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twangster

ūüéĶPanama! ūüéĶ Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019

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Day 3 - Cabo San Lucas

Our arrival was scheduled for 11am. 

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Approaching land coming from the North we could begin to see the beaches along the shore.

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Well North of Cabo there were some pretty big resorts.

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The famous Cabo arch as seen from the sea. 

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Coming around the corner of the arch we discovered the NCL Bliss was already at anchor.

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Today we would be using the ship tenders - four specially designed lifeboats that do double duty as tenders.

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Cabo tip - take pictures of the arch in the morning.  When the sun comes around in the afternoon it reflects off the water so lighting isn't as good compared to the morning. 

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From the ship we could see the wide and long beaches of Cabo.

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We had to wait from local officials to visit the ship to clear it.  Soon enough the tenders began.

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These tenders feature two levels so some guests can sit upstairs in the open air.

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With four boats each carrying ~100 guests it would take some time to get everyone to shore.

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Down in my cabin getting ready I spotted the arch through the porthole.

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The tender ride was ~15 minutes given that the Bliss had arrived earlier and secured the closer anchorage.

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The tender dock in the Cabo marina.

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The Cabo marina is lined with bars and restaurants, pharmacies and tourist shops.

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Cabo is the self proclaimed sports fishing capital of the world.  

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A happy fisherman back with his conquest.

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It was hot so a nice cold margarita sounded pretty good.

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Time for the ride back to the ship.

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This time I managed to get on the upper deck of the lifeboat/tender.

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Local water taxis are very popular to reach remote beaches like Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach.

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The NCL Bliss is the largest cruise ship to ever do the full transit through the Panama Canal.  She is just ever so smaller than Quantum class.

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Here she is washing her anchor chain as she slowly raises it and gets ready to leave.

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Onward towards Vision of the Seas.

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Day 3 - Dinner

Dinner tonight in Chops the other half of my BOGO.

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The 16 oz. bone-in Ribeye cooked perfectly.

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As we waited for the tender boats to be recovered day turned to night and it was very special sitting by the window to take in the lights of Cabo.

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Finally dessert.

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Another great dinner experience.

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Day 4 - Puerto Vallarta

As a kid who grew up watching The Love Boat (and having a serious crush on Julie) sailing to Puerto Vallarta was a staple of my weekly TV experience.  So it is always something special to cruise to this beautiful Mexican port.  

Puerto Vallarta is set at the end of a wide bay that on this morning was buried in a morning sea mist.

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As we approached the beautiful beaches of Puerto Vallarta unveiled themselves. 

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My last visit here was in 2013 and I have to ask myself why haven't I come back.  Seriously.  The cruise harbor has three docks and is very convenient to a shopping mall as well as Sam's Club and Walmart literally across the street.  The crew love coming to this port since it's so easy to stock up on everything they want.  

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There are a lot of top elite on your sailing?  I thought they were all on Symphony this week...LOL

One of my favorite features when we sailed on the Norway way back in the early 90s was that she carried her ow tender boats around with her. 

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3 minutes ago, KathyC said:

There are a lot of top elite on your sailing?  I thought they were all on Symphony this week...LOL

I was booked for the 50th cruise then cancelled.  I was hoping to avoid the masses of top elite and thought maybe they wouldn't want to be on Vision.  It seems I wasn't alone thinking this way.  

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Today's excursion was a half day coastal sail with sightseeing.  We met in the theater and soon after we began the walk over to the sailboats.  The demographic of this cruise tends to be older.   The 10 minute walk pushed many of them to edge of tolerance and they weren't shy vocalizing their displeasure.    

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Lifejackets were required to leave the harbor area.  Once at sea we were free to set them aside.   

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Like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta is a tourist destination.  Peak season is Christmas and Easter.  The large cities of Guadalajara and Mexico City are close enough that Puerto Vallarta is their vacation destination of choice.    

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Beaches and resorts go on and on for many miles.  

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With the mountains as a backdrop is really is quite stunning and these pictures don't nearly do it justice.

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Our sailboat comes with beer, Margaritas and Pi√Īa¬†Coladas.¬† On this hot day a Margarita was just about perfect.

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Near the city center we came along a pole set in the beach with some people climbing up.  Today was Day of the Dead in Mexico.  Consequently there were many parades and festivities including, apparently, this display. 

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One by one four people climbed to the top of the tower.

