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Old 10 Nov 20, 06:57 PM  
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Stewboy
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Wonder on the West Coast: Day 11 - Puerto Vallarta

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Thursday 31st October 2019

Looking back on the cruise part of this holiday I think this day may well be our favourite - Puerto Vallarta was definitely our favourite port of call. The fact that it was also Halloween added to the enjoyment of the day - this was a ‘Halloween on the High Seas’ cruise after all!

The day started when we woke at about 6:50am in time for our 7am room service. As we were drinking our coffee and enjoying a morning doughnut - Krispy Kreme no less - the ship arrived at Puerto Vallarta.

After a few more coffees, we woke Isabella and headed up to Cabanas for our usual buffet breakfast. Being Halloween, Cabanas had been given a makeover complete with a large selection of spookily carved pumpkins.









We enjoyed our delicious breakfast - a selection of fruit, hash browns, croissants, omelettes, sausages, eggs benedicts, and Halloween inspired cakes - whilst sitting overlooking the beautiful port of Puerto Vallarta.

We had an excursion planned to go and explore the main city in more detail so once breakfast was done we quickly headed back to the room to collect our stuff before heading down to the Buena Vista Theatre to meet up with our Port Adventure guides. On the way I made a quick stop by Guest Services to break up some large dollar bills just in case we needed it - the tour included lunch but we’d be visiting some shops and Isabella would probably want to get a souvenir of some kind. Everywhere in this touristy region accepts US Dollars.

This was our one and only Port Adventure on this cruise so we were really looking forward to it. The city centre is about a 20 minute drive away from the port so we thought it was worth booking ourselves on at least one excursion so that we could see the city safely.

Arriving at the Buena Vista Theatre at 9am we found a long queue - but the DCL crew members got everyone checked in quickly and efficiently and we were soon inside the theatre in our designated area. As soon as we sat down we were up again and being led out of the theatre and off of the ship where we met our tour guide Temo.





Temo was friendly and funny and introduced us to our coach driver who went by the name of Macho Man - I assume that was his nickname or maybe his parents were BIG fans of the WWF wrestler Randy Savage!

Everyone was soon loaded onto the coach and we were on our way into Puerto Vallarta proper. As I mentioned, it was about 20 minutes into the centre and Temo did a good job of keeping us entertained and informed.

Before we knew it, we had arrived at our first stop. Macho Man dropped us off on a back street and Temo led us downhill through a few streets until we arrived at the seafront in an area known as ‘El Malecón’ - the beachside promenade that is home to a number of bars, shops and contemporary sculptures. As it was almost Día de Muertos (Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’) there were also a number of statues that had been created and/or sponsored by local businesses - some of them are really impressive and it was a great way to experience the local culture.























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Old 10 Nov 20, 06:59 PM  
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As we walked along enjoying the sights, Temo also explained to us how tourism in the city began with the filming of the 1964 John Huston film ‘The Night of the Iguana’; the film’s star Richard Burton ended up buying a house in the city with his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor.

He also pointed out some other key events in the city’s history including it being a location for treaty talks between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Mexican then-President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz in 1970.

We eventually came to the City Hall, although it’s laid out like an open air plaza with a number of shops/kiosks around the outside where locals come to register births and access other public services. It also has a lovely fountain, artwork and statues in the centre - a far cry from it’s average British counterpart!

























After a short rest in the City Hall, during which we were able to wander around and take in the sights we were off again, this time heading to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We were allowed about 10 minutes to look around this rather impressive Catholic Church.

















Once we were done in the church we were led to our next destination - the Mercado Isla Cuale. This is a large market on an island in the river Cuale. We were given some time to explore the various shops and also saw the John Huston statue that was erected in 1988 in recognition of his and his family’s contribution to the city; his children Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston are founders and supporters of the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival.











As we explored the Isla, Isabella was tired - it was a hot and humid day - and wanted a seat down on one of the many benches. Away from the shops it was really pleasant but - having seen a couple of really big spiders hanging about - Jo didn’t want Isabella to sit down anywhere in case she disturbed one!









Isabella eventually bought herself a bracelet from one of the shops and and then we were finished exploring this side of the island (Temo told us not to go over the road to the other side as the shops on that side have much more aggressive sales techniques - in reality, he’d probably made a deal with the businesses on this side but we were ok with that) just in time to get back on the coach, which was now parked up at the entrance to the market.









The final shopping destination before lunch was a jewellery shop which specialises in opals and silver - definitely not our thing! We were given a free beer upon arrival so we felt obliged to look around under the pretence of being interested in buying something - some of the items were actually really pretty, but also quite expensive.









Eventually it was time to get back on the coach and head up into the hills that overlook the city and the beach - our destination: El Set Restaurant for complementary beer and quesadillas, and a piñata for the kids. The food was delicious and we had a wonderful view of the ocean.

















