We went on the May 2 sailing that was supposed to go to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo. Because of people blowing the swine flu situation WAY out of proportion we ended up going to Santa Barbara, San Diego and San Francisco. I'm sorry, but no matter how you put it, it is disappointing to pay so much money to go on a trip once a year and then don't get to go where you wanted to. We really did try to make the best of it, but it was hard. The weather was cold, and we hadn't really packed for that. If we had at least gotten warm weather so we could hang out by the pool, we'd at least have felt like we were on vacation. But anyway, here's my review of the cruise:
I have been on 2 Carnival cruises, 1 Royal Caribbean and 1 Princess cruise, so not an expert but I have some opinions... I liked Royal Caribbean the best and then I think Carnival would have to be 2nd (they are Funships...). That's just because there were quite a bit more older people on this cruise and there were less activities geared towards my age group (i'm 30- no kids). The food wasn't any better than the other two cruise lines. It was good, I just thought it might be a little better and it wasn't. My favorite meal was lobster night, and the salmon was pretty good. (salmon was available every night) My favorite dessert was the mud pie on the last night.
We did the traditional dining, but we ate in the Santa Fe and the Savoy dining rooms a couple of times. I really liked the Savoy. I have to say that the service in all of the dining rooms was good. Seems like it was faster in the Santa Fe, but that could just be because it was still a little early that day. We only had to wait for a table one time and it was only about 20 minutes. They give you a pager just like at land based restaurants so you don't have to just sit and wait by the dining room. That was nice. I did find out that since we had traditional dining that we could not make reservations in the other dining rooms. Not a big deal, just something that I didn't know before the cruise.
The ship was really nice and clean, EXCEPT almost every restroom, including the one in our cabin, smelled like urine. They really need to switch to bleach or something to get rid of the odor. Also, our toilet wouldn't flush one night and it was like 11:30 pm so I called the front desk and they had someone come fix it within 30 minutes. Then they followed up with a call the next morning to ensure it had been fixed. They earned points for the follow up.
We went to the gym a couple of times during our cruise and it was decent. Pretty busy in the mornings though. There was always room by the pools, finding a lounge chair was easy, but that's because it was COLD! A few crazies at the pool, just determined to get some sun no matter what. We did get a couple of nice days, but it was still slightly chilly.
The pictures were good, but not $25 for 1 8x10 good. I think it was a shameful waste of pictures for them to take 6 different poses at each backdrop, and then just throw them away. I'm sorry, I just can't afford to spend $120+ for pictures. I bought one and the guy looked at me like I was crazy! If they were priced a little more reasonably, I would have purchased more and probably spent more than the $25 that I did, so they're losing money, I mean the pictures were already printed...
All of the ports were nice but again, it wasn't Mexico! At least I don't live in California. I feel for those people from San Diego or San Fran who drove to LA just to sail right back home. I guess if you forgot a toothbrush that would be convenient but geez!
The highlight of the trip for me was the way out of San Fran. I had never been there and it was just beautiful. It was starting to get dark and the Golden Gate bridge was all lit up and the full moon was out...just gorgeous. Too bad the camera takes crappy pictures at night! Haha! I guess I'll just have to buy a postcard.
All in all, we had a good trip. I probably wouldn't sail with Princess again except for they gave us 50% of what we paid for this cruise off of a future cruise, so I guess I'll have to take advantage of that...darn...
Oh! and one final though...I totally missed the towel animals! :o(