Photography By Hemmings Staff

Boasting warm breezes, sunny skies and all the food one could possibly care to eat in a week, Hemmings' 6th cruise was a smash hit. With 434 guests on board, this was by far the biggest cruise of the six we've held since starting our car-lovers' vacations for Hemmings readers back in 2004.

This year's itinerary took us from Long Beach, California, down to the west coast of Mexico, better known as the Mexican Riviera. A few days before we left the docks on Sunday morning, the 21st of February, 100 of our guests had arrived in Los Angeles to take part in a special pre-cruise excursion that visited three outstanding Southern California car museums. Our guests enjoyed their visit

Hemmings cruisers filled the meeting room each day for our collector-car seminars. This is also the room where our host, Traveling held their cocktail party.

to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, The Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, and the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin, where they saw everything from ultra rare coachbuilt classics to wild hot rods and muscle machines.

While en route to Mexico, the Hem-mings editors entertained our guests by hosting several morning seminars. Our Monday seminars discussed steering wheel restoration, collecting vintage

Walking along the scenic marina in Cabo San Lucas was a treat, with February temperatures in the low 80s. If you were a fan of wrestling, you had your choice of any of these real masks for just $10!

race cars, insight into Hemmings Motor News, and a presentation on unrestored original collector cars.

Tuesday was our second day at sea, so after the majority of the group met in the dining room and enjoyed a hearty breakfast to start the day, we gathered again in the rear deck lounge at 9 a.m. for another day of seminars. This time we talked about the pros and cons of powdercoat-ing, plastic welding and restoration, and collecting military vehicles; yours truly gave a seminar on how to buy a collector car without your wife knowing about it. Later on in the day, our hosts, Arthur, Phyllis and Jan from Travelink Services, hosted a private cocktail party for all the Hemmings guests to mingle and get to know each other, which they did well after running the open bar dry.

Our first port of call was Wednesday's stay at the scenic seaside village of Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico's prettiest towns. Puerto Vallarta was a treat to visit, with an open-air market selling all kinds of art, crafts and other hand-made goods, and a mile-long beachfront promenade to stroll along. Some of our guests went horseback riding up in Mexico's beautiful countryside, while others went

The winners of our Decorate-Your-Cabin-Door contest were Roger and Laura Barnes of Surrey, B.C., Canada.

The Mexican Riviera is always sunny and warm, and offers free public access to its miles of white-sand beaches.

The Mexican Riviera is always sunny and warm, and offers free public access to its miles of white-sand beaches.

scuba diving or on a Jeep safari.

As usual, Thursday dawned like the day before, with clear blue skies and temperatures in the low 80s. On this day, we visited the city of Mazatlan, which lies just a short distance up the coast from Puerto Vallarta. One of the more popular excursions was the tour of a tequila factory, which saw many Hemmings folks in attendance. Others chose instead to go kayaking, tour the nearby Sierra Madre mountains, take in a round of golf or watch the world-famous cliff divers jump 100-plus feet into the cool blue waters below.

Friday was our last stop: the ever-popular Cabo San Lucas, located at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. Its nickname is the "marlin fishing capital of the world," making it a great vacation destination for sport fishermen. A few of the Hemmings guests went for marlin, while others took their chances parasail-ing. Glass-bottom boats filled the harbor as did small skiffs that took guests out looking for whales, of which there were many seen splashing around just off shore. Most folks spent the day walking the town and strolling along the harbor-side promenade.

We headed back to Long Beach on Saturday morning, which was the last full day at sea and the last of the Hemmings seminars. This day's itinerary included tips on vintage car rallying, presentations on early steam and electric vehicles and Indian motorcycles, as well as a discussion on collecting books, magazines, brochures and press kits.

The most remarkable aspect of these Hemmings cruises is not so much the sites we visit or the seminars we give; rather, it's the people. When you gather together 400-plus Hemmings readers who all have the same interests, the conversations come naturally and easily, and friendships are smoothly made. It makes for a unique old-car experience that even your wife will enjoy and rave about for years to come.

If you're long overdue for a relaxing winter vacation and would like to hang out on the high seas with hundreds of other like-minded old-car enthusiasts, have we got a cruise for you. For 2011, we will be sailing on the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's brand-new Oasis of the Seas. This mega-ship is spectacular with its 16 decks, aqua-theater, shopping mall, miniature golf course, zip line, FlowRider pools and rock-climbing walls, plus several restaurants, swimming pools, a Broadway-size theater and an action-filled casino. It promises to be a truly amazing experience. We'll be leaving Ft. Lauderdale on February 12, sailing for Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas and St. Maarten, and retuning to Florida on the 19th. To reserve a room, contact our agent, Trav-elink Services at 800-454-3737. ®

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