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My First Cruise Experience - Ensenada, Mexico


Last weekend I went on my first cruise ever! I'm so proud that I get to check off one of my New Years Resolutions - Travel via Road Trip or Ship! I went with a group of friends and only 1 of us had been on a cruise so it was definitely an experience.


Cruise Facts: 

Cruise: Carnival Cruise
Ship: Inspiration
Length: 3 Days (Friday through Monday)
Ports: Long Beach, California -> Ensenada, Mexico -> Long Beach, California
Room: Ocean View 
Extras: Purchased the "Cheers Plan", an unlimited alcoholic beverage plan @ $50/day

I’m not quite sure how to start writing this post since I came off the boat not loving the experience. I even surprised myself with that one! I completely understand that people are die-hard cruise fans and while I can see some aspects as to why, it just wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe my expectations were too high or it’s just not my style of travel but I couldn’t wait to get home! Disclaimer: just because I didn’t enjoy cruising, that obviously doesn’t mean it's a bad experience or way to spend your vacation! I also understand that the cruise I was on is also known as the "booze cruise" where people go strictly to drink. 

As a first time cruiser, I didn’t know what to expect. Growing up in Japan, cruising was completely foreign. We don’t cruise and have no exposure to it. Once I moved to the states and found out people obsess over cruising, I knew I had to try it at least once. 




Embarkation Day - Long Beach, California (Day 1): 

The boarding process of the ship was kind of like boarding an airplane. You check in at the ticket counter, go through security and board the ship. Luckily I got upgraded into a porthole room, which ended up helping me with the claustrophobia I later experienced. 

The ship is HUGE and I know this one isn’t even the largest ship in the fleet. I don’t know how else to explain it. As someone that’s never been on a cruise ship (other than the retired Queen Mary), my mind was blown. For example, from my room in Deck M to the buffet, it took several flights of stairs, elevator rides and a 5 minute walk. God forbid I wanted to go from my room to the adult-only pool, it would have taken about 10 minutes! 

One thing I appreciated about the cruise is that everything is included in the price (with the exception of gift shops, photos, etc). You can hop into any bar or restaurant, even order room service and you don’t have to worry about the price. As mentioned above, I added the Cheers package which gave you “unlimited” access to alcoholic beverages. I quote ‘unlimited’ because it’s technically 15 drinks within a 24 hour period. I was with some heavy drinkers and we still couldn’t drink 15 drinks a day over the weekend - sounds easy but it’s not! 

There’s several restaurants and bars to choose from. Most are open long hours, some 24 hours. There was a Casino in our ship, two theaters, three swimming pools, a spa, gym overlooking the ocean, mini golf and a running track. Crazy, right? 

Carnival is famous for their towel animals. Unfortunately all 3 of our towel animals were unidentifiable so these pictures are from my friend’s room - thanks, Kelly! Adorable!





Port Day - Ensenada, Mexico (Day 2): 

The second day was spent in Ensenada, Mexico. I obviously failed to do research because it wasn’t at all what I expected Ensenada to be. I envisioned something along the lines of Cabo or Cancun but I was wrong. It’s a cruise port town. The ‘downtown’ area is strictly in business for cruisers to shop and eat during their short time there. 

The first thing I noticed were the children chasing after tourists selling pieces of gum and other trinkets. We were cautioned not to buy anything from them as it deters them from attending school. 

Another interesting thing was all the “Happy Pharmacy” shops. I’m certain almost a third of all the shops were pharmacies. I was shocked to learn that you can purchase medication without prescription in Mexico, which is why there were so many pharmacies. You can get a hold of things like Xanax, Oxycoton, Viagara, etc.I was surprised to see how many fellow cruisers were in there buying who-knows-what!

We ended up grabbing some tacos and nachos in town, shopped at a candy shop (I’m obsessed with chili-anything and tamarind-anything), bought some delicious junk food and jamaica juice at 7-Eleven and got back on board. 





Day at Sea (Day 3): 

The third day was a “Day at Sea”. I slept a lot, drank a lot and ate a lot. I attended a couple of comedy shows which were just ok. The weather wasn’t that great so laying out was out was sadly not an option. This is when the claustrophobia really started kicking in; full-blown cabin fever.



Disembarkation - Long Beach, California (Day 4): 

When we got back to Long Beach, I have to admit I was pretty excited. I couldn’t wait to get off after suffering through motion sickness the entire cruise even with the help of wrist-bands and dramamine pills. Even as I type this, I’m still feeling dizzy. Supposedly this is normal where your body still thinks you’re out at sea. It feels like the world around you is moving and lasts for up to a few days. 

Have you been on a cruise? Are you a cruise lover? If not, is there a reason why you haven’t tried? I’d love to know your thoughts! 

