Monday, April 27, 2015

Inca Empire Cruise - San Diego, The Pacific Surfliner and Home

Even though we wouldn’t be getting off the ship until at least 8:30 AM, I was up before 7:00 to watch our arrival in San Diego.  As we sailed into port, I noticed we weren’t going to the usual spot we dock in, but on the next pier over.  It turns out that the Legend of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean ship we saw in Puerto Vallarta, had gotten there before us and had taken our spot.  Usually when there are two ships in port they just dock on opposite sides of the pier, but we went to the next pier over.  We knew they had an outbreak of the norovirus during their cruise (news travels fast on the high seas) so we speculated that they wanted to keep any intermingling of people to a minimum to stop the spread of the disease.

After getting us safely docked, I went back to bed for a short time, but by this time I was fully awake so I got up.  Val was soon up too and after she got ready, we went down to the Neptune Lounge for our final breakfast.  We said good-bye to the concierge, Julius, and then went back to our room to hear the announcement that it was time to leave the ship.  On our next ship we will not be in a suite because the price was just too high, but I will miss the large room, perks and pampering you get; I guess I have become a little spoiled.

Another benefit of a suite is you get priority debarking so we would be one of the first groups off the ship and avoid the later crowds.  Just after 8:30 our group was called and we made our way to the gangway and through customs and shortly we were in the terminal getting our luggage.  At this terminal, it was a rather long walk to get a cab and as we had quite a bit of heavy luggage we found a porter with a cart to carry it for us.  We got a cab and made the short trip to the train station just after 9:00, a pretty quick time of getting off the ship.  Our train didn’t leave until noon so we settled down for the long wait in the waiting room.

The San Diego train station is a historic Santa Fe station that functions as the local transit center as well as Amtrak station.  Besides Amtrak, the San Diego Trolley and local commuter trains leave from there.  The station is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.  Since it was Tuesday morning I thought the train might not be too crowded, but the station was busy.  It seems that a lot of people from both ships were using the train to get home.  We spent the time reading, taking occasional walks around the station, and rehashing the cruise with some of the people from our ship who were also waiting.

The historic Santa Fe depot in San Diego is now the Amtrak station and local transit center.
The station is very close to the cruise terminal, we could see our ship from the depot plaza area.
The time passed pretty quickly and it was soon time to board and begin our eight and a half hour journey back home.  We like train travel and the time seems to go by very quickly.  The train follows the coast for much of the time, which is very scenic.  As the train made its way north, more and more people got off and by the time we left Santa Barbara the train was pretty empty.  We followed the coast between Santa Barbara and Guadeloupe and watched the sun slowly set over the ocean.  It was a very beautiful scene, but we also knew it meant the sun was setting on our trip, which was a little sad, but we were anxious to get home.

The train got in to San Luis Obispo a little early and as we got off the train there was our good friend Doug waiting for us to drive us home (thanks again to Doug and Ev for doing this for us, you are true friends).  By 9:00 PM we were back at home and facing reality.  There would be no attendants to clean and make our beds every day, if we wanted something to eat we would have to make it ourselves, and there would be no exotic ports to see. In other words, it was back to our everyday life, which is really pretty nice.  However, we do enjoy seeing new things and that’s what makes journeys and adventures so interesting.

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