Some of my best friends and I all have birthdays in October so we usually try to figure out some sort of excellent way to celebrate. This year we decided on a cruise. It seemed like a good idea since they are fairly cheap in October and we could get a short 3-day package for over the weekend.
We headed down to the long beach port around 2:00 in the afternoon and boarded the ship quite quickly despite having all of our carry-on luggage inspected (all Listerine bottles in our luggage were opened and checked right in front of us). The ship we were taking was called the Carnival Inspiration, which I guess is kind of old but still seemed pretty nice to me. This was my first time on an actual cruise ship so I was overall pretty impressed by the entire experience.
After unloading all of our luggage in our rooms we promptly headed upstairs to the pool deck and ordered a bucket of beers. It was a nice partly-sunny day as our ship finally departed towards it’s southern destination. As night fell we hung out at various locations on board the ship. I tried attending the comedy show but I had to walk out of it due to it’s pure cheesiness (it was bad in a bad way).
The next day we awoke to cloudy skies and our ship at the dock in Ensenada. It seemed as though a lot of people had already departed the ship by the time we woke up; this made our departure nice and quick. Once off the boat there were plenty of shuttles and taxis waiting to take you into town, or to other tourist traps, but my friends insisted that we just walk into town.
At first I was unsure about just walking into town, but I quickly realized it was a short walk from the port. It didn’t take us long until we were on the main streets of Ensenada.
We stopped at the first reputable looking place we saw to order a bucket of beers and have some snacks. The service was friendly and they even gave us some extra-hot salsa upon request.
The place was called La Taberna, and although it was a nice first stop, the place wasn’t extraordinary, so we continued further into town. Our next stop was Hussong’s Cantina, which is said to be the oldest and best known cantina in all of Mexico. When you walk in this place you almost feel like you’ve traveled back in time. The building hasn’t changed much since it was built in 1892.
After having a few beers there we headed to the famous Papas & Beer which was just across the street. They already had their Halloween decorations up.
Even though it was the middle of the day, this place was already going off like a full on party. The employees were pouring tequila shots down peoples throats, a standard selection of 90s hits was playing loud, and girls were getting tossed around the place and set on the bar for further exhibition.
After we had enough craziness at Papas & Beer we did a little souvenir shopping and wondering through town. As we wondered around we somehow ended up at another bar which was a little more low key than the previous one. After our short stint there we continued our way back towards the port with a little more shop browsing, and then, just one more bar.
We had beers and shots while we watched some Finnish dude jam out some more 90s rock songs on his acoustic guitar. My buddy Andy tipped him and requested some Tom Petty which he promptly played.
It was finally time to get back to the ship. We were about halfway to the port when we were solicited for a carriage ride the rest of the way down. This happened to be at a point where we just couldn’t refuse, so we all piled on the carriage and off we went down to the port.
Before getting back on the boat I had to go check out the sea lions hanging out near the shore (despite warnings from the port staff).
That night on the boat a group of us all had dinner at the restaurant which was actually quite good. I appreciated the fact they considered vegetarians when they created their menu. The rest of the night was spent at various locations on the boat like the casino, the club, and the various bars.
Sunday was spent at sea and we mostly just hung out at the back of the boat in the “adult area” where you couldn’t smoke, which we thought was strange. At least we were conveniently next to the 24 hour pizza bar which we took full advantage of. I think the boat finally cruised into the Long Beach Harbor around 4:00 am on Monday morning. We were able to get in a little sleep before we had to get off the boat and head home.