diego what with cancelled flights, multiple stops and lost luggage which finally reached them in Cabo San Lucas.  I should also mention at this point that one of the problems that the dining room is having is that there are 400 people in an Air America group and they do seem to be quite demanding and not at all reticent (or some of them particularly polite) and they have ALL of the 8 or 10 top tables at our seating.  I realize that these people paid about 1200 to 1600 a person more than the rest of us, but they do seem to think that this entitles them to more of everything.  I feel a bit sorry for the wait staff.

Feb 25 Todos Santos to see the California Hotel

Today we are off to Todos Santos on the Pacific coast of Baja California.  This is a small town about 1-1/2 hour north of Cabo San Lucas.  We tendered over to Cabo and met our group on the dock to board our bus for the day.  Our tour guide Jesus (yes we were riding with Jesus today) was personable, knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.  We passed through miles of desert where Carbon Cactus grew as far as the eye could see, and reached the Pacific Coast were we stopped for a few minutes at a beach to watch some whales off shore.  We arrived in Todos Santos were we took a brief walking tour of the town, including the Mission, the Theatre, a gallery featuring the unique and beautiful pottery of Rueben Gutierrez and the cultural center.  We arrived at Hotel California (Famous of course for the Eagles song that is about this Hotel California) for a wonderful lunch of varied Mexican specialties and of course a Margarita!!   I loved it, Bill didn't think it was HOT enough (could be why I loved it) Then we had a bit of time for some shopping in this artist colony.  I headed directly back to the Gutierrez gallery where I bought one of his gorgeous and entirely reasonably priced pots, as well a couple pieces of jewelry that was quite different from what you would see at the more general tourist shops.  Then it was time for a nap on the bus... all in all a completely wonderful day !!!

Dinner today featured Unicorn filet which made us wonder until our waiter explained that it was a mild white fish.  I had the braised lamb shank that was fork tender and bursting with flavor.  I don't like lamb any other way but this was exceptional.

Feb 26 - Mazatlan

Mazatlan today. We looked out and realized that it was Very foggy. The captain announced that "There is limited visibility", otherwise called fog. The fog USUALLY lifts by 8:30 or 9:00 and at that time we will be able to enter the harbor. The exact time of docking is undetermined, but we hope to doc between 9:30 and 10:00AM.  Tours will commence from the regularly scheduled meeting point immediately upon docking.  "THERE IS NO NEED TO QUEUE AT THE SHORE EXCURSION DESK."  And indeed we were docked at about 9:30AM.  Our excursion today doesn't start until 10:30 so we had no inconvenience at all.

Today we are going to the Shrimp Fest.  We took trolleys to the top of one of the hills where we were welcomed into the gardens of a beautiful personal residence where the gracious host made everyone quite comfortable on various patios and verandahs for a fantastic feast of three kinds of fresh shrimp, homemade guacamole and Salsa, beans and rice and home made tortillas and chips.  And Margarita's flowing all day, or Pacifico Beer or Sodas. 

There was a lovely artisan's gallery there, and if you know me you know I headed straight for the incredible necklaces.  I finally chose one made of Citrine, Crystals from Barcelona and freshwater pearls.  It is truly a one of a kind piece and as we sat enjoying lunch and the company the artist arrived and came over to see the lady that bought one of her pieces.  She was wonderful and wanted to know why I hadn't bought the earrings.  I explained that I didn't have pierced ears and she ran off to see if she could figure out how to turn them into clips for me.  She eventually came and said... so far I have cut myself and super glued my fingers together so I am going to wait until I am calm and send you an email with a picture of what I designed and I can ship them too you!! Incredible hospitality and a lovely new piece of jewelry with more to come .. It just doesn't get any better than that !!!

Feb 27th  Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta on a gorgeous sunny day!!  We took our time getting going this morning because the only shore excursion we had was at 3:45 PM.  Got up late and moseyed down to the Lido for a little breakfast (ok a lot of breakfast for me... I went to the Omelet Bar )

Then we gathered Bill's credit card and headed into town.  It was crowded but fun... and there seemed to be no pressure from the time share salesmen or the shop owners.  This is  a nice twist.  We wandered through a few shops and jewelry shops... looking for that special something that spoke my language.  I actually saw a necklace early in the day but I thought I might as well look a little farther.  We stopped at Senior Frogs for a Margarita and a bathroom break and then headed out for more shopping.  I finally said I think I want to go back to Ole... the silver shop and I did get Bill to buy me a lovely necklace which he actually did a bit of  bargaining for and off we went back to the ship for a relaxing few hours.

At 3:45 we met our group for the Rhythms of the Night tour.  Beautiful evening and a lovely one hour catamaran ride with Margaritas to tide us over and we arrived at a private beach all lit with tiki torches and lots of local color.  We were shown to our table and there we were under palm trees with the ocean spread before us.. wine in our glass and a sensational Mexican buffet.  We stuffed ourselves... had a little desert and some cinnamon coffee with Kalua and off we went to the show.  Most of these ritual type shows bore me, but not this one.  It was spectacularly done and very nicely paced.  Then it was time for the catamaran back to the ship... more margaritas and lots of fun entertainment by the catamaran crew.  Beautiful evening, gorgeous lights along the shore, a few fireworks in the distance . and possibly the best birthday ever.

Feb 28th   Oosterdam day at sea

Sea day today and it is just right for some relaxing, too much sun and some hot tub sitting.  Tonight is formal night so I get to get all gorgeous in my new turquoise gown and hope that the casino treats me as well as it did last night.  I was hitting a lot of numbers on that roulette table.

Formal evening was great fun ... ok I guess it was too much fun because I missed the casino and I can say that the Oosterdam makes a great Rusty Nail... we got to bed early tonight... sigh

Feb 29th  The last night of our Mexican Riviera Cruise aboard the HAL Lines ms Oosterdam

Our last day and it is absolutely lovely weather... after about 11 AM.  I am now so burned I am wearing sun screen and sleeves... now about the nose... oh well having a great time.  We did not do much at all today .. some sitting on the deck and visiting with friends and some laying on the balcony while Bill had a little nap and did something on-line... then it was time to get ready for the last dinner.. Put on the little red dress and the actual birthday necklace and off we went for the before dinner Rob Roy and a last meet with friends from the Oceans bar. 

Tonite is the master chef's dinner and it was totally fun!!  We had chef's hats and Bill and I actually wore them for a bit.. a lovely floor show by our waiters and other staff and then a lovely meal.  For the finale... glow sticks... I felt like it was a rock concert without the rock but with the baked Alaska.  Some time in the casino and it was off to the room to pack... sigh.  Another cruise almost over. 

Mar 1st   Home again

Well that dam Captain found San Diego so we had to get off this lovely ship.. A quick taxi to the airport and a seemingly endless line at Swa which actually took about 12 minutes and we were checked in.  Time for a last cigarette for hours and off we went to relax at the gate.  Easy flight home .. town car waiting at the airport and we were home by 4PM.  Picked up the cats at 5:30 and another fabulous vacation is over.

Mar 2nd

Ok Now we are booked on Carnival Sprit with the CB Buccaneer crowd and great news... Son and daughter in law and daughter and son in law are all joining us... Yessssss is it Oct yet ???????