This is an insight from the good, the bad with great tips for those who wants to take this trip along the way. We run away from our cold Canada winter from November 8 to November 15, 2014 going to Los Angeles/Catalina and Ensenada. This might not be in agreement with everyone but this is the experience and the freedom of my expression in regards of this trip. As a Travel Consultant it’s important to give you all the information and all the details through our trip.
November 8, 2014 – Leaving from Calgary 5:30pm getting pick up by a Sundan luxury Limousine at our house which was on time. The ride was very pleasant and courtesy of the driver was very professional. Instead of taken a cab for few extra dollars, why not taken the advantage of a smooth ride. Cold temperature arising but exciting to get away to a warmer weather. I would like to say Thank you to Allied Limousine in Calgary, Alberta for the great services they have provided. Not to mention to those who doesn’t know, Allied Limousine is the Consumer Choice Award 2014. We also took the privilege to reserved a Sundan Luxury Limousine in Los Angeles, California when we arrive in both way and no matter where you are what a great service you get. I would like to Thank also Masters Limousine which they were so professional, on time and so kind to your needs. Some will say; wow! they have money but why saving when you can enjoy a better ride. Most of us spend more on coffee, shoes, clothes and we never complain so why not! This little extra will make a huge difference to your trip.
Being a Travel Consultant is to try various options so I can experience and give a good understanding to my clients. I wanted to fly with Westjet which I though would have been a good choice at the time; I choose a flight that was not too earlier or too late. Departure time was 7:15pm which would bring us to Los Angeles at 9:26pm. We reserved first class and were on the first front row which mean you are part of the Zone 1. They called the Plus class. Plane was late and received an email way later on to let us know the gate was changed. The wi-five was not working at the airport so we never get the message on time. There was another family close by who was also going to Los Angeles and discover the gate was changed. There were no sign, nobody and the airport was full of people. They should have someone at the previous gate to let passenger know of this circumstances. Staff even didn’t advise us when she check our boarding pass!
TIPS: Make sure you double check with the Airlines before you pass security. Never Assume as you might miss your plane at the time.
Location of the seat was great but not much of a first class as we were cramp like the economy seat. I was sitting in the middle and the person next to me had her elbow just overboard my space. This was the most uncomfortable first class I ever experience! You don’t get special treatment like other airlines, but free food and beverages including beer, wine and spirits.
I mean for the price you pay may as well be anywhere in the plane since it’s not much different than other seat behind us. You can on board right after the kids but still for the amount of space it’s not really worth it to pay that amount for that airline. The ride was bumpy and because of the lack of space, I had a hard time to sleep. Movie was not bad but head phone provided was so uncomfortable. As per their brochure they didn’t have the other kind of head phone which was very unfortunate. You would think they would have everything they advertise! The food was not so bad as it’s always the same choice but being in the first class you should get different kind of food. Instead the only thing you get is the same but it’s free. This is not about being snobish or being better then anyone. This is why I wanted to experience their first class because every airline is different and for the price you pay ahead you expect to get a better service. Once you are on the plane, it’s too late to complain! We all know what the economy section has to offer but some of us doesn’t know the experience of the first class and every airline is different. This one it sure is!
One thing I have to remimd for those who still want to be on the front seat row, you are not allowed to put anything under your seat because you are the first row. Even your purse or bag has to go into the compartment above you. But make sure you take the necessary which you can put into your front pocket. Just make sure you don’t forget them!
When we return on November 15, 2014, we departure from LAX (Los Angeles) which I think the room at the airport where everybody is waiting to on board is so pack. Why are we paying so much on tax to an Airport and not having a better comfort to have more space for people to seat around instead of standing up and breathing in the neck of someone else. We on board right after the kids which was smooth, happy staff and very pleasant. First class as well, seating in the middle but this time I had a gentleman at my side which was very nice because of the lack of space, I did get some sleep. However, I have been told by one of the Flight Attendant on board, this was a new plane, therefore there was no TV provided on this plane. There were so many kids, I felt sorry for the parents. No question ask but again as per their brochure, they do provide tablets which I have asked but apparently they don’t have any tablet. The same Flight Attendant told me because it was a short trip. It’s funny as I did watch a movie and had TV on every seat when we came in Los Angeles at the first place. So for her to tell me this was not right. My husband was very desapointed as I can just imagine other parents who has younger kids. The ride was smooth though and arrive 1/2 hour late.
