Kitty and I left ABQ on Thursday night and got to the new and improved Domain. We hung out with Al and Dex until sleep called. The next morning we had time for a quick liquor run before heading down to Long Beach. You're not allowed to bring your own booze on board (so they can charge you $9 for one of their drinks), but you ARE allowed to bring some soft drinks and water. A 6-pack of water quickly became a 6-pack of rum and vodka. A quart bottle of Snapple was transformed into a quart of Jack. We later found out that other people did the same thing. *LOL* We spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling and exploring the ship.
The ship was Carnival Paradise which was pretty nice. There was epic fail, however, in that the hot tubs were not working. One pool had a slide for the kiddies and the other pool contained unheated salt water. When one kid told us that the "kids" pool was a lot warmer than the salt water one, I just laughed and said, "And I bet I know why!" It just seemed that the outside areas rolled up after dark. I guess they wanted you to spend your time i.e. money, in one of the dozen or so bars all over the ship. I just loved to sit on the back deck and enjoy the peace and quiet.
On Saturday we had our port-of-call in Ensenada, Mexico. We had booked an excursion to the wine country just an hour or so to the east. You don't hear much about Mexican wines because very little is exported. The vineyard/winery we stopped at was one of the biggest in the country. We timed it right in that it was just the start of harvest season. The vines were heavy with big, beautiful bunches of grapes. We bought a few bottles of the varieties we enjoyed the most. It was definitely worth $7-8 a bottle. We also all enjoyed a 2-liter wine cooler for about $1 on the way back to the city. I did a little shopping including a really neat set of Oaxaca figurines. I'll post a pic tomorrow, but it is a set of 5 furry musicians. I saw it and immediately bought it. It wasn't cheap, but good Oaxacan art itself isn't cheap. Unlike the last time I was in Mexico, I had no buyers remorse e.g. remorse that I DIDN'T buy something I really liked. I also splurged on a nice bottle of 100% blue agave tequila from a small distiller. I'll have to wait until Al and Dex visit in Nov to bring it to me so that I can enjoy it. *shakes paw at TSA*
We had a tasty lunch at a Mexican restaurant that may have catered to gringos, but not like places like Senor Frogs or Papas and Beer. In other words they had good real food but you were comfortable speaking English and/or broken Spanish. I really liked Ensenada. It was a touristy place but I felt comfortable unlike someplace like TJ.
On Sunday we spent the whole day on the ship. I think at one time the captain just basically parked the ship 20-30 miles offshore of San Diego. It's pretty sad, though, when the most interesting and exciting thing to happen on a cruise is watching someone who had suffered a major illness being airlifted from the ship to a hospital in San Diego. Once again, we were never really bored since we could always find something fun to do with each other even just chilling in a cabin.
Inside jokes that no one will get:
The old guy who was always singing and dancing by himself. Either he was a nutty old man or an actor playing a nutty old man. If he was an actor, he was damn good! Al and I started doing the Six Flags theme as he danced through the restaurant. The kids at the table next to us totally got the joke and started cracking up.
You remember that I had mentioned we love doing our *pop* "Buttplug!" gag. Well, that became "Six plugs! More plugs! More fun!"
"Hey! See what's on the karaoke channel!"
"What's that smell?!? Captain's log!"
There was also a large group of Eastern Europeans on board so in our best Borat voices we were constantly going ,"Very nice!" There was no way I was going to enter the hairy chest contest with that competition! One guy looked like he was wearing a fursuit!
I'm going back to the room to get a glass of "water."
So overall it was a great experience. We hope to do Alaska in '11. You can bet I'll be fursuiting that cruise!