But not on the same day

| After sailing aimlessly in circles for several hours Tuesday night, we arrived Wednesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where we had booked a winery tour for the morning.

We had learned by experience that meals in the Brasserie buffet on the Lido Deck were not all that one might wish, so we headed up to the Mardi Gras dining room, where we were seated at a big round table with other members of the early breakfast club, only to find that the staff did not share our sense of urgency to get going. It turned out OK, and the food, once it finally was ordered and delivered, was far superior to our previous breakfasts at the buffet. With a few moments to spare, we headed out on deck to observe our actual arrival at the cruise port in Ensenada.

Although we heard no announcement about being able to leave the ship, we hustled down to the gangway to find the meeting point for our winery tour. Before setting sail we had taken some pains to read other travelers' comments about this tour. Two in particular stuck in our minds:

The first winery was L.A. Cetto, a big winery producing many different kinds of wine. To my taste, the best of those we tasted was a Chenin Blanc.

The second winery was La Casa de Doña Lupe, a completely organic winery with an artisanal bakery, a restaurant serving incredible pizza, and a store with lots of goodies. Just try to leave without buying something!

Not a winery, but we passed the Hotel Endemico, designed to have minimal impact on the environment. The "rooms" are perched individually on stilts and just over 200 square feet each. As I understand our tour guide, for $200 per night, you get a queen-sized bed and bathroom en suite. That's it.

We set sail from Ensenada late Wednesday evening and arrived back in Long Beach Friday morning. It's really a short sail, Ensenada being about 100 miles from Long Beach, so to fill time the ship circled aimlessly off the coast of Baja until late Thursday so that it could sail into Long Beach Friday morning.

Thursday was our "Fun Day at Sea," and being Valentine's Day we expected that would be a dominant theme. But we were wrong. About the only thing evocative of the day was that long-stemmed red roses were on sale in the gift shop ($75 for 6, $105 for 12 with champagne) and various couple chose to be married by the Captain at sea. At dinner red chrysanthemums were given to the women. Despite having all turned our heads when our waiter for the night called out "Hi, ladies" we didn't get a flower. Harrumph!

And through it all we were grateful that we were not experiencing a Carnival Triumph. Pun intended.

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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