Tony and Mary’s
Baja Mexico Riviera Adventure
We decided to take a cruise to the Mexican Riviera on a the Carnival Elation which is now based in San Diego full-time. This is an older and smaller ship. We are looking forward to having a very relaxing 6 day cruise.
We sail on October 19, 2007
Today is a signature San Diego day. It is beautiful, clear, and warm. We left the house at 12:45 P.M. (planned for 11:30…) and drove downtown. We decided to just leave my truck at the parking area since it cost the same as having a car drop us off and pick us up. The parking lot is just across the street from the cruise terminal. We unloaded and had a guy in a pedicab take us across the street. They are allowed to take us all the way in to the luggage drop-off area. We walked in to the terminal and went to the VIP check-in (because we are really important people) and we were in our cabin by 1:30 P.M. the ship was scheduled to leave at 4:00 P.M. This means that we would probably sail at about 5:00 or 6:00 (based on our history) – To our surprise, we were doing the life boat drill at 4:00 and the ship started moving. We backed out, spun around and sailed out of the bay on a glorious afternoon. This is always an exciting time on-board.
The Elation is an older and much smaller ship. There are only about 40 cabins with balconies. The newer ships have more than half of their cabins with balconies. We are in a Verandah Suite which is well forward and near the top of the ship. This is a category 11 suite (out of 12). It has a queen bed and a sitting area with a sofa. Unlike the newer ships the bathroom has a shower instead of a whirlpool tub. The balcony made us laugh. It has almost enough room for the 2 chairs and one little table. If you sit facing out my knees hit the railing. It is still a balcony so neener-neener!
The ship is very nice and we have found that the smaller capacity has some advantages; the public places are all pretty close to each other so the hunting around up-down-forward-back-left-right is minimal. We spent the first few hours getting food and finding our way around.
We hung out at the Drama Bar for an hour while a piano man was playing and people-watched. It reminded me of the time that I was waiting for a geek store to open and I thought “Do I look like these people?”) – We have the late dinner seating which is 8:30 P.M. Not really a big deal since we eat at 8:00 P.M. at home. Our tablemates are a couple from upper New York (He rides a Harley) and a couple from San Francisco who are originally from Columbia. We had a great dinner and enjoyed their company.
After dinner we went to the 10:30 show. It was an intro with Stuart the Cruise Director and the obligatory dance number with the Carnival Dancers. I looked over at Mary and decided that I would save the audience from her snoring and took her up to the room.
When we turned down our hallway we noticed something way down the hall. You see, Carnival always makes towel animals and someone had done a very good practical joke and put one on someone’s door. I told Mary that “It is a <insert your name for a male member here>” – She said ‘No way!” and went down to get a close look at it – TWICE!! It was awesome. Here are the pictures: What is that? – and – Oh My!
Mary went to bed and I decided to see what was on the TV. They have satellite coverage from Denver. I watched Conan and then today’s Oprah was repeated. It looked interesting but it was hard to hear over the snoring. I gave up and turned the TV off and went to sleep. After 31 years I have figured out to incorporate her snoring into my dreams so that I can sleep.
All-in-all I think our initial impression of the Carnival Elation exceeded our expectations.
We changed our clocks forward an hour last night and did not wake up until 9:00. We headed down to breakfast and then went to a talk by the Cruise Director. We have been watching the Tropical Depression Kiko which is well South of Cabo. The Captain is very concerned because after we stop in Cabo on Sunday we are planning on going up the Sea of Cortez to La Paz. It looks like Kiko is going to turn into a hurricane and he really doesn’t want to get boxed in to the bay. We will know in the morning if they are going to cancel the trip to La Paz. We have been there and would gladly trade a day at sea for a visit there.
Today is a Fun Day at Sea. This means that we are in-between ports. These are our favorite days. We can do everything or nothing!
We went to the Free Champagne Art Auction. We bought a couple of pieces and had a great time. We then headed back to the cabin and I started reading John Grisham’s ‘Playing for Pizza’. This is going to be a very quick read. It is a short book about a loser NFL quarterback who ends up playing American-style football in Italy.
Tonight was a semi-formal night. It started with the Captain’s Party. This is a chance to meet the Captain and the Cruise Director. They provide cocktails and appetizers. They had the big band playing which is very, very good. This was followed by dinner which, once again, was very good.
After dinner we headed down to the big show. Tonight was the Rhythm show. This was a Vegas-style show with singing and dancing. Mary actually stayed up for it!
It was then time to put Mary to bed and get back to my book. Tomorrow is Cabo San Lucas!
We arrived in the bay at Cabo San Lucas this morning. It was announced that the storm, Kiko, has turned west and it was announced that we will be heading to La Paz tomorrow. It is a fantastic day in Cabo. It is clear, low 90’s, and a bit humid.
Cabo has shallow water so the ship drops anchor and we take a tender (small boat) in to the pier. It is quite a sight to see the huge boat sitting out in the bay.
