Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wine, Dine And Zip-Line in Catalina

Our first full day aboard the Celebrity Millennium was a full one, after the shipped pulled into Catalina Island, California.

I had only been to Catalina Island one time before and I really liked it.  It’s a touch of the Caribbean in the west, a walking island full of great shopping, activity and Southern California weather.  There are a few cruise ships that come into Avalon and you can also access the island by private boat, or one of the ferries that go from three definitely mainland ports.

We had a pretty full day planned thanks to Donna Harris at the Catalina Island Visitors Bureau. We were starting with a Zip Line Eco Tour, followed by lunch at Avalon Grille and then a Nautilus Semi-Submersible Tour with Catalina Adventure Tours.

When I was in Mazatlan, I had almost made it zip lining, but the timing didn’t work. I was totally psyched to do it in Catalina.  Unfortunately, reality is not the same as expectations. When I arrived at the top of the mountain and looked and a line that was twice as high and twice as long as Mazatlan, I began to get a bit nervous, but when our Guide Don said this was the shortest course we would be going on, I knew I wasn’t going to make it! That left my brave friend Lynn to take the adventure while I photographed it (after I got out of the gated area they left me in).

Lynn proved to be fearless in her first zip line adventure.  She completed the course while I hiked below and grabbed some shots (and took in the warm Catalina sunshine). When it was done, she was more than ready to enjoy some wine and cocktails with me at Avalon Grille while we waited for the tasting menu Executive Chef Nick Cleveland was making for us.  I had the French Kiss Cocktail, a yummy mix of Absolut Raspberry Vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice and raspberry puree, while Lynn enjoyed a Margarita.

We started with some tasty Sweet Potato with Spicy Aioli and an unusual serving of Brussel Sprouts, which had been baked for three hours and pan seared in olive oil with almonds and cranberry to perfection.  There was also incredible Fried Green Beans, Pulled Pork Wrapped in Banana, a Buffalo Burger and decadent dessert of a Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cake with Raspberry Sauce, all while we got to people watch in the ideal summer-like weather. The only problem was that we enjoyed ourselves a bit too much and missed the Nautilus boat tour!  Instead, we walked around the island, doing a bit of window (and real) shopping before taking the tender back to the cruise ship.

Lynn and I watched the ship sail away from our Veranda balcony before freshening up and heading to our first Captain’s Club Cocktail Party in Cosmos lounge. This nightly event for past guests is an excellent way to enjoy a relaxing segway into the evening – with free drinks and snacks and we planned to make it a nightly ritual before dinner, where we met our new Louisiana friends and I enjoyed some perfectly blended Vichyssoise Soup; a Caprese Salad with soft and creamy cheese (though not the best tomatoes); and an excellent Chicken Wellington. 

I spent another two hours in the casino playing the slot machines and couldn’t complain when I walked out $5 poorer before heading to bed.  Our next day was going to be at sea so I would have a chance to find out about this Celebrity Cruise ship and meet some of the people that run it.


4 comments:

Wine Time TR said...

I agree about the zip lines. I want to go to Catalina! So easy off the cruise ship....

grandwine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad said...

Thanks for a great story Marcia. Next time we'll get you on the zip line! -Brad, Santa Catalina Island Company

Yaseen Abbas said...

Hey! that lovely site for trekking .

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