When I last left LJ I was worried that they had found my alcohol stash and confiscated it. Nope. They were just late in delivering the last bag. Our cabin was on the 7th level, starboard, aft. It was small but very nice. I can't see cruising without a balcony or at least a porthole.
Monday was spent getting accustomed to the ship and finding out where everything was. Since the weather was gorgeous with mild temperatures, a nice breeze, and bright sun, I decided it would be a good time to test the fursuiting waters. I suited up and made my way around the ship. There were relatively few people out. I think they were all up on deck 9 where the buffet was. We were asked for a few pics which was cool. We never really ran into any staff who said anything. The only rule we kept to was to avoid the buffets on 9. Kitty got some nice shots of me on the outside upper decks 10-12. Here's a teaser of some of the pics.
I should start off with food stories since ships are supposed to be famous for people pigging out. The main restaurant was on decks 2 and 3. We had a late seating which sucked. I hate eating after 8. We were paired up with another couple who found us as cool as we found them. By the end of the trip Kitty had made good friends with the wife and I even showed her my fursuit while having a nice discussion about the fandom. I should mention that they were also borderline geeks. Monday dinner was a dress-up affair. I rented a sport jacket for the occasion. I figured it would be worth it to get a tasty lobster tail and free martinis. On Tuesday night we paid the extra $30/person to eat in the exclusive dining room on Deck 10. It was a 7-course affair and we both left over 2 hours later stuffed to the gills. Overall the food was very good both in the buffets and the main dining room.
There were 3 ports of call; Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday, Mazatlan on Thursday, and Cabo San Lucas on Friday. Puerto Vallarta was pretty nice. It was a bit odd, however, docking at the port right across the street from a Wal-mart and Sam's Club. At this port we took a 4x4 excursion up into the Sierra Madre using Mercedes Unimogs. It was a very fun trip. There's nothing like downing a quart of Pacifico in a sleepy little village at 10 in the morning. *chuckles* At some points in the trip it was very much like Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland as we roared down twisty mountain roads at 30+ MPH. The tour ended with a lunch down on the Pacific. When we got back to the ship we still had a bunch of time so we headed into town on our own. We were sorely disappointed with the main city. After breathing in exhaust fumes for about an hour we decided it was time to return to the ship and just crash. There was a tourist market located near the dock and I was able to find a very nice Oaxacan hand-painted otter. I do love those types of sculptures. I should have bought a couple more.
In Mazatlan we took another trip into the Sierra Madre. This time it was more of a traditional tourist-in-a-bus tour. It was actually a very nice day. We stopped at the little towns of Concordia and Copala which were very quaint. There was also time to shop at the main market area in Mazatlan. I wanted to buy a solid silver bear statue, but the $1800 price tag was a bit high. I should have bought a Oaxacan statue that was incredibly furry. It had the head of a man, the body of a jaguar, the tail of a lizard, wings, and horns. Transporting it back home would have been a bitch, however.
I should mention one of the lowlights of the trip. With everything on-board the ship it seemed like the hard-sell. We went to a seminar on buying stuff in the ports of call and it primarily focused on buying jewelry at certain shops that you knew paid a kickback to the cruise line for recommending them. My question was why someone would travel all the way from the US to buy jewelry from essentially American-run stores? I understand there is the savings in taxes and such, but it seems pretty silly to travel to a foreign country to buy goods you can just as easily buy in the States. Even the restaurants they recommended were all "gringo-fied." Of all of the restaurants they could recommend, they choose the Senor Frog chain?!? *facepaws*
We did have a nice romantic moment on board ship. We watched the sunset over the city as the boat started to pull out of the harbor while we both shared a reuben sandwich. *lol* Even though the port was ugly and industrial (and overlooked the Corona/Pacifico brewery), the city itself looked quite nice. We both agreed it would be a place that we could both go back to explore a little more.
Cabo on Friday was an early port. We took a shuttle boat to shore where we met up with our tour to do a little snorkeling. We rode out to a couple of bays using a large Zodiac raft. It was a rather harrowing experience bouncing over waves at 20+ MPH. The snorkeling itself was nothing to write home about having already done the barrier reefs of Australia and Belize. It was nice at one point when I was watching a school of colorful fish and they all started swimming around me. Soon I found myself in the center of a feeding frenzy. It turned out our guide had been throwing bits of food to where we were swimming. There was another boat ride back to port where we walked around a bit looking at all of the tourist shops. We quickly got tired of having vendors getting in our faces and made a retreat to the ship. I did see one of the more funny moments as we made our way back to the shuttle boats. A deep-sea sport fishing boat had just pulled into dock and the owner was cleaning the front of the boat. A flock of pelicans landed on the back of his boat and quickly found his bait hold. Within a minute the pelicans had devoured all of his bait. I lol'd!
On Saturday I decided to do a little more guerrilla fursuiting. What were they going to do? Throw me off at the next port? Kitty was still a little nervous about pissing off the staff, but we rarely got a second look. A few more people wanted pics and a few more kids wanted hugs. It seemed the kids always showed up just as I was trying to set up a PG-13 pic of me in front of some of the naked paintings/statues that were found all over the ship. I had a tough time getting a pic of myself in the glass elevators which ran in the atrium at the center of the ship because an emo-kid was spending all morning just riding up and down. Kitty got some great shots.
Speaking of emo kids, I should also mention a funny story from earlier in the trip. On one of the tours there was a family with a teenage daughter. Her father was upset that she was spending a lot of time on the Internet on board. I commented that Internet access was 75 cents a minute. His eyes bugged out. He had thought it was free. He punched his daughter who had been sleeping and asked if she knew it was so much. She told him that it was only 40 cents a minute. True. But you had to buy a 2000-minute package to get that price, i.e. $800!!! Boy was he pissed!
OK. Now it's time for some fursuiting pics!
I thought polar bears were good swimmers!
I'm on top of the world!
Gazing out over the Pacific
Happy Holidays from the atrium bar
Who ordered the bear under glass?
Trying to ask David out on a date
Is she trying to tell me to get lost?
Too bad it wasn't a dounut. Mmmmmmm. Doughnut.