Arrived at LAX about 3 hours before embarkation. Driver was at Baggage Claim and trip to the Port was much quicker than I had planned, about 30 minutes, not the hour I had planned flights around. Faster to The Fun was a great purchase, our own dedicated line to process in and obtain our Sign and Sail Cards. They could have had better signage to differentiate FTTF from Suites and High Level VIFP folks as they get on even before FTTF.
Embarkation was very smooth. I love having at least 1 embarkation photo taken, but the cattle herding mentality was bit much. Wife said "it's all about the money, honey" and on to actually getting onboard the ship. You do have to mention FTTF to the crew members are they will tell you "1:30" before cabins are available. Once FTTF was mentioned, they directed us to the correct location and on to the room.
The room was a room, nothing spectacular and nothing bad. The balcony was nice, but remember to let the door close by itself so it closes tight, or else the wind whistle will be loud. The door alignment was a touch off and the latch wouldn't close. Oh, and it was cold in the room, like hanging a side of beef cold, I half expected to see Rocky Balboa show up to start his workout routine. So be sure to bring a light jacket so you don't freeze while unpacking.
The Bacchus Dining Room was grapey. The food was consistent and our table mates were outstanding. A couple from New York State and a couple from Vancouver (Washington, USA). We're not normally a fan of shared tables, but this trip we hit the jackpot.
Cabo San Lucas was the first port. No excursions, just a walk around the port, a great lesson in tequila and differences between the blends. Extra Anejo was the best I have ever tasted and was truly "sipping" quality and ended up buying a bottle. Went on a boat ride, took obligatory photos of the Arch and spend some time on Lovers Beach before heading back to the boat. Tequila made it through Security and was safe in my cabin for the duration.
Mazatlan was the 2nd port. We had an excursion - mini speed boat ride and El Cid Resort. I need more practice on speed boat handling and lost a valued old hat, but all in all, it was fun.
Puerto Vallarta was the 3rd port. We had not planned on any excursions, but the night before we decided to see what was available still. We ended up doing the Hidden Mexico and Traditions. A 7.5 hour tour that went to the back country. Tour Guide Rubi was outstanding. I highly recommend it. Not for those that have trouble climbing in and out of the back of trucks.
Oh, by the way, between ports 1 and 2 was a Sea Day. We had signed up for the "Chefs Table". Wow, it was outstanding. I've never eaten 7+ courses of food before.
Started with a Champagne Service in the Atrium Bar. Then moved onto (into) the Kitchen. While in the Kitchen we were given a brief verbal tour of the kitchen and what it takes to pull off Dinner Service every night. While still in the Kitchen we were served:
Mango Sphere on a Rosemary Biscuit
Salmon Tartar Coronets, Sesame Seeds
Beef Carpaccio on Air Pillow, Chocolate Bacon, Apple Ribbons
Double Cooked Lamb, Tapioca
On to Doctor Frankensteins where a table had been set up with place cards for each of the guests.
Beef Blanket, Spiced Grape Tea
(Asparagus, Cauliflower,Honey Carrot Tian, Mache,Lemon Streussel)
(Corn Custard,Polenta Cracker,Tangerine, Passion Caviar)
(Creamy Quinoa,Parmesan Churros,Olive Snow,Port Wine Jus)
Bisque Our Way
(Two Tomatoes,Three Basil,Crisped Brioche,Garlic Chip)
(Chorizo Crust, Fried Pop Corn Pudding, Lemon Macaroon, Lobster Foam)
(Bone Marrow Souffle, Scallion and Garlic Panisse, Gremolata Crisp)
(Sea Salt Praline Chocolate, Rasberry Mojito, Key Lime Cake, Apricot Vanilla Gel, Citrus Cream)
Did not eat for almost 24 hours after that. It was outstanding and well worth the $75pp charge. They also had it every night, so not as exclusive as I had heard, but still the best part of the cruise by far.
If it's windy outside, even tightly closing the balcony door will not prevent wind noise. Not a bad cabin, no noise from any activity on the ship, but kids next door will be noticeable.