My wife and I decided to take this short weekend cruise as we live in the LA area and wanted to do something different for our wedding anniversary. We're no stranger to cruising or Carnival - we have done several cruises before but only 7 or 8 day trips. The 3 day cruise was a new experience for us.
We went with an ocean view room on deck 7. I thought I was being smart and picked a room under the galley. My thinking was that it would be quieter than having someone in a room above us. That turned out to be a bad idea - it was the noisiest room I think I could've picked with crashing and dragging noises throughout much of the night. So a word to the wise - don't pick a room under the galley.
The embarkation experience went pretty smooth - especially with the Faster to the Fun package with an appointment time. I think we made it on board in record time, I'd be surprised if it took 20 minutes from the time we walked into the cruise center until we put our carry ons in our cabin.
The ship we thought was in pretty decent shape for its age and how quickly they cycle it with new passengers. We like the Spirit class of ship so this felt quite different but seemed to have the same amenities we normally enjoy. The room was okay, a little dated but clean. We usually book at least a balcony room but this class of ship has very few of those. You're not really in the room very much other than to sleep and clean up so it wasn't a big deal to us for a 3 day trip.
One thing that seemed a little off from our usual, enjoyable experience was the bar service seemed very slow for the most part. We had great service at the Alchemy Bar but the other bars were hit and miss - usually very slow.
Another thing to note is that the crowd for this short cruise is much different than the longer itineraries. I wouldn't recommend it for kids or families with younger ones. We're social drinkers - we're in our early 40s and are pretty tolerant of other folks having a good time. But, we did see quite a few people that had over-consumed and had become sick or temporarily unable to take care of themselves. We were awakened a couple times by rowdy partiers in the hallway and at least one fight. Overall, just about everyone seemed to be there to have a good time though some took it a little too far. We have a 15 year old and I'm glad we had him stay home with grandpa, I don't think he would've enjoyed himself.
The food overall seemed good and the staff in the main dining room was as good as we've ever experienced. It would've been nice to have the steakhouse as is found on the Spirit class ships but we managed to survive just fine without it.
The sea day was nice - lots of activities going on to fill our time. Ensenada is much different than other Mexican ports and we chose to go with the wine tasting tour. We weren't expecting much but were blown away by the wine country just outside of Ensenada. There were vineyards and wineries all over and the quality of the wine was quite good - we brought 6 bottles home and had a fantastic time.
Debarkation went fast but we only had carry ons which was great. The US Customs process went really fast. I think between the time we left the lounge on the ship waiting to be released it took perhaps 20 minutes until we were in our car at the parking garage.
All in all, we'd do this trip again as a nice way to spend a weekend.
Cabin was a bit dated but the ship is older. It seemed to be kept clean and in good repair though. It is under the galley so it was usually very noisy from galley activities until 11:00 PM at night and started getting noisy again around 3:00 AM. It was nice to be on deck 7 (Empress) as the lobby bar was just down the hallway.
It was great. We met on the dock in Ensenada and were escorted to a nice bus. The bus ride takes you about an hour out of town to the wine country area. We were very impressed at how many wineries (over 100) and all the vineyards. The wines were actually quite good and very reasonably priced. We brought 6 bottles home with us and enjoyed our guide and time at 2 wineries. LA Cetto was the big winery we visited first and it was quite nice - very good wine. The second place we visited was more of a store and restaurant which was still good but not as good as LA Cetto. We had a great time on this excursion, greatly exceeded our expectations.View All undefined undefined Reviews
It was great. We met on the dock in Ensenada and were escorted to a nice bus. The bus ride takes you about an hour out of town to the wine country area. We were very impressed at how many wineries (over 100) and all the vineyards. The wines were actually quite good and very reasonably priced. We brought 6 bottles home with us and enjoyed our guide and time at 2 wineries. LA Cetto was the big winery we visited first and it was quite nice - very good wine. The second place we visited was more of a store and restaurant which was still good but not as good as LA Cetto. We had a great time on this excursion, greatly exceeded our expectations.View All 64 Winery Tour Reviews