We started walking down the boardwalk and found a cool-looking beach bar called Solomon’s Landing. They were showing the final Formula 1 race live. This is the final race of the season and I was bummed that I was going to miss it. Well… Here we sit, at a thatch roofed beach bar having a beer and watching an auto race at 11:00 in the morning. I must be on vacation!
After the race we walked the town and checked out the shops. We managed to buy some hand-painted tiles from a guy sitting on the beach wall. We thought about going to Caba Wabo for lunch but decided to go back to Soloman’s. We had met the owner and she was a lot of fun. We walked up and she said “Look! I saved your table for you!” We proceeded to have the best Mexican food ever. Their fish tacos are a big hunk of grilled fish on a hand-made flour tortilla. You take that to the bar where you put all sorts of stuff on it. I also had a real chile relleno, the best that I have had in years. It came with black beans, white rice, guacamole, and salsa. The owner tried to kill me with some fantastic margaritas. This was excellent.
We stumbled back to ship and took a big-time nap. We woke up and read for a while. I finished my book and started in on the pile of magazines that we brought with us. We went out on our deck for the sail-away. Our cabin was on the perfect side of the ship. We passed very close to Los Arcos, the famous arch at Land’s End where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez. I was able to get some great photos.
We decided to have a casual dinner watching football and baseball in the bar. We went back to the room and I saw some reports on the Internet about some fires near our home. We will be keeping an eye on this.
We woke up as we were sailing into the bay at La Paz. The port is 30 minutes from town. We waited for most of the people to get off the ship and wait in line for the bus to town. As soon as we got to town we got voice mail from the neighbor’s telling us that they were preparing in case they had to evacuate. One neighbor was going to take the cats and the other was going to take the computers. We decided to get back on a bus and get back to the ship.
Once back on the ship we found some food and watched the fire coverage on CNN. We received a voice mail that Scripps Ranch was being evacuated. The cats were going to stay with the neighbors at a friend’s house. Not much we can do from here.
We are feeling pretty helpless. We went to dinner and went through the motions but are really worried about our kittens. The house, the motorcycle, the car can all be replaced. I heard from my sister who said Scripps Ranch was looking OK. Mary has achieved a nice calm comatose state. I am sitting here watching replay coverage from CNN.
Today is a Fun Day at Sea. We stayed near CNN for most of the day. We got word that Scripps Ranch was re-opened and our girls were taken back home. So far, all our family and friends are in good shape.
We ventured out of the cabin and went and watched the ‘Horse Races’ – This was Stuart the Cruise Director with 6 stick horses and a roll-out ‘track’ – He had a cup with three dice and we bet on our horse. When the horse’s number was rolled it moved up one place. We laughed really hard for about 45 minutes.
After the ‘races’ we went to an early show in the main lounge. About halfway through a large piece of equipment slowly came down from the ceiling. It kept going until it knocked over some props on the stage. The curtains closed and they announced that they had a ‘technical difficulty’ and would be right back. After about 10 minutes, Stuart Dunn, the Cruise Director came out. He had obviously been taking a nap, his shoes were untied, his badge was crooked, and he was in shorts and a t-shirt. The stage crew apparently wanted him to announce that the show was over. He said it was a major failure and that they are worried that some big parts might fall. He made a few jokes about it and then announced that everyone was entitled to free food! Funny when you realize that the food is always free.
We went to dinner and I ordered the Polenta. The waiter shook his head ‘no’, apparently it wasn’t good. There was nothing else that I wanted so I decided to try it against his advice. Boy! Was he right! Bad Polenta! Dessert made up for the poor entrée. I had Burnt Basmati Rice and Vanilla Brulee. What an incredible combination of flavors and textures.
I slept better than I ever had last night. The ship was up and down and side-to-side with a little shimmy. It was like being rocked to sleep in a hammock. I need to invent something like this for my bed at home.
After breakfast we came back to the cabin and hung out on the balcony with the neighbor’s up and down our side of the ship. While we were watching the sea we saw a school of dolphins followed by some seals and then a pair of whales. Mary had binoculars and sent them up and down the outside balconies so that everyone had a chance to see.
We can see a few fires down here in Baja. We are about 2 hours from Ensenada and you can really start to smell the smoke. We decided not to venture out too far from the ship when we arrive there. Once we got to town we decided to take a tour to La Bufadora, the blowhole. It was about 45 minutes from town. It was OK, no need to go back.
Back on the ship we stayed out on deck and watched Ensenada as we sailed away. If was funny because we left at 7:00 P.M. and get in to San Diego at about 6:30 A.M. Since it is so close the ship just had to idle. We were going very slowly.
We woke up at about 5:30 and went out on deck to watch the sail in to the bay. The sky was eerie, dark and red. We went down to breakfast and then left the ship at about 8:30. We went through Customs, walked across the street, got in the truck and we were home by 9:30. The cats were waiting. The vacation is over. Overall it was a great time. We will definitely sail on the Elation again.
|Pictures still to come!|
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