For a 3 night cruise, I really had fun. I’ve only been on 7 night cruises so I wasn’t really sure what to expect with a weekend cruise. Due to the swine flu, we went to Catalina Island and only did a technical stop in Ensenada to meet the Jones Act requirement. I really liked Catalina Island. Considering my last two cruises were to Mexican ports, it was nice to enter a port without people pulling on your arms and trying to get you to buy tours or souvenirs. All the shops were very reasonably priced. I got a Catalina Island t-shirt for $9.99USD as an example.
EMBARKATION: I love San Diego port. We checked out of the hotel before 9 and headed downtown. We hung out at Seaport Village for about an hour or so. Bought some salsa and walked around. Decided to drive to parking lot to find a parking spot. We were really early because I wasn’t sure we could find parking. Five Star parking #5 was directly across the street & practically empty. They are more expensive than some of the other airport parking locations ($15/day I think) but not having to wait for shuttles etc is a big thing for me. I like being in control of when/where to be. So we walk across the street and go to the terminal around 11. Going thru x-ray was a little more intense than my last cruise at San Diego. I had a small 12x14x14 soft sided cooler with a plastic liner that had bottles of water, a half gallon jug of water in it. They inspected each bottle by shaking the contents (to see if it fizzed I guess.) Line to check in wasn’t long at all. Maybe 20 people total ahead of us and some were in groups. Got checked in with boarding #1 and only had to wait about 15 minutes before they started boarding. We were at the lido deck by 11:45. Cruise docs stated not to arrive at port before 1pm. Yeah right. Glad we didn’t listen to that. We had burger for lunch & drink of the day on the lido deck by the main pool. Rooms weren’t ready until 1:30 but one of the staff members saw us waiting outside the doors that closed off the rooms and he said “go on in & drop off your luggage. They don’t care as long as you don’t stay.” Our room was ready. Cool. So we dropped off our stuff/stashed luggage in the closets and away we went back to enjoy the action without toting bags around.
Room Steward service was good. Had no issues. Tipped him a little extra to keep our water cooler filled with ice which he did daily. The first time I’ve had a towel animal on my first night so I was impressed. Usually don’t get it on the first night in my experience.
Dinner – we were assigned a table for 8. I personally like to sit with my hubby only but I can handle one other couple hoping they aren’t weird/rude etc. Our “rear” dining room didn’t have a matre d there so we went to the center dining room and waited in line to speak to the maitre d. He found us a table for 2 for our 6pm first seating that we wanted. Now we were only about 4 inches apart from the table beside us but it was okay. We gave a $20 bill to “007” our maitre d and told him he was awesome. Food was great. Never disappointed. Service wasn’t the best I’ve had but certainly acceptable. But I didn’t tip extra like I usually do cuz it wasn’t outstanding. The last night menu didn’t look that great in the dining room so we opted for the lido on the last night. Worked out fine for us cuz I was kind of craving a grilled Rueben sandwich. Yum. I never went hungry that’s for sure.
ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian was funny. I thought he was a little over the top with picking on gays/Chinese/Mexicans etc. But I did enjoy his show. We played name that tune and had a blast & got crazy with it. Watched the hairy chest contest. Didn’t do much other shows cuz I am a karaoke cruiser so I will always choose karaoke over a show anytime. Went to karaoke every night. Too bad the host didn’t know what she was doing. It would have been much better if she had a clue how to run a karaoke system or manage a rotation but I still had fun. Many songs music was either blaring or too low and you had to stop singing to tell her “turn it up please I can’t hear the music” duh. Still had a good time.
Lots of partiers in the hall the last night. We got back to the cabin about 11:30 to crash for the night and people were loudly talking and yelling to one another down the hall etc. We called security and asked them to make their presence known & ask them to quiet it down a little. Less than 5 minutes later there was silence so no more issues. At least not until I was out like a light.
DEBARKATION: There were tons of Mexican names being called over the loud speaker to report to immigration. The ship didn’t clear customs until 8:45am. We were doing self-assist so we had our bags with us. We were assigned luggage tag 17 but we assumed we would be called by deck for self assist like all my previous CCL cruises. Not the case. Debark paperwork said we needed to leave our cabins by 8:30am and go upstairs to the lido main pool. I really didn’t want to take all my bags upstairs to have to go back downstairs again but we had to leave the cabin & didn’t know what else to do. Definitely a process that needs improvement. They started calling tag numbers around 8:45. We were tag#17 so I thought we were in for a long wait. There was a passenger standing by me that heard me talking to my hubby and said “they aren’t paying any attention to tag numbers so just join the pack when they call the next set of numbers.” They called the next group of numbers & off we went. Yay. Walked across the street to our car and we were heading home 15 minutes later.