Next stop: Seattle, Washington 
Find me on Instagram & Bloglovin

♥♥♥
Travel Monkey

18 comments

  1. Sorry to hear you didn't have a great experience. Hopefully your next adventure is better.

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

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    1. It's ok, it was still good experience and was happy I got to see what it was like! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  2. I've never been on a cruise myself but I've always thought I'd be the same as you with cabin fever and be completely unimpressed by it all, but at least you got a lovely couple of days away with friends. #ModayEscapes.

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    1. Yes! I didn't even think I would have cabin fever and I did - but you're right, that's exactly how I'm looking at it! I'm glad I got to experience it, or else I'll always wonder what it's like! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  3. I have been on a cruise but many many moons ago - I was a teenager back then and the cruise went for about 10 days. I remember we did some great day trips on our stops.
    Such a shame you had such a bad experience. I have to say I do't think I would like or choose one of the shorter cruises purely as they are well know just for drinking and whist I like a glass of wine drinking is not what my holidays or getaways are about.

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    1. That sounds amazing! You're right, it's probably the specific one I was on that really wasn't my thing. I definitely realize that and would give something like the Mediterranean or Alaska a try via cruise! We're definitely the same, drinking and partying isn't how I spend my vacation! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  4. I did a 5 day Greek Island cruise in 2012 (through Contiki so it was with a group of other travellers), and I really enjoyed it. But our cruise was not fancy at all and didn't really have any amenities. I did enjoy it though for the ease of getting to see a lot of the Greek Islands in a short period of time, but I haven't gone on another one since. It was convenient for me at the time, but in general I prefer to travel independently.

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    1. Oh my gosh that Greek cruise sounds amazing! I would definitely consider doing something like that, especially if it makes life easier getting around the small islands. I completely agree though, I would much rather travel independently! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  5. Well, I have been on this specific cruise (we had an extra day in Catalina Island) and it is something for people who want to go away and have fun (it is not to get a great travel experience or learn more about a destination). It is good to rest, eat and drink but I will not consider it a must do experience. But, I know there are better cruise itineraries, ships and companies.

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    1. Hi Ruth! I totally agree. I definitely realize that the ship I was on was strictly for partying - it's called the "booze cruise" for a reason, right? :) I'm just glad I got to experience what it's like to be on a cruise - alcohol or not, the motion sickness and claustrophobia really wasn't my thing! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  6. I'm off on my first cruise in 11 days - eek! It's refreshing to read the experience of someone who didn't love every minute. I'm going with my family so there's going to be less drinking and probably less sleep! We're also on board for eight nights so I'm hoping we have long enough to get used to the motion! #MondayEscapes

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    1. Hi Claire! I'm glad you found it refreshing, I was hoping to at least give an honest look into what happened personally to me on the cruise - definitely not saying it's like this for everyone else or other cruises! Where are you cruising through? I'm sure it's going to be blast!! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  7. Hi, congratulations on your first experience on a cruise :) I was recently on a cruise to the North Pole. It was cool, it lasted ten days http://poseidonexpeditions.com/ships/sea-spirit/. It was unforgettable. Please tell me how much money you spent on this cruise? I would also like to go to Mexico :) And I advise you to visit the North Pole.

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    1. Hi Peter! Thank you so much, it was definitely interesting! Wow, I would LOVE to have done a cruise to the North Pole - I'll definitely be checking out your post on that here in a second! The cruise I was on was around $300 per person! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  8. I don't think I'll ever go on a cruise. I'm pretty positive it's not my style of travel as I like to feel free, plus I don't like gambling and I've got a sensitive stomach, so eating heavy foods and drinking becomes difficult after more than 1 day. But more than that, my husband was in the Navy and had several deployments on aircraft carriers, so he would NEVER go with me! I'm glad to hear from someone talking about their cruise honestly. The cruise reviews I've seen on YouTube lately have all been promotional in nature. Thanks for the interesting post, Kana :) - Lauren from LaVieSansPeur.com

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    1. Hi Lauren! Good to see you :) I had all of the worries you had and ended up having this experience - so maybe cruising isn't for you! I didn't really want people to think I was being negative, it was just my personal experience, oh well! But I'm really glad at least you found it honest :) I need to visit your blog and catch up with your life once I'm back home! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  9. I'm always afraid to do a cruise because I'm almost sure that it's not my cup of tea either!
    I'm so sorry that it wasn't what you expected, and that on top of that it was a specific kind of cruise (to drink and drink). I take it you won't be trying a cruise anytime soon, right?

    Thank you for sharing your story on #MondayEscapes Kana :D

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    1. Hi Allane! It's ok, I'm actually glad I now know that I get motion-sickness to the point where I can't focus on much more and that I hate not having the freedom to leave the ship! I would LOVE to still do like a Mediterranean Cruise or an Alaskan Cruise as I've heard they are pretty different but I"ll take a break for now :) Thanks for stopping by and thanks for hosting! xo

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