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Photo TR: Chuck Cruises the Mexican Riviera with TPR

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Aye, I did, indeed, spend a week at sea with a crew of scalawags and lowdown swabs--TPR! And I enjoyed every minute of it, sez I.


This was my first cruise, and I can't think of a better crew to sail the blue Pacific with. (Or "with whom to sail the blue Pacific," if you're squeamish about ending sentences with prepositions.) I flew from frigid Virginia to warmer southern California, then sailed to the downright warm-to-hot coast of Mexico on Royal Carribbean's Mariner of the Seas. The ship was great, from the rooms to the drinks to the food. Even the freakin' ice show was pretty good, and I'm not a fan of ice shows.


We made three ports of call: Cabo San Lucas (at the tip of Baja California), Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarata. But we also spent a lot of time at sea. But before I show you around the ship, I'd like to thank Elissa and her mom, Janice, for setting the whole thing up. What a great week!


Now, look alive, there! Across the gangplank and up in the riggin', you sea monkeys! Weigh anchor and set sail! Here be a look at the Mariner of the Seas!


Ladies and gentlemen . . . PINK! Boy, is it ever pink. You can't get much pinker than that unless you're Elton John. More to come later, sez I


The orb! It's alive! And it's a Chrysler!


Hmm--looks like something's up.


. . . while I enjoy my "Drink of the Day."


Look deeply, deeply, Kevin, as the mysteries of the deep unfold before you . . .


The deck after dark.


And here's a whole bunch of asses--the nightly workout crew.


Now that is one big ass.


This is the "Promenade" shopping area. If I'm remembering my "Love Boat" lore properly, Gopher was always meeting someone on the "Promenade Deck."


I bumped into Eric and Ginny as I wandered around the ship.


And a chick with a snake!


A casino with a credit!


And just what does the Mariner of the Seas have to offer? Well, there is the WALL OF DEATH!


It's amazing to watch the sunset while at sea. You can actually see it sink below the horizon.


Time to bid LA goodbye.


Hmm--it appears the Eric and Kevin have already discovered the simple pleasure of the "Drink of the Day."


If you squint, you just might see some mountains through a lighter-than-average cloud of LA smog.


America's ports! Mighty Los Angeles! The engine that keeps the Korean car industry humming!


Most of the scurvy TPR crew gathered in Robb and Elissa's suite as we set sail.


. . . and aft.


. . . fore . . .


All journeys begin somewhere--how about the cruise terminal at San Pedro? And here's the ship . . .

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Yay! Another cruise TR! This time from the always humorous mind of Chuck. I await many more a pun from thee, captain!


Q- What coaster website do pirates love the most?

























A- Theme Parrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrk Review!


Guy "I look forward to more!" Koepp

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^Who am I to disappoint Guy?


We spent a day at sea before anchoring at Cabo San Lucas, which is famous for:


1. Really big rocks;

2. Really hot desert; and

3. Senior Frogs and a lot of other bars.


Some of our group were intensely interested in item 3. But first they had to endure the ziplining across a desert canyon to earn the privilege of having tequila shot into their mouths.


Here's a look at shipboard life and Cabo.


Oh, you're excited to see Hooters. I understand. More to come.


Colin, you haven't even started drinking yet.


"Welcome to Cabo San Lucas! We hope you enjoy our hospitality. Now please bend over and assume the position while we search you!"


. . . it must be Cabo San Lucas.


Hmm--if it's Tuesday . . .


Freaky towel animal # 1!


"Welcome to the Mariner of the Seas Master Martial Arts Tournament! We have truly assembled a fighting force of enormous magnitude! You honor us with you presence! You have our gratitude! Now, start killing each other!"


I'm sorry. "Emter the Dragon" was playing on AMC, and I got distracted.


Yes, even TPR members clean up and look nice from time to time.


And now, a very imprompt two--Guy and Alana.


"You amuse me, Mr. Bond. It's a pity you have to die!"


Time for our first "formal dinner."


"I be goin' to the next round, I be!"


Arr, thar be nothin' more exhilaratin' on ship than a lusty slot tournament! Yes, pillagin', wenchin', and sackin' a Spanish port got nothin' on that, sez I!


"Hey, Frank. We are cruising down the coast of Mexico, right?"


"Beats me. I've been playing Farmville all day. Wanna buy some rutabagas?"


"Er, no thanks."


"But these are 'level 12' rutabagas!"


Unless I miss my guess, I'm looking at Mexico.


Aye, me face is lined by ocean winds, and a heary old salt I be. Sure.


You've seen it after dark, now behold the deck in the light of day!

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We all got into cabs at Cabo (or were those cabos at Cab?) and headed into the desert to Wild Canyon Adventures--an awesome zipline facility over some rugged, but beautiful country. Gettling there was an adventure in itself, bouncing over dirt-and-gravel roads and up steep hills, dodging the occasional pile of horse flop.


Zipping more than 100' over the desert canyons was amazing. Hiking to some of the zipline platforms was a bit exhausting. We really earned our dinner that night.


Some went to Senior Frogs. Others back to the ship. Who was wiser? More to come later.


OK, so she's kinda skinny. And dead. But she's mine!


Any aspiring luchadores out there?


Meanwhile, back at civilization . . .


Actually, it's just like sitting in a recliner. That's hanging by a thread over a 200' canyon full of animals that want to eat you!


Damn, that was fun!


Yep--that's a long ride and a long drop.


Well, what're we waitin' for? Suit us up!


