After taking our first cruise in March, we had so much fun that we booked our second with in a month of being home. We loved HAL and enjoyed Carnival.
Our second cruise was just last week on Carnival Inspiration out of Long Beach CA. We flew into LAX early Monday morning. Pre Purchased transfers, easier for my sanity than trying to rent a car and find the cruise port. Our plane landed at 8:30 and we were at the cruise terminal by 10. We did early check in on the Queen Mary. This only took 15 minutes. We were given boarding Zone 1. We waited until 11:30 for boarding to begin. VIP were first then the zones by number. We were on the ship eating lunch by 11:47!!! It was fun to be one of the first 100 or so on the ship.
After eating in the buffet we went to see if the rooms were ready. Yep, by 12:30 we were walking down the hall looking for our room. Our suitcase was already outside the door! I unpacked and hunny took a catnap before heading out for sail away.
By 2:00 we were walking around the ship and taking pictures. Sail away was at 5:30 with the muster drill prior to that. We were disappointed that we did not hear any horn blasts as we left port. We enjoyed standing at the front of the ship, drink in hand, waving good bye to the world for a few days.
Every crew member we encountered was always smiling and pleasant. We didn't pay much attention to the decor like some have posted. It was busy yet fun and in no way took away from our enjoyment of the cruise.
The food was OK, nothing great. There weren't any items that had that WOW factor. I did eat the melting choc cake every night!! Room service choices were very limited. But after a day in port and wanting to rest...room service was perfect for down time in the cabin.
We never used the pool or hot-tubs. Just not hot enough for us. We had rain during our Sea Day with only low 70's I think our swim suits were the only items in our suitcases that we didn't wear!
I loved our cabin. First time in a Porthole room. When I booked this cabin, looking on the ship diagram, this room looked to be slightly bigger. It was! There was plenty of room for 2 and the only thing I wish the cabin had was a little sofa. There was room for one.
We never met our room stewards, but our room was always clean and ice full in our little ice bag. We brought our own soda on board with no problems.
Catalina...we just had a leisure day in the little town. Decided not to rent a golf cart, walked around instead. The signs that say CASINO....its NOT really a casino! Nice walk but couldn't go into the building without a tour guide. Its a Theater not a gambling casino like a lot of us thought.
Leaving port, be sure to be out on the front of the boat. We saw tons of dolphins! Watch out in the distant and they will swim up to the boat and around and under. Best part of the cruise for me!! I stayed out there for a good hour just enjoying the playful dolphins. What a treat!!
Ensenada...We weren't too sure about getting off the ship but glad we did! We paid $2 for a bus ride into town. Or you could walk 10 minutes. While on the bus our "tour guide" was full if information. We ended up going to La Bufadora for $15. It was about an hours drive each way and we stayed there for 2 hours. The street was full of vendors all wanting you to buy. Again the tour guide was very helpful with information, The Do's and Dont's of Mexico.
Our Sea Day was nice but chilly, rainy and windy. I still enjoyed sitting out on the deck looking at the ocean. I found a nice spot under the big Carnival smoke stack thing..funnel or whale tail? Never bothered by the bar staff, kids or photographers! Only wish I found that little spot earlier in the cruise.
This day was when we saw kids the most. Racing elevators or up and down the stairs running at full speed. This is the only negative thing I have to say. Other than that, kids were not noticed very much around the Lido or on the outside decks.
Debarkation was a breeze. We chose to use Self Assist and carry our luggage off the ship. We were off by 8:30 and onto the airport transfer in no time. Customs was easy as well. No problem bringing home 3 bottles of Tequila.
This ship and itinerary would be a perfect First Cruise. The ship sailed at a slow pace and the movement was easy to handle. I did miss the sound of the waves crashing on the bow. We never went fast enough, i guess.
Enjoyed the crew, ship and itinerary. Will cruise again with Carnival but HAL was our favorite!