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About marcia014

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Denton, TX USA
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  1. I had found TwinDivers Curaçao http://www.twin-divers.com/eng/ by reading a review on Cruise Critic online. I was SCUBA certified 25 years ago, and had not been diving in 6 years so I needed a refresher dive. I was very impressed with the information I read online so I sent an email and contacted one of the owners, Mark Brown in December for the date my cruise ship would be in port at the end of February. Mark responded by email and let me know he could arrange a refresher dive on the date I was in port, and I gave him the details. I let Mark know what time the ship would be in port and he gave me prices for a single tank and a two tank dive. I requested a two-tank dive if possible. Upon arrival in Curaçao I realized that ship time was not the same as local time and we were one hour "late", so we didn't get into port until 2:30pm instead of 1:30pm. I debarked the ship then realized that I left one of my dive bags back in the room, so I had to fight the stream of people and get back onboard, retrieve my bag, and get back off the ship! Upon debarking the second time, I followed the flow of people until I sae the sign to go to the floating bridge and realized that I might have missed the place I was supposed to meet Mark. I turned around and went outside the terminal area and quickly found Mark at the edge of the parking lot holding a sign with my name. We got into his pickup truck and headed for his shop. At the shop, which is a converted cargo container, Mark gave me a tank, regulator, and BCD and had me put everything together giving guidance as needed. He then made sure I had dive shoes and a wetsuit and that my gear was in working order then we were ready to go. We were meeting a "local" with a month-long rental to dive with, and Mark loaded up the back of his pickup. We headed to a private beach in a residential area near Mambo Beach to dive and Mark started taking the gear to the beach. After the first trip with gear, Mark returned with a Portugese man o' war that was on the beach. Mark grabbed more gear to take to the beach and I followed along. As he brought the final equipment to the beach, some people were pointing into the water and there was another Portugese man o' war in the water. Mark waded out and captured the Portugese man o' war and disposed of it. This was no longer a safe location to dive so we packed the truck back up and returned to the shop. Mark said he was going to report the Portugese man o' war to the Curaçao Sea Aquarium which is monitoring local concerns in the water. Back at the shop, we geared up and waded into the water where some local children were swimming. There were bouys set up to differentiate the swimming and the diving areas, and we walked out to the deeper water. Once there, I completed my skills demonstration by flooding and clearing my mask and removing and reinserting my regulator. Mark adjusted the weights in my BCD and we started diving the reef that was right off the shore! The reef was beautiful and teeming with life! We saw many different kinds of coral, fish, christmas tree worms, 3 different kinds of eels (green moray, spotted, and sharptail), a flying gurnard, and even one lionfish in the coral. It was so beautiful! When we came up, the sun was already starting to set so we could only do the one dive today. We talked about what we saw and Mark gave me some pointers for the future. After we walked to the shore, removed all the gear, and showered off, we loaded it into Mark's truck for him to rinse at home. Mark drove me back to the port and I paid him for the day. Overall, this was a great experience and I felt very comfortable diving with Mark even though it had been so long. I would highly recommend Mark Brown and Twin Divers Curaçao if you will be in the area and wanting to dive!
  2. Thanks for this trip review - I leave next Saturday so I am anxious for any information 🙂
  3. I'm following along, as I will be on the Horizon on 2/22/20 on the 8 day itinerary. Can't wait!!! Feel free to share any tidbits you think would be helpful 🙂
  4. I'm following along, too! I will be on this itinerary on 2/22/20 and am SO excited!!!
  5. I am trying to decide which day to book specialty dining, but can't find any current 8-day Southern Caribbean menus. I am sailing 2/22/20. Does anyone have the current menus? Thanks in advance!!
  6. I went to my eye doctor and he ordered a prescription for my mask. It was glued into the inside of the mask and I can see really well with it. My prescription hasn't changed significantly in the past 12-15 years other than for reading and going to progressives, and my mask is still great after all this time! Oh, and it cost less than $100.00.
  7. Glad to see this review! I was on the Inspiration in 2001, and the Splendor in March of this year. I truly enjoy following you and Patti on your adventures and am excited to read about your experiences on two ships I have previously sailed on. Oh, and Happy Anniversary! With your wonderful detailed reviews, I feel like I know you and Patti and am happy for you both on 25 years together! ❤️
  8. CRiverCruiser, the ship docked at 8:00 am and there was no real wait to exit the ship. I waited until about 10:00 and the meeting time at the Collage Disco was 10:50. Hector was really good about leaving on time - someone else was supposed to be there with us, but didn't show up so he left at about 10:53. This was a great excursion and a wonderful first experience with zip lining!
