Personal Background Information – We are a family of four. Parents in their early 40’s and boys age 5 and 8. We’re experienced cruisers. We booked months ago when the school schedule came out and spring break dates were available. Booking so early meant no real discounts or price breaks. We paid what they asked. We received $25 OBC. We originally booked U114, a Grand Suite.
Travel To Port of Embarkation – We flew into LAX on March 22. We took PrimeTime Shuttle to our Long Beach hotel. First we waited about 15 minutes past our shuttle scheduled time for it to show up. We booked a shared van. We won’t do that again. Shared vans make an additional loop around the airport which adds 20 plus minutes at the airport. By the time we left the airport we’d been waiting or sitting in the van for almost 40 minutes. We shared the van with one other person and his stop was first. That meant going all the way to Torrance, CA before going to our Long Beach hotel. We’ve taken PrimeTime Shuttle before and would recommend it just get an exclusive van if you can.
Hotel Info (if any) – We booked the Hotel Current on the Pacific Coast Highway. I was concerned booking a non chain hotel that I hadn’t read a lot about on Cruise Critic but the price was right. The hotel was nice. Good air conditioning, clean floors. Sheets crisp and clean. Our only trouble was the sliding door that separated the shower area from the rest of the bathroom didn’t slide. We reported it when we checked out. I also thought the beds would be two queens. Instead they were two doubles. The hotel offers a good park and cruise deal. I think it’s $149 or $179 for the room for the night, parking for the length of the cruise and shuttle to and from the port. We’d stay there again.
Embarkation – We arrived at about 12:30 and went to the Captain’s Lounge area off to the side of the dome. There was a big group in front of us that seemed to have many issues with getting in the door then getting checked in. About 10 days before sailing we were contacted by the upsell person and offered an upsell to one of the two penthouse suites on the ship. It wasn’t a cheap upsell but reasonable enough that after a short deliberation we went for it. After checking in someone came to get us and escorted us on the ship. That was a nice perk.
Stateroom – We were in PH2. The room is on deck 12 across from the Spa. It’s not listed on the deck plan and I’m told you can’t book it direct. We received an upsell call and paid for the privilege. The suite is big. When we walked in there is a fridge and bar area on the right then the door to the balcony. A small table and three chairs and a TV are on the left. Then further in are three sofa type things that convert to beds in the evening. Across from that is a built in desk area. Then there’s a door to the bedroom. Big king bed. Dresser area under a big flat screen TV. Big bathroom. Double sinks. Vanity. Tons of towels. Big walk in closet. Then the bathroom with toilet and huge tub.
A few things…the suite is dated. I’m told it was renovated a few years ago but I don’t see it. It had an 80’s feel which is before the ship was even built. The sinks were pink. The tub is pink! Dark black marbled tile floor to ceiling. The living room is bare. The furniture was just put in the room and no other decorating was done. There are blinds on the windows. Dated!
We did like the room for the space alone but there were other good things. The blinds and drapes do block out a lot of the light. The balcony is really big. You do have a life boat just outside and below the balcony but it was great when we were in port and the birds would land there. The fridge kept our soda very cold. The bed was comfy. Water pressure was good. It’s a great room if you can get it!
Dining – We really liked the food! I mean we REALLY liked it. I was surprised. Every meal there was something outstanding. Braised short ribs, beef tenderloin, pasta dishes… We’re not fancy food people but we do know good food and have eaten at high end restaurants around the world and we give the food a thumbs up. Considering it’s mass produced and sent out assembly line style…we couldn’t ask for more.
We enjoyed the American Table concept. Every evening we could order something for the table plus individual items. We were never turned down for anything. We ordered stuff not even on the menu and it was brought. My son wanted grapes every night and they brought them. If we were torn between two dishes, they’d bring us both of them to sample. For dessert I had the chocolate melting cake every night. I’m a chocoholic…it fed my addiction. My son and I both had it every night Mickey Mouse style…that means with two scoops of vanilla. The only night I felt torn about not ordering something different was the night they had a smores parfait. Our waiter brought both.
I liked not having a tablecloth especially with kids that have a tendency to pull on them. I liked the water on the table to refill at our discretion.
We went to the sea day brunch. It wasn’t anything special. The eggs benedict sat under a heat lamp for a while. The cheese grits were pre made and sat for a while. The pancakes were chewy and hard to cut. I think we would have done better to stick to the buffet that day for breakfast.
Activities – We only did a few activities. I participated in the call in trivia show with George and Giggles and answered a question correctly and won a picture of the ship. I also answered a trivia question correctly and participated on stage in the Hasbro Game Night.
Children's Clubs – My boys did go to the club for a little bit each day. They said it was fun and they wanted to go. We didn’t do any of the after hours stuff. The staff was mostly friendly but sometimes they seemed indifferent.
Staff & Service – Most of the staff was friendly and outgoing. At peak dining room times it took a while to get water refills and on a few occasions items I ordered were forgotten about. Nothing was really over the top fantastic but most things were pretty good service wise.
Disembarkation – We had number 1 tags but I don’t know how that affected things. At 8:15 we wanted to disembark so we walked off with our own luggage. There was no line. We were early for our PrimeTime shuttle but they got our van there early and we were off and at the airport by 9:30 AM for our 11:45 AM flight home.
Summary – We expected a circus with it being spring break but it wasn’t a big party all the time. There were no big groups of college kids making a lot of noise. There was a high school group on board but we never ran into them. The kids did take over the hot tubs and that was frustrating. My husband said it was like a mosh pit. Yes it was a bit chilly but don’t unleash the kids to use the hot tub as a heated pool. On the only sea day the staff put a towel animal on every deck chair. That was a fun sight to see. This wasn’t our best cruise but it was nice. We relaxed a lot and got away from the daily grind for a while. That made every day better than a day at work!