San Diego


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People: Our kids, The Martini Mates, our families.

Cruise Lines: Celebrity, Holland America

Ships: Infinity, Galaxy, Century, Oosterdam

Food: We love all kinds. Especially Italian, Mexican, Southwest, Greek & Thai.

Travel Desinations: Just about anywhere but especially on a cruise ship.


We had arrived in San Diego on Thursday night around 9:00. Our bags were on the baggage carousel just about as soon as we got there. Really impressive. We grabbed them and then a cab and were off to the Historic St. James, Ramada Inn in the Gaslamp District, which is San Diego’s old town area.

The cab ride from the airport was $12 and with a $4 tip for the driver and a $4 tip for the bellman, a $20 was gone. We were greeted in a very professional way at the hotel, check-in was a snap but the same cannot be said for getting to our room. This is a turn-of-the-century hotel that has been recently renovated but the elevators were not part of that renovation. They are small (much like those in European hotels) and had cage doors that slam shut if you don’t hold them. Be careful. They are only two of them in a 10 story hotel so there was often a line of people waiting to go up. We were thankful we were only on the fourth floor and we elected to walk up most of the time.

Our room was also small by American standards. No closet, a tiny shower, windows that only opened onto an air shaft reminded us of rooms we have stayed in while in Barcelona, Paris or Venice. It was about the same size as a standard cruise ship cabin but with no closet. And a smaller shower. And speaking of the shower, it had the typical problem you run into in old buildings. Besides being small, every time someone would flush a toilet or turn on a sink anywhere nearby, there went the cold water and OUCH!!!!

We both decided that even though it was clean and we had gotten it at a  pretty decent price through we would not want to stay there again. Too many negatives that far outweighed the positives.

Our full day in San Diego started out with us sleeping late (something we never do at home where I am usually up by 4:45 and Kathleen by 5:30) and having a leisurely breakfast at a nice restaurant I had found online called JSix. It is appropriately named as it is at the corner of J and 6th streets. The service was excellent, the food was good if a bit salty and the price was a little high. Breakfast for two was $40 with tip.

We were then off to walk around. We toured the lower Gaslamp, walked through the Marriott to get to the Waterfront, went through Seaport Village, up to the Midway, passed the Cruise terminal, the railroad station and wound up at Horton Plaza--where else? Kathleen shopped and I took pictures and then we had something to drink at Starbucks (when it’s hot, those blended lemonades are really good) and headed back to the hotel for a short nap.

After a short rest we walked back down the Gaslamp to a wine shop to grab a bottle of something to take to the wine tasting we had been invited to onboard. We wanted to get something we knew from Washington, hopefully one of our favorites like a McCrea or a Gorman but no such luck. We were able to find a cab from Novelty Hill Cellars in Woodinville which is about two miles from our home so that was what we got. We sure hope it turns out to be a good wine.

Then after a quick stop for some gelato (the guys that owned the shop really were from Italy) we headed back to dress for dinner. We had reservations at a Southwest place down at the bottom of the Gaslamp, Candelas. I had made the reservations on Open Table a week before we left based on their menu on their website. It looked great.

And thankfully, it was. We had an outstanding dinner. We had a superb waiter named Tony who recommended all the right stuff. Kathleen had a wonderful salad that featured a mozzarella, tomato and cactus stack on a bed of greens. I got to taste it and it was wonderful. I had an appetizer of stuffed calamari. It was stuffed with rice, cheese, tomatoes and more in an incredible poblano cheese sauce. It was superb.

Our entrees were just as good. Kathleen had a grouper in two sauces and I had shrimp that had been flambeed in tequila on top of sashimi-grade raw ahi tuna drizzled with a tamarind sauce. It was wonderful. We can highly recommend the restaurant.

Then it was a leisurely walk back to the hotel (with a short stop at a classic car shop) and hit the hay. Tomorrow is sailaway!

Our day in San Diego