A little background info: My small traveling group consisted of my parents(50's & 60's) and my boyfriend and I in our late 20's. It was my 4th cruise, and my parent's first. No special occasion needed, we just all wanted a fun filled vacation...and that's exactly what we got.
Pre-Cruise: My bf and I drove into Long Beach the night before, and picked up my parents at the airport the morning of the cruise. We were at the cruise ship terminal by 9:30 and did early check-in on the Queen Mary. The whole process took about 5 minutes and we were told to line up near zone 1 at 11:30. We took that time to explore the Queen Mary and have a light breakfast. Boarding began at 11:45, and we were on the ship by noon. It was an absolutely painless experience. We grabbed some lunch on the lido deck and ordered our first drink of the day. At 1:30pm on the dot, we were allowed access to our cabins.
Cabin: We had room 5164 which was an obstructed view balcony. The life boats came almost up to the railing on the balcony, so while you couldn't look straight down and see the water, you had a perfect view of the horizon - and the having access to fresh air is unbeatable. Otherwise the room was just fine, a standard cabin with plenty of storage space, comfy bed, and good water pressure in the shower. My only complaint with the room is that the TV could use an upgrade, it was very dark and grainy.
Service: Service throughout the week was wonderful. Our cabin steward was always on top of it. Though we didn't see her a whole lot, when we did - we were always addressed by our names, our cabin was made up twice a day, a towel animal with turndown service and our ice bucket remained full the entire week. All the other employees encountered were friendly and helpful.
Dining: We had a table for 4 people during the late seating with the best head waiter we've ever had. "Mr. Red" and his assistant could not have done a better job. The food was consistently good, all of the soups I tried were excellent. The lobster wasn't even tough like I remembered on previous cruises, it was small though - so be sure to order two! The buffet had a good variety of food for lunch, the hamburgers from the grill were tasty as were the sandwiches from the deli. The pizza could have used some improvement in my opinion, but there were people gobbling it up all week - so it might just be me. Breakfast did get a bit tedious, though the made to order omelettes were great and you could order eggs over easy there as well. We only used room service once, the order took about 20 minutes.
Entertainment: In the main showroom there were a few Vegas style shows, a few comedians, and on the last night a Carnival Legends show where your fellow cruisers were the impersonators. It was a lot of fun, and there happened to be quite a few talented people on our ship! Other entertainment was pretty standard - casino, bingo, hairy chest contest, karaoke, trivia, board games, mini golf, etc...we were never bored. If we weren't doing something, it was because of choice, not a lack of activities. One thing not to miss is the Galley Tour. The kitchen is nearly as big as the dining room!
Ports: In Puerto Vallarta we did the Tequila Factories Tour through Carnival. We had an excellent tour guide, Raul. There were two factories on the tour, one was a small family owned business, and the other a larger scale operation. Both had delicious tequilas and were generous with the tastings.
In Mazatlan my boyfriend and I decided to wing it while my parents went on the city and shopping tour. We met up with another couple that was taking a taxi to the El Cid resort, so we tagged along. The taxi was a lot of fun, open air - sort of like a golf cart with a bigger engine. Not for the faint of heart. The El Cid Marina Resort was beautiful, management didn't seem to mind us being there as we ordered a couple drinks by the pool. We heard from some guests of the hotel that there is a free shuttle to their sister property El Cid Moro on the beach, so gave it a try. This resort was directly on the beach. We had lunch there, and spent some time playing in the ocean. The water temp was over 80 degrees and felt wonderful!
I've been to Cabo San Lucas several times on my own before, so I was able to play the tour guide for my parents. We only had to wait about 10 minutes for a tender. We walked all along the marina and downtown to show them Cabo Wabo, the Gigglin Marlin, etc... we made it to the Mango Deck and set up camp there for a while. It was extremely hot that day, so we ran back and forth between the ocean and the beach umbrella. Again, the water was perfect, though the under toe was much stronger than I remember it.
Overall: It was the smoothest, best cruise I've been on. I would recommend this ship and itinerary to everyone.