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Celebrating the Big 3-0: A Carnival Cruise Adventure Down the Mexican Baja


Turning 30 is a milestone that demands an extraordinary celebration! For my 30th birthday, I embarked on a 5-day Carnival cruise down the Mexican Baja with three of my closest friends - Kyle, Abby, and Lexi. Since we all turned 30 within six months of each other, we were determined to make this a memorable adventure. Although our friend Rachel Moore couldn't join us due to work commitments, we each brought along our plus-ones for the ride.

Day 1: Setting Sail from Long Beach

Our journey began in Long Beach, California, after a quick bus ride from the Los Angeles Airport. We navigated the massive Carnival dome, got x-rayed, had our passports checked, and dropped off our bags to meet us later in our rooms. We chose upgraded rooms with "obstructed views" – not quite an ocean view, but better than internal rooms with no windows. Our ship, the Carnival Miracle, was a massive vessel holding roughly 2,300 people, stretching 965 feet long with 12 floors.

Video From Our Trip:

As we set sail, we were surprised by the ship rocking quite a bit at our 8-seater dinner table. Despite assurances that we wouldn't feel the waves, we definitely did and did our best to pretend we were okay! This unexpected motion added a touch of excitement, nerves, and humor to our first evening aboard. Thankfully, the waves had mostly subsided by the next morning.

Day 2: Fun Day at Sea

Our first full day on the cruise was spent at sea, and we took full advantage of the ship's amenities. From lounging by the pool and indulging in spa treatments to enjoying live entertainment and delicious cuisine, there was never a dull moment. The highlight was simply watching the waves and enjoying each other's company. We also indulged in some onboard shopping, picking up souvenirs and treats to remember our trip. The spa treatments were particularly delightful; Lexi and I opted for massages.

Day 3: Adventure in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas greeted us with stunning landscapes and crystal-clear waters. We chose an e-biking excursion through the Mexican desert, culminating in a ride that ended on a picturesque beach. There, we were treated to fresh margaritas and homemade salsa and tacos at a private ranch with an ocean view. E-biking was super fun, and I’d definitely recommend doing some physical activities on cruise excursions because there's plenty of time for relaxing on the boat. A highlight of this excursion was when Corey took off on his own, and when we got to the beach, he was missing. Our guide, Michael, was walkie-talkie-ing everyone trying to find him. At the last minute, Corey popped out onto the beach – all smiles! It was awesome.

Day 4: Another Fun Day at Sea

Our second day at sea was just as enjoyable as the first. We participated in various onboard activities, including mini-golf, live music, dancing, games, and comedy shows. One show, "Love and Marriage," was a particular highlight. The MC selected three couples from the crowd and tested them on their knowledge of each other with many x-rated questions. Hilariously, one young couple announced their elopement on stage, much to the shock of the bride’s mother sitting behind us – she was furious! Our group was dying laughing as the two mouthed words at each other throughout the entire show.

Despite the chilly March weather, the ocean views were spectacular. We even spotted some whales! Our group was surprised by the amount of dark brown exhaust the boat spewed out the back, a reminder that boats from 2003 likely aren’t up to modern EPA standards – though no one else seemed to notice but us.

The food onboard was very good, albeit a bit gluttonous, and you have to be careful not to stuff yourself at meal times! A few of us opted for the drink packages, which we enjoyed, though we concluded it might not have been the most cost-effective option for a 5-day cruise since we didn't hit the package limit every day. We also spent many hours playing cards and board games that we brought on board. One night was a "fancy night," where we all dressed up and had fun taking photos on the deck.

Day 5: Exploring Ensenada

Ensenada's charming coastline was the perfect backdrop for a leisurely day. We strolled around the local shops near the port, picking up souvenirs and enjoying the laid-back vibe of the town. We were out just long enough to have lunch, walk through the markets, and enjoy some fresh elote and cervezas. I love finding little treasures and bartering at the Mexican markets. A few vendors said, “es más barata si hablas español” (it's cheaper if you speak Spanish)! I always love the opportunity to practice my Spanish, but the street vendors were a bit too aggressive to hang out there for long. So we went back to the boat early and enjoyed some downtime with fewer people onboard.

One of the highlights of the trip was dinner each night at our table of eight, with our designated server, Gosh (we think pronounced like Josh). Unfortunately for us, it was his first cruise on the job. Every night dinner took TWO HOURS no less. The company we had was top-tier, but the service was subpar. One night, Gosh got all the warm food out, it was sitting on the tray by our table, but when Lexi mentioned her drink, he ran back to the kitchen for it. Then when he got back, Linda mentioned butter, and he ran back for that too. He almost went back again when we all just DIED laughing. How could one person have so few efficiency skills? Poor guy! His manager, Christopher, had to apologize to us one night when we were the last people in the entire restaurant, seating 2,000 people. Christopher made up for it with cake and birthday singing where he nearly brought out the whole kitchen crew. Kyle took it upon himself to tell Christopher’s boss just how hard-working he was.

Day 6: Returning to Long Beach

On our last day, we woke up nearly at the Long Beach dock and shared one last breakfast together looking out over the ocean from the top deck. The trip was not just a celebration of our birthdays, but a celebration of our friendship and the many years of adventures yet to come. Despite the occasional rocking of the ship, the experience was filled with laughter, joy, and unforgettable moments.


Our 30th birthday Carnival cruise down the Mexican Baja was an unforgettable experience. From the stunning landscapes of Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada to the endless entertainment and relaxation on board, it was the perfect way to commemorate this milestone. While I believe that such a cruise is best enjoyed with a larger group of friends, the joy of spending uninterrupted time with my closest friends was truly the highlight of the trip. The Carnival Miracle, despite showing its age and being a bit less eco-friendly than we'd hoped, provided a memorable backdrop for our celebration. Here's to many more adventures in the years ahead!

Here's a Tour of Our Room:

1 Comment

2 days ago

Cool pictures! Glad you had fun! Happy 30th! 💜