Spicing things up in Mazatlán
We finally got on our Mexican Rivera cruise ship with Princess, as our previous blog explained our flight was canceled so we boarded the cruise in Puerto Vallarta. After exploring the ship and enjoying a good night sleep on our floating hotel, we will explore Mazatlán today. We have cruised a lot and enjoyed many tours, but today is a unique tour experience. Todd & I have had positions in the hospitality industry and enjoy cooking, so this tour will be a fun day with Salsa & Salsa. Our kids have the salsa dance moves down, so this tour has a little bit for all the parties who make up Breton Travels!
Morning routine on Princess Cruise
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
As always, Todd is up and earlier (5:15am) to work on his computer before everyone else. Since this is my first morning on the ship, I needed to find a location on the ship that was quiet and where is a power source. Instead of going to the Piazza, I decided to head up to the Horizon Café. There is a coffee and the buffet should be slow. I was able to locate a place to hunker down for a while. It was quite peaceful, though I could not see outside because it was still too dark.
I returned to the room around 7:00 am to get everyone up early. We were going to our first port, everyone else’s second port, Mazatlán. After everyone was up, dressed, and ready to go, we went to the Davinici dining room for breakfast. This is always a treat to eat in the dining room for breakfast. You are not always rushed to eat. During breakfast, we had our own table, normally during the dining room breakfast you are always paired up with others. During breakfast we discussed how much we look forward to doing our tours
today. Cindy, Jenny, Michael and I were doing a tour called Salsa and Salsa. It was a combination of salsa making and salsa dancing. Sounds fun.
Following breakfast, we heading back to the room to gather our stuff for our tour, to include a swimsuit, and then headed off the ship to meet our tour ship side. After checking out of the ship (scanning our cruise card) we meet a group of people holding a sign for our tour. Before we joined our tour group, we all had to sign a liability waiver form.
Volunteering while cruising
Once we joined our group next to the ship, I noticed there were several people wearing volunteer shirts. Come to find out, there are several US residents, mostly retired, that come here during the winter and stay to help the port and be available around town to help tourists with questions and directions. This is really neat definitely something we would like to do on another cruise.
Once our group was all together, there were about 30 of us, this tour was sold out; we boarded a small tram that took us to our meeting point
for our tour. The cruise was anchored in an industrial area, so the only way to leave the port was via a tram. This port was super busy and full of shipping containers. I did not realize there was a large port here. Once we arrived at our meeting spot outside the port area, we were one of the last people from our tour to board another form of transportation, a van. We had a wait a while for others to board the van before we departed. On our bus was a quiet couple sitting in the front and then a mom with her 5 year old daughter sitting in front of us.
Impressions of Mazatlán
After about 10 minutes, we were on the road to our hotel to start our tour. We drove through a few areas in Mazatlán that were both modern and very dated. We did notice the city was extremely clean. To be honest we have never thought of Mexico being clean. Part of our trip the hotel followed the coastline left side and businesses, restaurants, and hotels on the right side. Michael and I both commented that this area reminded us of our visit to Alexandria,
Egypt, located on the Mediterranean. This area we were driving through was quite beautiful. Not what I expected.
Connecting with others makes travel fun for us
Before arriving at our hotel, our kids quickly connected with the 5 year old girl sitting in front of us. The kids immediately befriended the sweet girl, Sophia. Sophia had brought along a cute pet dog, all dressed up. She became very attached to the kids, so cute to see. Our kids are so good with kids, we are very blessed.
Santa Fe Ocean Suites
After our 20 minute ride to the hotel, we finally arrived. Our hotel was Santa Fe Ocean Suites. Our van was the last to arrive. We quickly exited and headed to this large open area located off the lobby of our hotel. Like most hotels on the coast, the area was an open area so we had to the benefit of the ocean breeze.
Salsa & Salsa Tour
Our tour group was already seated. The area was nicely set up. There were multiple tables, each one had six chairs. Of the six chairs, we were split up into partners. Each person was given a white apron and chef hat. How fun. The first part of this tour was salsa
making. The table was full of all ingredients we will need to make our salsas. When we arrived we offered either a hibiscus tea or margarita. In addition, we were also given the opportunity to drink lemonade or a margarita.
Once we were settled in at our table, we met at a mom and daughter from Denver, CO. They were super sweet and very easy to talk to. We listened to the introductions from the instructors for the class. One of the instructors was originally from the Netherlands, Maaike; she met a Mexican man and now lives in Mexico. The other instructor, Chris, is originally from Canada and been in Mexico 11 years. They were super energetic and really made everyone feel welcome here.
Our Table Captain is…
Each table has to pick a captain. How we picked a captain was on the count of three we needed to point someone at the table. Most of the pointing went to Michael that was awesome. Michael had to get in the front of the group with the other table captains. They were given some silly instructions and had them do the first salsa dance move. You could tell Michael
was so happy to be part of this.
