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Old March 4th, 2009, 01:17 AM
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Default Day 14 - Silver Shadow - Puerto Vallarta

Day 14 – Silver Shadow – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
With the economy and the stock markets still in the toilet I’ve been surprised by how many of my fellow passengers have told me they’ve booked their next Silversea cruise while onboard. I can believe them, because every time I walk by the Cruise Consultants office, she’s got someone in with her.

The way I see it, there can only be three reasons for it. Either they see great value in the current round of discounting by the cruise line, or they’re willing to give up other things rather than their Silversea cruises. Or perhaps, like me (ahh, don’t I wish!), they are so wealthy that the collapse of the economy of the entire world doesn’t affect them.

Whatever the case might be, I can understand the desire to do so because there’s very little, if anything, missing from this cruise. I’m just surprised, with “conditions” being what they are.

As I’d mentioned earlier in the Virtual Cruise Reports, there are two lecturers onboard. Professor Cory Sanders, and Richard Crowley. Both have given many lecturers, and both certainly “know their stuff”. I’ve slipped in for a couple of the lectures, but watched all of them later on television in the suite, when it was convenient.

While both were very informative, Professor Sanders delivery was a bit too dry for me. Perhaps oddly, too much like a lecture. Richard Crowley adds some humor to his lectures, which to my taste at least, keeps my attention more easily. In fact Richard Crowley reminds me of John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, both in his appearance, and his sense of humor.

We’ve never had to tender when visiting Puerto Vallarta before, but the Holland America Oosterdam, and the Sapphire Princess were tied up at the pier, and the little Silver Shadow was forced to anchor in the bay.

I’m amused by how gigantic they seem to me now, when I see them from “The Shadow”. I’ve previously sailed sister ships of both those ships, and have never before given much thought to how big they are. It’s actually funny how different my perspective is from my perch on “The Shadow”. (You know I’ve been dying to say it! Is this the time?) Only The Shadow knows… how it feels.

The tender process went very smoothly this morning and when returning this afternoon. It’s a very different and much more unpleasant process when it’s necessary to tender from the Mega-ships, particularly when you’re signed up for shore excursions. Not so from the Silver Shadow.

After returning from the golf outing, had we been docked, I’d have likely walked off the ship to venture off and look around a bit. As it was, it’s much more difficult to motivate myself to catch a tender back to shore.
I golfed at El Tigre today, which is in close by Nuevo Vallarta.

There were ten of us with the ship’s golf tour today. Transportation was better, in a large comfortable tour bus that could carry many more. The El Tigre golf course is a very pretty golf course, and fun to play. It’s well designed and can be a test of skill… though I have none to test, they’d say that in Golf Digest…, but it won’t beat you up and send you packing if you’re a “duffer” like me. Today was the least expensive of the three golf outings, at $240. That’s about the maximum price any of these courses should be. I imagine this one was least expensive because there are so many golf course resorts in this area.

I did get quite a chuckle today, as a guest who had whined much more than I did about the golf in Acapulco yesterday, was, like me, back playing golf today.

Over the course of the Virtual Cruise I’ve talked a lot about our wonderful suite. There are several down-sides regarding the suites at the bow, and we experienced it yet again this morning. At ports of call, where like today we drop anchor, there’s the very loud sounds of the anchor being dropped as the yards and yards of chain roll out. It sounds like the chain is stored and released from our bathroom.
In ports where we draw up along the side the pier there’s the rumbling vibrations of the side-thrusters. In either case, there’s no sleeping through it. You definitely know immediately when you’ve arrived, and you arrive shaken or stirred.
If you’re adverse to the motion in the ocean, you’d probably be happier looking at other Suite options further aft. While I wouldn’t relish the ride up here in a vicious tropical storm, or a blustery transatlantic sailing, in most cases I’d probably gladly accept the risks of the Suite location for the reward of the spacious indulgent luxury of this Royal Suite.

It’s called The Capri Suite, by the way. It’s ever so charming to have a Suite with a name.

I thought I’d share my choices for dinner with you tonight. I began with Gnocchi Tricolori ( Tomato, Spinach, and Parmesan Dumplings in Sage Butter sauce). My “Intermezzo” (middle course) was Ravioli Alle Punte D’Asparagi con Sala at Tartfuo (Home-made Asparagus Tip Ravioli with Creamy Truffle sauce), and for an entrée I ordered Grilled Sirloin Steak of Kansas Beef (with a shallot-Red Wine reduction, a cabbages-mushroom Roulade and Duchess potatoes). All three courses were unbelievably good! The meal ended with a fabulous crispy berry basket, covered in a sweet sauce for dessert, and coffee. I freely admit I am not a gourmand, but I think by anyone’s standards this meal would be rated 6 star! And once again delightful company; one couple we’d dined with before and another we had not, made the evening most enjoyable. We’d arrived at Chez Kuki at 7:45 P.M. and left at 10:15 P.M., yet it was such a delightful dinner, it felt as though only a half-hour had passed.

I’m sure some readers who know my history will be shocked to hear I went to see the Pianist headlining in the showroom tonight, Craig Dahn. Apparently he used to play with Liberace. For the little I know about music, I thought he sounded very talented, but he was accompanied by the ship’s orchestra, and in my opinion would have sounded better performing solo.

Tomorrow afternoon we visit Cabo San Lucas, then a last sea day, then Ensenada, Mexico (don’t ask me why), then they are going to force me off the ship, my nails digging into the freshly varnished railing. It’s difficult to even think about our adventure ending soon, but impressive knowing we haven’t been put ashore before now.
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