Sunday, March 11th. We left the hotel at 12:30pm and using the hotel shuttle arrived at LAX at approximately 12:45pm. We contacted the Carnival cruise rep and she advised us a shuttle bus would arrive in approximately 30 minutes. However, it was a little over two hours before a bus arrived. We arrived at the Long Beach terminal around 3:30pm. While in route, we reasoned that we were better off waiting at the airport and on the bus rather than the long lines that we customarily encounter at Long Beach, and then upon arrival the lines should be short. We were incorrect, the long was still rather long, so we sat on a bench until the line disappeared into the terminal. Only then did we leave our seats. We were literally among the the last 10 people or so to board the ship. As we boarded the ship, passengers were already headed to the muster drill. On the bright side, our bags were awaiting us. As we returned from the muster drill, at approximately 5:20pm, we noticed on our sign & sail cards that although we had requested late seating we had been assigned to the early seating for dinner. In light of the fact that we had missed lunch, we decided to go on to dinner and see about being moved to the late seating. Our tablemates had the same problem, and they checked with the maitre'd about moving. It was then we learned that the reason we hadn't received late seating as requested was because of something called the Sammy Hagar 2nd Annual Cabo Wabo "are we having fun yet" Cruise. This was a group of 300+ rock fans who had been seated together during the 2nd seating. The maitre d said he would attempt to reseat us, but our tablemates were able to have us moved for the next night thru the Carnival Vacation Club.
I can only describe the shuttle experience and embarkation process as a train wreck.
Our cabin was cabin 5124 on the upper deck. It is an extended cabin, and the balcony was very large - large enough for 4 or 5 adults to sit there comfortably and stretch out completely in loungers. However, it was directly over the Taj Mahal theater - more about that later.
Monday, March 12th was a sea day, and although overcast was not nearly as windy as on previous trips. No sunbathing but pleasant enough for deck activities. The lobster served during the first formal night dinner was some of the best lobster I've eaten.
Tuesday, March 13th was a beautiful day at sea, and lounge chairs were at a premium. As we passed Cabo San Lucas, the whale watching excursions were out in their boats, and we were able to see several whales from the ship as we headed south. Around 1230am on the morning of the 14th, a loud noise brought me out of a deep sleep. At first, I thought we had ran aground, but then realized it was rock music from the Taj Mahal theater, and the bass was loud enough to cause items in the room to vibrate. Finally, it ended around 2:00am or so, and we drifted off to sleep.
Wednesday, March 14th, PV, a beautiful day, we went into town for shopping, and then returned to lie by the pool. We were very tired from the previous evenings lack of sleep, and skipped the evenings entertainment, and went to bed about 1030pm. Again, at 12:30am we were awakened by loud music from the Taj Mahal. At 1:30am I went to the pursers desk and learned that on both nights, the Taj Mahal had been used for private rock concerts. The purser told me they had requested the technicians to turn down the music, but it didn't happen, and once again the music didn't end until 2:30am or so.
Thursday, March 15th, Mazatlan, we had booked a horseback ride with Randi's Happy Horses. This was a good tour although we did have to wait an hour and one-half for an earlier tour to complete their ride. It was an enjoyable tour, and I highly recommend this tour to anyone although it became a little boring while waiting. The lunch at Victor's was good, and two can have a large lunch for $20.
Friday, March 16th, Cabo San Lucas - we walked around town, and made sure we returned to the ship early before the rush. As we sat on our balcony, we could see whales not far from the ship and after leaving saw them again while heading north.
Saturday, March 17th, a very windy sea day, although the sea was not nearly as rough as on previous trips.
Overall, we enjoyed this cruise. Carnival provided us with some amenities and a discount on a future cruise because of the noise problem we encountered on Tuesday and Wednesday. Other passengers made comments about the behavior of some of the passengers, but the only complaint I had was the concert noise, and I considered it to be a Carnival problem because Carnival permitted the late-night use of its facilities without notifying the passengers. There was no mention of these private concerts in the Carnival Capers.
This cruise included over 300 rockers and a large contingent of college-age spring breakers - all that I met, I found to be polite, and I'd travel with them again, but either in the aft section of the ship or on a higher deck, to avoid the concert noise.
The food in the dining room was good, and the food in the Lido buffet had definitely improved since our last trip on the Pride in 2005. The ship was very clean. Service was good throughout and the only shortcomings are the embarkation and debarkation processes - and unannounced late night concerts.