Salsa making & demonstration
For the next 2.5 hours we learned how to make 6 types of salsa. In between making the in the individual salsa’s, we were given tortilla chips, tortilla wraps, and even one of the salsas was fruity, we were able to add on top of ice cream. In between the salsa types, we were offered margaritas, you see where this is going, lol. To make the salsas were given a small bowl and a tool to crush the contents that ended up in the bowl. Everyone took their turn making the salsa. There is so much to talk about our time making salsa; I will let the photos tell the story. This whole part of the tour/activity was such a ton of fun and by far one of the top tours/activities we have every done while cruising.
Lela the charity pig
During our salsa demonstration they talked about Lela the Pig. Lela is a ceramic pig that they visible during our visit. Here is a little about Lela the Pig.
Lela the Pig was created in January of 2010 right after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Her
goal is to collect donations from guests who visit Salsa and Salsa (www.salsaandsalsa.com) and help make a difference around the world. Each month, Lela the Pig chooses a new cause to donate to. Her helping hands have touched the lives in Chile, Haiti, USA, Mexico, New Zealand and many more.
In December 2012, Lela the Pig II was born and joined The Original Salsa and Salsa Team in Cozumel. In Feb. 2011, Lela the Pig III was created in Los Cabos. Together, all three Lelas will help collect for noble causes. Now we have Lela the Pig #4 here at the Crazy Cantina, Cozumel’s newest Mixology Tour!
The Original Salsa and Salsa Link would like to thank the thousands of donors who have opened their hearts and donated over 35K usd. For more information about Lela the Pig follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
After our salsa making, we gave up our hats and aprons to move to the stair case at the hotel to pose for a group photo. I thought it was going to be one shot from the tour company photographer, however I was wrong. Everyone gave their
cameras to the tour folks and we must have taken 30 photos, everyone wanted a photo for their camera. So much fun.
We have the Salsa moves – original ones that is for sure
While we were having our photo taken, the hotel staff was clearing off the floor (removing the table and chairs) making room for the next part of our tour, salsa dancing. For the next 45 minutes, we learned 7 salsa moves and we all had a blast trying to move our hips and dance at the same time. Cindy and I partnered up at first, Jenny and Michael also partnered up. Towards the end when the dancing got serious, we switched partners, Michael with Cindy and Jenny with me. Unknown to all of us, the tour guides were judging partners. When it was time to finish our salsa dancing, awards were given out. Cindy and Michael won most original. How fun is that. I posted a photo to the blog of the winners. During Michael & Cindy’s salsa dance he got her sunglasses caught in her hair and spent the remaining part of the dance moving around trying to get the glasses out of her hair. It was quite funny!
Wait it is over? Not yet – relaxing at the resort
We all were super sad when all this fun stopped, however our tour was not totally done. Part of the tour involved relaxing or swimming in the hotel pool or the ocean. We grabbed a margarita, see the
trend here, and found chairs by the pool and set up for a relaxing time. Cindy and Jenny sat at the pool while Michael and I walked along the beach. We did observe the beaches weren’t anything spectacular nor were the hotels. There were a lot of pan handlers walking the beach and ton of locals. Unlike Puerto Vallarta, the hotels do not block off any of the beaches for just the hotel guests.
Port side shopping & bars
Once Michael and I were done walking the beach, we relaxed for a short time at the pool with the girls before departing the hotel. On our way back to the port, this time the tour company had us go in taxis. Once we arrived at the port and before taking the tram back to the ship, we walked around the shopping area, and there was a lot of shopping options. Jenny found an area where you can get braids done, she has done this in the past. She ended up getting four braids. I included a few photos of Jenny. We also stopped at a local outdoor bar to have cocktails. Michael loved this again because here he could legally have an
alcohol beverage. It was actually a fun area because they had a DJ playing the kids favorite music up on a pavilion next to the outdoor bar.
Back on our Princess Cruise ship
We needed to back on the ship, so we boarded the tram and headed back to the cruise ship. We were back on the ship at 4:00 pm. Once back on the ship, we got cleaned up, dressed, and then headed out for drinks in the wheelhouse bar. We ate another awesome dinner in the dining room. Unfortunately on this trip, I did a horrible job documenting what we ate for dinner. My report is simple, the food and service was absolutely awesome.
Following dinner, we went to a few locations on the ship to have our photos taken. The four of us had some fantastic shots, keepers.
I don’t recall discussing my prior day blog entries, however this specific cruise we the final Entertainer of the Year for Princess Cruises. The competition included a violinist, comedian, magician, and singer. Towards the end of the cruise the passengers have an opportunity to vote for the winner. Since we boarded the cruise late, we
missed some of the performances, however tonight the violinist played another show. He was fantastic and super energetic. He was super entertaining. He was neat he dedicated one of his songs to his mom, which was in the audience.
Following the violinist, we went to watch the magician. We had to watch him from a distance because the explorers lounge was bursting at the seams with people. He was also amazing, however so far we like the violinist.
Everyone returned to their room around 9:30 pm for lights out, we are exhausted from all the fun we had today. Todd stayed up late because he had to work on his University of Phoenix class.
We had so much fun today, memories made to last a lifetime. Tomorrow we visiting Cabo San Lucas, it will be a beach day. This is our last port on this cruise. Can’t wait to visit Cabo, I have seen and heard so much about it.
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