Sunday, January 24, 2010


I've always been bewildered by the idea of a cruise - fascinated about how a boat could encompass so much - restaurants, casinos, pools, spas, theaters, miniature golf, hundreds of rooms to house thousands of people. I just couldn't wrap my brain around it. Well, last weekend my wonder became a reality as I embarked on my first cruise.

After a 5am wake-up call and four hours of sleep (good thing we stopped at Coffee Bean on the drive down), we arrived in Long Beach for our cruise to beautiful, tropical Mexico. Oh wait, we were only going to Ensenada, so replace beautiful and tropical with ugly and booze saturated. Nonetheless, we were all excited for our adventure!

Everyone except Josh. Ready to board our ship.

Welcome to Carnival's Paradise

We encountered a few mishaps prior to actually being able to board the ship - such as me and Ray not being on the master list of people for the cruise. So, we were held behind as the rest continued on through security. After a short wait, they found us in the computer, and we were able to continue onward. However, as soon as we caught up with our friends, we were once again at a standstill. One of our friends (I won't mention names) was flying down from Seattle and meeting us on the cruise, so he had us carry on a backpack for him. Well, he didn't mention to us that he would also be carrying a knife in that backpack. Let's just say security won that one, and Kari (what a good friend) had to take the knife back to the car, and then go back through the entire security process. But, eventually we all made it onto the boat!

Our dungeon...I mean, room...

We boarded the ship on Friday late afternoon in Long Beach and woke up in Ensenada on Saturday morning. Everyone but Jess and I rented dune buggies and spent the morning exploring Ensenada in such fashion. Jess and I chose to wander around downtown Ensenada instead. After being jipped into paying $2 to take a shuttle a whole two blocks, we arrived in downtown Ensenada. We lasted about 30 minutes before we realized we had seen it all. There are only so many shops you can wander into before you realize that they are all selling the exact same cheap jewelry. So we walked back to the ship and spent the rest of the morning lying on lounge chairs eating soft serve ice cream. We later met up with everyone else for lunch in downtown Ensenada. Let me just say, it can get crazy down there.

Hello Mexico

Those palm trees are about as tropical as it got...

Mango Mango - where we had lunch on Saturday

Authentic Mexican Food

Prior to going on one, I had heard two main things about cruises: the rooms are really small and you will eat a lot of food. Both turned out to be true. While I won't say that it was the most amazing food I have ever had, I will say that the dinners were probably my favorite part of the cruise. We dressed up every night (us girls, excitedly...the boys, begrudgingly) and feasted like royalty! Um, can I just say how much I loved the fact that you could order whatever you wanted on the menu. For free. Well, I guess I paid for my food when I paid for the cruise, but there's something about not paying when you are actually eating. And for an indecisive person like me, the ordering process is perfect. Oh, so that Mahi Mahi looks good on the menu...but that steak also sounds delicious. Hmm...don't know which one to choose. Oh wait, I don't have to pick because I can just order BOTH entrees. Amazing. Yes, same process works for appetizers and dessert. I definitely loved being able to double dip at dinner. The first night I had Mahi Mahi and this pumpkin pot pie (it had some fancier name). Second night was lobster and shrimp (with some spectacular mashed potatoes - I may have overreacted when I had my first bite of them). Third night was a crusted veal and a seafood pasta. And let's not forget to mention the chocolate melting cake that we all indulged in every night. Here are some pictures from dinner each night.

Dinner - First Night

Dinner Night Two - Formal Night

Last night's dinner

Apart from the food, the other great part about dinner is the servers. You have the same two servers every night, so you totally build a relationship with them. They know your name after asking you your beverage choice the first night. Plus, they dance for you every night, which I must say was quite entertaining. So, meet Nelo from the Philippines and Gregery from Romania - they totally completed my dining experience on the Paradise cruise ship. (To see their dance from the last night, click here)

Dancing on the first night

Sunday, our last day on the ship, was spent at sea and was all-together relaxing. We spent the morning reading on lounge chairs on the deck of the boat. Unfortunately, there was no sun to tan us. We also soaked in the spa and just hung-out (oh, and ate...of course). It was a great day spent with friends.

All in all, the cruise was a great time. I'm so glad I went. However, I don't know how much of a 'cruise person' I am, and I'm not dying to go on another one anytime soon. Maybe if the weather was warmer or the destination was nicer, I might say differently. But, while I loved going with my friends and had so much fun with them, I wasn't that into the entertainment the ship provided. I like having more freedom to do whatever I want and go wherever I want and being on a boat limits that to an extent. But now I know...and my questions about how they cram so much onto one ship are finally answered!

Oh, and I just bought my plane ticket to Austin - will check that one off my list on June 4th - 6th!

1 comment:

mel @ the larson lingo said...

Fun pictures! Love your hair all curled up. So fancy :)