This was the first time I cruised without my DH, and with a friend. We had the best time. We did one night pre-cruise in San Pedro at the Crowne Plaza. It was a great location. We used Sav-On Shuttle to get from LAX to the hotel - it was $40 for both of us.
We arrived at the hotel a little before Noon, and were able to get in our room right away. Very nice hotel for a precruise stay. We spent most of the day exploring the Ports 'O Call and cruise ship area - all within easy walking distance of the hotel. We had lunch on the waterfront, and walked on the sidewalk that is parallel to the bay. To our delight, we saw dolphins, a sea lion and beautiful starfish!
That night we walked to a restaurant in Ports 'O Call where we could sit outside.
The morning of the cruise, we took the first free hotel shuttle to the pier at 1030am. There we met up with my sisters and niece who were doing the Bon Voyage Program. They each paid $39, which allowed them to get on the ship, have lunch in the DR (soda, wine, beer included), and stay on the ship until 3pm. We all boarded around 11am. After checking out our cabin, we all had a nice lunch in the DR, then walked around the ship. That was a neat thing to do.
Our cabin was very nice. Really liked the balcony on the Lido Deck. We never took the elevator - only the stairs. That way, we could enjoy the food and beverages without gaining weight!!
The first full sea day, we had a meeting of about 20 Cruise Critic members from our roll call. What a great group of people! After our meet & greet, several of us went to the Pub Lunch in one of the dining rooms.
We really enjoyed our time on the ship. We participated in a few of the onboard activities, like line dancing, 5k Charity Walk, and the Ultimate Ship Tour. When we felt like laying out in the sun, we easily found lounge chairs - and it was a FULL sailing! It seems like we kept very busy either going to organized events, or just doing our own thing. It's a beautiful ship.
We had Anytime Dining, which was perfect for us. We ate when we were hungry - didn't need to watch the clock. We only had to wait one time, and that wasn't long enough, as we were enjoying a drink in the coffee bar! There are 4 dining rooms for Anytime Dining. We loved the waiters - they were so much fun, and kept us laughing!! A couple of nights, when there wasn't anything on the menu that interested us, we went to the Horizon Court. Great service there as well.
One of our favorite spots was the coffee bar (I don't remember the name of it). The staff there was wonderful. We each had a coffee card, but could have easily done with just one between us.
We went to a few of the shows. The singers/dancers were OK - about the same as on any ship. They had a comedian a few nights who was hysterical! We just loved him.