My DH and I arrived in Long Beach 2 days before our cruise began. We Pricelined a room at the Long Beach Hyatt ($65) and it was great. No problems. We took Prime Time Shuttle from SNA to the hotel.
The first day we took Sunseeker Tours for an all day LA tour. The tour was arranged by a fellow cruise critic friend. Alberto was our driver and we enjoyed the day very much. We then met a group of about 25 other cruise critic friends at the Queen Mary Hotel for dinner. Great times.
On Embarkation day we took the free shuttle to the local Albertsons for cruise snacks and bottled water to take on-board then a short taxi ride ($10) took us to the port. Embarkation took exactly 1 hour door to state room. The lines moved quickly. We ate a quick lunch on the Lido deck and unpacked our bags - as we carried them on.