We flew in for our cruise a few days early to see the Los Angeles area. We arranged for Primetime shuttle to pick us up at the airport and take us to the Crowne Plaza. We had a beautiful room that looked out to the harbor on the top floor. The hotel was quiet and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed walking around the San Pedro area. We enjoyed eating at the Green Onion for dinner our first night. The next morning we went out to get some breakfast and ended up at the San Pedro Cafe a block or 2 from the hotel. We had the best breakfast!! Get there by 8a or a little after like we did and get the early bird special for $5. It was wonderful!! We then had an 8 hour tour planned with Sunseekers which picked us up right at our hotel. Enjoyed seeing the LA area, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach. We took our time getting up the next morning since we were advised not to arrive until 1pm for staggered boarding. The hotel offered a courtesy shuttle. We did arrive for embarkation around 12p and were checked in immediately. We were given group 3 and were directed where to wait. Around 12:30p boarding began and we were on the ship around 1p. Very EASY!! Our cabin was ready and we met our room stewardess, her name was Jane and she was just awesome. The room was very comfortable and we had plenty of room and storage. We did feel quite a bit of motion during the week since we were near the front of the ship.
We had anytime dining and did enjoy this. The first night seemed the longest for getting our food. We were seated at a table for 6 and giving our menus. About 30 minutes later, 2 other people were seated with us and about 5 minutes later another couple. Finally our orders were taken and our food did seem to come much quicker. The wait staff was very friendly, but seemed over worked at least that first night. My daughter was anxious to get to the teen center for the meet and greet that first night. She ended up leaving the dining room before dessert in order to make it by 9p. After that first night we decided to take a table for 2 each night to be sure she was able to make it to the teen area by 9pm. We never called to make reservations for dinner which is an option, but never had to wait more than 5 minutes. One night the dining room we went to was full, the head waiter called the other dining rooms to see if they had an available table and we were escorted to another dining room and right to a table. The food was quite good and was presented beautifully each night. The daily sorbets at night were wonderful!! We ate at Alfredo's pizzeria twice and loved it. Also enjoyed the International Cafe. Enjoyed the shrimp salad and the chicken and apple salad. My daughter loved the tuna salad sandwiches grilled. We both loved the cookies!! We ate breakfast each morning in the Horizon Court, food was hot and there was plenty of it. Never did have room service. LOVED the afternoon tea in the dining room- not to be missed!
We enjoyed the live music around the ship, definitely a variety for everyone's taste. We enjoyed the shows in the evening. Only complaint is that some of the more popular activities and shows are in the smaller lounges and can't accommodate the larger crowds. The cruise director was Billy Hygate. He could sing, dance and tell jokes. We really enjoyed him as he did keep us informed on what was going on around the ship.
My daughter just loved the teen center! She said the ladies that directed the activities there were so nice and a lot of fun. Only complaint was there were not specific times for the activities she wanted to participate in. She met many new friends on board.
Our last port was Santa Barbara. We had another day of perfect weather! This is a tender port. We took our time at breakfast since we didn't want to have to wait in line to get a tender. Once we were ready to get off the ship we were told where to wait for the tender, within 5 minutes we were being escorted off the ship onto a waiting tender. Once at the dock, there is a 25 cent trolley that goes around the town. We took it to the beautiful courthouse and walked up the tower. From there you have a million dollar view of the city, worth the walk up! We then headed towards the mission which is 1.3 miles away. They have a bus, but it didn't start until 1230. It's a fairly easy walk, but enjoyed the beautiful landscaping and flowers along the way! The mission is very beautiful with it's gardens and the history is very interesting. The cost is $5. We then headed to the downtown area of Santa Barbara which is very quaint. We enjoyed looking through some of the stores and then took the 25 cent trolley back to catch a tender back to the ship. Definitely one of our favorite ports!
Disembarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. Since our flight wasn't until 1245 we did not have to rush to get to the airport. The ship assigns lounges for you to wait in according to the color of your luggage tags. We were given a 0840 time to be in our lounge. Within 5 minutes we were being escorted off the ship. We didn't have to go through immigration since we did that in San Francisco. We were directed to our luggage room. We found our bags and were out getting into our Primetime shuttle at 0900 and at the airport at 0930. It was a wonderful cruise and will definitely be back to do it again!!