Donna's family

With my granddaughter graduating from high school this year, I decided to treat her and my daughter-in-law to a cruise!  Neither had been on a cruise before, so the 4-day cruise to Ensenada sounded like just the right thing!

We booked our trip through Smitty.  She is an experienced cruise traveler, so I knew she would take great care of us!  Smitty was so thorough in making all of the arrangements and offered some really great travel advice!  We were booked on one of the Carnival Fun Ships and found all of the accommodations to be excellent!

Our stop off on Catalina Island provided a full day’s worth of shopping, eating and sightseeing.  It is a must to take the island tour bus and hear about the island’s history!!

Catalina Island

When we arrived in Ensenada, there were shuttle buses to take us into town, and from there we found the shuttle bus station to buy tickets to take another shuttle bus down to the “La Bufadora”, otherwise known as the “blow hole.”  Our bus driver was hysterical and provided many jokes along the ride, as well as much history about Ensenada.  Note to the “new traveler” – be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

The La Bufadora is one of three blowholes in the world, so it was exciting to see the water spray shoot up several feet into the air from the ocean’s edge.  While walking down to the blowhole, we passed many street vendor shopsLa Bufadora – lots to buy, from silver jewelry, serapes, sombreros, and many, many more Mexican-made items.  The Vendors are most anxious to pull you into their shops to showcase their wares.  Some of the shops were recommended by our bus driver (as well as Carnival), so one is able to obtain some “discounted” rates.

I was amazed as to how well my granddaughter learned to “haggle” prices with the vendors!!  She bought merchandise at great prices!! Or maybe they just gave in to her beauty!! CoronaBack on the shuttle bus, everyone shared their newly purchased items and enjoyed the scenery back to Ensenada. Before boarding the ship, you have another opportunity to buy even more stuff in the shop located on the pier – if you didn’t spend all of your money in Ensenada!

Our next day was spent at sea relaxing along the edge of the pool, watching a large chunk of ice sculpted into two (2) beautiful swans and shopping in the ship stores.

Dining each night in the main dining room, Carnival waiterthe waiters (who make you feel like a queen-for-the day) tend to all of your dining needs.  After dinner, we were off to the wonderful shows in the main theater.  The entertainment consisted of comedian acts to full-fledged Vegas-like shows with dancing and singing. The majority of entertainment was always first class and rated G, so that young people could enjoy it as well.

Each night we were provided with a cute “towel” animal by our room steward – he was sooo creative and always kept our room tidy with our beds turned down with little mints on our pillows!

Pretty much everywhere you went on the ship, on Catalina Island and Ensenada, there were ship photographers taking your picture.  Those photos were displayed on boards throughout the trip for us to buy.  Buying the photos is a must, as they provided wonderful memories when we got home!!

Carnival ParadiseWhen the trip was over, it was sad to leave, as we all had such a great time – including me at the Casino! Getting through customs was a breeze, as it was so orderly.  This being my fourth Ensenada cruise, it was a great adventure to share with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law and I’m confident they will enjoy more cruises in their future.  I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Smitty for all the time she put into making sure our cruise was a memorable trip!!

Donna Santana