Let me start by saying we are the type of people who believe that any vacation is what you make it and therefore, can have a good time pretty much anywhere. And we did on this trip. It was a wonderful 9-day vacation although there were definitely some ups and downs. We've cruised on Disney, Carnival and NCL all 7-day's or longer. When we chose this cruise we did so knowing that we were getting "what we paid for." Carnival is inexpensive in comparison but is a good value for our family of four.
Embarkation in San Diego was strange. We arrived at 11:00 a.m. and were on the ship by 12:30. There was some waiting but it was fine. The terminal is small and they use white tents set-up on an asphalt parking lot as additional waiting area. The baggage check was outside and a bit disorganized. Not really what one would expect from a home port that has been hosting cruises for any length of time.
The buffet we had for lunch before sailing was terrible. We love a good meal and have eaten in some very nice, very good places but don't really consider ourselves "foodies." There weren't many choices and what was available tasted like leftovers from the previous cruise. Luckily it did get much better throughout the trip. Look carefully or you'll miss the prepared to order stations which are hidden behind the buffet lines. There just isn't space for them anywhere else. I'd equate the quality of food to what you would find at Home Town Buffet with maybe a more little flair.
We loved our cabin. The extra large bathroom and dressing area were awesome! Loved the bigger balcony too! Very roomy and clean.
We walked from the ship to Krystal. It's an easy walk down the beach from the terminal. There are several resort hotels that line that stretch of beach so we were never concerned about walking with our kids despite the present situation in Mexico.
Krystal was very welcoming. We did not pay for a day pass. Just found ourselves a few lounge chairs, ordered drinks and food and swam all day. We did take advantage of the inexpensive massages they offer. Two 75-minute massages for $75. Wonderful!!
Cabo is one of our favorite ports on the Mexican Riveria (we much prefer the Eastern side of Mexico). Tendering was uneventful but we always wait and let the excursions get off the ship before we try and leave. I had e-mailed before leaving at got an OK to buy a day pass from the Melia for that day. We took a water taxi from the marina to the resort. When we arrived we were told that our kids would not be allowed to swim in the resorts pool. For some reason, security said it wasn't "safe". This would have been our 3rd time to the melia off a cruise ship and have always been welcomed. It was obvious on this occassion they simply did not want us on their property. It would've been fine by us had I not gotten an OK for a day pass or if they would have just told us when we arrived. Instead they first gave us the no on the pool and then the servers litterally ignored us on their rounds. It was as if we didn't exist. Needless to say, we left and headed down the beach. We had a nice day at the Mango Deck enjoying the sun and playing in the ocean. It ended up costing us less than if we had stayed at the Melia!