Taking a BIG Cruise Ship Across LA County - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Reporter Hal Eisner

Taking a BIG Cruise Ship Across LA County

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Gotta tell ya something funny. I'm upstairs in the Punchliner Comedy Club on the Lido Deck of the Carnival Inspiration and the side-splitting standup comic throws a zinger at all the Californians in the club. "How many of you are from California?" he asks. Hands from about 90% of the room go up. "Figures," he says "… only in Southern California will people get on a big cruise ship to go to another part of Southern California!" Okay, I'm laughing, but he's right. The ship departs from Long Beach and goes to Avalon on Catalina Island. Both are in Los Angeles County. In fact, when you get off the big boat at Avalon look to the right and you'll see the LA COUNTY Fire Department! Is this a cruise adventure? For me … YES! Because I love being on cruise ships even if they sit still in the harbor!  This trip did include a day at sea and a visit 80 miles south of the border to Ensenada, but still 2/3rds of it was in LA County!

My family and I have probably been on 16 or 17 cruises over the years! We've traveled to such places as Alaska (3 times), the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Central and South America. There is something very calming about floating on an ocean. It really feels like you've vacated your everyday existence. This was the first time, though, I used apps to look for possible cruises and, even one, to help me countdown the days till my adventure at sea.

This may have been a vacation from work, but it was also a break from social media and I had a bad case of separation anxiety! I constantly had my smart phone in my hand so I could take pictures and I took a bunch! It pained me, though, not to be able to check Facebook, Twitter and email. Okay, in LA County I was fine, but in international waters and Mexico I was out of luck. Yes, I sneaked a couple of looks using the ship's really expensive WIFI. But, for the most part the phone was a camera!

I've always found that there is a science to shopping for a cruise. First of all, there are many discounts you can get. They're based on age, military service and past cruising. Off peak seasons are often cheaper than peak times! And, if you look hard enough you can find specials. Sometimes more than one ship goes to the same ports. Compare prices.

Shopping for my SoCal cruise was easy. There weren't many! That was frustrating. No more Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas or even Acapulco! Negative perceptions about violence in Mexico and the soft Southern California economy are reasons often cited for a slide that some say started 5 years ago and went down faster than the Titanic!

So, I took the one cruise I found for the dates I wanted. The trip from LA County to LA County to Ensenada. The price was right and it was fun. It was fun because it had a remarkably funny cruise director, the food staff was great and the ship was full of activities. On the negative side the ship photographers were hovering like gnats! They were nice, but sometimes annoying. Nice gnats! The two comedians on the ship were really funny. Al Katz and Merl Hobbs had me crying and hurting from laughing so hard. Loved Avalon and the kayaking trip we took. Actually saw some pretty cool leopard sharks and a playful dolphin near our kayak. Would I take that LA County to LA County trip again? Yes – not because of the itinerary, but because I love being on ships and this one was fun, relaxing and fattening!

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