My DH and I arrived in Long Beach 2 days before our cruise began. We Pricelined a room at the Long Beach Hyatt ($65) and it was great. No problems. We took Prime Time Shuttle from SNA to the hotel.
The first day we took Sunseeker Tours for an all day LA tour. The tour was arranged by a fellow cruise critic friend. Alberto was our driver and we enjoyed the day very much. We then met a group of about 25 other cruise critic friends at the Queen Mary Hotel for dinner. Great times.
On Embarkation day we took the free shuttle to the local Albertsons for cruise snacks and bottled water to take on-board then a short taxi ride ($10) took us to the port. Embarkation took exactly 1 hour door to state room. The lines moved quickly. We ate a quick lunch on the Lido deck and unpacked our bags - as we carried them on.
Day 2: sea day - a meet and greet with our HUGE cruise critic group and relaxation.
Day 3: Cab San Lucas: A tender port. Our tender number was called at 3:40pm. We would have been ashore about 1 hour then would have had to rush back. There were 3 other boats docked that day. Anyway - we decided it was not worth the anxiety of rushing ashore then immediately tendering back.
Day 4: Puerto Vallarta: We took a taxi to The Malecon with some other passengers in a van ($3ea). We enjoyed seeing the renovations. It is beautiful. Then we took a taxi way up the hill and had lunch at Casa Isabella. It was wonderful! Up at the very top of the hill - beautiful view and great food. I had done some research in Trip Advisor.
Day 5,6,7 were at sea. WONDERFUL RELAXING DAYS.......
Day 8: Puntarenas, Costa Rica: We took a tour arranged by a cruise critic pal with Okey Dokey Tours. It was a day long tour. Our guide was Evelyn. We lots of interesting things - ate a local restaurant and stopped at a grocery store to buy souvenirs at the end of the tour. There are also some outdoor vendors at the cruise dock.
Day 9: Panama Canal transit. We went out on deck at about 6am with the hoards of other crazy people who saved places along the rails by SLEEPING OUTSIDE! Is that crazy or what? After about 9am you could stand wherever you wanted. The naturalist that was brought on-board did a great job. It rained later in the day and we moved indoors to watch on deck 9. Ended up with a better view. Really cool day.
Day 10: Cartagena, Columbia: We were lucky to have a friend meet us who lives in Cartagena meet us and take us around for the day. We went everywhere possible and then some. It was HOT!! Loved Cartagena and would like to go back some day!
Day 11: another relaxing sea day (much needed)
Day 12: Grand Cayman Island: We ended up on a tour with Native Way tours that was arranged by another CC pal to see the Stingrays and snorkel! We had a great lunch on Rum Point and had an absolutely great day.
Day 13: our final day to relax on deck. Absolute Paradise!
Day 14: In Tampa. :-(
We had an absolutely lovely time. Met lots of great people. I played games with my new CC friends everyday at 4pm on sea days. Great times.