With Carnival’s weekend cruises sailing out of Long Beach, I had the perfect opportunity to relax in this SoCal beach town prior to embarking on a quick sailaway to Ensenada, Mexico.
I began my adventure at The Cove Hotel, a stunning boutique property with a chic coastal design highlighting cool colors and beach decor accents. With the largest guestrooms in Long Beach, I adored the spaciousness of my King suite complete with both a claw-foot tub and a large rainfall shower. The pool deck was just steps from my room and the large heated outdoor pool was so inviting, surrounded by palm trees and cabanas. In the evening, it was lovely to lounge poolside at the fire pits and enjoy a refreshing beverage.
The Cove Hotel is a quick four-mile drive to downtown, or you can hop the Metro Blue Line for a smooth 20-minute ride to downtown attractions like The Pike Outlets, Aquarium of the Pacific, Catalina Express, and The Queen Mary. The hotel location was perfect for my getaway, with an easy route for exploring the Long Beach waterfront and then embarking on my Carnival Cruise.
Prior to my arrival at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, I explored the shops at Shoreline Village, picked up some last minute beach gear at The Pike Outlets, and grabbed a bite to eat. You’ll find plenty of eateries in this waterfront hub, ranging from chains like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co to local eateries like Gladstone’s upscale seafood. From here, it’s just a short commute to the cruise terminal, where the boarding process was so smooth I was on Carnival Inspiration in no time.
My weekend sailing included a full day at sea and another full day in Ensenada, allowing me the perfect balance for lounging by the pool and strolling around the seaside town. Ensenada has a sprawling Malecon promenade where you’ll find tasty quick bites and local shops, along with outdoor activities like fishing excursions. I enjoyed the small-town vibe of Ensenada, perusing local craft vendors and experiencing a bit of the family festivities taking place at the city hall square. Along the waterfront, I sampled a few churros made fresh with a drizzle of warm chocolate. This is such a scenic town to explore on foot with murals and art throughout the streets, and it was just a short walk from the ship to the main town attractions. Don’t forget to keep your eyes out for migrating gray whales in the distance.
The cruise itself was delightful, with a cozy stateroom and super comfortable bedding. I loved the variety of food on Carnival Inspiration and regularly devoured tacos at Blue Iguana Cantina. Between lounging by the pool by day and enjoying entertainment on the main stage at night, my cruise time was all too short. Even so, a weekend sailing like this is perfect to rejuvenate and relax with great food, fun activities, and thoroughly attentive crew and staff eager to ensure a fabulous vacation.
Lori A. May is a Seattle-based travel writer.