Hey Hey Everyone!
If you have been keeping up with my blog posts, you know that this spring 2017 I went backpacking through Europe. I’ve been posting about the different cities I was staying in, the hostels I was staying at, and the day trip that were taken! I’ve also been posting some pics! If you’re interested in these, you should check them out! I’ve only posted about a couple cities so far, so be on the lookout for some new posts of my European adventure!
For now, however, I just got back from a family vacation, so I thought I would give you all the low-down on how it went!
One of my brothers and his girlfriend just took the California State Bar to become licensed attorneys. They had been studying for like 3 months straight. My mom decided around Thanksgiving last year that we should all go on a cruise to celebrate them taking the bar and have time for them to have fun and relax without having to worry about hotels and food and everything!
So my mom booked a 4 night cruise through Carnival! The cruise started on a Monday, and we got off the boat on Friday! The cruise ship departed from Long Beach, California and stopped at Catalina the second day and Ensenada, Mexico the third day! The fourth day was just a day at sea getting back to Long Beach!
The Sunday before the cruise, my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and I stayed at the Hotel Current in Long Beach. They have this deal called the snooze-n-cruise where if you stay the night the day before your cruise, you get to park a the hotel for free for the rest of the week until the cruise is over and a shuttle will take you to the port and pick you up at the end of the cruise! My other brother and his girlfriend live in Los Angeles, and we ended up paying $25.00 for his car to be parked there at the hotel for the duration of the cruise! This was a good deal because the parking at the port was $20/day! So we saved a good amount of money!
Also, when my mom booked the cruise, she paid some extra money for a kind of pass called “Faster to the Fun”. I think that this was worthwhile! We were the first to board the ship at about 11:30am, while most people had to wait until later in the afternoon. We skipped all the long lines to get onboard! Once we were on the ship, lunch was being served on the lido deck, and we were the first to eat! When the ship stopped at Catalina, people with the “Faster to the Fun” pass, had priority to take a boat over to Catalina. So we could just show up and get a boat. The people who didn’t have the pass had to get a number and wait until a boat was ready to take them, which took several hours! In Ensenada, Mexico, we were docked at the port so there was no lines to leave, which was nice! For leaving the cruise ship on Friday, we were given the option to be the first to leave, and we were off by 7:15! Everyone else had to wait. The ship was organized that only one floor at a time could leave, which would take quite a long time, depending on where your cabin was! One of the best perks, in my opinion, was that the pass gave us the opportunity to have dinner at their restaurant at a reserved time! We had the same table all week at 6:00pm, There was also an option to have dinner at 8:00, but we would’ve been too hungry to wait for that time slot! The menu was amazing! It included appetizers, entrees, and dessert. The dinner came included in the price for the “Faster to the Fun” so we didn’t have to worry about any prices. Everyone at our table ordered at least 2 appetizers, an entree and at least 2 desserts per person. (The appetizers were kind of small, so it’s wise to order more than one!) It was hard to choose just one appetizer and one dessert because there were so many yummy and interesting choices. For appetizers there were options like frog legs, escargo, prosciutto and melon, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, duck, fried calamari, and soooo much more! I could go on forever, but I think you get the gist of it. Overall, I’m so glad that we picked the “Faster to the Fun” pass. Our family got a lot of good use out of it!
Okay so since we’re talking about food already, I’m going to give you the lowdown on the food situation! (Honestly, I think I was most excited about eating the food than anything else ahaha) Sooooo on the lido deck by the pool, there was a rum bar and a tequila bar. If you order shots of tequila, you can make it a double for a couple of bucks extra. (I think it turned out to be $8, and a mixed drink, like a margarita, was like $9.50) We also ordered a beer tube, and I think it had over 100 ounces. It was $30, but the deal of the day took off a few bucks, so it came out to be like $27. We split it between the family, and it worked out very well! Also by the pool were a burger place that served burgers and fries. They had a self-serve bar with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and chipotle mayo. It also had fresh produce and cooked mushrooms, bacon, and grilled onions to top the burgers! I’m a huge burger fan. I could eat one everyday and never get tired of them, so believe me when I say that those burgers were DAMN GOOD! It took some serious self-control not to eat like two a day. I tried to limit myself to just one a day. Next to the burger place was a Mexican food bar. They served burritos and tacos. They also had a salsa bar that was superb. There were at least 8 different fresh salsas, plus fresh produce to add. The meats were fish, chicken, and pork. The tacos were so good there, that I never made it to the burritos! I would recommend the tacos for sure! If you go into the dining area behind the burger and Mexican food place, you will enter the buffet area! They have Italian food, meats and cheeses, desserts, fruits, a salad bar, a deli, and a pizzeria! The pizzeria was open 24/7. You could also always get ice cream and froyo 24/7. The buffet also had free water, juices, ice tea, and lemonade! The buffet area in the morning was filled with so much good food! They had an omelette bar, fruit, meats, cheeses, cottage cheese, eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and I think breakfast burritos. There was always coffee and tea all day! I was very happy with all of the food!
So now that I’ve covered the food, I’ll tell you about the actual cruise itself!
When we first boarded the ship, we went and got lunch and checked out all of the food options! I went for the tacos! From there, we explored the ship! They had mini golf, shuffleboard, ping pong tables, a giant chess set, water slides, an arcade, a library, a type of daycare/camp for the children on the ship, pools, jacuzzis, a casino, lots of bars, and different lounges! I hung out by the water slides most of the day! The slides were surprisingly big and so much fun!! They weren’t just for kids, either! For awhile, it was mostly adults going on them! A lot of fries got eaten by me in between going on water slides!
