A two night pre cruise in Long Beach was planned for the purpose of visiting the Queen Mary. We took the Blue Super Shuttle from LAX to Long Beach for $34. We stayed at the Hyatt because it is right on the bay. We opted to pay an extra $9 for a room above the 7th floor. Our room was on 17 which offered great views of the harbor and the Queen Mary. Right across the street is Shoreline Village with shopping and many restaurants. Our visit to this wonderful old gal will always be remembered.If you go take the narrated tour. We visited a First Class cabin which in the the 30's was a little over $1000, a lot of money back then. The dining venues on the ship are expensive but the meals include nostalgia at no extra cost. We taxied from Long Beach to San Pedro for $22.
We will talk about Sapphire Princess later. Santa Barbara, our first stop is a tender port. We opted to take the ships tour which was a trolley tour of the city. Santa Barbara is a lovely city and an expensive place More
to live. Our trolley driver was excellent and quite funny. He said the difference between our Tornado's and his Earthquakes is that we have to look all over for our stuff and his is right at his feet. The tour makes a brief stop at Mission Santa Barbara and is about one and one half hours in total. We visited the shops on Stearns Wharf and it being Sunday there was an artist and crafts show along the beach. It was bright warm sunny day.
Monday was a day at sea and also formal night. My how this has changed since our first cruise in 1982. We won't comment beyond that.
About 6am Tuesday we sailed under the Golden Gate. Being from the East and never having seen her it was a goose bumpy experience. We loved San Francisco. We took the Alcatraz tour from Princess. May I make a strong suggestion at this point. If you want to do Alcatraz get your own tickets online. Once we arrived at the "Rock" we were given 1 hour and 15 minutes total time. I think it takes two to two and a half hours to do justice to the tour. Alcatraz has to be seen. It is frightening ! We had to be back on the bus to visit the "Venice of America". Somehow it did not impress us. After the tour we walked to Pier 69 and Fishermans Wharf and of course we had to have clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. We had an evening of great fun down there in the carnival like atmosphere. Our only regret was we did not have time for the cable cars. We had the only rain of the week just before sailing. We sailed under that magnificent bridge and indeed left a small part of our heart in San Francisco.
Wednesday was a day at sea and relaxation. Again the Pacific Ocean was very kind to us.
Thursday was San Diego. We have been to San Diego before and took the two hour harbor cruise. We learned much about the area and saw many Naval vessels, one just returning from the war zone. We were touched by the statue of Bob Hope performing for the troops. One of the statues was holding a sign that said "Thanks for the memories Bob". A tear or two fell. We had no time to visit the carrier Midway but it is #1 priority next visit.
We had been warned about Ensenada but my, what a pleasant surprise. The dock area in beautiful with a small shopping plaza. We are not big fans of Mexican ports anymore but those who opted to take the shuttle into town experienced no problems. We stayed and were serenaded by a barking chorus of smelly Sea Lions at the end of the pier. We really had a nice day in Ensenada.
Too soon we were secured to pier in San Pedro.and Sapphire Princess was busy preparing for her 14 day trip to Hawaii. The weather had been perfect. Maybe a bit cool but sunny. The Pacific behaved herself and we had smooth seas during our entire sail. Sapphire Princess is a beautiful. It never seemed crowded and surprisingly had few chair hogs. Her crew was friendly, the food though not great was good. Entertainment was good, the usual comedians and stage shows all quite entertaining. We had two Cabin Stewards, one left in San Francisco. Both were excellent. It was a perfect cruise alon a beautiful coastline. We have booked this cruise again for Oct 6 2012. Due to an early flight from LAX we took a taxi at a cost of $58.
The highlight of the trip was a talk by Gavin McLeod, Captain of TV's Loveboat. He is a genuine warm person. With him was his wife Patty and his brother and sister-in-law. His talk was proceeded by a film biography of his life. This is one talented man !
I hope I have not bored you with my rambling but I could write a long review on San Francisco alone. Less
Caribe 259 - An excellent cabin forward of center. Adequate storage. Small shower. Convenient to elevators. Have to walk across decks to get to Horizon Court. Straight down to deck 7 for Princess Theater.