Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cruise, Encenada Mexico

Cruise to Catalina Island and Encenada, Mexico July 2013

Encenada, Mexico

There were a bunch of different tours you can take in Encenada, but I have never been horse back riding and the reviews for Rancho Los Banditos said this was good for beginners.  Totally recommended! If you already ride you may be bored?  But as a total newbie this was perfect.  The horses were well behaved, there were plenty of cowboys with us who were always attentive.  I felt very safe.  And the ride is perfect-after an hour, you are sore, but for only a short time.

They were very nice looking horses and the owner took care to match up folks with the appropriate sized horse.

You can use the step stool to get up on your horse. You are going to look doofy, just go with it!

My horse, Tito "A legend in his own mind" was a great guy.  He liked conversation and would grunt back to me.

The land is pretty sparse, which affords a nice view when traveling through, and what does grow is amazing.

Back at the ranch the mosaic work is lovely.  The whole place was very well kept.  After the ride be sure to buy some tacos and margaritas, they are fresh and delicious.

Off to one side is the ocean

And to the other is the ranch

Day at Sea
Even though you can make it back up to Long Beach in a few hours, the ship spends a day at sea.  That way you know you have been on a cruise.  Every day they have a list of like 40 things that you could be doing; a walking group, bridge, trivia game, art auction, comedy shows, dancing shows.  Not to mention all the stuff that is available practically 24-7; pool, mini-golf, ping-pong, crossword and jigsaw puzzles in the library, the casino and the shopping.

Every day you get a newsletter with the list of stuff going on.  We managed to fit in a couples massage, time in the adults-only hot tub (super good idea), a photo shoot on formal night, some of the evening shows and a bit of the 'scavenger hunt'.  

On top of all this on the day at sea you can take the Behind the Scene tour.  Totally glad we did this!  We got to meet the head chef, Jorge, who is really a master at logistics.  They feed the ~2500 guests and the ~1000 crew.  We saw where the crew eat, the laundry facilities, the back stage, and met the engineers and the captain.  Space is limited so we signed up soon after getting on the boat-definitely a must-do.

For some reason it is a thing on cruises to turn the towels into sculpture.  You can buy books, every cruise line sells their own, kind of weird, right?  Would you do this at home?

If you sign up for a cruise, you will want to think about how you are going to handle the never ending food and drink options.  If you are saving money, you will not be drinking much alcohol.  We went ahead and got drinks-though if you go to the bar and order something standard you will get a better deal than the fancy drink of the day, though we got one a day to give it a try.  And if you love the wacky souvenir cup they are clearly the way to go.  We did get the endless soda option and the refillable container.  You get a sticker attached to your card and any bar will give you soda.  A bargain if soda is your drink of choice.

At the beginning of the cruise we imagined that we would find the gym-ha!  not until the very last day and then only because it was near the spa.  We did however make a deal, never use the elevator.  This was perfect.  We got in little bits of cardio throughout the day and had buns of steel by the end.

And remember that there is too much food!  For dinner, we often got 2 appetizers, an entre, and a dessert to split between the two of us, just so we didn't feel completely full 24 hours a day.  And at the buffet, only get one because you can always go back for another.

Back in the nineties, I read A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace and was easily convinced that standard cruising was not for me (I must highly recommend Infinite Jest, I loved the excessive footnotes and just general weirdness.  But you can read his essays instead for a good intro).  That is still pretty true, it feels like Vegas on a boat-gross excess of food and drink and gambling.  And we dump our waste at sea?  Wow, we are a contemptible species.  But we already knew that and so if you can accept that for a few days you are good to go.  

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