We’ve decided to make this a yearly thing! And, if I have it my way, we’ll be doing it twice a year soon! I am SO IN LOVE with the ease of taking a cruise! You can buy everything ahead of time and just enjoy the cruise and everything you picked and not have to stress over cost, scheduling or anything while you’re enjoying it. This time, we took a cruise out of LA to Catalina Island and Ensenada! Here’s how it went.
Carnival is amazing when it comes to getting you on board quickly. They give you every opportunity imaginable to get these memorable moments professionally shot. Walking into the building to check-in, going from check in to the line to get on the ship, walking from the dock to the ship, and once you get on the ship. I’m not exaggerating, there is actually that many photo ops set up and that’s just before you get on! My first stop, the bar for a cocktail then straight to the deck to watch us sail away! I used to DRINK, DRINK but since I’ve had my son I don’t drink like that anymore. This trip, we did not buy the all you can drink package and my bar tab for maybe 5 or 6 drinks through the entire cruise was over $100…so if you plan on drinking more than that in a 5-day cruise you should probably get the package! That’s the only outrageous thing on the whole ship though in my opinion. That’s my one rant, the first night on the ship is nice there are welcome parties and shows all the time. BUT we had just driven in through dumb traffic from Vegas and it was stressful so we actually ended up turning in early…and using a vacation to catch up on some sleep is SO ACCEPTABLE.
The next day we woke up at Catalina Island! I had never been here before and had NO idea this was here. We took a chill day and just walked up and down the beach area, popping in and out of the shops and cafes and enjoying the view. It is definitely beautiful here, and everyone was SO nice. We bought some trinkets and overpriced tumblers and regret nothing! If we ever come back and do this same cruise I will probably want to do the same thing and just relax in the little beach spot the whole day.
Then back on the ship for a lovely evening that I did not get photos of because IDK what in the world I was thinking! There is SO much entertainment comedy shows, musical acts, there were contests all the time it was LIT! There also is a night club, multiple bars a whole casino with table games, arcade, pool, jacuzzi, viewing decks, gaming deck…It’s IMPOSSIBLE to be board. Most people are in a super chill I’m on vacation mode too so I ended up meeting new people like every day! And I’m that super quiet awkward girl that sits in the corner!
The next day we awoke in Ensenada, Baja Californa, Mexico. I love this place with my whole heart and would buy a house here if I could! Every person I come across here is so welcoming, kind, and willing to teach me about their language, customs, and traditions. Here we do the tour that takes us to their cultural center and La Bufadora. At the Cultural Center, we get the opportunity to learn about the area we are in and the impact they have had. Then, at the Buffadora we get to walk down a strip mall of vendors that are selling anything and everything! Candy, Bags, Art, Jewelry, Tacos, prescription drugs…EVERYTHING yall! I love walking through here and haggling for cute things. My one must have is I a sugar skull that is molded out of some kind of bones. They are beautiful and I’m obsessed. I have about 3 right now and can’t wait to grow my collection.
We also got the opportunity to spend some up close and personal time with some young felines that had been rescued from tragic conditions that they are rehabilitating before they are taken to a larger wildlife sanctuary. I feel so blessed to get the opportunity to see creatures I would NEVER get the opportunity to see in my everyday life. At the very end of the strip mall, there’s the Bufadora which I think means blowhole. It’s SUPER COOL! Legend says if you get sprayed by the water that comes up out the la bufadora you will be blessed with luck. I was about ready to JUMP into it! I’ll take all the luck I can get. It’s absolutely beautiful. The only downside here is you can only pay cash for everything unless you’re in the restaurant – then they accept whatever card you can use in other countries (you’ll have to check with your card issuer for details on that), and the bathrooms also cost money unless you are using it in the restaurant. So pretty much, just bring some cash.
Let’s talk about the food. DELICIOUS! I didn’t end up going to any of the restaurants that you have to pay extra for, we just ate at the places that were included and I ate something different every single day! And everything was good. SO, to start they have a buffet style eating area where you just walk up and scoop up whatever they made for the day. They have lunch, and dinner ready at various times through the day. Then, right outside that room, they have a burger place that will grill it up however you like it with all the toppings and fries at the ready. And right next to that they have a burrito place where they make it fresh right in front of you! You could have chicken, beef, or shrimp!! In the morning this whole area is breakfast too with made to order omelets, waffles, grits…the works. ALSO, in the very back of the indoor eating room, there is a 24-hour pizza shop where they make you fresh greasy pizza whenever you want it. SO at 3 am after I was done at the night club…this was exactly what I needed. You can also get room service delivered to your room from a select menu for NO extra charge. HEAVEN! But wait, there’s more. My favorite part is the fancy dining dinner! You are assigned a table and a specific time to eat dinner here every night. It’s super fancy y’all. They have waiters come by and pour water in the “fancy cups” (lmao), and you get your food in courses. But it’s also turnt at the same time because there’s a guy that walks around trying to sell you jello shots like we’re in Senor Frogs or something and at the end of the night all the waiters get up and dance together. They serve things like lobster bisque, steak that seems like it’s way too small a portion but it actually fills you up, fancy fish tacos, and yummy desserts. You don’t ever have to dress up to eat here. I think the only dress code is you have to wear clothes and shoes, but one night they have evening wear night and I went all the way in for it because that’s just who I am as a person. If you didn’t purchase any of the drink packages, the only drinks you get at no extra charge is water out of the dining hall and lemonade or orange juice during meal service. My mom was smart enough to buy a tumbler, so she would just fill that with water and we would go on about our day not worried about anything else.
This was our 2nd cruise so far and we will definitely be coming back for another. So far we have only used the Carnival Cruise line and only gone as far as Ensenada. I don’t have a full Travel Agency just yet so I can not help you plan out your next cruise. When we book right now, we book directly from the Cruise Line. We also book early. For example, if we are cruising in July, we set the reservation back in October and put in the deposit and pay for it monthly (an idea I’m going to happily borrow in the next few months once I get my full agency, thank you Carnival). Once we put in our reservation, they call us almost every month with free upgrade options or discounted package rates that make us even more excited about the cruise and even cheaper to get the things we were going to buy anyways! All in all, I fully recommend the Carnival Cruise line and recommend you plan out at least ONE cruise in the next 12 months. You will not regret it, but you might regret NOT doing it.