Dec. 6-13, 2009 became our first 3 "sisters" vacation. It was the first time Carolyn and I got Jane (our sister-in-law) to come along with us. I'm very glad she was able to make it. Carolyn and I had done this same itinerary last year on Holland America so we knew a bit of what to expect---at least from the itinerary. At first I was a little disappointed to be doing the same itinerary, but it turned out to be alright. We were able to do some different things and since I was more familiar with the area, I didn't mind not doing organized tours.
Pre-cruise I met up with Jane at LAX and spent the night in a LaQuinta Suites Inn for $60 for the night. My flight from STL ended up being a little more exciting as Texas was hit by a 6 inch snow storm the night before. Some day I'll learn not to schedule myself through Texas in the winter (was stuck there during a couple ice storms in the past, as well as a couple snow storms)! But I ended up being able to catch a flight to Denver (where they're equiped for winter weather) and then on to LAX, getting there only about 40 minutes late.
Sunday morning we met up with Carolyn at the embarkation station. We were there early, so were able to register quickly and sit around outside for a couple hours visiting before boarding the ship. Jane and I did walk over to the Queen Mary (now a hotel there) and enjoyed wandering around in it. They were having a buffet breakfast there and there were lots of x-mas decorations, even carollers. Looked like it would be a neat place to spend the night. I found out after we got back that the firm Angie works for is doing some renovating to it.
Embarkation went quickly and easily. Fortunately we didn't go on the cruise the 2 weeks before this one or the one after it as there were problems. 2 weeks before, the ship had run into another ship in Puerto Vallarta, then later in the week the captain had a heart attack and they had to turn around and head back to Cabo making them several hours late getting back into Long Beach. The cruise after ours ended up staying over night in Puerto Vallarta after the ship ran into a dock and had to have repairs done before it could leave. Fortunately nothing unusual happened during our cruise.
Here we posed for our first of many pictures. It was a bit chilly that day---probably about 60 degrees---not what I expected for Long Beach. Soon we were on the ship and heading to the Lido buffet for lunch.