Episode 163 – We’re Not “Really” In L. A.

January 11, 2022. 79°F/26°C.

#myvikingstory

I spent much of today going through photos and finishing yesterday’s blog post. It’s still very, very quiet on board. Passengers who boarded yesterday have only just been given clearance to leave their cabins (negative tests confirmed), and many of the other passengers are off on guided tours of L.A.

Related to that, we learned from our tour guide yesterday that we’re not actually in Los Angeles, despite being docked in Berth 93 at the confusingly named Port of Los Angeles World Cruise Center. We’re not even in Los Angeles COUNTY, which is comprised of 88 individual cities. We’re in San Pedro, in San Pedro County. (CORRECTION Jan 12: our tour guide led me astray- San Pedro is indeed within L.A. Thanks David P. !)

This would, in non-Covid times, be one of the busiest ports in North America. It is the west coast’s largest cruise port. Today there is only one other cruise ship here, the Seabourn Ovation (bottom photo). When it sails tonight, it will be replaced by the Royal Princess.

This is not only a cruise ship port, though. The commercial Port of Los Angeles processes the most cargo of any port in the Western Hemisphere. Covid has certainly impacted supply chains as well as cruising, but in 2019 (our most recent “normal” year), the statistics for this port were:

Container volume: 9.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units

Cargo tonnage: 178 million metric revenue tons

Passenger traffic: 650,010 passengers

Annual revenue: $506 million

The occasional large yacht also moors at the foot of the pier. They’re easier to get a photo of than the dolphins that swim through the harbour area, enjoying the warm water and sunshine. Note the snow-capped mountains below the line of the bridge in the distance in the yacht photo. L.A. boasts about the fact that those who live here can ski and go to the beach all in the same day.

Viking generously added an included tour to our itinerary tomorrow, since we have a one day extension in L.A., but it’s hard to choose between staying safely cocooned in all the comforts of the ship vs. taking the 4 hour panoramic bus tour through Santa Monica, Malibu, and Beverly Hills. After all, on board Yoyo keeps me supplied with Bloody Marys and smiles, Ephraim makes sure I’m eating (and occasionally helps me track Ted down when I can’t find him), Shawn’s sense of humour guarantees we don’t get complacent, and Albert ensures we don’t have to lift a finger in our stateroom (you’ve never seen such eternally perfect crisp white sheets in your life!).

Tonight’s dinner in the main restaurant:
Left: Ted’s pheasant broth with pistachio quenelle; Orechiette con Salsiccia di Cinguiale Ragu (boar sausage ragout with pancetta, fava beans and mint) that packed a deliciously peppery punch; Peach crostata with almonds and a white chocolate shard.
Right: Rose’s lump crab cake infused with orange zest (delicious!) and served with a scallion remoulade; seared King Dorado with seafood bouillabaisse, and coconut gelato (not pictured). The fish skin was as crispy as a perfectly fried potato chip – one of the nicest pieces of fish skin I’ve ever eaten.

The entertainment in the Star Theater tonight was Guitarist Matt Wolfe and vocalist/dancer Lainie Munro, both from New York City and flown in for a couple of performances. For Ted and for me Guitar = Happy, so we were really looking forward to the show, and it didn’t disappoint. They performed jazz, blues, and rock, with Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” as their finale.

Top: Matt and Lainie started their show with Carlos Santana’s “Smooth”. Bottom left: Matt and Viking Star bandleader Henji rock out The guitar duo from The Eagles’ “Hotel California”.
Bottom right: Matt i. A quieter moment performing Romanza on Spanish guitar.

11 comments

  1. San Pedro is part of Los Angeles. It is not a separate city. One of the prior mayor’s sister was a council person from San Pedro. I can’t remember either ones last name. Must be an age thing. Los Angeles is shaped like an octopus with all kinds of weird areas that were annexed over the years. We lived in Orange County for ten years and both of us worked in LA. We do not miss the traffic. However, we loved the pure energy of the city. It really grows on you. Great diversity equals great food equals great entertainment. It is a one of a kind city.

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  2. Very interesting facts about this cargo terminal. We were watching the goings on over there as we walked the deck today. This place is huge!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love reading your blog.

    Those yachts are the commercial ferry boats to Catalina Island. The private yachts are in marinas north and south of the cruise terminal.

    Speaking of cruise terminals, there are two, one in L.A. where you boarded, and one in Long Beach right next door. We lived in San Pedro for 10 years.

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  4. Have you ever seen any of the ports in China? Although LA is the largest port in western hemisphere, it pales in comparison to ports in China and the rest of the eastern hemisphere. They are overwhelming.

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  5. I have a similar photo looking north from the ship to the tennis courts, the bridge and container cranes. In 2018 while eating lunch on a ship waiting to sail to Hawaii. Our nephew is a crane mechanic and drove his work truck south of the crane closest to you, got out of his truck and waved his bright safety flag so we could see him. It was his way of a traditional ocean liner send off.

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