This past spring, we spent several weeks cruising up and down the California coast. We visited famous California towns like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Catalina Island and Santa Barbara. I remember when I was younger, my Grandmother used to watch soap operas when she was not teaching 2nd Grade during the summers. There was a melodrama named after the town of Santa Barbara. I always wondered what it was like there. Was the town anything like the actual show? Were the people as back stabbing, lying and cheating as they were portrayed on the show? Were they all rich and live in mansions? What is the real town like? So, when I found out we were going there as one of the ports, I thought it was a good chance to find out. Well, it was indeed an interesting place and had some of the attributes that they portrayed on television.
Santa Barbara has a beautiful beach front boardwalk for biking, rollerblading, running and walking. The beach itself is quite expansive and has volleyball courts to play on. At the end of their pier, they have some nice restaurants. Along the shore, there are beautiful Spanish style buildings, some are hotels, condos and a couple are restaurants. Once you get to the main street and travel up toward the main part of town, there are bike and surf board rental shops. Along State Street, there is a nice section of restaurants with open air outdoor seating. We went to a place called the Sand Bar several times while we were in Santa Barbara. They offered a free appetizer on their Yelp page every time you checked in. Since we’re always up for a deal, that easily lured us in. To be honest, it wasn’t the best restaurant we have been to. But the server was very cool and they have a great tequila menu.
Further down the street away from the ocean, we arrived at a nice outdoor shopping area. Lots of designer clothing options situated next to the H&M, Bettie Paige and MAC stores. I could have spent quite a bit of time poking in all the shops, but since Santa Barbara doesn’t have a pier deep enough for the ship to dock at, we always had to tender in. What’s “tender in”? Well, basically when the ship cannot port directly at a pier, the ships company uses the life boats to take passengers and crew members back and forth from ship to land. When we “tender”, the crew is the last to leave the ship and always must be first on board. Santa Barbara was a short day, so many times we would have to wait for the thousands of passengers to be taken ashore before we were able to leave the ship. This is courteous and fair because the passengers are paying for their cruise and the crew is really working. Shore time is always precious, and I’m always grateful for whatever chance we get to check out the fantastic ports we visit.