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Legend OTS-Riviera 8/29/04 Part Four

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El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel http://www.elcid.com/index4.php?top_title=about&sub_title=4&internal=tour_maz_castilla&lang=eng



Folks soliciting for timeshares greeted us at the door. They asked and we acknowledged being from the ship, but we politely indicated we were not interested and planned on buying food and drinks at the pool. No problem and in we went!



As with the previous hotel, we were initially ignored. While there was a pool attendant with towels, I decided to not try and deal with a non-guest checkout policy, so as before, our cash-incented waiter, Javier took care of us. Nothing like a little cash to get service. He was back every ten minutes asking if we wanted another Corona.



The pool! Now we are talking!! Huge pool with waterslide and a ten-foot waterfall you could jump off of! My daughters were stoked! Nothing like seeing your daughters doing front flips from ten feet to know they are having fun. They weren’t the only ones having fun though. I did my share of “Jacknifes” and “Cannonballs”. (I didn’t try the front flip however!) We were pleased to recognize another family from the ship as our kids had friends to play with!



We dared to venture out of the pool area on a little stairway connecting the pool area to the beach and were immediately “assaulted” by a never-ending stream of venders. Well, yes…they are a little more aggressive here and they don’t give up too easy. Even so, we grabbed some chairs and sat under a palapa. What do you know, a few minutes later here comes waiter Javier out with a couple more beverages? On the positive side, there was security watching the beach guests and ensuring the vendors did not enter the pool area.


We did indulge our girls with having their hair beaded. They loved it. My youngest refused to take them out until after her first day at school today – eight days later. We negotiated the beading to $12 for both girls (one has shorter hair). The youngest needed more beads so we agreed to $16 and finally when done gave the lady a $20 as she had worked on them for a full hour in the scorching heat.



After a few hours of this we proceeded back to the ship for a shower, change of clothes, and another great dinner and evening.



In Puerto Vallarta, we took our time, let our kids sleep in and had breakfast. We wanted to see the city but did not wish to get on a bus, see every cathedral in town and be dropped at RCI’s preferential shopping district, so we hooked up an authorized taxi driver (wearing the official white shirts) just outside the ship. Our driver Raul A., pulled up his small four-door air-conditioned car and off we went. We told him the general things we were interested in and wow, did he give us a fabulous two-hour tour. Not only did we see awesome things, his knowledge of this city, incredibly courtesy (opening/ closing doors, taking us to a local grocery for snacks, etc) and great attitude made the tour fabulous. We went from the north area to the high hills of the south with beautiful homes and breath-taking views. The city is really beautiful with a rich history and incredible resorts. I would not hesitate to spend a relaxing week in this city. I was amazed while driving though downtown at the never ending rows of shops and restaurants, however, this is understandable as unlike Mazatlan and it’s industry, Puerto Vallarta relies almost exclusively on tourism…so a lot of tourists and shops! The people were beautiful and friendly and the negotiating relatively easy. The prices compared to Cabo and Mazatlan were great! We negotiated our tour from $80 to $60 (you could probably do a lot better if you ventured out further to the yellow cabs). Our driver was so fabulous we tipped him $20. He was so incredibly grateful and it felt good to reward him for his awesome service.



We then headed back to the ship for a break, some snacks, and swimming. The rooms do have limited TV service and this was nice for the kids as they were able to watch some Cartoon Network for a while as we took care of things.



We had planned to go to the NH Krystal hotel which was a short walk away (another passenger-friendly hotel) however, the kids were content to relax on the ship so we spent a leisurely afternoon and evening on the ship taking in different activities, golfing, etc. It was very relaxing and enjoyable.



Woke up the next morning and we were rocking and rolling. Literally! The ship was racing with Hurricane Howard and we were feeling it. Generally the movement of the ship is somewhat moderate and undetectable, however, you could really feel it this day. Further evidence of the fact that the seas were high was the placement of barf bags in the stairwells. We decided to go and check on the kids at Adventure Ocean, on deck 10, on the bow, and WOW, was the ship moving up there. I would suggest that if you are prone to seasickness, book your room low in the aft. One of my daughters complained briefly that her tummy was upset, however, in spite of the movement we were generally fine and I heard nobody complain about seasickness (maybe they were in their cabins?!!). It was one more interesting experience to remember.






Not much to say here. There were 31 different debarkation color/ number combinations. We were Red2 (about a third of the way down on the list) and were called about 30 minutes after the first tickets (White) were called. If you really want to get off early, you can get your tags changed.


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