I never do this, but I flew into San Diego the morning of the cruise. I arrived at 10:15 AM. I was meeting my cousin who arrived in CA two days earlier. Because of the extremely low rates for this repositioning cruise, we each booked our own cabin. Originally we booked 4K interior with French doors, but due to price drops we were able to upgrade for very little cost to these adjoining balcony cabins on deck 7. I had cabin 7132 and he had cabin 7136.
Embarkation was quick and easy. Luggage drop off was a bit confusing as there were no porters, just one cruise line person with a luggage cart that they were piling multiple passengers' luggage onto. We arrived at 12:45 and were one the ship at 1:10. Hopefully this is my last Carnival cruise "not VIP." Hallway doors were already open so we headed to our cabins. We ate some lunch and did the spa tour. We had prebooked massages plus there were great specials offered. I added "taste of spa" and my cousin added a seaweed wrap treatment.
We met with Cruise Critic members (over 100 on our roll call) in the Atrium lobby at 3:00 pm. Following this was the muster drill (no life jackets required), then back to cabins to unpack. I am a "friend of a friend" of Dorothy so I went to the GLBT meeting, attended by about 10 people. Following this, we signed up for a private cocktail party (also Cruise Critic) in the Shanghai piano bar from 5:30 to 6:30, all you could drink for about $12 pp. We had Your Time Dining confirmed, so met with a couple of new friends and went to dinner where we got a table for 4. Dinner was very good in the MDR. Second night also ate in MDR with new friends, this time a group of 14. We went at 7:45 and were able to be seated within 10 minutes at two tables next to each other, one for 8 and one for 6. Pretty good for YTD with a big group, on a full ship!! Second night was also the one formal night on this short cruise.
Third night we had booked the Steakhouse for 2, they were able to accommodate our request to increase to 4 the day of the reservation. Food was great! I had the NY strip, companions had other steaks and all were good and prepared to our liking. I also had escargot, the spinach salad, and the chocolate sampler. Meal was LONG, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
Comments about services / entertainment we experienced:
Gym: wonderful equipment and view. I used bike, treadmill, and the Nautilus weight machines. In my local gym I do a circuit of about 12 Nautilus machines. They had at least 8 of the same ones available in the gym.
Spa: excellent services, I had my first hot stone massage ever. Very nice! Danelle did not try to hard sell me on all the products.
Housekeeping staff: wonderful, we met him the first day and then did not see anyone again but they kept our cabins spotless and our ice buckets filled.
Dining staff: excellent service and very quick with the YTD meal service both nights. Ate breakfast once in the MDR and also very good. Steakhouse already mentioned, and Lido deck buffet used for rest of meals was adequate. I really liked the deli sandwich station. Asian food was not as good as prior cruises. Did not make it to the free sushi.
Room service: I used room service twice and service was very prompt and accurate. Can't beat free room service!! (tipped of course)
Art auction: I attend the art auctions and sometimes I buy, sometimes I don't. It was a nice diversion on this Cruise to Nowhere.
Casino: nice casino, not too smoky. Won a little, lost a little, it was fun.
Entertainment: we went to the Welcome Aboard show the first night. It was just ok, both comedians did a brief standup. I did not go back to the comedians in the Comedy Club but they had a lot of different showtimes so it would be convenient to catch them. I went back for the show the third night but it was cancelled due to rough seas, and they showed a movie instead.
Debarkation: our number was one of the last ones called but off the ship by 10:30. Collected luggage and had a cab give us a city tour on the way to the airport. Total time in cab about 1 hr 15 minutes and only cost $70 plus tip. We were lucky to have a knowledgeable cabbie who had lived in Vancouver for 20 years!
I went on this cruise knowing it would be cold and windy with very little "outside" time due to weather. They did put the dome over the middle pool and all three pools were open. You could check out blankets as well as pool towels. I did not try the new waterslide but it looks scary. I would have to say the weather was worse than I expected. We moved along at a pretty fast clip. The seas were VERY rough although I don't think the waves looked that high. I did use my balcony for a few minutes at a time and was glad to have it for the view. There were barf bags posted next to all the elevators and I noticed that a lot of them were taken. I took meclezine but still got seasick on the second day. If I were taking this cruise again I would book a lower deck and at the middle to rear of the ship instead of forward. We had a lot of up and down as well as the usual side to side rocking of the ship.
Overall this was a really fun getaway for a long weekend!