This was our 23th Princess Cruise, our first California Coastal Cruise. I have elite status with Princess and booked a MB mini-suite cabin last December. I drove to the Amtrak station in Cleveland parked my car, checked our bags in to LA and caught the Capital Limited to Chicago. Since we were in a sleeper on the Southwest Chief to LA we spent a couple hours in the comfort of the Metropolitan Lounge. They had comfortable chairs, TV's, complimentary pop and snack and a free internet connection. We were first on the train in roomette B2. The meals were free and good with our sleeper along with free coffee, juice and bottled water. The ride was a little like being on a ship and we arrived on time in LA. Got my luggage and caught the Super Shuttle to the pier arriving at 11:30 AM. Checked two bags in at the curb at the pier.
Embarkation: I showed them my elite card, and was was directed to the elite/suite desk right away. After a half hour in the elite/suite lounge we were on the ship first.
Cabins: The cabin D232 (cat. MB) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony, while good size and offers good privacy. The bath room was nice and we enjoyed the bath and shower. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. I got a free mini bar set up. Took advantage for the free laundry for elite members on one occasion. I also enjoyed the canapes on several times. The 10% discount in the shops was used more than once.
Public Areas: The public areas are nice and never feel crowded. The ship doesn't feel 116,000 grt. Enjoyed the small intimate bars. They had good shows on board and the comedians were great. The bars had a buy 5, pay for four Becks beer special on the forward Lido bar. I got this all cruise long and put them in the cabin fridge. A bottle opener was in the room. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including lectures and classes of all kinds. I went to the free wine tasting for elite members and enjoyed the library on board. You will not be bored on a Princess ship.
Dining: I requested a 8:00 time at the Pacific Moon dining room went I got on the ship and was assigned a table for two usually. Our waiter's were excellent and they remembered our anniversary without being reminded. We ate all our evening meals there. We went to open seating for breakfast and lunch in the Dining room every day when not on tour. The attendance in the main dining rooms was far less that capacity due to number eating in Lido. We had pizza, and hot dogs several times for a snack. All the restaurants were nicely decorated and the food in all the Dining rooms was generally good, but not up to Celebrity standards. The food in the Lido was also good and we had breakfast there before tours.
Tours: We did a city tour in Santa Barbara. We walked to gift shops in San Diego and San Francisco as the tours we were interested in were booked. We stayed on the ship in Ensenada.
Disembarkation: This was smooth. They had a room set up for suite, and elite members and it was great. They had coffee, good juice and pastries and comfortable seats. Caught the Supper Shuttle back to Union Station in LA at 10 AM. Had a 5 hour wait for our train after I checked our bags in to Cleveland. Had Subway sandwiches for lunch and got on our train 4:15 PM. The meals were free and good with our sleeper along with free coffee, juice and bottled water. We were on time getting to Chicago. Since we were in a sleeper on the Southwest Chief from LA we spent a couple hours in the comfort of the Metropolitan Lounge. They had comfortable chairs, TV's, complimentary pop and snacks and a free internet connection. In Chicago we caught the Capital Limited to Cleveland, collected our bags and drove home. Would take the train to the west coast on a cruise again as the cost was cheaper than the cruise line quoted up for airfare.
Overall, I was satisfied with the cruise. I put a $200 deposit down on a future cruise.