Back from the Big Floating Leisure Suit

I am back from the family reunion (my wife's family) which was held on a cruise last week.  The cruise was a really good venue for a family reunion -- small enough that you run into people, but large enough to escape them too.  Every night we had 4 large tables to ourselves in the restaurant.

The cruise itself was a little disappointing, but it was chosen more for being low cost and accesible to the entire group, so I can live with that.   There were way too many people in my space for my personal taste.  Someday I want to take a much smaller boat, maybe in the Greek Isles.

A couple of things amazed me.  One, the port of call in Mexico was really a dump.  And this is from someone who has spent time in Mexico, good places and bad, and has some fondness for the country.  I figured out the reason when I was laying on the deck and saw the Panamanian flag flying form the back of the boat.  By US law, for a non-US flagged ship to leave and return to a port (in this case Long Beach), it must stop in between in another country.  I am sure the cruise line would love to run four day cruises say between San Diego and Santa Barbara or San Francisco, but that would be illegal unless they took on the prohibitive cost of operating a US-flagged ship.  So we stopped in a little industrial town just over the border to make it all legal.

The other thing that amazed me was the decor of the ship.  I would have bet money that the ship was designed in the 1970's.  Our room, which had a balcony, was nice, but the common areas were right out of bad 1970's casino ambiance.  Amazingly, though, the nameplate said it was built in 1998.  Not sure what these guys were thinking.  I called it the great floating leisure suit.

Internet service was $24 per hour, so I did not do any blogging, but the good news is I got a ton of writing done on my new novel.


  1. Captain Obviousness:

    You call Ensenada a dump??? I think the overpowering stench from the fish cannery plants is quite endearing.

  2. Elliot:

    I did the same thing in 2005, also as an affordable family reunion for my wife's family. Yes, Ensenada smelled awful. To make matters worse, the Mexican police tried to haul my son and his cousin to jail a few minutes before the ship left port, I guess hoping to get a bribe. Luckily, one of the ship's entertainers stopped the whole thing.

    I heard that if you took the tour on the other side of the mountains, it was lovely.

    Catalina Island was the best stop.

  3. joe:

    a 70's decor cruise boat is probably aiming to recreate the ambiance of
    "the love boat". I'm not sure how "sailing to a dump city just across the border"
    would fit into the theme song though.

  4. Dan:

    A grammatical point:

    You were "lying," not "laying" on the deck.

  5. Richard W:

    The decor is often related to fire codes. The things that are fire retardant tend to look '70s style.