Archive | Mexico RSS for this section

Just A Few Reasons To Visit the Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta

I didn’t take too many pictures of Puerto Vallarta while I was in Mexico last year during the Carnival Splendor cruise.   I think it might have had something to do with it being a very hot day.

I did visit a beautiful church, and would recommend that if you are in Puerto Vallarta, you should visit the Church of Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Several reasons to visit this church: it’s beautiful; it’s historical; incredible architecture; and it never hurts to go to any house of God.  Go for inner peace, contemplation and go in the hopes of being blessed.  Anyway, that’s what I like to think, and so I’m just sharing my reasons for visiting it.

Here are some pictures of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta

I enjoy seeing different churches and this one is a must-see.

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta

I tried to get pictures from many different angles

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta

You might find this information useful:

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta


Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Nun at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Street scene just outside the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

And another picture of the street just outside the Church

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Now I will digress away from the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to bring you a few pictures of the surrounding area, this courtyard is very close to the Church

Courtyard Scene – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I’m sure you will want to buy souvenirs, here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect in PV

Souvenir Shopping, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Souvenirs, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Souvenirs, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Close by to the cruise ship, my three kids just had to pose in front of the Puerto Vallarta sign – many others were doing exactly the same thing.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Now, back to the ship – oh, the Splendor!  As you can see, here in Puerto Vallarta, the ship pulled up right to dock – not like in Cabo San Lucas, where you have to go on a tender boat to the dock.

The Carnival Splendor in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Incase you haven’t seen my video of Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, here it is.

I hope you enjoyed my pictures of Puerto Vallarta, and especially those of the Church Of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I hope I gave you enough reasons to visit the Church, but if not, please read the following:

Thanks for visiting my post!

The Splendor of Cabo San Lucas

First some island music to get you into vacation spirit – this was my attempt at making a promo video!  Also, as you may be aware – my old website at is not available anymore – this all had something to do with the discontinuation of Mobile Me, and my decision to not look for another website host.  Also, how many websites can one person maintain??!!

I will not write too much about the cruise itself as there are other posts that I have done on the Splendor, but this is all about Cabo San Lucas.  Now for some pictures:

We went into a gift shop, and this was the view from within the shop

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Another shot of the same scene but with a different camera (one was taken with the Iphone, and one with my regular camera – a Canon G10)

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

This is my son in the gift shop

Gift Shop, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

We were entertained by various groups of people

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

In case you are hungry, there’s plenty of options

Places to Eat – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Restaurants of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Did you see?  That “statue” moved!  It just might get you, here it is almost getting my daughter!

Restaurants in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Now for a look at the marina area of Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Family picture time, me with my kids Luca, Chandi and Niki, who inspired me to name my business Luchanik named just after them – Lu-Cha-Nik

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I really like this picture taken near one of the hotels

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Must get in the palm trees of Cabo

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Now for a street scene

Downtown Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Restaurants of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Art of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Some useful information

Tourist Information, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

You may need to cool off and enjoy the sights

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Fancy a large cup of coffee?

Cafe Canelas, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Mexico definitely is colorful!

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The Carnival Splendor awaits us!

Carnival Splendor, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Leaving Cabo San Lucas…..this picture was taken from the ship

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

On a previous trip to Cabo San Lucas, I took these pictures

The Arch, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures I took of Cabo San Lucas.  This was the first port we stopped at, and the second port – Puerto Vallarta will be in my next post.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Get Into The Splendor!

Get into the Splendor – the Carnival Splendor!   The Carnival Splendor is a beautiful ship, in fact it is splendid!  Some quick facts: it first sailed in 2008; it holds approximately 3000 people; it has a number of swimming pools; and it has the only Indian restaurant I’ve ever seen on a ship – the Tandoor.  Quite simply put: it has all the splendor you would need on a cruise vacation.  I’m not going to go into all the details of the Splendor, and my cruise on it, but you can take a look at a write-up I did directly after the July, 2011 cruise – my review of the Carnival Splendor.   Here are some pictures:

Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor

Adults Only Swimming Pool – Carnival Splendor

Main Swimming Pool – Carnival Splendor

Main Swimming Pool – Carnival Splendor

Drinks Service – Carnival Splendor

Outdoor Movie Theatre – Carnival Splendor

Kids Splash Area – Carnival Splendor

Kids Pool – Carnival Splendor

Waterslide – Carnival Splendor

Waterslide & Kids Pool – Carnival Splendor

Waterslide – Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor lobby

Gold Pearl Dining Room – Carnival Splendor

Gold Pearl Dining Room – Carnival Splendor

That’s me in the Black Pearl Dining Room

Black Pearl Dining Room

That’s me in the Lido Dining Room

Lido Dining Room – Carnival Splendor

Lido Dining Room – Carnival Splendor

The Coffee Shop – Carnival Splendor

Elevators – Carnival Splendor

The Lobby – Carnival Splendor

Lobby Bar – Carnival Splendor

Cabin – Carnival Splendor

Cabin – Carnival Splendor

Thalassotherapy Pool – Cloud 9 Spa – Carnival Splendor

Spa – Carnival Splendor

Spa – Carnival Splendor

Gym – Carnival Splendor

Spectacular Lounge – Carnival Splendor

Robusto Bar – Carnival Splendor

If you want to stay connected while you’re on your cruise, it is an extra cost (not included unfortunately) – just go visit The Web, which is the name of the Internet Lounge.

The Web – Carnival Splendor

El Morocco Lounge – Carnival Splendor

The El Morocco Lounge is so beautiful, that I just had to include another photo

El Morocco Lounge – Carnival Splendor

Bollywood dance lesson time, and even my little Chandi (in the pink dress) got into the groove, and she was just 20 months old at the time!

El Morocco Lounge – Carnival Splendor

Here Chandi is with two of the UCSD Zor dancers

El Morocco Lounge – Carnival Splendor

UCSD Zor – one of the top Bollywood dance teams in the nation entertained my group – the Bindi Group – this time with Bhangra!

UCSD Zor – Red Carpet Disco – Carnival Splendor

We had Indian food most nights on the cruise in the Gold Pearl Dining Room, here’s a look at just one night’s dishes:

Indian Food – Gold Pearl Dining Room – Carnival Splendor

Did you know that there’s an Indian place on the Lido Deck called the Tandoor where they serve Indian food every day at lunch time?  Here’s just a little of what’s on the menu:

Tandoor – Carnival Splendor

I just have to share with you some of the wonderful food that I put on my plate from the Tandoor!

Indian Food from Tandoor – Carnival Splendor

Here’s a look at some other food that was served on the Splendor:


If you want to work off all that food with a swim in the evening, this is what it looks like by the pool at night time:

Main Swimming Pool At Night – Carnival Splendor

Or if you want to just kick back and try your luck in the Casino

Casino – Carnival Splendor

This is where your little ones will be entertained

Camp Carnival – Carnival Splendor

Don’t forget, there’s always ways to have some good family time with activities such as miniature golf

Miniature Golf – Carnival Splendor

Miniature Golf – Carnival Splendor

Now for one last day time pool picture

Carnival Splendor

If you are wondering what the address is for where you can catch your cruise at Long Beach Cruise Terminal, it’s right in this next picture:

Long Beach, CA – Carnival Cruise Terminal

I also recently made another video, and since my pictures are no longer on my blog at (it got redirected to my CruiseOne website), that is why I have put some of them here, and on my video.  I had spent so much time putting my pictures on my blog, but now they’re all gone.  Anyway, that is why I started this blog (Why I Started A Blog In The First Place?)

Here is my newest cruise video of the Carnival Splendor:

This is different to my ship inspection video of the Carnival Splendor that I did prior to taking the July, 2011 cruise to Mexico.

I hope you like my pictures, and my videos of the Carnival Splendor.  Remember, life can be full of splendor, you just have to look for it…….just get into the Splendor, and you may find what you are looking for – a wonderful vacation!