Every airline is different. Some like it for the price and they don’t really care how they get there. In today’s Travel, there is a lot of option and it is very unfortunate for the price you pay you have to compromise in a way to get to your destination. I must say, Westjet staff are the most happy and welcome through your time on the plane. Would I recommend it to my clients, no – not my first choice.
At the end of the day, if you want comfort, choose wisely not by price but by comfort from what the Airline has to offer. This will make your ride smoother and less tired then by price and trying to catch up on sleep later on.
We arrive at the hotel around 11: 30pm. At the reception the desk agent was very kind but a little bit arrogant. Not only I was an Honoured Hilton members but as per instruction given to me prior over the phone I wanted to be in building 3 or 4. Due to our plane delayed apparently there were no guarantee. It’s not exactly what I was told over the phone. Unfortunetly, the desk agent put us into building 2 room 2310 on the third floor. Keep in mind, Hotel Maya has 4 building and if you don’t take your time you will be put anywhere. Hotel Maya is very popular for wedding and conference meeting which means, building 1 and building 2 is located just beside the restaurant and lots of traffic. Not to mention that building 2 has only stair to get to the elevator which is very inconvenient if you have a suitcase to lift it up.
Once in the room, it’s very nice, clean and beautiful to be on the ocean side. Right from our balcony we were able to see the Queen Mary and the Carnival. The only default is to be too close to ground as there is a lot attraction from the building 2. The other inconvenient – safe was not working and someone was suppose to come the next day to fix it but didn’t come. Being on the balcony is very loud due to the condition air machine. The good thing you can turn the machine from inside. The funny thing they provide in one of your night table ear plug.
The chair from the balcony which they are all yellow pretty color but very uncomfortable. Small round table to add. For the amount of space you have in each balcony they could have add a long chair and even a square table and 2 comfortable chair.
It’s almost they forgot to add comfort – I have noticed not a lot people are sitting on the balcony and enjoy this beautiful view. Probably because of the uncomfortable chair.
They don’t have no fridge with stach of candy but there is outside of your room a candy machine and if you do want to enjoy a bottle of wine or beer – you have 2 choices – there is a mini store downstair at the reception or you can go directly to the bar and ask for 3 beers and a bottle of wine which they will provided to you with glasses which you can bring to you’re room. I found this very unsual to walk around with a bottle of wine but hey – it work for me.
The other thing as we are in the morning and since nobody show up prior our adventure to discover the surrounding, we put the sing do not disturb. At our return, the room was clean and the sign was on the floor inside the room.
I was shock as my laptop was not lock and thank god we brough our passport with us since the safe was broken but do they not respect that privacy! Not that I mind to have a clean room but I was a little bit offended.
Breakfast in the morning we went to one of the restaurant downstair which seems the only one. There was a buffett. Not bad but not the best either. A guess had a problem with the toaster which smoke the hole machine but I must say the staff are the most pleasant and no complain. Taste food not bad – There was some of the choice but lets say it was not elabrorated.
The other thing I found through this hotel there was a lot of wedding and therefore, there was a lot of area that was close for private party. It’s too bad when you come so far trying to find out what this hotel has to offer when you are section only in some of the are.
I didn’t tried the pool but the pool is located in Building 4 surrounded by fence. Not very big – big enough to manage about 2 people. Nice sitting area though and very close to the public path. It didn’t feel private – and was not very appealing. I have noticed there was table and cabana where you can be which was very nice.
The light attached to the building is a little bit annoying. I feel I am in the spotlight all the time and its harder to take picture – Make sure you are top floor which you wouldn’t have this problem.
Since we were so close by we didn’t have to take a cab but be ready to have proper shoes because that is a long walk. If you plan to be away from the hotel all day.
We visit the aquarium first site which was magnificient and so beautiful. Lots of staff and you can have a picture right when you coming. My suggestion, go early in the morning. It’s seems that our timing was just perfect as we avoid the crowd and we were able not only to take picture but to see better what we wanted to see. When we finished our tour by ourself, pick up the pictures that was taken, tWe hen we noticed there was lot more people then usual and it was harder to make our way out because it was crowded.
We walk around town which at my big surprise for a Sunday was extremyly quiet but still very pleasant. Then we went close to the harbor where you can find lots of mini store and restaurant close the boat shores. The walk was very long which make me having a nap after. I usualy don’t have any nap but it was a most as my feet was hurting and I was tired.
