My family is awesome. Seriously. We’re a close-knit bunch, but life is busy, and we don’t all live in the same state anymore. A few years ago my mom, grandma, aunts, and one of my sisters decided to plan a multi-generational girls weekend getaway cruise. Here we are, three years later, and the trip was bigger than ever, with 13 of us joining the party (including 1 male cousin ;)) Furthermore, this was the first time I’d seen my youngest sister, who lives in the Seattle area, since Benjamin was a newborn! To date, my family has done the same 3-day cruise, taking Carnival Inspiration out of Long Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico. So many wonderful memories were made! Here, I’ll break down the cruise itinerary, share my Carnival cruise must-haves, and my best tips for your first time cruise.
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Day 1: Long Beach, California/ At Sea
I flew into LAX on Thursday. My mom, sisters, and I all stayed in a hotel near the airport, which made it really nice! We had dinner and breakfast in the hotel and were at the ship in Long Beach by noon on Friday. The weather was perfect, typical February weather in Southern California. The process getting boarded onto the ship was as smooth as could be!
We got into our staterooms around 3 or 3:30, with our luggage already waiting for us. Here are my two youngest sisters standing in front of my bed. They slept on bunks to the right. The door on the left opened to another room, where my mom and other sister stayed. It was so fun having adjoining room (until my mom got sick, that is)!
Friday night we went to two late-night comedy shows — the first show starting at 11 p.m.– they were both geared toward adults. I laughed so hard! Highly recommend if you are not easily offended. 😉
Day 2: Day at Sea
I am so glad that our Day at Sea was warm and filled with sunshine, because the rest of the trip was rather cold. We started with breakfast on the forward deck. The breakfast buffet is wonderful!! I enjoyed a freshly made omelet, fresh fruit, cottage cheese, and yogurt. Our plan was to layout in the adults-only Serenity section, with our books. The sun didn’t hit that area and we found it was too cold, so we headed back toward the Lido Deck.
The Lido Deck (middle of the cruise ship) had a DJ playing music, the entertainment team hosting fun contests, pools, and lots of sunny sunbathing recliners available. It was SO much fun!! We got exactly zero reading done out there, but enjoyed drinks, a game of cornhole, quick cooldowns in the pool, and each other’s company. This was one of my favorite memories from the entire trip.
Poolside outfit deets: This side-bow plus-size one-piece bathing suit is EVVVERYTHING! I didn’t get a great vacay pic in it, so here’s a dirty-mirror-with-all-my-crap-lying-around look! #reallife This suit is so comfortable and flattering. I immediately checked out the website for more styles to get! They carry sizes for most women, through 4X, that I can see! They also have the most adorable line of affordable swimwear for little girls.
I was so excited when Tenth Street Hats reached out and offered me a hat to take on my cruise. I have a huge head and a lot of hair, so “one size” hats never really fit me right. Can I tell you how happy I am about this hat? It’s called Astoria, and I’m wearing a size XL. I love that you can order so many of the designer hat styles in different sizes. I’ll definitely be back for more!
That night we glammed up for Formal Night at dinner. Above are my sisters applying lash strips for my mom, and below is our entire group! I re-wore my favorite velvet wrap-dress I bought for my SIL’s wedding last month.
That night we went to the musical performance after dinner. It was a really fun 70s-inspired disco show. We loved it! Afterward, several of us went to the dance club, where they played 70’s and 80’s music for the first hour or so. We had such a great time groovin’ and dancin’!
When we were all danced out, we went to visit (and join) the others in the casino for a bit!
Day 3: Ensenada, Mexico
Sunday was our Port of Call in Ensenada, Mexico. It was really chilly and windy there. If you have a chance to visit, I highly recommend “Doña Engracia” Tequilera Ensenada. It’s located less than a half mile from the dock. We went for a tequila tasting. It was just $10 per person, and included a brief tour of the tequila museum. Our tour guide was wonderful! She was so funny and had us in stitches over the toasts she gave.
The tequila itself was so good! We tasted 6 different tequilas — 3 of them flavors: Peach, Almond, and Coffee. Peach and Coffee were my absolute favorites, and I had two shots of each! 😉
The rest of the crew headed to Papas & Beer Ensenada, but I headed back to the ship with one of my sisters and our aunt. My sole mission was to enjoy Elote from a street vendor, and mission accomplished. I’m drooling right now just thinking about it!! (Take me back!)
After selecting souvenirs, we got back on the ship, and the three of us just relaxed and enjoyed our time together. We got burgers on board from Guy’s Burger Joint (yum!!), then dessert, while we chatted. Everyone was back on the ship around 3 to get ready for the evening.
It was “Casual Night” at dinner, but our family decided we’d be dressing up in the Roaring 20’s theme, to celebrate 2020! We sure turned a lot of heads, and had a blast doing it!
That night was pretty low-key, as we had an early wake up call back in Long Beach, to make our flights at LAX. I won a bit at the casino before cashing out, which was a lot of fun. Then I packed and showered to get ready to go.
What’s Great About a Multi-Generational Girls Weekend Getaway Cruise
- Connecting and re-connecting. I have already cried so many times looking at photos with my sisters. This was the first time we’ve ever really hung out in this way, as adults, and it was so special.
- The trip is what you make it! Party or relax/recharge…everyone kinda does their own thing, and that’s what makes the trip so awesome! We had cousins that played Bingo together, sisters that lounged by the pool, and lots of casino playing!
Carnival Cruise Must-Haves
Click to shop the following images. Find this entire list of Carnival cruise must-haves in my Amazon shop!
Tips for Your First Cruise
- Although there were kids on board, and this particular cruise does have programs for kids, I didn’t think this was a “family cruise”. It definitely had “party cruise” vibes, and I loved that about it!
- Think of a cruise like a floating Vegas or resort. There is a lot of walking! Dress your feet accordingly. On my next cruise I’m going to skip the heels, and just bring dressier sandals.
- You can bring alcohol on board! Guests “may bring one 750 ml bottle of sealed/unopened wine or champagne, per person, in their carry-on luggage”. It must be in your carry-on, or it will be confiscated until after your cruise. Boo.
- I didn’t know this, but likewise “a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, energy drinks, juice, and milk), packaged in cans or cartons, may be brought on board and must be in the guest’s carry-on luggage.” Read Carnival’s Liquor & Beverage Policy.
- You’re going to want to bring a power strip or something like this Multi Plug Outlet Extender, as there is only one plug in your cabin.
- You can’t bring water on board, but you can bring a water bottle like this one, and refill it whenever you’re up on the Lido Deck.
- Don’t forget a sweater! It’s chilly on deck, on the water, especially at night.
- Bring something to DISINFECT EVERYTHING!! Spray your pillow and bedding. Wipe down counters and handles. Wash your hands often, especially if you visit the casino.
If you cruise with Carnival, you’re “choosing fun”! Enjoy!!