Indian Cruises – Cultural Enrichment At Sea

I enjoy Bollywood and Bhangra music and dance.  I just love Indian culture, and there’s nothing wrong with that – after all, I am Indian.   I may have grown up in England, and now live in the USA, but culture is deeper than where we live, it’s the embodiment of who we are – who we interact with, and what makes us bond together, and what we enjoy.   I may be Indian, but I am also British and I’m also American.  I may love Bollywood, and Bhangra, but  additionally….. I love pop music, soul music, reggae music and jazz, and even a bit of rap.  If I didn’t love the other forms of music, I wouldn’t tape them as ardently as I do when I go on cruises, and then show the world…..I only do that – because I love to watch most forms of dance and musical entertainment, and then of course, I love to photograph and video tape it too!

When I had the chance to introduce a bit of culture on a cruise ship, I was all for it.  I hired a group – UCSD Zor –  one of the top Bollywood dance teams in the USA – to perform on my Bindi Cruise to Mexico on the Carnival Splendor in July, 2011.  I didn’t think twice about it.  It took a lot of planning, and was quite a huge undertaking for me – a fairly new travel agent at that time  (I just started in this business in January 2010).  Would I do something like that again?  Who knows?  Maybe, sometime in the future.

I love Bollywood movies, but when it really comes to Indian music – I have to admit that I love Bhangra just a bit more than I do Bollywood.  That’s why I asked Zor – who are really more of a Bollywood team to do a Bhangra routine, and guess what…..they were really good at it.  When you have versatility like that, you are true performers.  I was really happy with the performances of Zor on the cruise.  Here’s a picture of UCSD Zor below, they are fantastic at both Bollywood and Bhangra!

UCSD Zor, performing Bhangra

And here I am with UCSD Zor who are in their Bollywood outfits now, instead of Bhangra outfits (as above)

UCSD Zor – Carnival Splendor

Want to know more about Bhangra?

Want to see hear the full-length Bhangra song that was partly shown in my new Enchantment Of The Seas video, and see who the musician is?

Want to see a fabulous Bhangra dance video that I put together of UCSD Zor – one of the top Bollywood dance teams in the USA, when they were dancing to Bhangra on my Bindi Cruise to Mexico on the Carnival Splendor?  

Want to see a fantastic Bollywood dance video that I put together of UCSD Zor when they performed on my Bindi Cruise to Mexico?  

Thank you for reading!

Review of the Carnival Splendor

Luchanik Travel & Cruises had so much fun on the Carnival Splendor on the July 17th seven day cruise to the Mexican Riviera.  This cruise definitely was not boring, especially as Hurricane Dora just had to follow us along our journey, and threatened to crash into our path.  However, with the skillful handling of Carnival Cruise Lines, and a little bit of an itinerary change – we stayed safe, and still saw all the ports we were supposed to visit.  Instead of visiting Cabo San Lucas two days in a row, and Puerto Vallarta on the day after, it was determined that Puerto Vallarta should be sandwiched in between Cabo San Lucas to avoid the hurricane as the Captain had word from Miami and knew where the hurricane was headed.

Hurricane Dora affected our group, as we had the El Morocco Lounge booked on Wednesday afternoon at 4pm for refreshments for our group, as well as a rehearsal for our dance team – UCSD Zor, one of the top Bollywood dance teams in the USA.  Due to the itinerary change, the rehearsal was rescheduled to Thursday.  Luchanik Travel & Cruises cultural division called Bindi Cruises ( provided complimentary cultural entertainment for the entire Bindi Group, as well as some lucky people on the Splendor, who got to see the entertainment that really should have been a private event.  Normally, when you book a cruise, you only get the entertainment (public event) provided by the cruise line, and this does not usually include cultural entertainment.  We think it is important for people to be exposed to other cultures and wanted people to enjoy the Bollywood and Bhangra performances by UCSD Zor.  The performances went ahead as scheduled at 2:30 to 4:30 pm on Friday in the El Morocco Lounge and Saturday in the Red Carpet Disco. Video clips of the performances are available on YouTube at .  More photos will be posted later.


