Embarkation, 15 March, 2014: Embarkation was very easy. After going through the routine activities of check-in and security, we were directed to a holding area to await our group number being called. The wait was relatively brief compared to other embarkations that I have experienced. The only con that I have for the embarkation from San Francisco was the lack of refreshments and drinks. Other waiting areas I have visited had vending machines for snacks or drinks (water or sodas). The only liquid refreshment that I found was a thermos of cold water. Other passengers were also commenting on the absence of refreshments in the waiting area.
Sailaway: Sailaway was fantastic. I situated myself on the observation platform located on the roof of the bridge. Unfortunately, I forgot my jacket in my cabin. As the wind got stronger, the temperature got colder. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge is always exciting. As we sailed under the mid span, we could hear the cheers and greetings from the people waving from the walkway on the bridge. As we looked back at the bridge, the sun made the bridge's red-orange color stand out against the clear blue sky. What a beautiful sight it was, with the city skyline in the background. As we sailed away from the coast, we entered a cold fog bank that required the ship to sound it's fog horns. The fog broke just long enough for us to view a magnificent sunset.
Sea day: A dense fog greeted us for our first sea day. Later, the skies cleared and a warm, sunny day followed. Seas were relatively calm with a gentle swell moving the ship. During the day we could see the spouting of migrating whales on their journey north. We tried our luck at gambling at the Grand Casino. Note, I said tried.
Our midship mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. The bathroom had a shower-tub combination with a lavatory with a lot of storage space. There are two flat screen TVs, one for the bedroom, the other for the sitting area. As on most ships, channel selection is minimal, with many repeat broadcasts. Unfortunately, there was only one remote for both TVs, which made channel changing difficult when both TVs were in use at the same time. Another negative about the cabin was the constant creaking and banging at night when the ship was sailing through heavy swells. This made sleeping very difficult. The noise seemed to come from the space above the ceiling and the space between our cabin and the adjoining cabin. This was by far the worst cabin noise I have ever experienced on any cruise ship.