We left Amarillo at 7:15 a.m. headed for Vegas. Brad's parents were kind enough to keep the dogs for the time we were gone and also to drop us by the airport. We arrived on time, but had some wait to get our luggage. Took the shuttle to the Barbary Coast Casino. Check in was very simple and easy . I had warned Ann not to have too high expectations about our room as it is an older hotel. However we were pleasantly surprised by how nice it really was. Then it was down to play some Deuces Wild video poker. This game when played perfectly has an expected return of 100.0076 and then their cash back is .25% making it one of the most positive games in Vegas. I had practiced for many hours on my computer before leaving and could usually play about 99% accuracy or greater. The great thing about the Barbary Coast is that they give out meal cards to eat if you are playing. We only paid for one meal while in Vegas and that was only because Ann wanted lobster. That evening we went to the Comedy show at the Riviera after eating steak and lobster at the Stardust. All of the male comedians were really funny. The one lady was not very good. After the show we went back to the Barbary Coast to play more video poker.
After breakfast we played a little and then went through Bally's to catch the monorail to the MGM. As it turned out, we could have walked down there in half the time. At the New York New York, we met a teacher from school. She was having pretty good luck on the slots. We went through the shopping area in the Aladdin and went through the Paris Casino. Then back to the Casino to play some more. That afternoon we were dealt 4 Deuces for $250. Had four cards to the Royal Flush twice but didn't get one. We went to an afternoon show at the Flamingo. It was only fair. I tried my hand at Black Jack that night and lost. We were able to watch the Bellagio fountains from our hotel room. It was really nice.
Up early to eat our free breakfast and then to the airport for our 8:10 flight to Los Angeles. Uneventful flight and found the Carnival staff in the baggage claim area to take us to the ship. There was a really long line to register, but shortly after registering, we boarded the ship. The weather was cool enough to warrant a jacket. The ship had a very large mezzanine area with glass elevators. Our cabin was ok, but we really expected to be able to open the windows and not just have portholes as Ann is claustrophobic. We inquired about an upgrade, but they said the ship was full. It will hold 2500 guests. They had a buffet ready for us when we got on. This was the first of the fattening meals. We left port about 5:00 and had a lifeboat drill before that. Supper was at 6:30. Dress for supper is always pants and a collared shirt. However, since we didn't have our luggage yet, we went like we were. We shared our table at dinner with Richard and Lori, who were celebrating their honeymoon. They are from California. After dinner, we explored the ship and then I got to see a little of the Texas-Ou Big 12 title game. Texas lost.
This was a day at sea. We got to sleep an extra hour less as they had us turn our clocks forward one hour Sunday night. It was cool today and we didn't get outside much. Just ate!!!! At 11:00 we met in the Mikado Lounge and booked the tours that we wanted to take when we were in port. There was a hairy chest contest, but I didn't think I could win. We saw the winner and I know for sure I wouldn't have. Bingo was $400 today. Before supper we had our Captain's Cocktail party. This was one of the nights we dressed formal for supper. We met Doug and Jackie from Golden, Colorado. They shared our table with us. We spent quite a bit of time with them and enjoyed their company. After supper we went to the Las Vegas style show that featured the Elation dancers. There was a midnight buffet every night, but we never ate at one. Couldn't stay awake. I slept very well on the ship. They also had a pizzeria that was almost always open. They had great pizza. We had to turn our clocks forward again.
