We arrived a day early in Long Beach, just a precaution because we were coming all the way from Alaska and did not want weather to ruin our vacation. We stayed the night in the Westmark at the Convention Center. Nice hotel, all the standard amenities. A little expensive, but for downtown Long Beach I guess that is the norm. Easy walking distance to all the sights. On the day of embarkation we arrived a little early to try and beat the crowds expecting to wait a little while because we were early. To our surprise they were already starting to bring people in. While in line for security the employees had lots of confusion as to who should go where. Almost like this was the first cruise out of this port. There was a wedding party, numerous handicapped individuals, VIPs, etc... Once we got through security we started looking for the separate lines for fun pass complete and not complete. Well, contrary to the way it is explained on Carnivals website and in their embarkation documents that you receive in the mail, there is only one great, great big line for everyone. That line went pretty slow for a number of reasons. Only about half of the positions to check people in were being operated, typical to Carnival, the employees were being superbly friendly. Having long conversations with every guest, regardless of the 1000 guests waiting in line. And of course it never fails the number of guests that can be told 100 times to have all documents ready when reaching the counter and when they get there they have to look for a while to find those same documents. Once we made it to the counter we were on the boat 5 minutes later. Overall could use some work, but was not too brutal.
We were very impressed with the food as a whole on the boat. Only did two nights in the main dining room, food was average there. But that is to be expected, massive crowd all trying to eat at once. The buffet variety and quality kept us coming back. From the outstanding omelettes in the morning to burgers, pizza, stirfry and many other options in the evening. We went up to Davids Supper Club one night for the most delicious meal we have had in a long time. The service was beyond fabulous, the meal would rival some of the best restaurants you can find on land. A must do.
In Puerto Vallarta we booked our own shore excursion through the internet. The Los Veranos canopy zip line. We had to take a taxi from the pier, but that was very easy as they are waiting for you. 20 minutes later we were at their office for a short wait and then a 30 minute bus ride into the jungle. The tour took about three hours and was a blast. They are very safe. Everyone had a great time, including a young boy of about 7 years. The bus takes you back to Puerto Vallarta and will drop you off anywhere you want. We had him drop us off at the cruise terminal, save a taxi fare.