Tag Archives: Las Caletas

The Cruise That Almost Wasn’t – Norwegian Jewel Turned Out to be a Gem!

10 Oct

DSCN1272.jpg

I just got back from 7 days of fun-filled, sun-filled, rum-filled cruising!

I’d never considered cruising to Mexico. The Caribbean is more my style. But all that changed last week. Hubby and I had a cruise planned from Aruba to Columbia, the Panama Canal, and then St. Pete, Florida. This was an open bar cruise—and trust me, we’d planned to get soused every day!

The morning before the trip, the cruise line CANCELLED the cruise due to impending Tropical Storm Andrew. We’re veteran travelers, and since we’d already scheduled 11 days off for vacation, we had to regroup fast. So, we focused on the opposite coast and lucked up on a deal for $449 from LAX to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabos San Lucas through Norwegian Cruise lines.

We upgraded to a balcony for $150 dollars more. It was totally worth it. The cruise was sheer perfection! I’m impressed with Norwegian, and how clean the staff kept the ship. This wasn’t a booze cruise, but somebody forgot to tell Norwegian that. We had plenty of free liquor on all of our excursions.

I skip anything involving animals (swimming with dolphins, petting turtles, camel rides, etc.). I don’t believe in imprisoning and enslaving any creature for humans’ enjoyment. It makes me sad to see that.

If you’re ever thinking of cruising on the Norwegian Jewel from Los Angeles to Mexico, try these excursions:

PUERTO VALLARTA
Las Caletas Beach Hideaway – $129 per person

dscn1306

At $129 per person, this excursion seemed a little pricey at first. We chose this because we’d heard it was an exclusive beach that wasn’t crowded, where we could simply relax.

Verdict: Thumbs up! It was all that and more.

We took a tender boat from the pier to the beach. This 30-minute ride was filled with fun tour guides, who kept us entertained, and guess what? FREE adult beverages! On the way to the beach and back, unlimited beer and pina coladas flowed. I had no clue this was part of the deal. I don’t know how many we had. Between the two of us, I stopped counting at seven!

When we arrived at the beach, we were served a FREE authentic Mexican meal. The outdoor lunch was offered beneath a shady canopy of trees. Afterward, I donned my swimsuit and lied on my big fat butt for four hours. See those hammocks? Yes, I parked my booty right there! While I was asleep, my husband took advantage of the FREE water sports. The beach offered canoeing, snorkeling, and water jet packing. What more could you ask for? In the end, the price was right for everything we got.

 

dscn1317

How’d you like this shower in your home?!

MAZATLAN
Bar Hopping – $59 per person

Bar #1

I rarely buy drinks on the ship. They’re ridiculously over-priced and watered down. We bought two mudslides on the first day, and our bill was $21.95!!! I don’t know about you, but I at least like to be taken to dinner before I get screwed over. I admit, I did try to take my own vodka onboard disguised in water bottles, but Norwegian confiscated them. Oh well, can’t blame a girl for trying.

20161009_232014

This is one of the reasons we signed up for the bar hopping excursion. At $59 per person, it was a deal. In 3 ½ hours, we visited 3 bars, where our drinks were FREE. We were only supposed to get one drink for free and then we were to pay for the rest, but between stops, our tour guides served us FREE tequila! I think they were just as buzzed as we were. At the last stop, we had twenty-five minutes to shop. Hubby found a great little place called Casa Maya Arte, where I picked up some beautiful Mexican stoneware.

Bar #2 and the view from the bar!

 

 

Bar #3 and the view from the bar!

20161009_231633

 

dscn1360

This is Casa Maya, where I spent waayyy to much money!

Verdict: Thumbs up! When you consider one drink costs $10-12 on the ship, $59 is a hell of a deal.

CABO SAN LUCAS
Baja Highlights – $59 per person

dscn1397

One of my favorite tours. After a day of hanging at the beach and overindulging in distilled spirits, I was ready to take it easy. I should have know something was up when I learned I was the youngest person on the tour. At age 46, I ain’t no spring chicken, but I felt like a teenager compared to all the senior citizens on the air-conditioned bus.

We made 3 stops at historical places in Cabo. One of them was to a glass blowing shop. Those guys have skills! I snapped a few pics of one them transforming a lifeless piece of glass into a work of art. We got a chance to buy any of the amazing handmade pieces in the store.

Afterward, we stopped at some restaurant with an amazing ocean-view. And guess what? More FREE drinks! I don’t know what was in that beer they gave me, but it I practically took a nap when I got back to the bus! It was hops and barley on steroids, baby.

We went on a shopping blitz, mainly just looking because my husband only gave me five minutes in each place. My last stop was a sliver boutique, where hubby twisted my arm (not that much) into buying a gorgeous sterling silver rock masquerading as a ring. Chunky is as chunky does. The only weird thing for me was the guard armed with what looked like an AK-47 standing outside the ladies bathroom. Dayum! Made me too nervous to pee.

20161007_102012.jpg

The tour ended with us buying $1 all-natural popsicles with no GMO, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no artificial flavors. I bought pineapple, and I actually had chunks of pineapple in there. Yummy!

Verdict: Thumbs up! Definitely worth the money.

k-and-t

Me and Hubby before we drank too much!

dscn1464

When I retire to Cabo, this is the realtor I’m going to use!

P.S. I was shocked to see the devastation Andrew caused, especially in Haiti. The fact that our original cruise was cancelled was a blessing. Thank God we didn’t get caught up in that. My prayers go out to those who were affected.