My Flypaper Mind Brenden Schaaf's opinions, ideas, comments, rantings, & minutiae


Mariner of the Seas – Day 3

August 18, 2009
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

This is the one spot where Heather had decided we had to get off the ship.  On Day 1 while I was getting a hole punched in my Seapass card so that I could wear it on a lanyard, she was at the Explorations! desk booking us tickets to “Cabo Cuisine” a cooking class with some time at the beach afterwards.  I have to say that later when I saw the price ($95 each) in the Cruise Compass (a newsletter we get each night detailing times/activities for the next day) I went ballistic, but this is one time (like almost always) where my wife was right about choosing this activity.

Aboard the tender from the Mariner to shore in Cabo San Lucas

Aboard the tender from the Mariner to shore in Cabo San Lucas

Our one mistake this day was eating breakfast before we boarded the tender that took us ashore.  The cruise literature didn’t give us a good sense of what exactly was in store for us other than we would learn to make some traditional Mexican dishes and it was implied that we would get to enjoy some of what we cooked.  Little did we know that having an empty stomach would be a smart move given the quantities of food that would be presented to us.

We arrived on shore about 30 minutes early so I took up position on a bench near out tour guide (with whom we had already checked in) while Heather set off to do some shopping.  She found a cute hat and, I’m quite proud to say, talked them down from $20 to $10 before purchasing it.  Near 11:45, our appointed time to leave, 3 more gentlemen showed up to join us so it Heather was the lone woman in the tour group.  The 3 guys were from New York and were traveling with a party of 8 on the Mariner, but they had received permission to leave the women and grandparents with the children that day while they enjoyed some time in Cabo.  I was glad to have some company in the cooking class and Heather was glad that the group wasn’t larger because chatting it up with other folks is her thing.

It was a short van ride to a beautiful resort area called Villa La Estancia.  Located within a courtyard in the condominium/timeshare portion of the resort was the restaurant, La Casona, where we would receive our cooking lessons.

Each of us was issued an apron and cap to wear during our lessons as we set about making two kinds of salsa and

Dressing the part helps I guess!

Dressing the part helps I guess!

guacamole in a large mortar/pestle type device made of volcanic rock.  We also got to make tortillas and we watched the chef makes some tortilla soup, which was more of a spicy tomato type soup that then chicken-broth based soup I’m used to seeing called tortilla soup.

After the lessons, we took places around a large table and

We could have bought the hats/aprons.  We didn't.

We could have bought the hats/aprons. We didn't.

enjoyed a margarita (“complimentary” only if you forget about the $95 we each paid for this adventure) and we got to each chips with our salsas and guacamole.  After a time, they brought out a small appetizer and then the bowls of soup.  I have to tell you that I was quite stuffed after all of these things and I believe everyone else at the table shared in that feeling.  Little did we know, the best/biggest was yet to come.

After a taste of some frozen mango gelato-type frozen treat to cleanse the palate, several staff members carried out the volcanic rock things that we had used to crush the salsa and guacamole ingredients, only this time they were full of shrimp, steak, chicken, and chorizo sausages smothered in cheese.  It seems that we should have saved some of our appetite for this delicious food presented so grandly, but none of us could eat more than a few bites.   It seemed that they had cooked all of this in the volcanic rock and that would have kept it warm for quite some time (though would be hard to clean I would think) but we could have sat there for a few more hours and not been able to finish all the food that was brought to us.

Delicious, but could feed a family of four

Delicious, but could feed a family of four

After this they brought out some desserts that were, thankfully, smaller in size and we were able to eat many of those.  The explanation we arrived at was that “desserts just fill in the gaps” left by the other food in your stomach.  Yeah, that’s it…

Free wifi on the beach...what more can you ask for?

Free wifi on the beach...what more can you ask for?

After this fine feeding frenzy, we were led to the gorgeous beach dominated by our ship and we enjoyed about 90 minutes relaxing under the shade of an umbrella.  My wife, Heather, ventured out into the water briefly but it dropped off quickly and strong swimming was required to get back to shore.  Definitely not the place for children or those that can’t swim, so I stayed safely tucked under my umbrella and took advantage of the free wireless internet offered by the resort to catch up on some news and email.

At 3:45 we packed up and headed back to the cruise terminal where we boarded a tender back to the ship.  Tenders are not my favorite things in the world because they get cramped and hot and sometimes the water is pretty choppy, but as tenders go the ones in Cabo San Lucas were great.  They had a pretty fancy system including ramps for getting from the tender back aboard the ship and all went well in that process.

Given our enormous meal at the resort, we were in no mood for dinner so we lingered on the outside area of deck 4 as we left Cabo San Lucas.  Therefore, we were again not able to experience the My Time Dining to see if our experience on night #1 was an anomaly or normal.

Certified -- we know some "secrets"

Certified -- we know some "secrets"

We did attend the magic show by LaRaf, however, and that was quite enjoyable.  The first couple things they did weren’t that amazing but there were many illusions that left a lot scratching their heads.  This was  a great show for all ages and it was fun to see all the families in attendance.

In contrast, the late night show was “adult comedy” so no families in attendance, but also a great show.  Heather had to take a nap first to stay up until 11:30 when the show started but we had some good laughs as a result of the comedian.

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