My husband and I took the Princess Sapphire in December, 2005 from Los Angeles to Mexico. We flew in the day before from Chicago and stayed at the Westin Hotel in Long Beach. This was wonderful - not having to worry about missing the ship on the day of departure due to weather. The Princess Rep was waiting for us at the baggage claim area and stayed with us till our luggage arrived. She escorted us to the vehicle that was taking us to Long Beach. We wished we had come in an extra day to see more of the sights in Long Beach. The Westin has the "heavenly bed" which is awesome.
From the time we left the hotel to getting to our state room took last than an hour. There was a Princess Rep at the hotel on the day of departure who explained everything that would happen. Everyone was extremely helpful. Once we got to the ship, we were escorted to a line with only 2 people instead of the other line with approx 100 people. We found out this was because we had an upgrade (room with a balcony). It is worth the extra money to have the larger room. We had a balcony which was really great. We would spend time out there reading, etc.
The other extra that I like - was the laundry on our floor. Only a $1.00 for washer and dryer (dryer - only 20 minutes) They also have irons set up in the area which was great.