Two weeks ago, it was raining. Not just a light sprinkle, I’m talking buckets. I was ready to pack my bags and leave the PNW for good! I have this thought every year about this time. I can make it through the winters here but it’s Spring that really gets me. It’s cold and wet. And when I say cold I mean like 50 degrees…in November, December, January 50 degrees is warm but in late February early March, its cold. And with the rain it makes it feel even colder.
So the hubby and I sat down at the computer and discussed where we should go. Hawaii?? San Diego?? LA?? But what would we do in these fine places?? Well, after a few internet searches, we landed on a 3-day cruise leaving LA and headed towards Ensenada, Mexico. Perfect. I’ve never been on a cruise before so 3 days seemed like the perfect amount of time to get my feet wet (so to speak). I was already thinking of all the boat related references I could make along the way. (Titanic, The Love Boat, Poseidon Adventure…)
After we booked, we rushed upstairs to get our passports. I knew they were still good but not 100% on when they expired. Alan was definitely safe because his expires 2017. Mine expires in July 2016. Here’s a little fact – did you know that if your passport expires 6 months from when you plan to travel out of the country that it’s really not valid?? Each country has different requirements around the expiration date and Mexico requires 6. I was 5 months short. I still don’t understand why there is this rule. I mean when the milk says it expired, it’s expired…rarely is it expired a few days before. Dear State Department – you’re taking the fun out of being spontaneous!
So Monday morning I called and made an appointment at the US State Department office (I included the link here if you need it to renew your passport) for my passport to get renewed. Their website made it sound like it was going to be a painful process but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t! In order to get a rushed renewal, you have to have your itinerary that proves you’re headed out of the country. I was worried they would say my reason for leaving the country (desperate need of sunshine) wasn’t valid but the agent totally understood. I paid my $200 for renewal + rush delivery and was done. Now I just had to wait till we left and I was counting the hours…
Fast forward to Wednesday night, we headed to my MIL’s house to stay with her and to drop our dogs off for the weekend. As soon as we got in the car, I started to play our theme song and began to dance a bit. The Love Boat! Alan, of course, rolled his eyes. Thursday, we woke up early and got in the car to drive to PDX. Again playing our theme song – I wanted us to get in the mood. I also downloaded My Heart Will Go On but I decided it was a little too early for Celine and I was making a huge assumption I wasn’t going to get a giant blue diamond.
When we booked our tickets, we originally booked for the Main level of the boat…or what I like to call the deck just above the rats (I just keep picturing the scene from the Titanic) but after a quick discussion we called back and upgraded ourselves to the Veranda deck which included a door to a very small balcony. I thought the fresh air would be a little better and Alan wanted to be higher up. By doing this upgrade, we were also upgraded to the priority line to board…or what I should call the area where there was no line. It was awesome and totally worth the upgrade not to stand in the longs lines to check in. We boarded our ship and much to my surprise Captain Stubbing and Julie were NOT there to greet us. I was slightly disappointed. Although there was a guy dressed as a giant white elephant and I couldn’t quite figure what that reference was on a boat – now, I realize the elephant was representing a towel animal! And to be honest, I never even saw the Captain. I did see someone once who could have been him/her and thought about asking but decided not to embarrass myself.
We finally made it to our not so spacious room, unpacked and checked out what the boat had to offer. First stop, the pool! There were two bars around the pool so I decided to buy into the drink of the day called the ‘Fun Ship’ drink…Ick! It wasn’t so fun and I thought if anyone has more than 2 they would sure to be sick. We walked around a little more, found another bar where I decided to order something a little safer…a margarita. Again, slightly disappointed, I asked our bar tender his name and he said something I can’t even remember. I asked if he’d thought about changing it to Isaac and just got a blank stare back. Even after I explained myself, I got a blank stare, he had no clue what I was talking about. Personally, I think if you’re going to work on a cruise ship, you should be forced to watch The Love Boat or the Titanic as part of your orientation. Oh well.
Next we took a tour of the spa. Luckily for me, Alan had already had 2 martinis’ so he was perfectly fine with me signing up for a facial. Note to self – Alan only needs 2 martinis to agree to anything. I booked the spa for our day at sea. I realized that karma is a bitch and later I regretted that facial. Note to self don’t get hubby drunk to get him to buy you a facial. More on that later.
Before we were officially on our way, we had to practice the safety route in case something bad happened. I’m not sure who plans this activity but I would recommend that if you want people to show up and know what to do in an emergency, do it when they first get on the boat not after several Fun Ship drinks. Complete chaos. I told Alan our plan that when we hit the iceberg and the ship breaks in half, we run to the top, jump off. I’ll find the random piece of wood to lay on and he’ll hang on in the water. Seemed like a reasonable plan….I’ve seen it done before so I know it works.
At some point, we left the harbor and were officially cruising. We had a lovely dinner and headed to bed early. Next morning, we woke and were in Ensenada. MEXICO! We got off the boat and headed for town. All I was looking for was a margarita and some good Mexican food. We opted out of the off shore excursions, they seemed like fun but I’d rather have time to myself. Walking around reminded me of why I don’t like Mexico. It’s a lovely country with tasty beverages and good food but their sales tactics got a bit annoying. You couldn’t walk anywhere without someone trying sell you some trinket. And heaven forbid you walk across the street to look at something that caught your eye. And after I just purged a bunch of stuff, I wasn’t looking to add more junk to our house. What really gets me are the kids – shouldn’t they be in school??
After a few margaritas and fish tacos, we headed back to the boat to soak in the sun by the pool. Another lovely dinner and then off to bed. This time I had dreams about the boat sinking. I woke up trying to figure out what to do…I know you need to exit quickly but what you put on could make or break you out in the open waters. The ship was rocking quite a bit and I started to get a little queasy. I laid as still as I could. Finally, once the sun was starting to come up, I headed for the Lido deck for some coffee. This was probably also another mistake I made before my facial. Two cups of coffee on an empty stomach with a rocking boat…does not make for a good ending. Luckily I didn’t get sick until I was back in the room but it wasn’t the most enjoyable facial I ever had.
Our day at sea also wasn’t quite what I expected. I imagined sitting by the pool soaking in the sun, drinking endless margaritas…it was overcast and about 50 degrees. Most people were walking around in their robes and pilled in the hot tubs. 4 hot tubs…2,000 drunk people. Ok – not everyone was in the hot tubs but I knew I wasn’t going in. That’s really not my kind of fun. We walked around a bit, had a few drinks, and just chatted. I ignored all the drunks and just had a good time with my hubby.
I realized while this was a fun trip, I’m not a cruise person and I’m ok with that. I’m happy to see the world via other methods. I was proud that we took the trip. We were spontaneous for once and it was great to get away. Although we didn’t get as much sun, we still had a great time. I can’t wait for our next adventure!
Here are a few photos from our trip…you’ll see I was a bit obsessed with the towel animals. I could have taken a class on the boat on how to do it but I decided it wouldn’t be as much fun. I also don’t think Alan would appreciate a new towel animal every night. For the last night, the lady gave us a bunny…maybe she knew our theme for the weekend.