Our trip was just a short 4 day coastal cruise, stopping at Santa Barbara and Ensenada, Mexico. We were teased before leaving that we could drive to both of those places in the same day and save a lot of time and money. But, like I said, cruising is my favorite and this one did not disappoint.
Problems: The boat apparently had a really bad norovirus the week before (terrible stomach flu) and because of this our boarding time was pushed back so they could do a deep thorough sanitization of the ship before loading it again. A cruise would just be a cesspool of breeding for any illness if you can imagine. Really, this was not terrible because it meant the boat would be very clean. However, it did cause a little bit of trouble the remaining days. Like lines were crazy because they did not allow passengers to serve themselves anything anywhere. Dining times the first day were all wonky due to the delay and there was a huge delay to eat that night... not really a problem because you are never really hungry anyway. And we could NEVER get through to room service which was our biggest and really only complaint as that is one of our favorite cruise activities. Apparently we were not the only ones with this problem and I am not entirely sure why this was the case. But it bugged just a bit as we laid in bed watching movies at midnight, had the hankering for cake or enchiladas and could not get them right then. I know we sound like spoiled gluttons, which isn't far from the truth that week.
What did we do all week? Took like 2 naps a day. Watched a lot of movies... (some to note: The Avengers 2, Ant Man, The Intern, Cinderella, there were more but those ones I can remember watching a lot). We played games in common areas while snacking on food and drinking a lot of diet coke and Miami Vices and listening to music. We hit up the spa once, and went to a few shows. But, if I could summarize our trip I would have to say it was spent lounging and relaxing. Which is exactly what I had hoped for in this trip. We did have breakfast delivered to our room every morning so we could watch movies and eat in bed... have I mentioned what I imagine heaven to be like? Cuz' there it is folks. Have I mentioned Wes and I are professional loungers? We did get dressed around noon everyday to hit up some boat activities but the majority of what we planned to do was outside and cancelled due to bad weather. So.... we would usually eat, play some games somewhere and then go take a nap.
Santa Barbara: We met some friends on our first night who suggested hitting up the courthouse in Santa Barbara. So after walking the small wharf, we walked State St., stopped in a few shops, got an ice cream cone while we walked and finally made it there. We went to the top of the tower there to overlook the city, and then walked the stairs back down to take in the huge clock. We totally lucked out as that was only open Wed. and Sat. from 1-2pm, we happened to be there Wed at about 1:20 to take the free tour. We took the 50 cent trolley back to our little boat that would shuttle us back to the cruise. Then we got lunch on the boat (we weren't going to waste money on food in town, when it was already waiting for us paid for on the boat). Then we napped.
On Monday night (our first night on the boat) when seating at dinner was all wonky, we ended up sitting by this older couple, who are veteran cruisers. I think this was their 120th cruise, 66th on Princess cruise lines. We got to talking to them and heard some of their stories. Well, they took a liking to us and invited us to sit with them at their dinner table the next few nights, if their table wasn't full. They found us the next night and sadly sad there was no room by them, which was fine, but they wanted to have another meal with us and invited us to the specialty restaurant on the ship, their treat. We of course accepted. So after our day in Santa Barbara we met them that night for dinner. First of all, that food is far superior to the normal dining experience and if you have the extra money, I would highly recommend it. It was an Italian restaurant where I had the best appetizer (fresh soft mozzarella, basil, tomato with a balsamic reduction, and lobster prepared 3 ways. Wes got the bomb veal that was better than either of us expected and probably better than the steak. So super yummy! This couple was really very fun to talk to and had stories to tell of their world cruise (that lasted 108 days... yowza)!
Richard and Tina
Ensenada: We truly didn't know if we were even going go get off the boat at this port. Our last experience was pretty terribly comical if you will recall here. We decided to around noon, simply so we could get something small for the girls. We walked around the cheap, souvenir "shopping streets" and got them a little bracelet each and jumping beans. The beans went over very well. We walked for maybe an hour or so and then headed back to the boat. I really needed a Miami Vice. ;) After our snacks and drinks on board we went back for a nap.