A great way to spend Valentine’s day and Mardi Gras is on a cruise like we did this year. We left Boston flying non-stop on Virgin American and I have to tell you, all airlines should make flying this much fun and easy. It was definitely worth the upgrade to Main Cabin Select! We got in around 10 pm and caught a cab to the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. Next morning, no one was in the hotel pool so we made our way down there. We walked around the area and had an early dinner at Acapulco while watching a Princess ship sail out to sea.
The next morning we made our way down to the lobby for the free shuttle to the pier. It was hectic because three ships were sailing, but we made it down to the ship in just a few minutes. We checked our bags and made our way to the line out front. Since it was before 11 am, the doors were closed. Once they opened, we wound our way through security and checked in to get our SetSail Pass, the card used onboard for their cashless system that is also your cabin card. We sat down and waited only about 10 minutes before they started letting groups go onboard. Having cruised on Royal Caribbean‘s Mariner of the Seas‘ sister ships in the Voyager class (Adventure and Explorer), we felt familiar with her layout immediately and headed up to the 11th deck to the Windjammer for lunch. On the way there, we saw this hanging artwork.
On the way into the Windjammer, you pass this little seating area between Portofino’s on the left and Chops on the right. If you are an early riser, this is where you can grab a cup of coffee in the morning before the Windjammer opens.
Think of the Windjammer as a horseshoe and don’t feel compelled to sit down right as you walk in. Keep walking toward the back where some of the best views are or even all the way around to the other side. This will make for a less stressful meal if you aren’t fighting to get food or a table. Here is a picture of one of the brightly colored spots inside the Windjammer.
After lunch we were excited to take a tour around the ship. The pool area has art by famous contemporary artist and one of my favorites, Romero Britto. Your best view of the entire pool area is inside Ellington’s, the jazz bar where you can see the pool bar, the sky bar, the pools, and the hot tubs.
We also saw the Solarium, an area for anyone over 16 to relax and enjoy the pool and two hot tubs any time of day or night without being disturbed. It’s a nice place to lounge, read a book, or have a drink.
We popped back inside for a bit and walked through the casino, which is decorated in a fun, carnival type of theme.
Before heading back outside before we sailed away, we stopped by the gym where they have a huge hot tub in the middle, which is a great place to unwind if the weather is not agreeable outside. Check out the huge variety of gym equipment, too.
We made sure to make our way back up on deck for the sail away party where people were already dancing and drinking as well as waving to those still on land. What a great way to start our vacation!