After almost four hours it was finally time to return ‘home’. The tour had been a lot of fun, Puerto Vallarta was really lovely, and our guide was brilliant.
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Old 10 Nov 20, 06:59 PM  
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The return trip took us through older parts of the city before we arrived back at the Disney Wonder. Despite the wonderful lunch we were feeling a little peckish, so after dropping our stuff off we headed up to deck 9 for some burgers and hot dogs. Isabella was excited about going into the club for a bit, so we dropped her off then Jo and I went to get ourselves a drink of the day from the French Quarter Lounge - Spooky Juice: a delicious cocktail of white rum, Elderflower St. Germain, Blue Curaçao, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, Grenadine and lychees (for eyes!). The drinks came with a selection of yummy snacks, and it was a great way to chill out after being out and about all morning.











We enjoyed our cocktail and decided against having another, instead we went back to the stateroom in order to sort out all the candy we had - there was a LOT: some from the Oogie Boogie Bash and some from on board that had been left in our fish extender.

We had some that we knew we wanted to keep and take home with us, and some that we were going to give out to various state rooms around the ship - some with nicely decorated doors and fish extenders like a reverse ‘Trick or Treat’!

After we’d sorted all the candy out, we picked Isabella up and then went reverse Trick or Treating. People on board the cruise can be really generous with the gifts they give out, and it was nice to be able to give some little unexpected treats to people.

On the way through the lobby atrium we spied Halloween Mickey with a short queue so we stopped for a photo before heading back to the room.











It was getting late in the afternoon now and closer to dinner time; time for another drink. Isabella had a bath, got ready and wrote some of her own trip report, while Jo and I enjoyed the scenery on the balcony with a glass or two of wine. This time of day is always a highlight - being able to relax with a drink and a view of the wonderful places we were visiting, usually as the ship is departing and the sun is beginning to set.

As it was Halloween we were getting dressed as the Three Caballeros again. Donald (Isabella) was ready, so Jo and I got into our outfits and then we headed to Animator’s Palate for tonight’s dinner.









Tonight was the Animation Magic show where we got to draw a character to be animated at the end of the evening - something we’ve experienced on previous cruises and always enjoyed.

Once seated, we did our drawings straight away then made our choices from the menu - one of our favourite meals on the cruise.

Me: Porcini Sacchetti - pasta filled with porcini mushrooms, Swiss and fontina cheese with garlic, thyme and a prosecco wine sauce / Roasted filet of beef Wellington - covered with mushroom stuffing wrapped in puff pastry served with fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables, and a cabernet black truffle jus / Amaretto cheesecake - creamy vanilla cheesecake layered with baked Amaretto sour cream







Jo: Malaysian chicken satay - grilled chicken skewers marinated in turmeric, chili and coriander served with peanut sauce and cucumber / Crisp romaine wedge salad - with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber, oregano and a red wine vinegar dressing / Roasted filet of beef Wellington - covered with mushroom stuffing wrapped in puff pastry served with fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables, and a cabernet black truffle jus / Orchard peach tart - warm almond tart with rich vanilla sauce and dulce de leche ice cream









Isabella: Chicken schnitzel - breaded chicken breast fried in butter, served with roasted bacon potatoes and buttered green beans / Celebration cake - layers of cheesecake covered with strawberries, embedded in rich vanilla cream and white chocolate





Dinner was delicious! Dessert came after the animation show, and then we decided - for a change - to have a coffee to follow. During dinner a photographer came and took some photos, and we also decided, after dinner, to head down to the lobby and get more photos of us in our Three Caballeros outfits.

















Walking around the ship, I think a lot of people didn’t know what we were supposed to be. The clientele on DCL tend to be less Disney proficient than you'd find in the parks! There was one crew member however, that did recognise us and got quite excited as the Three Caballeros are her favourites.

Part of the ‘Halloween on the High Seas’ celebration was ‘Trick or Treating’ - they had a number of candy stations set up around the ship at about 8:30pm they were open. We decided to do the rounds before heading back to the lobby to await Mickey’s Mouse-Querade Party.



At around 9pm all the characters - Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip n Dale, and Pluto - arrived on the little stage in the lobby dressed up in their fancy dress outfits. There was some fun dancing for about 20 minutes and then it was over. Short and sweet.



















We grabbed some coffee from deck 9 and then decided to call it a night. Once Isabella was in bed, I wrote my notes for a bit then Jo and I went to sleep at around 10:15pm.

Halloween on board had been a lot of fun, Puerto Vallarta had been a great port of call, we’d eaten some great food, and had a few drinks - what more can you ask for?!

The next two days are days at sea before we arrive back in San Diego, so expect lots of relaxing, photos, drinks and good food!

TFR

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Old 11 Nov 20, 12:44 PM  
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Thanks for keeping going with this! Lovely day.
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Old 29 Nov 20, 09:43 AM  
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Lovely day, it has cheered me up a bit reading this today. Looking forward to the last few days
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Old 29 Nov 20, 09:47 AM  
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Originally Posted by Excited83 View Post
Thanks for keeping going with this! Lovely day.
Hoping to get it finished by the end of the year! TFR

Originally Posted by Cutiepie View Post
Lovely day, it has cheered me up a bit reading this today. Looking forward to the last few days
Thanks for reading. I’m glad it cheered you up 😊 New day coming soon!
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Old 29 Nov 20, 11:37 AM  
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The tour looked interesting but very hot. The day of the dead statues were impressive.

Great afternoon and evening too. Brill outfits.

I bet it seems so long ago now 😢
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