The Splendor is an amazing ship.  The food was plentiful, there were so many options to choose from – The Lido for buffet style dining; the Gold Pearl, or Black Pearl for sit-down service; the Tandoor on Deck 9 for Indian buffet style eating; the Pizzeria; a Rotisserie; and a specialty restaurant – which I believe is a Steak Restaurant – did not visit that one though.  Sometimes we had breakfast in the Lido Dining Room, which is buffet style and sometimes we ate in the Gold Pearl Dining Room where breakfast was available from 8am to 10am.  We had our dinner every evening in the Gold Pearl at 6pm.  During a cruise, you have the choice of early dining – usually at 6pm – or late dining at around 8:15 pm.  This is reserved dining, and the earlier you book, the better…… as you have a higher chance of getting the seating that you request.  If you book too late, and want an earlier seating, you could be subject to being on a wait list.  There is also “Any Time” seating between 6pm to 9:45 pm, however, this is not recommended as you might have to wait for a while for a table to become available, it is just nicer having a reserved table and time.


Our group had Indian food every evening in the Gold Pearl, however, we were free to change it to the regular menu in the event that we saw something we liked – some members of our group did that, and enjoyed salmon, lobster, shrimp, sushi and even snails (Escargot) one night!  What is really nice about the Gold Pearl Dining Room and the staff there, is that you can ask for as many dishes as you like, extra ice-cream for the kids or even for a second or third dessert, and the waiters will bring it for you with a smile on their face.  The same also applied to the meals, if we felt like salmon in addition to Indian food, the staff were very accommodating, and it was no problem.

The desserts were good in the Gold Pearl, especially the Bread and Butter Pudding, the Warm Chocolate Cake (melted chocolate sponge), and the Espresso Cake – this was was my favorite!  On cruise ships, drinks such as soda are not included, so at dinner, we were limited to lemonade, milk or water for the kids.  The lemonade was quite sweet, a little too sweet actually!  We were also able to get Indian tea for our group, which was really nice, and really can make you feel at home.


The cabins are quite small, but this is nothing unusual as most cabins on cruises are approximately the same size for Interior cabins, which is what we booked.  Interior cabins probably are sufficient for just two occupants, but we had four in our cabin, so that is probably why they appeared to be even smaller!  Our cabin had a double bed, and two bunk beds on either side.  We regularly bumped our heads into the bunk beds as we forgot they were hanging over on each end of the double bed.  However, the cabins were always clean and tidy, and housekeeping did an outstanding job bringing fresh towels whenever they were needed (without us having to even ask!)

Swimming Pools

There were plenty of swimming pools, with the main pool being on the Lido Deck which is Deck 9, same as the Tandoor Deck. There is also a huge outdoor TV screen on the Lido Deck, so you could be in the pool, and watch the TV at the same time.  In the evening, the Lido Deck looked spectacular when all the little lights were on.  There was also an adults only pool, a kid’s pool, a Splash Area for the kids, a Twister Water Slide and various jacuzzi’s that were scattered around.

Gym and Spa

The gym and Spa are both on Deck 11.  There are plenty of treadmills, bikes, and other machines to work of all those calories.  Carnival also provides classes such as yoga, and nutrition classes, at a cost of $12 each session.  The Spa was a luxury that I did not take advantage of unfortunately, but I did see the Member’s Area, where you could pay something like $268 and soak in a giant hot-tub.

Suggestions for Carnival

Three suggestions – the first suggestion is that Carnival really needs to provide vegetable samosas for Indian people who travel with them.  The Tandoor on Deck 9 (Lido Deck) provided only beef samosas and beef is against the religion of many Indian people.  Also, needless to say – if you provide an appetizer that is an Indian appetizer – you should not offend the people of that region and insult them by putting something in the food that they love, and that they will not be able to eat!  The second suggestion is that Carnival really needs to put changing tables in the public bathrooms and make the cruise more family friendly by doing so.  It was a struggle once or twice changing my two year old in the bathrooms.  The third suggestion is that they really need to provide more beverages for kids, and the lemonade needs to have less sugar!


We had a great time on the cruise, and I would definitely recommend the Splendor to anyone wishing to take a cruise.  Carnival is very family oriented, and the Splendor is a beautiful cruise ship.  I would not hesitate to go on this ship again.

If you would like to book the Carnival Splendor, please contact me and I would be happy to assist you.

Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor lobby

Balcony Cabin on Carnival Splendor

Lobby of the Carnival Splendor

The main swimming pool of the Carnival Splendor

More photographs can be viewed at

My ship inspection video of Carnival Splendor made prior to the cruise can be found here: Carnival Splendor Ship Inspection