  9. I booked in advance via email with Daniel, the owner and proprieter of the company. This tour was a stretch for me, as I have lost ~100 pounds over the last year and haven't been on a bicycle in probably 25 years, and am very proud of myself for completing it and having fun! Daniel kept an eye on me and made sure I was doing ok throughout the entire tour. I came in to Mazatlan on the Carnival Splendor. I was to meet Daniel at 8:00 at the entrance to the port. We were not cleared to exit the ship until 8:25 and I was worried that Daniel wouldn't be there, but of course he was! I met Daniel and the two others on our excursion (who were on the Grand Princess and arrived early) and he took us to his shop for bikes and helmets. We rode the bikes back to the marina on the local streets and took a local water taxi across to Stone Island. Daniel paid for the transport and arranged the bicycles on the boat for us. We biked over to Cerro de los Chivas (Goat Hill) and hiked up the hill. It became too steep for me, and I waited about 2/3 of the way up while the rest of the group with Daniel climbed to the top. Daniel was very concerned but respectful about my decision to stay behind, and took very good care of me when we walked back down. We then biked to the town and stopped at a local home where the residents make a local dessert using coconut and mango. We all tried one, and they were wonderful! We kept biking down toward the beach and saw beautiful views, the "City of Tomorrow" and some of the botanical gardens. There were a few areas where we were biking on sand, and that was very hard! Next, we went to Lety's on the Beach and had lunchand a drink (provided as part of the tour). Daniel recommended the coconut shrimp, and it was wonderful! Finally, we rode back to the water taxi then back to the shop to turn in our bikes and helmets. Daniel drove us back to the cruise terminal in the company's VW Combi, and our day ended. I would highly recommend this tour and Daniel was a wonderful guide. We learned a lot of history, local legends, and were able to ask any question and Daniel would answer fully and honestly. Thank you Daniel for a great day!!! https://bluefoot.mx/
  10. I arrived in Cabo on the Carnival Splendor and had booked the zodiac trip in advance. Cabo is a tender port, and I chose to not get a tender ticket but wait until open tendering was available. I got off the ship around 12:30 for my 2:30 zodiac adventure tour. Upon exiting the tender, I asked around and nobody knew where Whale Watch Cabo was located. They say in their literature that their shop is a 15 minute walk from the tenders, but I walked for 45 - 50 minutes before finding them. People kept referring me into different nooks and crannies, and I just felt lost. I just looked at their website and the walking map has been updated, but still states a 20 minute walk. I think that is ambitious, and even if I had the current map it would have taken at least 30 minutes to walk directly there. Once I located the Whale Watch Cabo office, I checked in and found out there were only 3 people on our excursion! I walked around a bit then waited near the fountain outside the shop. Oscar came to get us right on time and walked us to the zodiac where Beto was waiting to take us out to see the whales. We were given mandatory life vests, and an introduction to whale watching in Cabo, including legal restrictions on where the boats were allowed to be in relation to the whales. We were able to see many whales, at first we saw them come up for air and go back down with a view of the whales backs, pectoral fins, and tails. Toward the middle of our trip, we saw a whale breaching and showing its pectoral fins. It was so magical! We kept going to different places in an attempt to see more whales, and saw quite a few throughout the day. The best part of the trip was at the end when we found a mother, baby, and escort who repeatedly breached the water, slammed onto the surface, and demonstrated many surface behaviors like showing pectoral fins and tails. We stayed for about 15 minutes until the whales settled down and it was time for the tour to end. Afterwards, I asked Oscar to help me find a water taxi as the last tender was scheduled in less than one hour from then, and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to spare. Oscar and Beto motored me over to the tender area in the zodiac so I could make the tenders on time. The cost for the trip also included photos taken by Oscar during the trip so you didn't have to worry about taking photos and could stay in the moment and enjoy what was going on. I received a dropbox link within the week with 185 shots that were taking during our tour. A few are below. This was a great experience, and I would not hesitate to book with Whale Watch Cabo again!
  11. I booked with Vista Paraiso in advance via email. I came in to Puerto Vallarta on the Carnival Splendor and was told where to meet the transportation. The arranged location was stated as Collage Disco, which was about a mile from the cruise port in the opposite direction of most local transportation. I arrived via taxi a few minutes in advance. I'm glad I took a taxi as I don't think I would have found it on my own as the disco was under construction with scaffolding all over the facade. I first met Hector, the driver, who was wonderful. There were two others at this meeting point and they were staying at a local resort. Hector made sure we were comfortable and told us all about the area, the history, and local facts and lore. We stopped at one location but the people we were supposed to meet did not show up. We then went to a resort and picked up a large family group. The total transportation time was about one hour. Upon arrival, I paid in cash and was assigned a locker. You are told not to take anything on the zip line tours. As I was paying, a lady came up to the cashier and stated that her credit card fell out of her pocket during the zip lining and was gone, and she wanted to leave her contact information in case it showed up. Take heed, don't put things in your pockets! There were about 20 of us on this tour, and they gave everyone the safety equipment, an orientation about how things work, and loaded us onto two open air trucks to go to the top of the course. We were not assigned an order, but there were volunteers to go first and others who wanted to wait to go toward the end. There were areas on the course where we walked up steps, hiked up and down between zips, walked across a rope bridge, and one place where we had to go up many switchbacks with loose rocks so this is not for someone with limited mobility. The zip lines were great! I had never been zip lining before, and Micho and the rest of the guides made sure we were always comfortable, safe, and having a great time. There were several locations where we could see the ocean in the distance, but it was several miles away. Water was provided at specific times between zip lines, and there were areas with palapas for shade when we had to wait. There were 8-10 guides and two photographers assigned to our group and all were professional and safety conscious while having fun and sometimes joking with us. At the end of the tour, Nando offered a flash drive with photos for sale which he allowed us to preview before purchase. Hector also drove me back to Puerto Vallarta after dropping others at their resorts so I got to see more of the area. I requested to be dropped off at Walmart across from the port and as there were not others going all the way into Puerto Vallarta, Hector was very willing to accommodate my request. Overall, this was an excellent excursion - I would do it again!
  12. I booked whale watching in Cabo and zip lining in PV (neither are ship excursions). Not sure what to do in Mazatlan. Due to the security concerns, I don't want to book independently but none of the ship excursions look exceptional. If I end up spending the day on the ship, that would be fine, too!!
  13. Thank you for the review. I leave in 2 weeks and am so excited to do the Mexican Riviera for the very first time!
  14. Thanks so much for the review! I will be on Splendor in 3 weeks. I have plans in Cabo and in PV, but hadn't planned for Mazatlan yet so I appreciate the information you shared!
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