Another fun day at sea. Today I entered the Blackjack tournament and was almost one of the finalists. Those at the end had a real advantage because they knew how many chips it took to qualify and they could bet accordingly. They had horse racing in the lounge at 10:45. No not real horses. Rolled dice. Bingo was $500 today. We played and didn't do well at all.Still cool, but we got some sun today. It was pretty crowed on the top deck . The meals were really great on the ship. They had the best of everything. Steak, lobster, fillet minion, fish, Escargot, and if you were a vegetarian, they had a complete menu for you. Each meal started with an appetizer, then salad then the entree followed by a mandatory dessert that our waiter would always bring and then the dessert that you choose. Then cheese and coffee. No wonder we gained four pounds each when we got back. There was a lady magician and a comedian for the entertainment this evening. Every evening when we came back to our cabin after dinner the cabin steward had turned down our beds and had made a cute animal out of the towel.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We docked early that morning. Ann had her picture taken with the "natives" when we got off the ship. The cruise lines took pictures of you all the time and then posted them in an area and tried to get you to buy them. We never found any we really liked. Maybe it was the subjects. Ann and I went to town after breakfast. We were too cheap to pay the two bucks to catch a cab downtown and thought we could walk there. After a couple of miles and getting lost we got directions from a couple and they told us to take the bus. It cost 30 pesos or about 28 cents. It was quite a wild ride. We got off downtown and shopped in some of the flea markets. We didn't buy anything. Caught a cab back to the ship. It cost $2.00 each. We ate pizza on the ship and then caught the tour bus to go horseback riding in the Sierra Madre foothills. It was about a half hour drive to the village where the horses were. I got in the experienced line, Ann got in the beginner line. My horse's name was Linda and she liked to bite the other horses. Whenever her ears went back, she was going to bite. Ann's horse was Champlain and she was a real slow poke that always brought up the rear. We went though a Mexican village. They live in real poverty. I never saw a fat dog. They did their laundry in the river and hung it on their fence to dry. We rode by where they were waiting for the tortillas to be made. We decided to pass on the chips and dip when we got back to the place where we got the horses. I won't say I was scared, but I was a little concerned when there was a rider carrying a pump shotgun bringing up the rear and most of the help that rode along wore pistols. I think there were banditos in the area. We crossed the river many times and got off once to swim with the horses if you wanted to. It was a lot of fun , but it was really dusty. Changing film in a camera on horseback is a real trip. We saw real brahma bulls. They had bullfights that evening in Puerto Vallarta, but I couldn't stand to see them kill the bulls. After cleaning up and having our usual gourmet dinner on the ship, this night the Mariachis' serenaded us at supper. Doug, Jackie, Ann and I walked about a mile or two over to Sam's to buy some Tequila. You are supposed to make sure that it says 100% Blue Agave natural according to Doug and Jackie who had taken the tequila tour that morning. We got to turn our clocks back one hour tonight. YEA! That evening I entered the Poker tournament. I again made the leader board, but someone edged me out again. At 10:00 we set sail for Mazatlan.
We arrived in Mazatlan at 8:15. I was excited about going deep sea fishing for sailfish or marlin. Ann decided to sleep in and then she had a tour of the town at 12:00. After breakfast, I met the other fishermen in the lounge and we were divided up five to a boat. The fishing was very disappointing to say the least. Not one boat caught a fish. I basically paid for a six hour boat ride with this view. The only excitement that occurred while fishing was when we were coming back in the deck hand fed the frigates from his hand. I did get a great view of the second tallest lighthouse in the world. At 6:00 we set sail for Cabo San Lucas. The cabin steward made an elephant with the towel tonight and put my sunglasses on it. Pretty cute.
We got off the boat and went into the shopping district after breakfast. We had to take tenders into port because Cabo does not have a harbor deep enough for a ship the size of the Elation. The tender pilot gave me the wheel and I got to pilot it into the harbor. It was still early and many of the shops were closed. We did have a great view of the cliffs of Cabo. Ann took a picture of our ship as we tendered in. We found a club that would appeal to some we know. After walking a couple of hours we stopped in Cabo Wabo. This is a club that Sammy Haggar started and is doing real well. We found out why when we paid out. We only bought a couple of T-shirts and I bought a statue that has several dolphins jumping out of the water. The last tender back to the ship was at 12:00 and we left port shortly after. At 4:00 we went on the galley tour to see where they cooked all the food for their guests. It was really interesting. We got to see them doing the ice carvings for the midnight buffet. Here is a list of what their weekly grocery list is.
Just another day at sea headed back for LA. The boat is really rocking and Ann is feeling queasy all of the time. Today is the day to give all the waiters, assistant waiters, and cabin stewards their tips. It was too cool to go outside and sun so I just watched television while Ann slept. Supper was our last with our friends. It is sad to say goodbye. After supper, we went back to the cabin and started to pack our suitcases. Ann got sick and threw up. I called room service for some Dramamine. The delivered 9 packages with 12 pills in each package. I guess they thought she must have been real sick. It put her out for the night.
Time to go home. We are really ready. After breakfast we go out on the deck and sun until they call us for our time for debarkation. Customs was a breeze. I really didn't know what to expect since there was that Horse and Mouth disease. I was concerned they might question us about riding horses and all. Our flight was on time and we both craved chips and hot sauce. We ate some in the LA airport and then again when we had a delay in McCarren airport in Vegas. I played some video poker in the airport, but had no luck. Our flight got in a little late, but my parents were there to pick us up as expected. When we got home we had two dogs that were really glad to see us.