May 2015 - Carnival Imagination to Mexico
Late spring in Southern California is known for overcast mornings leading to cooler temperatures throughout the day. This so called "June gloom" makes it a really nice time to visit for us Northerners who could do without the tropical heat. Once school is out, the average age drops but expect people of every age. Embarkation was quite a bit slower than my previous time on this cruise. We learned from the first one and carried our bags and booked the Empress deck where you walk over the gangway and do not need to use stairs or elevators to get to your stateroom. That said, it's advisable to go with midship or aft on that 7th deck below the dining rooms rather than the galley or main lounge that also occupy the 8th. The location right under the Pride dining room is great for anytime dining and the back of the boat is convenient to the structured dinner times. Both of the ports are walkable. Renting a bike, e-bike or golf cart on Catalina is a fun way to explore the extent of what you can visit without a permit. The back country hiking permit can be had for free so go ahead an get one (on line - google it) for the morning that lets you go up the Garden to the Sky trail that starts to the right of the Wrigley memorial which you should visit if you're active and like great views. You could also stay in Avalon proper and shop/eat your way around on foot or ride the once-an-hour bus loop for a couple bucks. Ensenada - walk through the market that greets you at the port, watch for incoming/outgoing busses through docks and follow them across the bridge and go over one block to the right on Castillo and then turn left up and start your shopping spree for textiles, leather goods and certain Cuban items that you probably shouldn't try to bring back aboard. Continue down Primera until you get to Papas & Beer before crossing the street and shopping your way back. If the people working the phone kiosks in the local mall seem too aggressive for you, maybe you should stay on the boat. The street vendors and established businesses are fiercely competitive for your business. Haggle. In any case, this is a much cleaner day than riding a bus to La Bufadora where you get the same thing plus more dust. Sea day. Rest, eat, repeat. The ship actually has lots of things to do for young and previously young alike. Just because the serenity area is for adults, don't go expecting it to be serene. Think beach party Babylon and join the fun. Again, you get off the boat easier if you're on the seventh deck near the atrium. We'd do this again somewhere down the line.