Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Monday, February 29 – March 1, 2016 – Los Angeles, CA – Partly Cloudy – 70s

Distance from Cabo San Lucas to Los Angeles: 816 Nautical Miles

Total Distance Leg 2: 2674 Nautical Miles

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The Port of Los Angeles – San Pedro, CA

Our grand tour of the Central America, the Panama Canal, and Mexico has come to a close.  Disembarkation was very quick – we did Express Walk Off – We were basically on the disembarkation deck so we just had to roll our wheelies straight off the ship.  A fantastic cruise.

Post Cruise Vacation – Los Angeles, CA

It is a totally beautiful day in Southern California.

Immigration was also very easy.  We took the Azamara Airport Shuttle to LAX, where we caught the rental car shuttle to the Hyatt Hotel LAX.  This is the rental spot for NU Cars – here the process got more complicated – all sorts of paperwork that I had not had to deal with with other rental companies.  By turning down their insurance coverage, they tagged a security deposit onto the rental fee, and required documentation of our insurance.  A pain that will not be repeated.  We did get a nice car – some kind of Chevy.

We drove out to Home of Peace where our parents are and spent some time visiting.  Ellen had brought some stones from Israel and it was great that we could place them on the headstones.

From there, we drove to the Farmer’s Market on 3rd and La Cienega.  I couldn’t resist trying a frozen coffee at Bob’s Coffee and Doughnuts to see if they could make them like the ones I had in Israel last year.  Not even close and at least twice as expensive.

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Frozen Coffee – Just So So

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Ellen at Farmer’s Market

We walked just about all of the adjacent Grove.  Lot of glitzy stores and some nice samples from See’s Candy.

Late in the afternoon, we went to my sister’s place in Hollywood, where we spent a terrific evening with her family.  For some reason, we never seem to get a picture of everyone on these occasions.

We drove to our hotel, the Wingate by Wyndham LAX – not the best of neighborhoods but a nice hotel.  The hotel was surprisingly quiet; we did find a bug in the bathtub and the manager sent up a housekeeping person to retrieve the evidence. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 – Travel Day – Beautiful Day – Sunny – 70sF

We slept pretty well and the included continental breakfast was good.

When we checked out the manager quipped that we had a visitor in our room last night (that bug) and that he would take $60 off our bill for our inconvenience (didn’t even ask for any adjustment). 

We returned our car with no issues (got that security deposit back) and took their shuttle to the airport.  We had plenty of time before our 1 PM flight.  I did some catching up on my travel journal.

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Quality Time at LAX

AA1307 was at the gate on time and soon we boarded.

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AA1307 – Gassing and Loading

The flight was uneventful but there are no pictures since we were sitting aisles across in a three by three configuration.

Fortunately, we got a pickup and in a matter of minutes we were home.

A wonderful cruise and a very nice extra day in beautiful Los Angeles.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Cloudy – Drizzly – 61F

I thought we would be moving the clocks back today but that final adjustment is set for tonight (kind of risky on debarkation day).  So it was a bit dark when I got up to get breakfast.  It is a very cloudy and cold day today.  There will no laps or deck time today.

We are not along out here today.  From the stateroom window, I spotted a large Princess Ship (“Grand Class”), going the other way.  The ship was pretty close.


My final talk “Forensic Detectives: Identifying the Famous and Infamous” was scheduled for 10 AM this morning.  People starting arriving early, giving me a chance to chat a bit with some of the passengers.

The turnout was good – only a few empty seats – 250 attendees, the best crowd of this cruise.

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“Identifying the Famous and Infamous”

We stayed for Eric’s Q and A Session – he said some nice things about the Lecturers on the ship.  He also described the complicated system of getting entertainment on the ships – all about timing and the coming and going of people (planned and unplanned).

For lunch in the Windows Café, I celebrated our last lunch on board by getting the wonderful veggie burger plus onion rings.  It is the best thing they make but I was really trying to be good on this trip.  Yummy.

Since there is no outside time today, the day is being spent in the “Living Room” on Deck 10.  Even though the ship is still rolling, the motion on Deck 10 is tolerable.

Saturday, February 27, 2016 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Mostly Sunny – Cool – 70s

A rock and roll day at sea…

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Breakfast – Aft Deck at Windows – I got sour cream early today so I could put it on my waffle – plus veggie omelet (so so).  Before I went downstairs, I did 15 laps even though the deck was wet and the weather was cool and windy. 

We had lunch in Windows Café – today’s selection included a green salad, pretzel, a scoop of tuna plus chocolate soft serve.

We spent most of the day reading on Deck 5 – a bit breezy and not that warm – seas are choppy – am about half way through “The Narrows”.  It feels like I read this book but I am sure I haven’t. 

While we were out on deck, a helicopter flew right over the ship.  We were pretty far away from land at this point (coast of Mexico) so what the copter was doing out here was a mystery of sorts.


That’s a Helicopter in the Sky

Out on the deck, we got a good feel for the pitch the Journey was experiencing.  The two shots below show the position of the horizon at the aft portion.  Note the big swing.  The stabilizers are minimizing the roll but there is nothing that can be done for the pitch.