Then for dinner we decided to return on the other side of the water and have a nice meal at the Bubba – Staff was awesome, dinner was excellent. Not too mention we decided to take a taxi – there was no way I would have a walk with my long summer dress over the bridge.
From the hotel we have asked to call us a cab which it’s take about 5 minutes from Hotel Maya and cost about $10.00 us.
November 10 – Wake up early from the hotel Maya as we have to check out at noon. We therefore decided to take it easy and just relax around the hotel until check out time. Once we finalize our final bills the Hotel Maya was offering a shuttle to our boat. You could walk from the hotel to the boat as it’s only an 8 minutes walk but with luggages I recommend to take the shuttle.
Because we were priority as we reserved a cabin Junior V2 – King size bed with balcony, we had the privilege to check first and went into the captain Lounge to set up all the check in paper in order instead of doing the line up. For the amount of people that was through the normal line up, this is something that is very nice to have ahead and go through.
my experience from 26 years ago to now has change dramasticly. Not only the priority was nice as we boarded first but the hole operation to go through is very smooth and very organize. That is a real team work. Once we drop off our bag to the proper area after we have check in from the priority we make our way to the dome which they have security and will scan your bag and pass your pass under a scanner just like when you pass through security for the plane.
Not to mention that you have to check in between 1 and 4. If you do pass 4, you will have a hard problem to board in. But also being priority allowed you to visit the boat prior and knowing where are eveverything as the boat is quite big. Our boat was the carnival Inspiration which accommodate about 2,200 people.
Make sure you go to the tour desk and find out which one you want to attend as they are book very quickly. Reserved them but also be aware of the time of the departure of your tour as you might have to wake up early in the morning.
Gift card cash bar is probably cheaper then getting receipts for your drink all the time.
All store will not open until the boat sailing. Not to mention, no smoking is allowed outside as they are refuling therefore the only place is the bar inside close to the casino. Once the boat is moving then most store and allocation are open and allowed you for smoking.
One thing you don’t want to miss which is about ½ hour before departure is the drill for the safety. You don’t have to bring your lifejacket with you but it is very important to go as they are doing the count down. No drink nor no cell phone should be bring to the location of your drill. The drill is about ½ hours.
We went to the dining room which me meet 3 couples. Very nice people and very bless to be sitting with them. food was excellent but breakfast is questionable. I guess it’s depend what you are looking for but there is few restaurant around where you can find all different kind of food.
As we just started the cruise for the first day – remember the motion is something you will have to get use to it. So if you think you are drunk, that is the feeling as you won’t walk straight but still not so bad. Make sure you eat properly which will balance the amount of your drinking.
There is so many activities on the boat but for the first night we decided to take it easy and it’s nice because our room is located to the front and we do not hear no music but only the wind which is peaceful.
As many cruise give you a identity card – make sure you carrie that card on you at all time. Not only they will charge anything under your card but also if you leave the port to visit the location you have arrive too. You can buy beer at the bar and bring it to your room as well as wine. You won’t be able to bring any bottle you have bought from duty free/store as they will give it to you once the cruise is finish. I guess it’s a way for them to make money.
The cruise will take a lot of picture in the course where you can find yourself display on the wall for a reasonanble price you can get great souvenir but they take picture all the time so if you can avoid paying and having your camera just do it.
Once you come back after visiting an island or a town, you will go through the security check again. As they do not allowed any alchohol back – water is fine.
As a tour we went we went for the zipline at the catalane which is a 5 lines 2hours tour. Very safe and very fun. They do provide locker so don’t worry about bringing your bag with you. Ask them to put a camera on your hat which cost about 35$ – that is cool even if they take a picture on the last zip liwhich the timing can suck because it’s a 5 second before you stop in.
Picture if you want it is about 36$ not bad but there is no obligations. Then we walk around where there is drug store – clothes, shoes, food and anything you wanted included nice beach…
The best seafood restautant to go is called – Lobster pod is a very nice cute little restaurant where the local goes there but where the food is very fresch.
The boat to return to the cruise is about every 15 minutes which is nice as there is no line up.
You can have supper where you port but its so nice to have meal inside the boat anyway since it’s all included.
Catalina was a very nice even cloudy –