A Page From My Journal

January - February 2011 Mexican Riviera Cruise

It seemed a little odd to me to be taking the Mexican Riviera Cruise after I had already taken the Mediterranean Cruise a year and a half ago [the Mexican Riviera is a sort of entry-level cruise destination]. But the need for a vacation, a time away from our busy schedules, one that would be easy to organize and easy to take arose. And because we already made a deposit previously in another cruise and the fact that the pricing for this cruise was within our budget, we opted to sign up for this one.

I did some cursory online research on the 3 ports of call - Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, and jotted down some sights I wanted to see. No activities were penciled in as this was to be a lazy holiday - nothing to do week. Little did I know I could have done zip lining and parasailing.

I cannot remember our drive from home to the long-term parking lot near the airport or the shuttle ride to SFO. However, I do remember how disappointed I was upon entering the plane, a Jet Blue. I could not shake off my anxiety as I was already afraid of flying and now to fly in a small plane??? But my husband assured me that the flight to Long Beach would only take an hour. That is so much better than driving there for about 8 hours.

To my amazement, it was a smooth flight, including the take off and landing. I took a few peeks out the window and the sun was out bright. And 55 minutes later we were landing in Long Beach.

It took us another 20 minutes from the airport to port of Long Beach where we would be embarking on a 7-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera. Where was the traffic that SoCal was so infamous for? Must be the time of day or must be because it was a Saturday??? I wouldn't know, but I was glad that there wasn't any delay to the port.

We were dropped off curbside and I noticed that it was crowded. There were three ships, and one of them is Queen Elizabeth, one of the fancy schmancy cruises where you have to be garbed in a Gucci or something (my impression). Our little NCL ship sat next to this humongous vessel and there was a line snaking in to the building. I asked if this was the line to the NCL and was told that was it. I parked my luggage next to me and snapped some shots. I found myself getting a tad irritated at this long line (which always gets my goat no matter where the line is). Not helping my surly mood is the fact that I have been nursing a two-day old cough and sore throat and I sounded like froggy. My husband left my side to investigate what's the hold up. He returned without an answer. The line was thankfully moving, at a snail's pace. However, he found that we could send our luggage in ahead of us and they will be delivered to our rooms. That's a good thing not to be pulling and pushing heavy luggage while trying to take pictures :)

Eventually, we found ourselves inside this huge hangar-like building that serves as the arrival/departure point of the cruises, NCL for this one.

We were given a stub with a number on it upon clearing the x-ray machines and were told to sit and wait for our numbers to be called. People were hungry and tired from standing on the line for too long and we were all crabby. I could not see one relaxed face inside that hangar - well except for the hubs.

Our number was finally called and we presented ourselves at the mmigration officer where we presented all the necessary papers. When we were handed our number we were also given a medical waiver kind of document where you click a box that says you are sick or not. Something of that sort.

And crabby me I click yes on the box that says I have cough. I wasn't allowed to get through. Instead I was taken to a makeshift room a few feet away from the desks and was told to wait for the doctor. BTW, I was told by the officer that almost NO ONE checks yes on this document, but today, I was the second to say YES. My hubs although irritated at my stupidity said nothing, but gave me a hug and said things will be alright. When I was sitting inside that makeshift room, I realized what I'd done. I could potentially be barred from going on board. Our vacation was at jeopardy and we both really needed a little time to get away to soothe my frayed nerves :)

It was at this time that my husband saw concern and panic wash over my face and I got another hug. It was at this time that a security officer came into the room and handed me a walkie talkie. The doc was on the other end of the line and wanted to speak to me. I answered her questions truthfully and when she asked if I had fever or having chills, I replied no and that must have convinced her to let me go.

When I was cleared we were both ushered into the elevator next to the room. WE didn't need to make that long walk to the other side of the hangar and take the escalator or elevator upstairs.

We quickly made it to on board, gotten into our room and rapidly descended to the restaurant to get something to eat. It was hours since my last meal and it was nearing 2 pm and all I had was coffee I believed.

The Romanian waitress that served us was very cheerful, made me laugh and forget about my irritation at all the delays in embarkation. It was through her that we found out the reason behind the delay. If people in the front told passengers up front there wouldn't be too much frustration now, would there?

So it began when the ship was coming in to dock at the port in the morning. They couldn't because of heavy fog. They were waiting for the fog to clear out. That delayed them over two hours. That 2-hour delay trickled down to delay to disembark passengers, delay to restock supplies, etc etc etc up to delay to allow new passengers, i.e. us, to embark - the domino effect. Isn't that easy to announce that there is delay caused by fog. Who would get mad at a fog, at nature?

We made it through all the required activities - like the part where they show you how to respond to emergency in case one arises, etc. The following day was a sea day and Cabo San Lucas was the first port of call.

***Will be blogging about the ports of call in my photo blog.***


kayni said…
i really miss journal writing. i love how personal it sounds.

so you have fear of flying too. it's been getting worse for me but i still push through with traveling. what do you do to get over your fear?
Josiet said…
I love your story telling. I felt nervous there for a second, I thought you'd be left behind =)
Lisa said…
I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa http://www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

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