Our first cruise

In January, my Better Half and I took our very first official cruise. We’ve done the small, day cruise trips, but this was our first one-week cruise. We traveled on Holland America Oosterdam ship, from San Diego CA, to the Mexican Riviera and back. We traveled with a group of great old friends that we love to hang out with. Also celebrating one of our friend’s birthday on the cruise. The seven of us all had rooms on the same floor which made gathering for dinner, shows, hanging out and port excursions a lot easier. Here is a gallery of photos taken on the cruise ship and at some of the ports or excursions we went on. The trip inspired me to write some new music so look out for a new release either late this year or early 2021.

Here are some of my favorite smooth jazz tracks.

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Taking a cruise requires, in my mind, paying attention to the three P’s and I’m not talking about the three little pigs LOL. In this case Price, Ports and Planning.


Start searching for the best price early on all the cruise lines and once you pick one, always check back with them for better pricing as the trip gets closer. A room upgrade from a room with no balcony, aka veranda, to a room with a view may come up and be more affordable. Be careful though, for this trip we booked it through a travel agency (to be left unnamed) and this limited us on what type of upgrades we could move too once the date got closer. We did get a veranda, a room with a balcony. I think we knew to do this because of one of our day cruises where we only had a small port window. There is something so cool about ordering room service and sitting on the balcony having breakfast, lunch, dinner or just sitting outside looking out over the open sea.


Cruises include a few ports of call with excursions. This cruise had three, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and last Cabo San Lucas. We didn’t get off the ship in Mazatlan, and we only prepaid for one excursion, a whale watching excursion, (So worth it) in Cabo San Lucas. Look at the ports and decide what and if, a prepaid excursion makes sense to you.

At our first port we jumped ship and walked around the port, ate lunch at a local restaurant and caught a cab and headed out. We booked the cab driver for an hour so we could do some site seeing. Our driver took us to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Puerto Vallarta). See some of the photos above. We walked around the town, did some shopping and saw amazing beaches and other beautiful locations. Our second port, Cabo San Lucas, gave us a chance to knock an item off my bucket list, “whale watching”. Actually, it only added more whale watching to our list. Check out the gallery above for some cool photos.


Planning is the key. Start early, look at each cruise line and what the ship offers and what ports they stop at. Figure out what port and excursion offers you feel you MUST see. Start shopping for your cruise early, and I mean a year before the cruise date. You will find some good prices but keep an eye out for those last-minute price drops.

Don’t forget that depending on the starting point of your cruise you may need to fly in, so add that into your planning. In our case, we live in Arizona, so it was a short 6-hour drive to get to the dock for the cruise. We still didn’t plan enough to find a close and cheap parking spot though. Flying in will of course, add to the total cost of the trip, but what you may not think of, is you will come back with souvenirs. With airlines charging for extra bags and heavy bags this may increase that total cost.

Lastly PARTY, forget the diet, eat, drink have fun and be safe and respectful. If you are in a different country be aware that their laws and norms are not like yours.   Meet and talk to other cruise goers, you will meet lots of interesting people that you may keep in touch with for years.

Without Music, Life Has No Soul

I Hope you enjoy

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R E Fort

Guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter. www.refort.co My motto: Without Music Life Has No Soul.

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