We, my wife and I, were rapidly approaching our 35th wedding anniversary-and I wanted to make it very special for my beautiful wife and even for me so I immediately thought: “We need to take a cruise.” A few years ago we did indeed take a cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines and it was nothing short of FANTASTIC. So I figured another Carnival Cruise would be the right thing to do only this time I would pull out all the stops and we would go totally deluxe and we would bring our two daughters and one granddaughter along with us. Plan set. We would depart Long Beach on October 28th and sail first to Catalina Island and then to Ensenada, Mexico and after five fabulous days we would work our way back to Long Beach Harbor. And yes, it was fabulous in every way, on every day.
Checking into to our suite was an unbelievable experience. It was huge and gorgeous beyond my wildest dreams. Through our aft facing windows, we had a stunning view of the swimming pools and the stage where nearly non-stop dancing and contests were held from the afternoon into the evening. And speaking of evening what a visual delight that was as our ship gently sailed away and into the sun, setting gently into the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Soft breezes swept smoothly across the decks as we engaged in the one activity that consumed several minutes several times every day – eating awesome food. No airline will ever be able to come close to a cruise ship when it comes to comfort, luxury and unbelievable food. The jets are faster, true, but the cruise ships are far more comfortable and provide a steady stream of awesome food that includes every imaginable variety.
There were several different locations for food consumption. Deck ten housed a variety of different options including, but by no means limited to, pizza, hamburgers, tacos, eggs, steak, and sandwiches of many kinds. The coffee, tea, milk and water were all free. Drinks with alcohol did cost but that is the customer’s option. Keeping it easy, they even had a machine that would dispense beer by the ounce and charge accordingly. Just one more way to give the customer what he or she might want.
But since the food was so good and so abundant and available at no charge I was happy to also discover a very well-equipped gym on deck 12 and a running track on deck 14. Additionally, on deck 14 there was a mini golf course and a few other unique exercise options. But, on Deck 12 there were several spas offering a wide range of services from facials to full body massages. Those were available at extra cost but they were very pleasurable adding even more joy to the full cruise package.
And then there was shopping. There were several stores in various parts oft the ship selling a wide range of products from clothing to jewelry and even a fairly comprehensive liquor store. The prices were often competitive, sometimes highly competitive. During the course of our trip I bought both bags and bracelets for my beautiful bride and even my daughters and granddaughter. That contributed to their overall cruise pleasure and it made me happy as well. You know what they say, “A happy wife makes for a happy life.” Oh, so true.
So, there we were far off of the California shore heading for Catalina Island. The sun was setting and the air was refreshingly cool. The ship was moving but it was nearly impossible to confirm that from any motion on deck. Very smooth, very serene, absolutely beautiful so it seemed that it was time to get back to our cabin.
Our bathroom had a bath tub/shower unlike anything I had ever seen before at sea or on land. It was huge with many water outlets that would quickly fill the tub, while concurrently turning the soap into giant waves of gentle soothing foam that both cleaned and soothed the body. That was my wife’s pleasure. I preferred the shower with its large stream of warm water. Somehow a bottle of champagne had worked its way into our room and by now it was cool, so I delighted in a glass or two while greatly enjoying the scenery from our private patio.
Finally, the time had come to retire to our huge and super soft bed with feathery covers that very much encouraged both snuggling and not long after a deep and gentle sleep. Tomorrow would be a new day with an opportunity to visit the always pleasant Catalina Island.
All photos: Ron Irwin