Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reunion Cruising Made Easier

I absolutely love family group cruise vacations! I recently returned from a family group Caribbean cruise vacation and from start to finish everyone had a very good time. There was enough time together as a family and enough get away from the family time to make it a fantastic cruise. These are significantly better than the old school family reunions!

Now, at the start both a land reunion and a sea reunion are ...MORE

Saturday, August 6, 2016

NCL Getaway Cruise Review

Were we crazy to even consider sharing a cruise ship cabin for one week with two teenagers? Well, actually not. There were so many activity choices to do together or on each’s own that we all had a very good summer vacation on the Norwegian Getaway.

Now, being a combination of experienced cruisers and believers in Murphy’s Law, as always we made our plans to arrive in Miami the day before. Why take a chance of airline snafus and become stressed out on the way to your vacation or worse, run the chance that flight delays and cancellations could cause you to miss your long awaited getaway? We enjoy waking on sail away day and enjoying a relaxing, casual morning and taking our time making ...MORE

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Craft Beer Cruise

Having just completed a California Coastal Cruise and being one who enjoys trying new brews WHENEVER possible, I complied a list of some of the breweries that are an easy reach of the ports visited on this cruise. Some I was fortunate to visit and others I wish I had enough time to visit. The cruise itinerary that this works with is a 7-day cruise round trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. Currently Princess cruise lines offers this itinerary and they have three craft beers sold on board; Sea Witch IPA, Denali Red Ale, and a Blonde which are all three quite good.

Most breweries do not open until 11:00 AM which for most ports does not leave a lot of time to sample but then again, not enough time to get too blitzed. San Francisco the return to ship time is 10:30 PM, Santa Barbara and San Diego is 5:30 PM and Ensenada is 4:30 PM. If you get to the brewery at 11:00 you can sample the wares until at least 3:00 PM (Ensenada), 4:00 PM in Santa Barbara and San Diego, and 9:00 PM in San Francisco. In most ports there is enough time to kill a few flights and then to savor a few pints of the best offered.

In San Francisco the ship ports at pier 27. Directly in front of the cruise ship pier is a stop for the classic old street cars that run up and down the Embarcadero (F Line). Take the F Line south to the Embarcadero Station and transfer to the KT line. Take the KT line south to the stop at 20th and 3rd. About one block away is Triple VooDoo Taproom at 2245 3rd Street. The locals rate this place fairly high and note it as a good place to hit before Giant's games. Great food and they try not to repeat a flavor they have brewed before. Of course in San Francisco and only about six blocks from the VooDoo is the Anchor Brewing Company located at 1705 Mariposa St. for those who need something familiar.

Santa Barbara you will need to wear track shoes to get the most sampling completed. A reasonable one half mile walk east from the tender marina is Anacapa St., two blocks passed State Street. About one block north is the Brass Bear Brewing Company at 29 Anacapa St. After a flight from the Brass Bear, one block away at 137 Anacapa St is the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. That was an easy transition between those two breweries but now for the jogging shoes. From the Figeuroa Mountain Brewery go west on Yanonoli two blocks to State Street and then go north for three long blocks to the Santa Barbara Brewing Company at 501 State St. Phew! That flight probably tasted excellent after that walk. Now goone more blocknorth on State Street to Cota and then one half block east to 14 E Cota Street for the American Ale. Around 4:00 PM you should be heading back to the tender marina because the last tender back to the ship leaves the marina at 5:00 PM. It is only about a 2.5 mile walk but at this point a taxi my be worth it.

San Diego has two breweries relatively close to the pier. When you come out of the cruise terminal head one block south to Broadway. Go east about five blocks to Columbia and then one block north to 1157 Columbia Street for the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Ok so it is a chain but still some good beers and walking distance from the cruise terminal. After a flight or two here, head west two blocks to the Santa Fe Station and take either the Green Line (south) or the Orange Line to the 12th and Imperial Station. Exit the station onto Imperial and head east one block to 14th Street and go north one block to L Street at 1441 L Street for the Mission Brewing Company.

Now, Ensenada has a gastropub in the central business zone called Wendlandt Cerviceria. From the cruise ship, for $2 each take the bus to the marina bus terminal at Federal Highway 1 (Boulevard Costero) and Macheros. Go one half block north on Boulevard Costero to number 248. Reviews are that this new place can compete with the micro breweries in San Diego. Don't stay too late though you need to be back on the ship by 4:00 PM.

Are you a member of a craft beer group or are interested in setting up a cruise just like this? Contact Chip.
Do you know any craft beer lovers? Share this information with them.

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California Coastal Pt 5

One of the best aspects of a cruise vacation compared to a week stay at a resort hotel is that each morning you wake up somewhere new. Yesterday evening we sailed away from Santa Barbara and this morning when I wake up was are slowly cruising into San Diego harbor. Past the Navy submarine pens and around the bend heading straight for downtown.

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The pier that the ship comes to faces the downtown San Diego area. Looking straight off the bow you can see the bustling morning traffic on Harbor drive and all the taxis and buses making their way through the check point to enter the pier. Just two piers to the south of us is the USS Midway museum. Growing up watching movies involving the Navy, the aircraft carriers of history ...MORE

Saturday, March 26, 2016

California Coastal Pt 4

Next port call will be Santa Barbara after a full day at sea. Personally I love the sea days as a great day for relaxation. No time to be up, no time to go to bed, eat a meal when ever you are hungry. Sadly my body clock does not endorse my lazy day plan and fully wakes me between 5:00 and 6:00 AM. ARRRG!

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Still fully showered and dressed shortly after 6:00 with my wife and kids still sound asleep, I head off to the Horizon Cafe for some breakfast and to enjoy the view of the sea. Scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, some fresh fruit and a couple glasses of water. On a cruise experiencing a little dehydration can occur fairly easily, especially if the cruise were to warmer climates than we are used to. I always try to drink a little more water than usually the week prior to a cruise and try to continue the higher water intake throughout the cruise, consuming even more water when I choose to enjoy ...MORE

Thursday, March 24, 2016

California Coastal Pt 3

Note to self, "self, stay away from the International Cafe on deck 5!". Seriously, the deserts served in the cafe are in most cases better than served in the main dining room and I find myself somehow drawn to the place.

Last Saturday as we prepared to sail the extended forecast for San Francisco called for a 50% chance of rain. Well, we were in port from 07:00 until 11:00 PM and had maybe two hours of rain and mostly light rain at that. So mostly cloudy was something we could work with. Light jacket with a hood, camera, and cell phone would be all that I need.

When in vacation mode, and in a port that we have visited several times past, we are not in any way early risers (except me to watch the sail under the Golden gate). So once everyone was awake and ready for the day we went to the Horizon Court for breakfast and chose a table with an Embarcadero view. From our table we could see all the way to Fisherman's Wharf and see the vintage street cars rumbling along. MORE

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

California Coastal Part 2

Well sail away day has finally arrived and everyone bright and cheerful. At least as cheerful as two teens can been waking at 7 AM on a Saturday. Our Princess cruise departs out of San Pedro (Port of Los Angeles) which is about an hour and on half drive from home WHEN THERE ARE NO TRAFFIC ISSUES! So we are planning for a drive of two hours.

Just a few toiletries to finish the packing, a filling breakfast to last until we are on board for lunch and then loading the rolling duffle bags into the car and run through our final check list and away we go.MORE