We flew in from Edmonton Alberta, the day before our cruise. We stayed at the Long Beach Marriott which was very nice, and visited the Aquarium of the Pacific with our free afternoon before the cruise.
When we arrived at the port, the line up just to hand luggage to the porters was horrendous! My husband has muscular dystrophy, and while he is mobile to a point, standing in line for over an hour would have been impossible. The head guy of the porters told us there was nothing he could do (seriously, the guy was a jerk) and told us to line up. A very nice porter took pity on us and took our luggage from us as soon as the boss jerk turned away.
Once inside the terminal, we were told our ship itinerary had changed - no problem for us, and it does say in the small print that they reserve the right to do this. We were told to take a number and a seat...thankfully we were able to get into the special assistance line up as soon as our number was called. It took about another hour to get on board the ship after this. This was (I am told) an awful embarkation and not the norm - but it's all in the attitude, go with the flow, you can't change it so smile :O)
Once on board we were able to access our stateroom within 10 mins (luggage arrived a couple of hours later). The stateroom was wonderful, bigger than normal rooms with an extended balcony. Our room steward Florin kept it looking beautiful, with towel creations, twice daily service, and constant ice in the bucket! We headed up to the lido deck for lunch ...what a nightmare, so many hungry frenzied people! On our next cruise we are going to head to a bar for a quiet drink and eat later!
We dined at both the lido and the main dining room - the food at the buffet was good, if a little repetitious, the dining room food was good, to very good at times and the service was wonderful! The only issue we had with the food is the relative lack of spice...so if you are like us, bring some hot sauce along!!
Stu the cruise director was loud, annoying and ever present on the ship's pa, but as the days went past, he grew on us, and we found him to be both entertaining and informative. I did hear many people mimicking him throughout the cruise which was amusing!
The smoking on balconies was a pain at first, but after a few days I didn't really notice it anymore.
We did excursions at Ensenada, Manzanillo and Cabo ...with the exception of Cabo, the excursions were value for money.
Debarkation was easy, we had a bus booked to take us to LAX , this was seamless. I felt sorry for the folk trying to get a taxi, the line up was very long.
All in all, we had a fabulous time, we are booked (suprise birthday gift for hubby) on a 4 day to Santa Catalina and Ensenda next May and then for a 7 day Carribean to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel in November 2012 ...214 and 413 days respectively....and counting!!!!!