What is unique on this Pacific Coastal cruise is the ports-of-call. Three California cities, one a rarely visited, and two that are usually ports that cruises start or end in, as well as the obligatory foreign port, all in succession, bookended with days at sea.
First stop, Santa Barbara, a rare cruise ship port but starting to attract more cruise ship. From two or three just a few years ago to about thirty visiting ships next year. This was the only port we were tendered ashore, with the Grand Princess anchored offshore.. It was a warm, sunny day with the Santa Ynez Mountains as the backdrop for homes dotting the hillsides right down to the sandy beach. The tenders took us to the marina filled with boats of all shapes, sizes and interesting names painted on their sterns.
I have driven through beautiful Santa Barbara, nicknamed the American Riviera with palm trees lining parts of the highway, but have never stopped to see the sights. What better than to take an open air trolley excursion to do just that. We drove through the adjacent city of Monticeto. Our guide gave us a little history of the area, pointed out highlights and we enjoyed the beauty of this seaside community.
The downtown area of Santa Barbara was full of restaurants and high end shops. Must be an expensive area to live. Lots of celebrities have properties here. Oprah being the most famous celeb.
The one stop on this trolley tour was at the Santa Barbara Mission, high on a hillside overlooking part of the town wth a view of the beach, harbor and of the Grand Princess anchored in the bay. A picture postcard view. The mission is one of twenty one built along the coast in the early/mid 1800’s by the Spanish from San Diego to just north of San Francisco. Connecting each mission was a trail, El Camino Real, the Kings Highway. Parts of which have endured the years and is part of Highway 1 and a main street running the length of the San Francisco peninsula.
What a beautiful day spent at our first port,. Could not have had better weather or been more relaxing. Can’t wait for tomorrow, San Diego.
Until next time,