I broke my own first rule of cruising and flew in the same day of the cruise. Please don’t follow my example. Flying the day of a cruise is very risky. Your car could break down on the way to the airport or the flight could be delayed or even cancelled. Fly in a day ahead of time. I broke the rule because every day I don’t work it costs me a lot of money and I was already going to be gone for two weeks. To me the gamble was worth it even if I missed an inexpensive cruise. I still had business in the area and Quartzsite to go to.
After picking me up at LAX airport, we drove down to the pier in Long Beach. The terminal area is actually rather pretty and there is a restroom located away from the main building which makes it easier to use. Once we got in line, we felt like royalty as we were immediately ushered past the rest of the line thanks to purchasing Faster to the Fun. Talk about fast check in! They rushed us through and got us on the ship within minutes. Woohoo!
We dropped off our carryon luggage in our interior room and headed out to explore. The Imagination is the smallest ship I have been on yet and a little bit of a disappointment. The ship itself was fine but it has fewer pools and hot tubs than I am used to and not as much to explore. There is a small water slide area at the back of the ship and it does have a Serenity adult only area though it is very well hidden.
The food did not disappoint though traveling with a vegetarian was certainly a new and interesting experience for me. Thank goodness my carnivore nature did not bother Irene but she did have a harder time finding food she could eat. She never complained though. We did both enjoy the mushrooms and carmelized onions at Guy’s Burgers and raided them a couple times during the trip. For the Main Dining Room, we did anytime dining and the food was good there as well though a bit different again from what I am used to due to changes in the menu fleet wide. We did make a point of going to the Dr. Seuss breakfast to eat green eggs and ham with the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2, and George. Of course, Irene did not eat ham and I chose steak instead of the ham but we ate green eggs! Sam I Am!
Our cabin was great! I wanted Irene to have an excellent first experience so rather than reserving “just” an interior room, I got us a porthole room for only a few bucks more. We got sunlight in through the windows to lighten the room up and could see out a little. It was cheaper than an oceanview room and still gave us the main benefits of one. I recommend them highly. It was smaller than oceanview with no couch but it was fine for us.
While waiting to test drive the pizza shop on board late one night, we ran into the piano player from the Piano Bar. He was an interesting young man who had been called in quickly to replace someone and had a big world tour gig coming up with another cruiseline. We joined him in the Piano Bar for the rest of the evening for some fine music and every night after. Oh, the pizza was pretty good this time. Better than on previous ships though Dominoes and Pizza Hut have nothing to worry about.
There was a very large group on board of radio station fans of a particular Tejano music band. They partied every night and the music was terrific! One night the band performed by the pool on Lido while everyone danced and another night they performed in the theater. That was a nice unexpected perk.
Our first stop was at Catalina Island. I was a teenager many moons ago when I was last there. It has certainly changed a lot since then but it is still a nice place for a weekend getaway from Los Angeles. We rented a golf cart to tour the island on our own and took turns driving. You can easily tour it in 2-3 hours as it is a very small island. We made it more fun by geocaching along the way with my phone. We found several caches. Couldn’t find one. After dropping off the golf cart, we hit the shops and found a cruise ship and a sail boat charms. I had hoped to find a charm of the Sea Smoke catamarran I sailed on with the Girl Scouts the last time I was on Catalina but struck out. I knew it would be a long shot after so many years. It was a a beautiful day on the island, though, and I look forward to going back again.
Our next stop was Ensenada, Mexico. We went on the tour to La Bufadora Blowhole. It’s an area where the waves enter a gully, crash on the rocks, and explode up into the air. It was worth seeing once. This is also a huge tourist attraction with numerous shops along the path to the blowhole. While they promote the shopping a lot with coupons, there is no time to do any shopping while there. They really need to add more time to this excursion. We had just enough time to see the blowhole, use the restroom, and quickly eat some excellent fish tacos before being shuffled back on the bus. They could at least eliminate the wine tasting at a historic building on the way there. I liked the building and once upon a time many famous people went there to enjoy it as a casino but it is not a big deal now.
I know I enjoyed the cruise very much. Any cruise is a good cruise. I still don’t know how Irene feels about cruising but hopefully I can convince her to go again. We did discover that we are both gimps. We both had issues with our legs onboard. Like an idiot, I failed to bring my cane since I have been working out and walking so much better. Um, that does not matter when one is walking all over a ship, an island, and a blowhole. Lesson learned. I bought another one as soon as we got back to Long Beach for the rest of the trip.