We took a 3 night jaunt out of LA - booked literally 3 days in advance. For a quick weekend trip (we drove to port) we were thrilled at the $279 pp rate for a balcony cabin - cant beat that right? I'll preface by saying this cruise must have been about 1/3 full - it was like a ghost town...which meant in some ways we felt like we were on a private cruise.
The port of LA (San Pedro) is quite industrial, not very attractive and the driving signage is terrible! We finally found our way and discovered the very nice smallish ground parking lot, literally a very short walk from the pier.
Embarkation was quick and smooth - however there were representatives seemingly every 20 feet giving us directives or asking for an ID or something. We were able to carry our own luggage onboard and went right to our cabin which was made up for us. (Note to those not used to it...the balcony doors on this ship are 'sliding glass door' type, not a swing out door).
We had cabin C622 - on the Caribe deck. In hind sight, this was definitely the best deck to be on if balcony size is important to you...this deck has the largest balcony cabins as far as we could tell from the exterior.
To summarize, here are the good and bad points...in particular as compared to Carnival which we are used to.
- Balcony size! At least for our cabin/deck...with a round table, 2 chairs and 2 foot stools
- Relatively empty ship
- Crew was very nice and accommodating
- Covered pool/hot tub/ping pong area for inclement weather
- Any time dining
- In room safe that is code driven instead of credit card driven
- No smoking policy (except for some pool bar areas, some bars and the casino I believe) - although some folks broke the rules and smoked on their balcony
- Sliding door to balcony - much quieter than the swinging door type like on Carnival
- The Vines bar serving wines...with complimentary tapas/sushi with wine purchase
- Due to the smaller (carry on type) of suitcases we had, we did not have to check them in or leave them outside our cabin the last evening...we were able to take them ourselves
Not so good:
- Food was sub-par (not very tasty, luke-warm)
- Princess prints your names and puts them on a card in a slot outside your door for anyone to see
- The mattress (well worn out and as hard as a ROCK - felt like we slept on a box spring) and pillow (almost no stuffing in them, like 4 cotton balls shoved in a pillow case) in our state room.
- Smaller cabin than Carnival due to closet configuration
- Outlet placement and configuration next to light switches - allows for only one thing to be plugged in and then it's difficult to turn switch on and off at desk area
- Ship is in dire need of dry docking and updating. Peeling paint, stained carpeting etc. It just looks worn out and tired
- The "Wake Show" blaring on the big screen from 8-9am is completely abrasive and unnecessary - yet from 9:00 -12:30 on Saturday, a SEA DAY, there was no music, nothing - how boring!
- The 'maps/information' channel on the TV is a joke...the info was wrong and the map is impossible to read. There is no big map (to see where you are) in the public areas anywhere to refer to.
- There really are no beverage stations where you can get iced tea, lemonade, water etc. Carnival has these abundantly
- No Martini bar!
- A surprisingly small buffet area
- Hot tubs that make a lot of suctioning noise while running, not very relaxing!
- No Chef's Table on this shorter cruise
All in all we're glad we went, especially for the price. We're used to week long Caribbean cruises on Carnival so we have to put it all in perspective. All things considered, we find that we liked Carnival much better.