We are from San Diego area so we took limo to port in San Pedro. There were 5 of us, Husband, Daughter (15 yr old), Niece, Nephew (both 30's) and myself.
Embarkation: Arrived in San Pedro around 1:00 pm (should have been there earlier but limo broke down on the way up) and lines were relatively short. Went thru security and I had a bottle of wine in my carry on. Agent said to check it at the table outside security but never followed up so I just kept going. Took the usual photo and boarded the ship within 1/2 hour. Elevators were slow so we decided to hike up to our Cat. C cabin on deck 8. Needless to say we were a little winded after all those stairs and carrying luggage. We weren't in the cabin 10 minutes before the phone rang for my daughter, who had met another teenage girl on line that was on the ship and the same deck, needless to say we didn't see much of her the rest of the cruise.
Went to the Windjammer for something to eat. Food ok but not great. As we were eating there was a gentleman sitting alone next to us. DH has the gift of gab and struck up a conversation with him. Turns out he was one the Drifters (who would be performing on the ship) and we had a wonderful conversation with him. We went to the show on Tuesday evening and he even waved to us and came over after the performance. They were very good.
Cabins: Cat C balcony cabins - nice size with plenty of storage. We met our cabin attendant right away. Daniel, from Nicaragua, was superb!! My DH asked for robes and extra pillows and we had them within minutes. The rest of the week he took care of our every need. The pre-tip made a difference I'm sure. He even checked out an extension cord for us so we could put up our holiday decorations.
First Night: Being totally exhausted we opted for the Windjammer that night for dinner. food was ok but nothing special. Walked around the ship to check out the decorations. Very well done with garland, many different Christmas trees and Gingerbread village set up in the Centrium. Off to cabin for a little R&R and glass of wine then shut eye.
Day 1 at Sea: Woke up to room service right on time. Strange though having beans with my eggs. Food not too great but edible. Again off to check out the ship and visit our first of many "watering holes". The weather was pleasant and the seas were calm. This was also the first formal night. We had second seating so it gave us some time to relax and get ready.
Went to the Welcome Aboard reception (very crowded) and we had to sit in the Schooner Bar. Very nice as they had waiters with drinks and munchies every where.
Finally ready for dinner. Found our table (148) dead center in the middle of the dining room next tot the captains table. He was not there that night but we would see him later in the week. We met our waiter, Hristo, from Bulgaria and his assistant Bruno from India. Hristo seemed a little too stuffy for me but Bruno did an excellent job!! Again, pre-tipping seemed to make the difference for us. We had a table for just us 5 which was nice due to the Holidays.
Day 2 - Cabo San Lucas DH and I decided to stay on the ship and visit the spa for a deep cleansing facial (awesome!!) while DD, Niece and Nephew were off to Cabo. They had lunch (not sure where) and then went on a glass bottom boat. They said it was great and my niece has one of those fancy digital cameras so we were able to see photos plus mini movie of this. I think they had a great time. Weather was very nice as we left Cabo and continued to be beautiful for all the ports.
Dinner this evening was casual. Hristo suggested the duck this night and I thought it was quite good. After dinner we visited the Schooner Bar (soon to be our favorite place) while DD was off with her new friends.
Day 3 - Mazatlan This is one of our favorite ports for fun. The open air cabs are a blast but since there was 5 of us we had to opt for a regular Explorer to go into town. Went to Golden Zone for some shopping and then lunch at the Shrimp Factory (GREAT shrimp!!!). From there it was off to Senor Frogs. What a crazy place. Had a few shots and danced for a while. The place was really hopping. Another cab back to the ship. That was interesting whith 5 of us in a Dodge Neon (plus the driver). We had to sit sideways in order to all fit.
Left Mazatlan about 5:30 pm - beautiful sunset. Tonights dinner again was casual (Christmas Eve) and I can't remember what was for dinner (too many shots???). Tonight also the "Dancing under the Stars" on the pool deck with huge buffet and lots of people. It was fun.
Day 4 - Puerto Vallarta Woke up to a lot of whooping and hollering. Seems the party boats at the pier were getting ready to leave. We hopped into a taxi for our own tour of the city (thanks to Xavier). He took us all around the city starting with the Marina area (beautiful homes and the Iguana tree) and from there we headed to Mismalayo (sp?) beach. Very beautiful place and the homes up on the hills were unbelievable. From the Xavier suggested lunch at El Dorado right on the beach in town. The tables are in a covered area but steps from the sand. The food was very good. Weather was about 85 that day.
Back to the ship but not until after a little shopping at the shops right by the ship.
2nd Formal Night (Christmas Day). We all took a nap prior to dinner this evening. Daniel came around with our "gift". A very nice tote bag on wheels with a matching cosmetic case inside. It was very helpful later on when we need extra room for stuff.
We all went down before dinner for our "portrait". They had caroling and they made it "snow" in the Centrium. Really nice. Dinner this night on special menus with the traditional turkey, beef wellington, etc. Food pretty good.
Day 5 - At Sea The weather started to slide at this point. A little chillier so we decided to visit the Schooner Bar for a "warm up" and visit our favorite bartender, Kenneth from St. Vincent (it was "only my second week...").
Dinner tonight was lobster. Pretty good but small. Although DH took several tails to go.
The waves started picking up this night and the ship began to move alot.
Day 6 - At Sea By morning I turned on the TV to the Bridge report to find out we had 18 ft. swells and gale force winds. My DD told me they had closed down the outside decks the night before due to the weather. When we left the cabin it was tough walking straight and there were vomit bags placed all over the ship but thanks to Bonine we had no problems.
Went to bingo as the jackpot was $12,000. Very interesting game - the guy that won the jackpot the 1st time could not find his receipt for his play card and they could not confirm he had bought it. He received lots of boo's from the rest of the crowd and after much delay they decided to go on with the game until 3 other people claimed the prize. Needless to say this gentleman was not very happy but they do tell you to check your receipt.
Last night on the ship and we had to say our farewells to all who had done such a wonderful job taking care of us all week. Dinner tonight was prime rib (pretty good).
Off to pack and have bags out by 11 pm.
Day 7 - San Pedro Disembarkation was a night mare. We opted to have breakfast so we missed our call for our tags. Went down to area to leave and spend 1 1/2 hours in line to get off the ship. Some people were rather rude and the line wrapped around the room and people got off the elevators and just cut in wherever they could. We finally got off the ship around 10 am.
In summary we had a great time and DD can't wait to go on another cruise. Forgot to mention we did visit the casino a couple time and I did manage to win about $300 on the $.25 slots.