Before I knew it, it was time for dinner! I went to my cabin to change, and my luggage had already been brought to the room! The family and I met at 6:00 for dinner, and had a wonderful meal. We were all so stuffed! Then, we decided what we were going to do for the night! Carnival has an app that gives you a schedule of what’s going on throughout the ship and when and where it is taking place! So after looking at the schedule, my brothers, their partners, and I checked out Bingo (actually, some of us went and had double shots of tequila first). It was $20 for a basic three card game. Each of the three sheets had three cards on them per game! In an exciting turn of events, my brother’s girlfriend ended up winning $150.00! It was a lot more fun than what I was expecting! From there, my brother’s girlfriend and I went to check out ladies night at a club they had on the ship, while my sister-in-law headed to bed and my brothers went out for drinks! Ladies night was poppin! The music was in point: Beyoncé, Snoop, Nelly, Ciara, Lady Gaga, etc! We only left when we went to meet up with my brothers for a comedy show at 11:30. The show was R-rated so it was only adults. We weren’t the biggest fans so we left early, and I went to bed!
The next day I slept in late and went and got breakfast. I decided not to go to Catalina, but a brother and my sis-in-law went off early to check it out! I ended up spending the day playing mini golf, eating tacos and fries, and going on water slides!! When my brother and his wife came back from Catalina, they went to go play a game show at one of the lounges, but no one else showed up to play, so they won all the prizes by default! They received two bottles of champagne and trophies! When dinner rolled around, we all dressed up for the formal night at dinner! Everyone looked so lovely on the ship! There was a group of people from Taiwan that totaled over 600 people! It was amazing! They were all dressed up, and they were taking a big group photo in the atrium! It was amazing to see, and they all looked so beautiful in their formal outfits! After dinner we took a walk around the ship and took in the cool weather! When 9:15 rolled around we headed over to the largest lounge area (the Paris Lounge) and got seats for a show called “Motor City” that had all Motown music! The costumes were so colorful and pretty, and the performers were great! It was a thirty minute show, but they packed in as many musical numbers as they could! It was fun to watch! After the show, my brother and his wife headed off to the casino, my mom and dad went off to walk around the ship some more, and my brother, his girlfriend and I went to go to karaoke! Ten minutes into karaoke, my brother left to go join the group in the casino! He ended up winning around $100! When it hit 12:00am I was exhausted and went off to bed!
This was my brother’s girlfriend and I at karaoke, after we changed from our formal attire.
The next day we were up and at ’em with a quick breakfast, and then we went off the boat to Ensenada! It was so much fun, and the weather was beautiful! It was a sunny day with a nice breeze to cool us down! My brother and his girlfriend rented an ATV for the day and went to see the blow hole called La Bufadora and the beaches! They said that they had the best time! They also said that the roads were pretty narrow and winding! So if you go there and rent one, just be careful driving!
The rest of us roamed around the streets for awhile! We started in the touristy areas and then branched out some. The difference was quite obvious. I had been told by just about everybody not to stray from the tourist area, but I felt completely safe while I was there. I never once had to think about my safety, but I always keep my guard up when traveling no matter what type of area I’m in! When it was 11:00, we went to Hussong’s Cantina! We had margaritas and more margaritas and more margaritas…. and then a mariachi band came and played for us!
After all those margaritas we decided that we should probably eat something to get something in our stomach. Luckily there were so many places to choose from! We just went to the closest intersection of the streets and picked the closest restaurant! We ordered nachos and tacos with margaritas, of course.
We were all satisfied with the food, and I was starting to get tired. Those margaritas can really wear you down ahaha. As we were heading back to the ship, we stopped and bought some souvenirs at the shops! I bought a turquoise ring, and it actually fit my finger, which is odd because I have surprisingly large fingers. To end the day trip, I had to stop and get churro rellenos at a small food cart. As soon as I mentioned buying one, everyone else wanted to join in and get one. We all ended up getting them stuffed with caramel!
I simply cannot pass up churros, especially stuffed ones, and they were delicious!
Once back on the ship, I took a nap and then headed out for the pool! I ate some fries. That’s a given. They had BINGO in the late afternoon, so I definitely joined in on that! This time, we weren’t winners but it was still fun! We all changed and then headed out to dinner! I went and took a walk to get some fresh air, and then met to watch a show called “Love and Marriage” They had 3 couples on stage and asked questions to only the women when the men weren’t there and then asked questions to only men when the women weren’t there. Then when they were all together again they had to guess each other’s answers! It got pretty juicy! AND absolutely hilarious! I ended the night with some sibling bonding time over drinks and eventually hitting up the casino! I was a square and went to bed around 12:00, but I think everyone stayed out pretty late at the casino!
For the last day, we basically just ate, drank, went on water slides, played miniature golf, played BINGO, drank, ate some more, went inn the pool, drank, ate even more, watched a Hairy Chest Competition, drank, ate, took a Beyonce Single Ladies dance class, drank, and squeezed in a round of Harry Potter Trivia. Our final meal was amazing, and we were so stuffed full of food! We basically waddled our way out of the dining room. It was so worth it. We ended the night with a musical show called “Studio VIPs”. It was just a cute little show filled with lots of disco music! The costumes were so so so so beautiful. It was a fun time! We went for drinks after and went to bed.
At 7:00am we met at a certain point on the ship, and then the crew took us down to disembark. We were off by 7:15. I called the hotel, and they sent a shuttle to come pick us up! Once back at the hotel, we all parted ways! It was a lovely vacation! If you’re looking for a vacation without a lot of hassle and planning, I would recommend trying this out!
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Thanks for reading! XOXO