This was my second cruise, the first being a disney cruise, one of the girls fourth and the others first. We're from Northern California so we drove down the day before and stayed at the Vagabond Inn in Long Beach which worked out well, cheap room, we only needed to sleep there so it was fine. That evening we went to huntington beach for dinner and a little shopping which was really fun. The next morning we left at around 11 or 12noon and had breakfast/lunch on the queen mary. The parking situation was a little confusing I wish there was more direction, we were some of the first people there so maybe thats why. The day of embarkation was my actual birthday so they were super nice at the queen mary and i got free cheesecake! Once we left we walked to the parking structure got our luggage and began our embarkation process. It was extremely easy which was so nice, literally took no longer than 20 minutes. We did self assist luggage because we all had one bag each and literally just walked through the lines with no trouble and right onto the ship. We did cash sail and sign accounts, piece of cake to set up, then were off to our room.
Our cabin was an ocean view room on the riviera deck, it was what we expected, small but just what we needed it for, sleeping and getting ready. We immediately started exploring the ship and sipping DODs we spent most of the day lounging around until dinner. Our waitstaff knew it was my birthday and again, more fun dessert and a birthday serenade, we made great friends with our bar staff and they were extremely kind and helpful throughout the entire trip. I had steak 2/4 nights for dinner and it was delicious, also had the farfalle and lasagna, also very good! Most of our time on the ship was spent in the lounges, the leonardo lounge was fun for live music and sing alongs, the blue ribbon piano bar was cool, every night we had a blast at the rex disco. On the last day before dinner there was a free cocktail hour in the normandie lounge which i dont know if a lot of people knew about, one of the perks of befriending the bar staff. We also took the photo opportunities down carnival boulevard every evening, even if you think its cheesy, its still fun to see the photos poste d the next day and you dont have to buy them! We also spent a lot of time in the adult area which we didnt even find until day 2, its got a great view, more comfortable chairs, and two hot tubs that are more comfortable than the whirlpools on the lido.
We saw two shows, an adult comedy show which we actually left early because unfortunately wasnt that funny, and an R rated hypnotist show which was a riot! so hilarious i couldnt believe it, it was very raunchy but i loved it! Overall we had an amazing time on the ship, Im surprised at how many poor reviews i see because although yes the ports are not amazing, the most fun was had on the ship i really cant even think of anything substantial to complain about, if you're not having fun, its your own fault.