For a 3 night cruise, I really had fun. I've only been on 7 night cruises so I wasn't really sure what to expect with a weekend cruise. Due to the swine flu, we went to Catalina Island and only did a technical stop in Ensenada to meet the Jones Act requirement. I really liked Catalina Island. Considering my last two cruises were to Mexican ports, it was nice to enter a port without people pulling on your arms and trying to get you to buy tours or souvenirs. All the shops were very reasonably priced. I got a Catalina Island t-shirt for $9.99USD as an example.
EMBARKATION: I love San Diego port. We checked out of the hotel before 9 and headed downtown. We hung out at Seaport Village for about an hour or so. Bought some salsa and walked around. Decided to drive to parking lot to find a parking spot. We were really early because I wasn't sure we could find parking. Five Star parking #5 was directly across the street & practically empty. They are more expensive than some of the other airport parking locations ($15/day I think) but not having to wait for shuttles etc is a big thing for me. I like being in control of when/where to be. So we walk across the street and go to the terminal around 11. Going thru x-ray was a little more intense than my last cruise at San Diego. I had a small 12x14x14 soft sided cooler with a plastic liner that had bottles of water, a half gallon jug of water in it. They inspected each bottle by shaking the contents (to see if it fizzed I guess.) Line to check in wasn't long at all. Maybe 20 people total ahead of us and some were in groups. Got checked in with boarding #1 and only had to wait about 15 minutes before they started boarding. We were at the lido deck by 11:45. Cruise docs stated not to arrive at port before 1pm. Yeah right. Glad we didn't listen to that. We had burger for lunch & drink of the day on the lido deck by the main pool. Rooms weren't ready until 1:30 but one of the staff members saw us waiting outside the doors that closed off the rooms and he said "go on in & drop off your luggage. They don't care as long as you don't stay." Our room was ready. Cool. So we dropped off our stuff/stashed luggage in the closets and away we went back to enjoy the action without toting bags around.
Room Steward service was good. Had no issues. Tipped him a little extra to keep our water cooler filled with ice which he did daily. The first time I've had a towel animal on my first night so I was impressed. Usually don't get it on the first night in my experience.