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What to do for one day in Catalina, Ensenada and San Diego?

What to do for one day in Catalina, Ensenada and San Diego?

Jun 8th, 2005, 09:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 52
What to do for one day in Catalina, Ensenada and San Diego?

Our family of 4, 2 teenagers will be sailing RCCL Monarch and would like to hear of experiences good and bad for port stops on this cruise. We like to adventure out on our own. Any ideas of what is fun and what to avoid? Thanks!
lightfoot is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,063
We did the 3-4 day Royal Carr. ship a few years back Ensendada IMHO is a "dump" and since we had already been there, we stayed on board ship when they stopped there and just relaxed. It is a place to shop for trinkets and have a beer or two but then this was at least 10 years ago so maybe it has improved. Catalina was a delightful stop in a delightful little place. We took a tour around the island, visited the "Casino" walked the shops, ate, sat on the beach and enjoyed this charming place. Our ports of call didn't include San Diego but that is a delightful place was well. Don't know how long you will be there but the beaches are great, the Gas Light District and Old Town are charming and if you overnight, perhaps you could catch a San Diego Padre game? There is the San Diego Zoo and Sea World if you are into that kind of thing but teenagers - maybe not!
Shar is offline  
Jun 14th, 2005, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,627
How funny to see your post - I just returned from the 6/06/05 sailing on the Monarch.

The ship docks pretty early at all ports - I think you're allowed to disembark at around 8 or 8:30 each morning and all passengers are required be back on board no later than 4:30, so you have the good part of the day.

I can't comment on booking any shore excursions on your own, as the excursions I did were booked through the ship for various reasons.

I did notice that the "do it yourself" shore excursions are very readily available in Catalina and Ensenada. I did not notice them so much in San Diego - but there are numerous taxis and pedicabs right in front of the ship as soon as you get off. I noticed that a man looking for directions to a car rental agency wasn't getting much help from the taxi drivers he was asking (go figure) - so if you're going to take that route, best to plan ahead and know where the car rental is located.

In San Diego I took my daughter to Sea World - obviously we didn't have enough time to see everything, so we had to plan our day wisely. It was a nice time, though.

I absolutely loved Catalina. I did some diving in the morning and met up with the rest of my family (who did a general island tour) after for lunch. It was a lot of fun to rent the golf carts and tour the island ourselves too. If you like water sports, there are several diving, snorkeling and parasailing operators that you can book through at the green pier on shore. Don't book the island tour if you plan to rent the golfcarts, though - you'll probably end up seeing the same things.

We chose not to do anything in Ensenada except to walk around town. Interesting for the length of one block, and then all the shops are the same. If I were ever to go back, I'd probably stay on the ship also.

I didn't choose to visit La Bufadora (the blowhole) because we have one where I live. The winery and Fox studios didn't appeal. I've heard you can do horseback riding - but that appears to be an excursion you book on your own - and the weather wasn't great the day we were in Ensenada.

All in all it was a good cruise, though I prefer the 7 day ones.
chepar is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
Did the Monarch 2 years afo. Took the ship's tour of Catalina Island and visited a garden (can't rem. name), it was very enjoyable. Otherwise you can explore the town on your own. We did not get off the ship in Ensenada though we did enjoy watching the seals hanging out on the dock just in front of the ship. Do bring binoculars if you are interrested in viewing. There were even babies that swam around the front of the ship, so cute. Have a great trip!
travelinwifey is offline  
Jun 25th, 2005, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2
I, too, was on the June 5, 2005 Monarch sailing - Hi Chepar!! Whoever you are!!

I had an okay experience on this cruise as far as the ports go. I especially LOVED the San Diego stop... Here's what you should do if you want to see San Diego: The Old Town Trolley. I spent 6 hours seeing so many great spots: the seaport village for unique shopping, downtown, Coronad - A MUST to have lunch on the deck behind the del Coronado Hotel... BEAUTIFUL!!

I actually hesitated to go to La Bufadora - but did - and I loved it!! The scenery was beautiful and our tour guide was very informative. Expect tons of MExican style "shops" - and I did some damage!! You can really bargain with those people.

Catalina Island IMO is beautiuful - but all about shopping. Make your own opinion here.

As far as the cruise itself: I found the food horrible, couldn't get a decent wine, the people were (how shall I say) untravelled... and the ship (although "recent;y refurbished" is in need of refurbishing.

CHEPAR - I would be interested to hear how you felt about the crowd, the food, etc.

P.S. The magician/comedian shopw was hysterical (LOVED IT) and the cruise director does a very funny "film" on The Day In The Life of a Cruise Director.

We have cruised quite a bit - and my overall impression on a scale of 1 - 10...... 5... Sorry, I'm honest.
sugosun is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,825
We took this exact same cruise last year. We had already been to SD, so we just walked around the area where the ship docked. In Catalina I took the scenic tour of Avalon, which was not very exciting. My husband did the kayaking tour and still talks about it. I really regret not doing that. He said they saw countless colorful fish and crystal blue water. In Ensenada we did the blow hole (la bufadora) tour. I recommend that.

My favorite activities on board were the scavenger hunt and the dueling pianos. Have a great time!!
P_M is offline  
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