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Finally the fourth made their way to the top.

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Then all of a sudden they began spinning down, upside down, while playing music on something like a flute.

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It was quite something to see. Here is video:

 

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Our coastal sail continued.  In the downtown area this old Catholic church is well known. 

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This is clearly a tourist destination but unlike some Mexican ports in the Caribbean the tourists here are largely Mexican.

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As we continue down the coast we come across some rock formations.

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I'm not exactly sure what was going on here but apparently I picked the wrong boat to sail on today.  

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There were three choices for beer onboard.  Corona, Corona or Corona.  When the guide jokingly handed me a bottle of beer I quickly took a sip and kept the bottle.  Challenge accepted.  Hey, I'm on vacation.  

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This is a popular snorkeling spot.

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With that we turned around and made our way back along the coast to the cruise ship harbor.

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A local was making a meal of some grass.

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Day 5 - Sea Day

Two sea days now on our way to Guatemala.  Flat seas and warm.  Beautiful cruising weather.

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Day by day my Crown and Anchor selections have been arriving.  Drink package?  Who needs a drink package?

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Our progress...

Looking at the map it makes you appreciate how far North we started, relatively speaking.  

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With that I am caught up to real time.  Another sea day tomorrow so I won't post much.  

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23 hours ago, twangster said:

Walking around the marina in almost a full circle you come to that beach we could see from the ship.

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Wow! I have vacationed in Cabo twice since adulthood and stopped here on my last Mexican Riviera cruise and always took a taxi to get to a nice, wide sandy beach. How long of a walk was this from the tender pier? This is now on the top of my post-excursion list for my trip in December. 

Also, agreed on the beauty of Puerto Vallarta. I go yearly in April but seeing it from the water is amazing, how have I never gone sailing while there? Remedied for December, sunset sail now squeezed in on the schedule. Thanks!

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18 minutes ago, DDaley said:

Wow! I have vacationed in Cabo twice since adulthood and stopped here on my last Mexican Riviera cruise and always took a taxi to get to a nice, wide sandy beach. How long of a walk was this from the tender pier? This is now on the top of my post-excursion list for my trip in December. 

Also, agreed on the beauty of Puerto Vallarta. I go yearly in April but seeing it from the water is amazing, how have I never gone sailing while there? Remedied for December, sunset sail now squeezed in on the schedule. Thanks!

If you think of the Cabo marina as U shaped you basically have to walk all the way around the U clockwise to reach the resort and beach area.  My walk was extended by a few stops for refreshments.  

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Top tier event

1942 total guest count, 1,373 Crown and Anchor members on board.

395 Gold, 249 Platinum, 152 Emerald, 359 Diamond, 191 Diamond Plus, 27 Pinnacles

Top three cruisers have 1,270, 1,500 and 1,590 points.

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On 11/3/2019 at 11:06 AM, twangster said:

Cabin Tour!

Ocean view deck 3 forward.

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The dreaded shower curtain.

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The bathrooms have been updated.  They are similar in style to the bathrooms being installed when a ship receives new cabins.  

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On deck plans certain cabins appear larger in the forward section of the ship.  The livable cabin space remains the same however there is a ledge in front of the windows.  It's quite large, almost enough to put a mattress in there but it does push the windows out away so they are less accessible.  

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Beds separated for better use of the space.

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Silly question, but I just thought of it when I saw the picture. Do you always sleep in the same bed, or do you switch off? 

Also, I know people generally don't care for shower curtains, but I'll take that over a tube shower any day!

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On 11/3/2019 at 11:33 AM, twangster said:

Day 2 - Sea Day

Our progress as we make our way down the coast.

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Formal night.

Due to the high number of top elite the entire "Some Enchanted Evening Lounge" is reserved for the Diamond Happy Hour event.  The Viking Crown Lounge and Concierge Club is Pinnacles and Suites only on this sailing.  This actually works well because the Diamond Club is tiny on this ship.   

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Spur of the moment decision to use my Diamond Plus BOGO for Giovanni's and Chops.  The letter in my cabin stated I could use my BOGO on day one through three.  I had a $50 OBC and with prepaid gratuity I figured why not?  Table with a view.

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Bread service.

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Antipasti for one.

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Filet.  Yumm.

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Risotto for a side.

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A very nice dinner experience.

That mushroom risotto is a killer!

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