My DH and I are in the mid 40's-50's and as a Christmas present to each other decided to take this cruise because for the first time in years we didn't have any relatives coming to our house for the holidays. We arrived in San Diego after a huge freak snowstorm nearly stranded us in the desert! San Diego was sunny but a bit chilly. We used the Park and Go lot which wasn't right at the dock but they had good shuttles and for only 10 bucks a day was well worth it for those who drive to SD. Embarkation was very fast and orderly. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits. We had a nice lunch in the Lido and were in our cabin by 1:30. Well, we had a great view of the LIFEBOAT. When they say fully obstructed view I guess you have to take them seriously. I could see a bit of the promenade deck. Hubby (who is 6'1") said he could see just fine but I think he was just rubbing it in because I am short. During the lifeboat drill, as we were chatting a nice lady said to my husband, "Are you Lapidary Lady?" "Um, no but I think that is my wife's screen name on Cruise Critic," he replied. We had run into RuthandJohn who were absolutely WONDERFUL companions to us throughout the cruise! (Not to mention they are top-drawer trivia players!) It was fun to run into other people from the Rollcall right away, and then again when we had a meet and greet up in the Crow's Nest on the second day. We hadn't been paying attention to our dining and ended up with the As You Wish dining. It was okay. You had the option of dining by yourselves at a table for two, or with others if a large table was being seated. We met some nice people, but didn't develop any good friendships as it was all very transitory. We ended up the second half of the cruise eating with RuthandJohn at the eary sitting. Big thanks to the manager of the Vista Dining room for accommodating us! The ship had beautiful decorations, including a whole gingerbread town that smelled wonderful each time we walked by it. It was constructed in the Explorations Cafe by the pastry chefs...it even had a train! Our cruise director Cory was nice but seemed kind of, well, inexperienced. Maybe he is new, but he seemed a bit stilted and flustered at times. Whomever he had "announcing" Santa's arrival needs to take some serious lessons in how to sound convincing. There were probably at least 100 retired school teachers on board who could have done a more enthusiastic job. The crew and stewards really did their best to be friendly and helpful....A++ for their efforts. We had a nice whale watching cruise with free drinks, chips and salsa for our Cabo San Lucas excursion.(and actually SAW some whales!Not just a tiny spout far off in the distance.) Cabo seems very new and a happy place to visit. The tenders over were a grown-up version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, ( Or would that be Senor Frog's?) They were very rough, and we kept bashing into the platform while waiting to load more passengers. We eventually got away and things improved....it was a picture perfect beautiful day. Saw some interesting sights, like a huge green iguana wearing a Santa hat that was available for pictures, (for a price) and heavily armed policia walking around with automatic rifles, (whom I doubt would be available for posing for pictures, but then again, I didn't ask.) The "Bargains" weren't that much of a bargain. T-shirts were $11.00,(almost Free said the sign,)the vanilla extract I bought was rather pricey and the eelskin leather belt was right up there in price with what I would have paid for the same thing in the mall back home. Mazatlan was hot and humid. They did have a shopping trolly to safely transport shoppers from the dock to the shops. There was huge mariachi statues with a real life sized mariachi band serenading us as we disembarked, but as it got hotter everyone seemed to disappear. My hubby enjoyed the sea kayaking but they were done in a few hours, and spent the rest of the time (another 2 hours)standing around fending off rather aggressive street vendors instead of being allowed to return to the ship. The next day was Puerto Vallarta. Hubby had a blast doing the zipline throughout the jungle. He highly recommends this excursion! I stayed onboard and enjoyed the ambiance of the ship (...and the airconditioning). There was a lady on the dock with a beautiful Macaw to pose for pictures with, and a Walmart and a Sam's Club right across the street for those people who interested in seeing the same stuff offered for sale at home in a foreign land! (Actually, people getting gifts said they had better prices on the same touristy stuff than the street vendors did.) The two sea days home were nicesaw lots of dolphins and whales when we passed by Cabo again. The last night we had some rough seas...had to excuse myself from the Mariner's brunch rather hastily when I unfortunately caught sight of the horizon doing wild things. The lady at the medical dispensary gave me some Bonine tablets that fixed me up but soon we saw wooden trays holding seasick bags conveniently placed near the elevators so I knew I wasn't the only one. I recovered so quickly I was able to enjoy the Chef's Dinner with the Baked Alaska that night. We got really cute little glowsticks to wave around during the show. We were really sad to say goodbye at the end of the cruise especially to our new dear friends. We became such good friends they decided to book the 15 day Hawaiian cruise with us for next year! This was truly a wonderful cruise and a great way to spend Christmas Thank You HAL!!!
FULLY obstructed view, unless you like looking at lifeboats. During high seas there was something like a rope that wasn't tied down and was constantly banging all night long, but other than that it was a good cabin. Airconditioning works VERY well!