So I just got back from my 4 day Baja cruise on the Monarch of the Seas! Thanks to everyone on cruise mates for helping to make it a success. I felt like a pro, and everything went really smooth.
We live in LA so it was only a 40 min drive down to the Port of San Pedro. We parked. I knew to tip the porter
Then we got in line to get our sea passes. Not too bad of a line and I was so excited to get on the boat. Then instead of getting straight on the boat, I found we had to wait in another line. So now I understand why everyone wants to become a Diamond member.
We found our cozy room 2050 which was near the stairs and elevators which was nice. I'm glad we got a room with a window. I had read here on the forum to pack air freshener for the bathroom. I thought that was excessive since it was never really a problem here at home. We hadn't even used our bathroom yet and I wish I had packed air freshener. You can smell your neighbors business in your bathroom and sometimes in the hallway.
The elevators were crazy busy so I dragged my BF up 9 flights of stairs to eat at the WindJammer. He hates sea food so the look on his face when he saw the Jade sushi signs after the 9 flights of stairs was priceless.
I explained that the Windjammer was near the sushi restaurant and we were back in business. Then we toured the ship and it was time for the muster drill. A lady in our Muster section passed out, so be sure you are hydrated before going and remember to not stand with your knees locked. She was OK and got to leave the drill early and I got to use my hold the Muster joke.
Then it was time for sail away. Amazing! I loved every second of it with my lava flow drink in hand. Just be aware of the loud horns they sound before taking off. We were right under them
Dinner was good. We had the best, friendliest waiter, and his service made the food taste better. I tried to stick with the Chefs recommendations when it wasn't fish and it was usually pretty good. But the only red meat dish they got right was the Prime Rib, all of the other red meat dishes were just ok. I even felt daring and tried the escargot one night. I was the entertainment for my table mates. I gotta say butter and garlic can make anything taste good.
The first morning we landed in San Diego. I had reserved a sail boat charter for us. It was amazing! The highlight of the trip. Since it was vacation I tried to tone down my OCD over planning. It worked out really well. We just got off the Monarch got in the first cab we saw and he took us over to the marina over on shelter island. It was a cheaper ride than I expected and he offered to pick us up on our way back to the ship. He was there waiting for us when we got off the sail boat. It was too easy.
The charter itself was great. The price was the lowest I found online. The boat was awesome. They supplied the drinks, snacks, sunscreen, coats, hats, etc. What ever you would possibly need, they had it. And the Captain was everything you could want, knowledgeable, kind, and fun. If you wanted to learn and help out you could. If you wanted to lay on a bean bag on the front of the boat and drink you could. We had the perfect weather, and now I am interested in learning to sail by myself. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for something to do in San Diego. The only thing I would change was not putting sun screen on my arms. They got burnt really bad.
We went to the meet the Captain event that night aboard the monarch. Captain Karin is the only female captain in the whole industry, lady Captains represent! It was fun to learn some facts about the boat, and see some of the high ranking crew and where they were from.
Then it was formal night dinner. It was fun to see everyone dressed up. Especially my BF. It is rare to see him in a suit, and I think he actually enjoyed it. We also tried our luck at the black jack table that night because it was smokeless casino night. We weren't so lucky but it was still fun and at least smoke free.
The next day was Catalina Island and I can't tell you how big of a kick I got out of waking up and seeing something entirely new out of my window. I have lived in California for 6 years and this was my first trip to the Island and its really beautiful.
My least favorite thing of the whole trip was the tendering. Now I know what everyone on here was talking about. My dinner table mates were first off the boat at 8 am and had no problems. We tried to leave at 11:30 am and the line went up 3 floors, and the people in line were grumpy and annoying. We didn't get on the first tender we were in line for, but in under an hour we were on our way to Catalina. Tendering is not terrible, just unpleasant.
We did a glass bottom boat tour through RCI. It was fun to see all of the fish in lovers cove. Did you know that sea weed can grown up to 2 feet per day? Anyway it was short and sweet and nice. Then we rented a golf cart to tour the rest of Avalon. It was great, and I even got to drive.
We saw a comedy magician before dinner that night. He was a lot better than I thought he would be, even with the drunk lady heckler who eventually got bounced. And after dinner we went to the Love and Marriage game show. There were 3 great couples picked from the audience and I haven't laughed out loud that hard and that much in a long time.
The next day was Ensenada. I booked us tickets on the wine tour through RCI and I'm really glad I did, even despite its 8:30 am departure time. The bus ride was 45 min out to the Calafia valley. Our tour guide was nice and knowledgeable and pointed out a lot of things on the drive out there. The first winery was huge. I guess they make 90% of the wine that comes out of Mexico. They have won a lot of awards but I was not a fan a of any of the 6 wines we got to taste there. So we proceeded with a good buzz to the second winery which was smaller and more charming. The tour there was through their cave wine cellar and I really enjoyed it, the previous wine tasting probably added to my enjoyment of it too. So I purchased a $7 bottle of the cabernet sauvignon, it is really smooth. But I should warn real wine connoisseurs that sniff, and spin their glasses, that my enjoyment of the tour came from the locations and the details and that I have no real knowledge of professional wine tasting.
Then we opted to jump off the tour bus in downtown Ensenada. We had a great authentic lunch and just kind of soaked up the culture. I know a lot of people are down on Ensenada but I quite enjoyed it.
That night we did Quest which was a kick in the pants. And then we just sat outside on the deck one final time. It was really nice.
We had great table mates at dinner. We had the sweetest most amazing waiter. Overall the crew was really great, and the service was great. I would cruise with Royal Caribbean again. My BF suggested trying Carnival on our next cruise (yay he's hooked) just to see the difference, so thats something we might do. But I'm also interested in those repeat customer perks!
Pictures are up in the Gallery.