We will take a Pacific cruise from Long Beach, California in November. As we have made preparations for the trip (to do -lists are impressive), we’ve also been taking the memory lane back to our earlier cruises with Mexican ports.
Carnival Victory: Cozumel
Our first cruise with a Mexican port on board of Carnival Victory (December 2015) included the island of Cozumel in Caribbean Sea. This popular resort island off the East coast of Playa Del Carmen on the Yucatan Penisula is a popular charter fishing and diving destination, but also cruise passengers like us flock to the island daily.
We were verrry exited about this port as we had booked an excursion to the underground cenotes and rivers (natural sink holes and “canyons” resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that brings up the groundwater). The excursion at the continental Mexico includes a shopping possibility in Playa Del Carmen as well. The night from Key West to Cozumel was filled with wave exitement, we rolled from side to side and so did all the loose stuff inside the cabin.
The sky was grey in the morning and the sea was nothing like the dreamy Caribbean blue you always think of. You could smell the rain and the wind. We thought: ” Well, it doesn’t matter, the weather is warm and if it rains, it rains.” We had our swimming suits, towels and other stuff with us as we walked to the port to join our excursion. And shortly after finding the others who’d join the excursion we were told the winds are too strongs for the boats to take us for our excursion. We were just told to spend a fun day in Cozumel.
We were dissappointed, of course, but this was a safety issue and we decided to do some walking. Staying at the ship was a no-no and we got out of the cruise port shopping & restaurant area to this market area selling textiles, claywork, souvenirs and such. And boom: rain! The rain was pouring down with such power that it was hard to hear each other talking. Within minutes we were soaking wet and the water was above our ankles.
We found our way to the Hard Rock Cafe, the teddy bear had to be picked up and sitting at the bar, watching the pouring rain with a can of Tecate beer was quite a lot of fun. Later we went to a restaurant nearer to the port to eat some lunch. As we headed to the ship it started raining even more and we were soaked after the short walk once again.
Carnival Inspiration: Ensenada
Our second visit to Mexico in the summer of 2016 was part of a Carnival cruise from Long Beach. Ensenada “The Cindarella of the Pacific” is located on the Baja California Penisula, only about 125 km from San Diego. This means that also a lot of Americans drive to this destination for vacay getaways. We heard that at certain times of the year the port is a great spot for gray whale migration watching.
We learned that the local winery Santo Tomas is the most appreciated and best known in Mexico. For this reason we booked an excursion that included some sights and a tasting event with background information. Our first stop was at the El Centro Social, Civico y Cultural Riviera de Ensenada. Originally this magnificent building was a hotel & casino, since 1930’s it was a frequent getaway spot for famous names like Lana Turner and Jonny Weissmuller (Tarzan), who also got married here.
It was fun imagining all the casino tables and the stylish customers partying the night away. Our guide also took us to the main lobby to learn about the Californias and their mission history. We were exited to discover Bar Andaluz. It has a mural of Alfredo Ramos Martinez, pretty tile work details and the history of bring the place where Margarita was invented in. The bartender Sr. David Negrete introduced it here 21st of August 1948.