Our Labor Day weekend cruise was a great way to relax over the long holiday weekend. It was our first time utilizing the Port of Long Beach. We both thought the facility was very nice -- easy to get to, convenient parking, and not at all confusing. We left Ventura County around noon on Friday and, even with Los Angeles traffic, arrived around 2:30 p.m. Since we are Carnival Vacation Club members we were able to take advantage of the VIP embarkation, which was very nice. There was NO line, and there was a waiting room where you could sit down to wait until one of the representatives called your name. Then, we were escorted to the front of the Security line, and after going through security (no problems!) we were escorted to the front of the registration line. I know Carnival Vacation Club "is no more" and that some thought it was a complete rip-off, but since these perks were exactly what we joined it for, it was wonderful! No longer than it took for us to sign the agreement and get our Sail & Sign cards, and we were on our way to the gangplank and aboard. Since it was just a 3-night cruise, we were able to get all our "stuff" into carry-ons, so we found our stateroom and dropped those off and went to explore the ship. We had the 5:45 p.m. seating in the Destiny Dining Room, aft. They seated us at a table for 11, which suited us fine -- we love meeting new people, and our tablemates were very nice and lots of fun. We found the food to be as good as on any Carnival ship we've sailed. We happen to really like their offerings, although we do not spend a lot of time at the Lido Deck buffets (Paris Restaurant on the Paradise) just because of the lines. I don't know that there's a lot that can be done about that, so we don't have a complaint about it, really. About our room. We booked an Inside Guarantee at the military rate, so we got a really good deal, but we wound up with, perhaps, the worst stateroom we've ever stayed in! Once again, we're not really complaining, you know when you book guarantees that you can get stuck anywhere. We were on Riviera Deck (which we've been on before, no problem), but our room was the VERY LAST passenger stateroom aft (on the port side). Whatever is in the restricted area just behind that room is really, really (did I say "really"?) NOISY!!!! When we went to bed (normally sometimes around 1:00 a.m. each evening, after the adult comedy shows), it was as if a bowling ball was being dropped onto a metal deck every 2-5 seconds. I thought we would never get to sleep, but apparently, if you are tired enough, you can sleep through some pretty loud -- and constant -- noise. As a warning, the couple in the cabin next to us (one room further away from the closed-off area) said it kept THEM awake all night, too. So, if you have a choice, I would definitely avoid room R248 or anything too close to it! On the plus side, our guarantee DID get us an Ocean View...*LOL*....but we'd have much preferred an inside cabin that was quieter! Oh, on other thing about the room. On Monday morning before I got out of bed I heard some sort of "gurgling" noise. Since we heard weird noises all weekend long, I didn't think too much about it until I got up and walked to the bathroom. Water and some sort of "suds" had backwashed through all the drains, flooding the bathroom floor. After about a half hour, it began to drain again. We washed out all the "sudsy foam" just in case it was something polluted. And then everything seemed to work fine. Another reason, though, to maybe avoid that room! We did not go to any of the production shows. We like Karaoke, and that usually was going on during the production shows. We heard others give thumbs up to the "Here's Hollywood" show. Karaoke took place each evening at around 8:15 p.m. in the Queen Mary Lounge, and the hostess, Misty, was very good. There were quite a few children on the ship, but not as many as we thought there might be on a holiday weekend. Generally, the children were well behaved, and we were mostly aware of them on deck in the pools. But, honestly, the children were better behaved, even in the pool area, than those one would probably term "young adults" -- the 18-24 demographic. But, this, too, we expected. We know the weekend cruises are the more boisterous "party" cruises. At least the most noticeable of these partiers were not belligerent or mean, but generally very friendly, if a bit self-absorbed and idiotic! :) Debarkation was equally smooth for us, as embarkation. Since we were "self assist" (carrying our own luggage) we were in the first group disembarking; easily by 7:00 a.m. and on the freeway by 7:15 a.m. What took us two-and-a-half hours to travel on Friday afternoon, took us about and hour-and-a-half on Monday morning in the opposite direction. We have the same cruise booked for the weekend before Christmas. I'm sure the weather won't be as nice (it was perfect all cruise), but it will be interesting to see if the crowd is any different....and what sort of room we'll get!