I’ll be honest: I’m a newbie when it comes to cruises so my first two days at sea were all about orienting myself on the ship. Aft, midship, forward—I had no idea where I was, but that was okay. Aimlessly wandering deck to deck was a mazy-fun way of exploring. My one personal rule for the trip, however: Never, NEVER, use the elevator.
To counterbalance the inevitable wave of calories I would be consuming, this simple rule was an attempt minimize the damage.
Climbing the stairs, all 19 stories of them (my cabin was on level 11; the Lido deck with 24-hour buffet was on level 15; main dining rooms and pubs were on levels 6, 7 and 8; and the most important stop on the entire ship was the International Cafe, a 24-hour coffee giveaway on level 6) would keep things in check.
Every morning I turned on the TV cruise channel to hear Cruise Director Billy Highgate give a synopsis of the day’s highlights. The first day’s standout for me was “mask-making” in the Adagio bar, where I met a few ladies working hard decorating masks for a party planned for the evening when we arrive in Puerto Vallarta.
The fitness center was packed and standing-room-only for a presentation on weight loss and supplements.
I then sought out all the outdoor activities: lively games of basketball and ping-pong, brisk walks along the one-eighth-of-a-mile track, and of course rigorous lounging around any of the four available pools and the hearty sipping of cocktails. Pure sailing bliss.
Over the course of two days at sea, my busy schedule included a glorious ginger-and-lime massage at the Lotus Spa…
…a personal tour of the bridge with Captain Craig Street…
…karaoke and a magic show in the Explorers Lounge…
…ultimate peace and quiet in the adults-only Sanctuary…
…and line dancing in the Piazza…
…all topped off with a ribeye steak at the Crown Grill (menu).
Zip-lining in Puerto Vallarta
Being on east coast time meant that my body woke me up at the break of dawn and as we approached the shores of Puerto Vallarta.
This was going to be a day that I faced my fears! That’s right: I signed up for the “Extreme Zip Line” excursion with Vallarta Adventures!
Not for the faint of heart but also not limited to crazies, it’s doable, folks, and it’s a lot of fun. A 30-minute speedboat ride took us to Boca de Tomatlan, a secluded beach at the edge of the jungle on the southern shores of Banderas Bay (Spanish: Bahía de Banderas).
We traversed up the mountain in trucks, and then hearty mules lugged us to even steeper terrain where the ultimate adventure began.
With stunning views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, we zip-lined over tree tops and through dense rainforest, rappelled down a waterfall, and launched down vertical slide chutes.
For me, a person with an acute fear of heights, this was definitely a bucket list check-off.
Back on the ship
At the end of the day, returning passengers brought with them stories about their unique adventures in Puerto Vallarta, the telling of which could be heard throughout the ship, in the lounges, in the dining rooms.
Nighttime entertainment was offered throughout the ship: a magic/cabaret show in the Princess Theater, acrobatics and comedy show in the Piazza, more karaoke and trivia in the Explorers Lounge, music and dancing at Club Fusion, and more. There was something for everyone.
Next stop: Mazatán, one of the original Princess stops made famous by The Love Boat.
Laura Pedrick’s Ruby Princess series continues here.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.