On March 8th 2018 I traveled to Long Beach, California to enjoy a three day cruise for my daughter Alize's 21st birthday. Family joined us as we embarked on a journey that many had never done before. The first night we stayed at the Crown Plaza hotel located on Palos Verdes St in Long Beach. The service was excellent, room was clean and the food served in the dining area was nice. Then I realized I didn't pack my passport or my younger two's passports. I was sick. Two of my nieces were leaving the next day via plane and I called them to meet my realtor the the house to get the passports. (Good thing I am selling my house right!) The next morning we got up to aboard the Carnival Imagination it was gilts and glamour. Huge ship, music, food, drinks and about 40 of us boarding and only 3 of us actually having done it before. The moment we went on the ship I was in true vacation mode. No work, business, house selling, or personal issues. I took the time to meditate, record for my video show, and relax. One big suggestion if you are a drinker - get the drink package. I know most people think spending $145 for three days is a lot for drinks but if you think about it once you get a few $9 or $10 drinks you have already spent that. There is no cash on the ship you use your room key for everything. The last thing you want to do is check out the ship the last night and have a $400.00 bills. Take my advice get the drink package. They have bars all over the ship and even an upscale bar, sitting right outside the comedy show doors, that makes signature drinks such as the cucumber melon that will have you thinking you are sitting in Scottsdale Quarters on the patio of a high end restaurant.
The first night everyone gathered for dinner, ate like kings and queens, went to the club, casino and took pictures at every booth they had available. The next day we gathered on the top balcony of the outside swimming pool area and relaxed then headed off the boat to Ensenada, Mexico. We walked to bars that played music, had really good tacos and fake tattoos. For once in a long time we were doing things as a family and having complete fun. The kids and I had my brother, wife and kids, my sisters and some of their kids and we just took in every moment with pure enjoyment. The weather was upper 70's and as we walked down the streets of Ensenada I thought this is what life is about. Not getting up every day worry about a bill, job or money, but spending time with the ones you love and actually loving what you are doing at that moment. This was my second trip to Ensenada, as I went with my older sister for her 50th birthday cruise just last year in July, but it was different. I had experienced it once before but coming back the second time made me realize doing it with my kids and being able to have not a care in the world was fulfilling.
We got back on the boat and had a top notch dinner again, enjoyed the club and counted down until Alize would be 21. Once she hit 21, well a little before that, she was slammed with shots and dancing and enjoying the night with all those there. The next day we had a private cocktail hour were all drinks were free for us and a few other boat guest that had a birthday that day. We somehow turned that into a party. My brother brought his music box and we were dancing and laughing and drinking like it was 1am at 5pm. They literally had to tell us the "party is over". I think that moment when everyone was showing Alize birthday wishes she realized she was an adult and that it was time to live life and do what makes her happy.
We went to eat right after that and they put on an amazing good-bye show as that would be our last dinner on the cruise. The ice cream cake was made from scratch and I couldn't get enough. It was the best I ever had and I love ice cream so I eat it a lot. The next morning my boyfriend and I went to have breakfast alone at one of the restaurants talked about life and expectations and walked around the boat for the last time talking about how much fun we had. If you are thinking about a cruise I would recommend this one. It isn't costly and you get to feel like you are first class. There are more extravagant ships, such as Disney and Princess, which I have never been on, however, you can save your pennies and still have a nice cruise. Eventually, I want to get on those boats but as much as I want to travel the world and experience this was reasonable and worth it.
Cruise per person was $350.00 (first two people) $180.65 each additional to your room
Hotel night before $330 for a one bedroom suite- Crown Plaza
Drink Package- $179.23 each adult in your room- I had two so $358.46
Gas for the truck (drove own car) -$80.00
Food on the way in to California -$30.00
Food on the way home - $30.00
Total Trip- $1837.22
For a family of 5 that is a great deal.
Live for today and travel as much as you can! The journey is there you just have to take it!