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Up and Down We Go

About 4 PM it got too chilly outside so we looked for a place inside and settled on the Mosaic Café.  Since the weather was iffy, the Mosaic got crowded and noisy making it difficult to read.

With a paucity of items on the Discoveries Dining room menu, we had dinner in Windows Café – American Buffet – I had the chef make me a veggie pasta – I tried the key lime pie but settled on fruit instead. 

We passed on “Stage Door to Dreams” – I think all of the cleaning procedures on the ship are combining to give me a headache (maybe allergic to them). 

The headache drove us the room for the evening.

Friday, February 26, 2016 – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – Sunny – 80F

Day 2

I was wrong about getting a good night’s sleep at anchor.

I had the usual breakfast on Deck 9





followed by 21 laps on the jogging track.  From the track, I got some real nice photos of Los Arcos as well as of a group of “Paddle Surfers” out in the bay.



We are not on tour today so we have the whole to spend as we please in Cabo San Lucas.

We took the tender into port at around 10 AM – the ride was short and smooth. 


Ellen on Tender


Leaving Journey for Cabo


View from Tender


Cabo Harbor


Ellen and Cabo’s Big Fish

We stopped at our port SPA – this time the service and attitude were such that we will be looking at a new spa the next time we are in this port. 

We walked just a little further into town before deciding to return to the ship.


Waiting to Return to Journey (in the background)

We had lunch (another tuna wrap and a salad – good news – the home made pretzels have been returned) and then spent the afternoon on a warm and comfortable Deck 5.  I was too tired to read so I just vegged out and took in the incredibly loud music coming from the hotels across the bay.

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Instead of going to the outdoor BBQ buffet, we ate in the Discoveries Restaurant.  I had a pasta in Arabbiata sauce along with a Cesar Salad.  For dessert, I had the Crepes Suzette on Deck 9 (we had to eat dessert in the Windows due to the lack of seats on the deck).

We stayed for a bit of the Folkloric show but wound up in the Mosaic Café. 

A nasty headache forced us to the room early.

The ship pulled anchor at 9:45 PM (it took a really long time to get the anchor up) and at about 10:15 PM, the Journey started on its course to Los Angeles.

Thursday, February 25, 2016 – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – Sunny – 80F

Distance from Puerto Vallarta to Cabo San Lucas: 295 Nautical Miles

Day 1

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Sunrise at Sea / View at Breakfast

The Journey is scheduled to arrive in Cabo San Lucas around 6 PM tonight so today is a de facto Sea Day. 

The usual breakfast with a twist – an eggbeater veggie omelet (for protein). 

My fourth talk - “Forensic Detectives:  The Whitechapel Murders” – is scheduled for today at 11:00 AM.  This is a schedule change that I only found out about by reading Pursuits (see, it is important).  That means I have a full day off on first sea day back to Los Angeles.

I also added a small intro segment on Richard III for the Brits on board.  I went through the talk in the morning to get all of the facts straight and to anticipate the new order of the slides.

Right before my talk, there was a “Cruise Critic” gathering in the Cabaret Theater, so my usual table and cords were not laid out.  I used the long black table for my laptop and I found and connected the power and AVG cord.  The projector was not turned on but Lubo came ten minutes before the start to give me the mic and turn on the unit. 

Passengers came early for the talk and attendance was around 220 or more than 80 percent full.  It was the best attendance of the series so far.  This cruise had a different feel than the transatlantic one earlier in the year but the attendance finally started to stabilize.  I think one of the factors is the good weather.  This ship has a lot of sun worshipers, who are out on the sun deck as early as 7 AM.  I don’t see them coming in out of the sun to hear about DNA.

We had lunch in the Windows Café – I again had the Tuna Wrap (always good – the tuna is in a humongous green tortilla – I generally wind up unwrapping the wrap to get to the tuna).  I am still finishing up with a chocolate soft serve with mini-prunes at the bottom.

Conditions were perfect on out Deck 5.

The sail in was very scenic –

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we are the only cruise ship here today but there is a US warship anchored a few hundred yards away.  We were told by the Captain that in addition to the big guns, this ship can launch missiles.  No one will mess with us while we are here.


We also anchored quite close to the iconic Los Arcos formations

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I finished the “The Confessor” (finally, an ending I can live with) and started “The Narrows” (the 10th Harry Bosch Novel – I may have read more than that since early on I read them out of order).

Before Dinner, we walked about a mile on the Jogging Track.  We got both a great view of the bay and Cabo but also Los Arcos and our warship companion.

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Up on the Jogging Track


Ellen – Deck 10 and Los Arcos

From there, without changing, we went to the Windows Café for the Mexican Buffet.  Not Ellen’s favorite, but I had the Veggie Quesadilla with veggie refried beans, guacamole, Mexican rice, and sour cream.  I also tried the Cod, which was OK.  A cinnamon churro finished off the meal.  My kind of food, quick and easy.

We were treated to magnificent sunsets…

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Sunsets over Cabo San Lucas

We passed on Showtime tonight (Katy Monroe) and instead, spent the time reading out on Deck 5 and watching the tenders go back and forth to Cabo.


Cabo and Tender

Since we are staying overnight, it should be a better sleeping night.  Our room has developed creaks that are ear plug proof.  Shouldn’t be a problem tonight.