Every time I’m in Ensenada, I’m impressed all over again. Somehow, in-between trips I forget how much I enjoy it.
The last time we were there, we took the wine country tour. And I tell you, among the vineyards, Ensenada seems very Italian. It’s probably that Mediterranean climate. Very San Diego. After all, it is Baja California.
The night before, we put out our room-service breakfast thingie so we’d have breakfast before getting ready to meet up with the tour group at around 9:30 a.m. We each had cereal, coffee, and OJ, which we enjoyed out on our balcony. Our bathrobes had arrived and we were wearing them while eating our breakfast. We won’t share those pictures. :)
We met our tour guide and group out on the pier and once we were all there, we walked to the bus and met our driver. We chose seat #5, which would remain our seat for the entire trip. Our driver drove us through town and the guide pointed out different places of interest. In fact, here’s the tour description:
Your journey begins as you board your air-conditioned transportation for a city tour of Ensenada, as your guide provides narration on various points of interest throughout the way.
Then, you will continue on to Riviera del Pacifico. Once a glamorous resort and casino built in the roaring 1930s, it is a renowned example of Mexican architecture where famous and infamous clientele, such as Douglas Fairbanks and Al Capone used to frequent. Sip a margarita and enjoy the splendid surroundings.
Next, you will visit the wine tasting room and shopping gallery of Baja California´s oldest winery. Founded in 1888, Bodegas de Santo Tomas produces over 34 types of wines from different grape varieties and is one of Mexico’s most celebrated and largest wineries, with well over one million bottles produced annually. You will visit the company’s first winery site and have time to try the excellent wines produced in the tasting room with bread and cheese.
Before returning to the ship, you will have an hour to visit the shops located at main downtown Ensenada and after which you will be escorted back to the ship on the bus. The main shopping district has many shops offering everything from Mexican handicrafts to imported merchandise.
We especially enjoyed the Margarita and wine tasting. And when the tour broke for shopping, we asked our guide for advice on where to have lunch. The restaurant she recommended was the one Rich noticed as we drove by – the one with the chickens roasting on the pit.
We had an awesome lunch with a gigantic Margarita (lol), were serenaded twice, and Rich even bought me a rose. Overall, a perfect, perfect day!
Riviera del Pacifico
The Margarita Bar
The taste of Margarita left us thirsty for more…
Checking out the street market
Alfresco Margarita tasting
Rich loving Mexico… or was it the Margarita?
Chips & Salsa
Incredible Chicken Taco, Beef Tamal, and Cheese Enchilada
The first serenade
Ice cream back onboard the ship
We didn’t take any pics at the winery, I fear. We met this couple on our tour, though, who stood in front of us in the wine tasting. When the winemaker said, “Do we have any wine lovers here?” I said, “Oh yeah.” The young couple in front of us looked at us with new respect – lol! In fact, he made sure we got all of the wine we were tasting before he did. He also asked our wine tasting advice.
Later on the bus, we chatted a bit more and he said he liked the Merlot best, as did we. And then he said he was from Madera, explaining it was about 20 miles north of Fresno. So I said, “Oh, I know where Madera is. My step dad is from there – he went to Madera High.” He couldn’t believe it. He said he’d never run into anyone who knew where Madera was. I know the feeling – I’ve been explaining it for most of my life. :)
On our way back to the ship, we drove to the beach and it looked quite inviting. Maybe on a future trip.
We stopped off for some ice cream by the ship’s pool before hitting our stateroom for a long Margarita nap. The rest of the day was a blur. In fact, my notes are blank. :)
But I think we pretty much took one last tour of the ship before returning to our stateroom to pack, order room service for dinner out on the balcony (chicken club sandwiches with potato chips, cookies, and milk.) We enjoyed the sunset from our balcony and then called it a night.
The next morning Rich ran down to the IC and brought back 2 coffees and a couple of donuts, which we enjoyed out on balcony before getting ready to disembark.
Breakfast before Disembarkation
Disembarkation wasn’t nearly as smooth as embarkation. Guess it has to do with over 3000 passengers trying to get off the ship at once. We were given walkoff #19, meaning we couldn’t walk off with our luggage until the 19th group was announced. That would not do for us – no, not at all. We had a 4-hour drive ahead of us and we wanted to get going as soon as possible. I’m sure we were not alone. :)
We went to the theater where group #1 was meeting but it became very clear we would have to have our official group number noted on a piece of paper and could only disembark then. So Rich went to the Purser’s office and eventually talked him into allowing us to join group #4. So we headed for the Explorer’s Lounge where that group was meeting. After a short wait, we walked off, went through customs, retrieved our car and began the drive home.
Embarkation was a lot better in San Pedro than Long Beach but disembarkation was far worse. The Carnival ships we’ve been on are much smaller and not nearly as many passengers. There are benefits to sailing on a smaller ship.
After a brief traffic delay, we were home about 4 hours later, greeted our kitties, unpacked, and prepared for jumping into another work week. A couple of days later, we booked another cruise – this time back on Carnival for a 3-night to, you guess it, Ensenada. We can’t wait!