Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Princess Diaries, Part 1

When Mark began planning an exact end date for his thirty years of working in kitchen design and cabinet sales, he also began planning the one trip on his bucket list--a 15-night cruise through the Panama Canal. We chose to sail with the Princess cruise line, and that's the reason why I'm calling this The Princess Diaries.

His dream became reality starting on Saturday, September 24. After Mark reffed two football games on Friday night, we drove to Los Angeles, arriving about 2 a.m. We stayed in a hotel near the airport, because our cruise would end in Ft. Lauderdale and we would fly home from there.

Our travel agent had made arrangements for an ExecuCar to take us from the hotel to the cruise ship terminal Saturday morning. The problem was that the driver kept trying to take us to the Queen Mary, not anywhere close to the terminal. Thankfully, Mark knew enough about Los Angeles to realize he was taking us in the wrong direction. We each pulled out our cell phones to consult our GPS, and after an added hour of driving (not to mention added frustration), we finally arrived at the cruise ship terminal.
We boarded the Coral Princess in anticipation of this itinerary.
After a champagne toast in our room, our first two days were spent at sea.
Our first port was Puerto Vallarta. This was the view from our room.

An old ship that looks like a pirate ship, with Walmart across the street.
This was the first taste of the extreme heat and humidity that would we would experience the entire cruise. It was SO humid. We have high heat in Fresno, but low humidity. We had not signed up for any excursions in either stop in Mexico, but after two days at sea we were ready to get off the ship for a bit. That is, until we actually got off the ship and felt the weather outside.

There were a few birds close to the gangway. We took a few minutes to look at them and headed back to the ship.
The next day was another sea day, this time with some choppy waters.
The second port was Huatulco, Mexico, a place we had never heard of. Another hot and humid day, but we spent about 45 minutes off the ship this time. There was a pretty view, even though we didn't venture too far.

 Mark checked the water temperature.

Another day at sea and we arrived in Nicaragua, "the country of lakes and volcanoes.". Originally we didn't plan on any excursions but decided that we would probably never visit Nicaragua again so we signed up. We took a tender boat from the ship to the dock in San Juan Del Sur.
From there we boarded a bus for a ride to an outlying farm.
Many of the houses we passed on the way had open windows, with no screens, but most had satellite dishes.
We saw some volcanoes in the distance.

And Mark was able to milk a cow, something that took him back to his farm boy roots.
Then we drove into a little beach town called Rivas, settled by the Spanish in 1522. We didn't see very much of it, mostly just this Catholic church.

Across the street was the city square.
Our ship left at 6 p.m. and our first week was done.

Before I share pictures of the second week, tomorrow will be the Really Random Thursday edition of the Princess Diaries. Hope to see you then.


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Robby said... #

That heat and humidity combo is brutal on those of us that live with "a dry heat". Looking forward to the rest of the tale.

Luedtke Land said... #

What a wonderful trip! I'm sure you enjoyed all the time together!

Now that you are home, do you close your eyes to go to sleep and sway, as if you are still on the ship?

felicity said... #

Exciting! Looking forward to the next instalment!

DianeY said... #

Exciting to read about your cruise! How was the weather when you were out at sea? Was it equally as hot or does the ocean change all that? Our itinerary in Jan is a bit different. We have Cabo and Acapulco in Mexico and we didn't sign up for excursions there either. We also stop in Guatemala before Nicaragua and have a different port in Nicaragua than you visited. Can't wait to hear the rest!

Debbie said... #

Interesting! Looking forward to week 2!

Needled Mom said... #

It looks like it was a great start other than the excessive heat. You never realize how hot things can be until you throw in the humidity. The water colors are beautiful. How about bugs?

Celtic Thistle said... #

Looking forward to reading the next installment of the Princess Diaries Cindy! Those destinations are on our (very long) to-see list :)

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said... #

Wow Cindy. What an amazing experience! I'm looking forward to Part 2.

Cathy O said... #

Thanks! I'm enjoying the journey with you!

Unknown said... #

Wow! What a trip!

OPQuilt said... #

I remember arriving in Panama after the dry climate in Utah and about wilted on the spot. It's such a change from Fresno! That church in Nicaragua is such an interesting combination of Old World and New World. So interesting so far. Can't wait for the next installment.