Wait--there's nachos at the end?


Fly over canyons filled with cacti, rattlesnakes, rabid coyotes, and maybe killer rabbits? Are you nuts?? I'm not doin' that!


Wait a minute--we're gonna do what?


Our cabbie advised us not to step on these. As far as I know, we were all wise enough to take his advice.


Hmm--why do I expect to see the Skipper and Gilligan?


"Does my goatee make me look like a beatnik or a criminal mastermind?"


"Like a guy who owns a DeLorean."

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Riding a bunch of ziplines at Cabo San Lucas was great, but I was in a mellower mood at our second port of call: Mazatlan. There were two options here--hang out on a beach or rip around on an ATV. I was content to eat lunch, stroll up and down the beach a bit, read, and relax. Others tied on bandannas and terrorized the countryside sitting athwart a red hot motor! To each his or her own.


Here's a look at that day.


Another sinister towel animal! What did it all mean? Was it some sort of warning? Who was behind this twisted game?


I include this with a friendly word of warning: Do not fall asleep under the blazing Mexican sun! I imagine that this poor guy's face was one big blister by that evening and probably exploded at the lightest touch.


Once ashore, I barely escaped the evil clutches of Senor Frog!


OK, how do we get to this beach?


Well, that's encouraging. If I'm going to die at sea, I want it to happen on a boat on which the name is spelled properly.


This is our guide, Polo. Not "pollo," like a chicken, but "polo," like the game you play on horseback. He's quite particular on this point.


I think you know these two.


Looks like the Skipper and Gilligan found some investors. The new "Minnow Shores" development is looking great, guys!


Here, there be monsters! Yes, moments after this picture was taken, an enormous tentacle emerged from this cave and tried to yank me off the boat! Fortunately, Polo threw one of his own men in front of me, thus saving another paying customer from a grisly fate.


Er, we're getting a bit close to those rocks, Polo!


Maybe I'm just being too much of a coaster geek, but that rock bears a suspicious resemblance to the monster in the Alpengeist pre-ride video.


"Hello! I'm Smiling Bird Poop Man! Yes, these birds dump all over me, and I keep on smiling! Please kill me now!"


"Ya know, even a sea lion likes a little privacy once in a while! Ya think we could get some out on a rock in the middle of the bay, but no-o-o-o-o . . ."


Hey, frieghter! Can't you read! No fumar here, pal!


The Sapphire Princess and the Mariner of the Seas just don't get along, so they keep their backs to each other. Sad, really.


OK, all ashore who's goin' ashore!




Your "Mexican limo" awaits . . .


. . . as does your lunch . . .


. . . but not your ATVs. Seems there weren't quite enough for everyone, so the group had to split in two.


There were actually some cats crawling around in the rafters of this joint.


Here's the gauntlet of vendors you have to get past to get to the beach.


It was a nice little beach, and the water was fairly warm.


Unless I miss my guess, this is our first group of ruthless bandidtos returning on their ATVs.


I'm pretty sure this is Hanno.


Even this goat gets tips. That's all for now.

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Another day, another port: Puerto Vallarta (one very pretty resort town). Still, I spent most of the day at sea whale watching with Guy, Alana, and Ginny. And, aye we did see quite a few whales, mate. In fact, this whale-watching excursion had just about everything you need--a good crew, beer, and fresh guacamole. Hell, even if we didn't see one freakin' humpback, it was a great day to be on the Bay of Banderas, enjoying the view, drinking the beer, and eating the guac.


Let's set sail, shall we?


Damn you! Quit playing with our heads!


I was up early that morning, so I watched us sail into port. (Well, you can't see me here, but rest assured I was there watching.)


Who will outlplay and outlast the others on Survivor: Puerto Vallarata? Let's face it. They're running out of deserted islands.


Our whale-watching excusrion was set to shove off at 8:00 am--but not on this boat.


Here's our boat. Not what we expected, but nice, and it was named after a Stevie Nicks song.


Aye, a scurvier crew of whale watchers there will never be, sez I.


OK, whale-watching has two equally important facets: 1) water . . .


. . . and 2) beer.


Captain's Log, Day 1: 'Tis a beautiful day to be at sea. The crew is in high spirits, and I anticipate fair winds and a fine voyage.


Captain's Log, Day 1, 2nd hour: Bored to death. Crew near mutiny. Time to hook up the Wii.


Ahoy! Grab yer harpoons! Lower the longboats! Thar be whales to . . . oh, just a bird. Never mind.


Avast! It be Mega Shark! Every man for himself. Oh, wait--it's just a whale.


Heave to, swabs! This be our whale, it be!


"Hey! That whale is totally flipping us off!"


Thar she blows! (Admit it. You've always wanted to yell that.)


"Oh yeah? Well blow this, pal!"


"Dadburn it! They said in the brochure there'd be whales out here! Where the hell are they?"


"I fart in your general direction, you unobservant old fool!"


Well, time to head back in.


This is a boobie. It likes to ride on turtles. Turtles like boobies. And boobies like turtles.


Poor, poor turtleless birds!


The whale watching was great--as was the crew of the good ship Rhiannon.


And we're back--more later.

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LOL I didn't want to post anything but I noticed the 'lack of pants' as well!


I think it's awesome!



I thought I had weened Chuck off of this bad habit when rooming with him on the Europe and Scandi Trips. I am embarrassed and disgusted that he has regressed.


For the first time in my life I feel sorry for Ryan.

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