On our cruise, we went to Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas. For us, the reason we went on a cruise was to go on the cruise ship. We were spoiled rotten on our cruise. We didn’t go on a cruise to go to the cruise ship ports. Instead, our goal was to experience the luxury of the cruising lifestyle. For us, visiting Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas was secondary. The ports were almost a bonus.
In the post titled Spoiled Rotten on our Cruise, we already covered how much we liked our cruise and cruise ship. I can’t explain our cruise other than it was just like living inside a five-star, multi-restaurant hotel with multiple bars and entertainment venues including a live theater. Here is a link to our story about how much we liked our cruise. Spoiled Rotten on our Cruise
Our cruise departed on a rainy morning from the Port of Los Angeles. California is happy to have extensive rainfall this winter and this storm promised another soaking. While on our cruise our RV was parked at Los Alamitos at a campground. For the week prior to the cruise, I had been fighting a leak in our RV roof.
For much of our stay in San Diego last month, we got hammered by rain. Usually, for us, this isn’t a problem (except for the mud in the campground). About two weeks prior to our cruise we discovered that we had a leak coming from around the air conditioner on the roof. The week prior to the cruise I took the air conditioner off and put it back on attempting to fix the leak. On a rainy morning, we departed Los Angeles and left our RV to fend for itself alone for yet another huge storm. I hoped I had fixed the leak but didn’t know because it had not been tested.
Instead of parking our car at the cruise terminal for a week we instead took an Uber to the terminal. It started raining during our boarding process. Our car remained with our RV. The cost of a Uber to the Port of Los Angeles and parking at the port were about equal.
As the line handlers (a term used to describe the workers that tie the ship to the dock) worked the rain increased. As the ship turned at the dock, I could tell from the movement that the ship had bow thrusters. The ship rotated almost in place without tug boats. You can tell from the pictures as we departed Los Angeles we were in for a lot of rain.
The rainfall increased and really hammered us for the next 24 hours. Even though we were wandering our way around the ship, we couldn’t go outside due to the rain. Many of my thoughts during that first day were about my RV. I prepared the RV for the rain as much as I could, but would the preparations be adequate?
I will answer these questions in another blog post when I describe my successful leak repair. To let the cat out of the bag early, I had not repaired the leak, but the RV survived and I am still trying to fix the leak. I may know by the end of today if my new repairs have finally stopped the water from coming through the roof. I sure hope so.
Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas
Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas were the intended destinations for the cruise. The cruise may have originally included a stop in Mazatlan (dropped well before we signed up). Some of the documents we saw described the cruise as the Mexican Rivera. Other things seemed to include Mazatlan as a destination. For us, Mazatlan was never on our list of intended stops. Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas were the only ports when we signed up.
When on a cruise you are not guaranteed port visits, but rather you are guaranteed a cruise (I think). Hopefully, the cruise will go to the ports they advertised but they are not guaranteed. Just one week prior, a cruise ship was loaded with passengers and never left port. Everyone had to get off that same day. I assume they got a full refund.
My mother once went on a cruise to Antarctica and when in South America a barge hit the cruise ship. The ship canceled the visit to Antarctica. Because of the collision, the ship never made an effort to go to Antarctica. Did she get a refund for the trip? I don’t recall but most likely she got some credit for a future cruise.
Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas were on our itinerary and we are happy to have stopped at both ports. Had we missed either location I wouldn’t have been heartbroken, mostly because we were there for the ride, not the destination. Of course, had we missed stopping in Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas I would have been in the refund line.
I had never visited Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas but I have flown over Catalina Island many times. All of this was while I was flying in the Navy. I have even landed at Catalina Island, but landing at an airport doesn’t qualify as visiting the island. This is especially true at Catalina Island because the airport is far from town.
Avalon (the city) is at the southeast end of the island and has been a resort destination since the early 1900s. Historically it was a commercial fishing port, then a sport fishing port. Now Avalon is mostly a tourist port. Plenty of shops dot the waterfront. A little north of town there is a condo resort. The streets are narrow and cars are few. Mostly at Avalon, we had a good walk. The previous day’s rains had stopped and it was an enjoyable visit.
Cabo San Lucas
It took the next 30 some hours cruising at 20 knots to reach Cabo. At about noon the ship dropped anchor at Cabo San Lucas. Since it was early in the day, we were able to watch the ship come into port and see the rock outcroppings south of town. Cabo San Lucas is at the very south end of Baja California and these rocks are the Reserva de Lobos Marinos.
The translation of “Reserva de Lobos Marinos” would be the reserve of wolves from the sea. Perhaps it is just a name. I find it hard to believe that a wolf would find enough to eat at the south end of Baja California. Since I am on the subject. Cabo (as in Cabo San Lucas) is the Spanish word for cape and San Lucas is named for the disciple Saint Luke.
Baja commonly means “bad” now, but more accurately translated means causality or loss. Los Cabos is the term describing the south end of Baja and means “The Capes”. I think the name Cabo is used as an abbreviation for Cabo San Lucas but this may apply to both or either city.
Cabo day one
On our first day in Cabo, we took a bus trip to San Jose del Cabo. San Jose del Cabo is the next town to the east. Both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas were started as fishing villages. Both used to be small, but now they are not. We saw that on the road between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo that there is a Costco.
Costco is easy to find; it is next door to Walmart. By the way, our tour did not stop at either place. Overall, our bus tour was disappointing. The south end of Baja California seems to have lost its charm between the resorts, golf courses, and other things designed to attract visitors. The charm may be gone, but in its place are jobs and paved roads. Everything changes over time. There are probably some charming quiet fishing villages in Baja California, but Cabo isn’t one of them anymore.
Swinging on the Anchor
At the end of the day, back on the boat, we had a very relaxing dinner and sat on our veranda watching the sun sink below the horizon, crossing over Cabo and the Reserva de Lobos Marinos. The picture at the top of this post was worth the entire stay. I wonder if this beautiful sunset is common in Cabo.
While we were sitting on our patio, we were treated to an ever-changing view as our cruise ship ever so gently changed direction as it pivoted about the anchor. By morning, we couldn’t see the Reserva de Lobos Marinos, but instead had a view only of the city. Before we departed the swing reversed and we couldn’t see the city.
Cabo day two
On our second day in Cabo, we explored the port area on foot. Everything that I remember from my childhood visit to Tijauana sixty years ago and my previous visits thirty years ago are still the same. Lots of people trying to sell the same straw hats and other items on the street. They move from gringo to gringo (that is us) attempting to do anything to make a dollar and survive.
Hopes and Reflections
What I hoped for in Cabo was the picture I get in my mind of the Jimmy Buffett song Margaritaville. I think I could maybe find such a place (even in Cabo) if we were to stay a little longer. Perhaps it may be in a yet-to-be-found place on the Baja peninsula.
Overall both Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas have converted from fishing villages to tourist traps. Both have a huge influx of outside money spent on golf courses and resorts. For me (now that I saw Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas firsthand) I would probably skip them on a revisit. Not that you have that kind of choice on a cruise ship… you could just stay on the ship and watch the boats go by. Now if I were to go to Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas for a longer visit I think I would enjoy them for what they are today rather than thinking of them as tiny fishing villages.
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