Can we talk about Santa Barbara for a minute?
Have you ever been? Ugh. It’s so beautiful that it kind of hurts.
I’ve always wanted to be a California girl, regardless of the fact that I’d never actually visited California until a month ago. California just sounds glamorous, right?
Lucky me, I was invited on a Princess Cruises culinary cruise that departed from Los Angeles and made a stop in Santa Barbara (and in Ensanada, but since that doesn’t fit my Cali theme, we’ll discuss that another day). Princess covered the expenses for me and my guest to attend this cruise, as well as paid me to share this information with you. As always, my opinions are my own.
I was able to bring along my high school BFF, Courtney, for the ride. And oh, what a beautiful ride it was!
Cruising with Princess was such an experience! They treated us to a plate full of chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne when we arrived in our cabin. They really know how to spoil you and start off a vacation on the right foot!
Anyway, one of our stops on the cruise was in Santa Barbara. Princess offers tons of excursion options and we ended up going along on an excursion that included a winery tour hosted by Cat Cora. She lives in Santa Barbara and just so happened to be with us on our culinary cruise, hosting book signings, doing cooking demos, and hosting a winery tour! Yes, it was just as awesome as you’d expect to be cruising with an iron chef! The chefs even prepared a few of her recipes just for guests that were available at the coffee shop onboard.
So, we woke up bright and early to indulge in the breakfast buffet. There was, of course, all of your standard breakfast fare, but they also had tons of Indian options and I LOVED IT. I’d never had Indian for breakfast before! It was fun trying new things. The best part about breakfast, though? The view. Always and forever. Why can’t I get this view at home from my breakfast table in the middle of a cornfield in the Midwest? No fair!
We then hopped off the boat and onto a tour bus to hit up Fess Parker Winery. You guys. It was just gorgeous. And the wine. The wiiiiiiiiiine. Good stuff. I may or may not have had one too many tastings. I’ll admit to nothing.
We got a little sneak peak of the vineyards and a tour of the cellar with all of the barrels of wine. We even got to sample a few grapes. I had visions of myself jumping into that crate barefoot and stomping like a lunatic, but I managed to hold myself back. You’re welcome.
Next up was lunch. The sweet onion tart was divine. I really wanted seconds, but didn’t want to look like a weirdo so I just stole Courtney’s plate when she wasn’t looking. It’s the cost of travelling with me. Sorrrrrrry.
But dessert was the highlight for me. Fresh strawberries with meringue and whipped cream. It was the most perfect meringue I’ve ever eaten and I’m still dreaming about that dessert.
After we headed back towards the boat, Courtney and I veered off and walked the pier. Aaaaand now Santa Barbara is on my must-visit list. I need more time there, for sure! I mean, even the dogs are more hip than I am.
That’s what I love about cruising, though. You get a little taste of each place you stop and you can decide if you’d like to visit again. It’s such a great way to sample the world!
We hung out on our balcony and waved at the sailboats as we left the port. All in all, it was a beautiful day and I definitely need to visit again soon!