Background My husband & I are 50 years old and have cruised various cruise lines including Princess, Norwegian (NCL), Costa, RCL and Carnival.
Pre-Cruise We spent 3 days pre-cruise in San Diego. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the bay with a bayside 11th floor balcony. We chose this hotel mainly for its location being close to the cruise ship. The view was wonderful. The hotel was clean and the accommodations were very comfortable. While there are several choices for dinning, we found an Italian place called Philippi's in Little Italy that was wonderful. We really liked their pizza and their prices were quite reasonable.
Embarkation & Room Embarkation was fast and easy. The port is very organized, not like some we have been through. It was about 11:30 when we headed across the street to the terminal. Porters were collecting luggage and loading them into crates by your room location on the ship. The lines in the terminal went fast. It was only about 10 to 20 minutes and we were able to board the ship. Rooms on the ship were not going be ready until 1:30, so we went for lunch on the lido. After lunch we headed to our room to drop off our carry on. We were pleasantly surprised that our luggage was already there and had been placed inside the room by our room steward. Our room U110 on deck 6 had ample storage space with drawers, closets with shelves and plenty of hangers. There was an in room safe, robes hanging in the closet, 2 beach towels on the couch and a small tray of sample size incidentals in the bathroom. I noticed that there was no hair dryer or refrigerator in this room. When mentioned to the room steward she immediately obtained a hair dryer for me to use for the duration of the trip. We liked the location of this room. It was mid ship and directly across from the larges suites. It was a nice quite location.
Dining We selected early assigned seating for dinner. We had a booth that seated six. Our wait staff was excellent. We found most food to be quite good. The lobster on formal night was excellent. I did try the banana split from the children's menu that I had read about in other reviews. It was pretty good.
Ports Our ports of call were Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico. We did not take any ship tours as we had been to these ports before. Catalina is a tendered port. After tendering in we walked aroung and browsed the shops. Ensenada had a pier, so you can come and go as you please. The downtown area is within walking distance. There we mainly picked up some vanilla which is always requested by family when we travel to Mexico. This trip we found a wonderful stained glass shop called Santa Paula glass. They had lots of beautiful pieces. The owner was in the process of a custom custom order of door pannels. We mad our purchse when we learned that they offered shipping. We are glad we did. Everything arrived unbroken and packed very well. We will definitely visit their store again or use their internet site.
Disembarkation was fast and easy.
Summary We had a great time on this ship and would not hesitate to sail her again. We enjoyed everything about this cruise, meals, friendly staff, very clean ship, the ports and the new friends we met.