The first time I decided to book a trip and travel overseas, I had no idea what my future travels would hold for me. I booked a trip to visit four countries, where the predominant language was mainly English. All of them reasonably easy for a tourist to explore and navigate with maps and a little assistance. These countries were The United States of America, Canada, England and Hong Kong.
Of course, that trip did leave me with many fantastic memories and led to a lifelong desire to travel. Even at that point, there were places that I expected I might travel to and some that I never even considered. One such place was Central and South America, somewhere I never expected to travel. There were photos that looked beautiful from these locations but they still did not manage to make it onto my want to travel list.
When An Opportunity Arises
I returned from my first overseas trip towards the end of November 2010. By the end of March 2011, I was already heading back to the USA. However, I was arriving with a much different trip in mind too when I started my planning. The plan started out spending eight weeks exploring the United States. But the planning was rather challenging and I soon took a suggestion to look at a cruise.
The cruise option started as a maybe a seven-day cruise in the Carribean. A couple of days of trawling options and I soon discovered a rather good deal on a 28-day cruise from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale and back to San Diego. The cruise would transit the Panama Canal in both directions and visit numerous ports in Central America. Even though I never had a desire to visit these places, how can you let an opportunity to visit them pass.
The first of fifteen ports on this cruise was the city of Puerto Vallarta. After two days at sea after departing from San Diego, it was nice to set foot on dry land again. Although I had well and truly settled into being onboard a ship at sea, even though I had never done so before.
One thing that did surprise me a little was the time of the sunrise. I had been awake early to see our arrival into port for the first time. It was still dark as the ship was pulling aside the pier, even though it was almost 7.30am. But soon enough the sun peaked over the mountain range that sits behind Puerto Vallarta.
One thing that I come to enjoy being onboard a cruise ship was the different experiences that came about. Seeing sunrise and sunset from so many different perspectives. Trying new foods, because why not be a little daring when you travel. Seeing different cultures and getting to do so without having to also face the challenges of a ground-based trip.
When you consider just how many potential cruises there are out there, I say some stars aligned to bring me to this one. I travelled onboard the MS Statendam, which at the time was owned by Holland America Line. However, now cruises under the P & O Australia banner as the Pacific Eden. Cruising onboard a smaller cruise ship was a great introduction and led me to continue cruising three times since.