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Mitsugirly's PANORAMA detailed review and pictorial

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Yep, it happened again...we were back on a cruise ship but this time with Carnival for Spring Break. WHEW! 


We haven't sailed with Carnival since 2018, but this would be our 7th cruise with Carnival and (I believe) our 24th cruise since we've been cruising regularly with our daughter Sakari.


After our NCL Encore cruise in December I made the executive decision that I WAS GOING SOMEWHERE NEW!!! I didn't care where, as long as it was some place different! We have been cruising the Caribbean (and land vacationing there) since 2010. The ports are "worn out" with us. We love them...don't get me wrong...and wouldn't hesitate to land vacation there, but deep in my soul I needed a change. I've had a bucket list for awhile that hasn't quite materialized into much over the years other than mostly jibber jab about "I'mma go here one day" and it was left at that. I get high anxiety of the "unknown" and have always felt more at ease with returning to familiar places but just doing something different each time. NO MORE I TELL YA! I'm spreading my wings and hopefully they were strong enough to endure the wind I was about to fly in....THE MEXICAN RIVIERA! 


Those that have followed my family for years on here and my travel website know that we 1) love the water 2) love the beach 3) love to snorkel 4) love to scuba 5) love the water 6) love the heat 7) love the beauty of the clear aqua sea and did I mention we love the water? Why have I held back for so long on visiting the Mexican Riviera...just plain scared...of...the water!  I read the stories, not crystal clear water, not the beautiful aqua turquoise color, not warm water (well unless you peed in it and we'll get to that at a later time...just saying), windy and the ship be rockin!  Ok, I got this! Cheers to new experiences.


We booked the Panorama from March 30 to April 7th. An 8 day glorious cruise to: Cabo, La Paz, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Woo Hoo!


And so it begins...



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I have to say that once we booked, planning was a grizzly bear in every essence. The only thing I knew about any of these ports are WHALES! I had read so much about people going to the Riviera to see the whales and I knew that was on the bucket list. I did know that the date that we would be going was toward the VERY end of whale season and I was holding out all hope that we would be able to catch a few stragglers left behind still...(for those that know my family, think of it as a Kendra whale...always late for everything). But, I knew there was a possibility that they might be gone and I might have a pouting party, but I was going to book a whale watching tour anyhow. 


Then of course we always have to scuba dive in one port. The other 2 ports I had never heard of would end up being quite the challenge for me...up until the week before the cruise. I was flying by the seat of my pants this cruise, for the most part at least.


Now let's talk air flights! Or should I call them fights because I was really fighting to pull the trigger on getting back home. They were so expensive!! They should cut me a break for having to endure such a long flight and the time change involved in this trip. Don't all you east coast people agree? If I was going to have an extra long day of flights, I'm going to at least make it worth it...on the way home, we're going to Vegas for a lay over and gamble our sorrows away!  Ok, air flights purchased. 


The only thing left was to pack. I usually start packing weeks, if not a month, ahead of time. I'm an over achiever in everything I do. I'm always afraid I'll forget something. I'm a planner that has everything booked, reservations made way in advance, arrive to the airport 3 hours early and has a carry on bag full anything you might need during a flight...just in case...including Aleve because I felt this trip I was gonna need it. Then you have the hubby and daughter who just throws everything into the suitcase the night before all while not thinking they'll need underwear or socks for this vacation. I don't know who trained them but it sure wasn't me!  


Our flight left at 6:10am which means that we were up by 3:15am and out the door on our way to the airport by 4am. I was not sure what it would be like there since it was Spring Break.


After parking the car, it was time to catch the shuttle over to the airport. I always take a picture of us waiting for the shuttle with our luggage. We met a strange-r and decided to include him in the picture as we waited. 






We have a small airport, which never seems to be too crowded, but this would be the exception. There was an extremely long line in security winding around the inside of the airport. Once we made it up closer we would see they had an area blocked off with the drug sniffing dog. They had us walk in the area, two at a time, and then get in line where you normally would. This is a first for us. They've never done that at our airport before. Once we made it up to check in, they also had face recognition. Another new feature AND we didn't have to remove our shoes or coat.


Time to board the plane and begin this adventure....

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Looking forward to your review. If I remember correctly, you were following someone else on this same itinerary a few months back. I hope to do a west coast cruise too someday. 

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11 hours ago, Jamman54 said:

Welcome back to Carnival! We'll be following along! 😎


Thanks Jamman! It's good to be back! Thanks for following.


10 hours ago, nydney1 said:

Welcome back, following along.


Thank you and thanks for following!


10 hours ago, grima625 said:

Looking forward to your review. If I remember correctly, you were following someone else on this same itinerary a few months back. I hope to do a west coast cruise too someday. 


Thanks for following. Yes, I have followed a few people that took this cruise and gathered all the info I could.


10 hours ago, MEUB1112 said:

Love the Panorama, I'll be  following.


Thanks for following


9 hours ago, lasvegascruising said:

I have read everything on your website and can't wait to hear about this trip.  Come on girl...give us the details.


Aww, thanks for following and I hope you like this one as well. 


8 hours ago, pirate4me2 said:

Whoo hoo, welcome back to Carnival! Im

along for the ride, I LOVE your reviews!


Thanks so much. Good to be back and thanks for the compliment.


7 hours ago, ninjacat123 said:

Looking forward to it!!


Thank you


3 hours ago, fethiyeden said:

Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures. I always love your reviews & catching up with your family.


Aww thank you for following and time to catch up some more. 😄 


1 hour ago, pe4all said:

Can't believe how big your daughter has gotten!  Looking forward to your review.


I know, she's almost grown now. Thanks for following


1 hour ago, z_cruisers said:
  • YES!! This itinerary has been on our list for quite some time as well. LOVE your reviews, will be following along! 😄


Aww thanks and thanks for being here.


43 minutes ago, Frank12 said:

Yay! It's been a while.😜


Yes it has! Glad to be back.


33 minutes ago, #55worktoplay said:

Looking forward to reading about it. Thanks


Thanks for following. 

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So....I guess it's time to introduce you to our "other" family member that will be joining us this cruise...the "strange-r" in the picture above. Actually he is no stranger but basically a part of the family. He's like another son to us...I think somewhere along the line we have adopted him and didn't realize it. He is work boy...at least that's what we've called him for the last year and a half. He is Sakari's boyfriend she has had a major crush on (and vice versa) for such a long time and the stars finally aligned for them after her major breakup awhile back from a 3 year relationship she was in that was no good for her. He's such a nice boy with great values, great goals in life, goes to a Christian school and has a good head on his shoulders. He's smart, kind, funny and treats her (and us) so well. We love him to death. But most of all, he says we are the best cooks and make the best meals he's ever tasted...but tells us not to tell his mom that. Shhhh. You just can't help but love him right? He's also 6'2" and can reach things for me I can't. He's like a built in ladder when you need it!  lol


He hasn't experienced a lot in life going places and trying new things and he was so excited about this trip...and I was so worried about this trip for that reason (knowing it wasn't going to be like the other places we've been and he might not get the full experience that he's used to seeing us on in the Caribbean). But, we're doing this!






So this is "Karl" and no this is not his real name, but yes this is what we call him. I'll explain...my sons girlfriend started calling him Karl at family events and holidays awhile back. We wasn't sure why. We found it funny and the name stuck. A long time went by before she found out his name wasn't even Karl. By that time, he had grown accustomed to the name because that's what we call him all the time and yes, he answers to it. So, we will continue to call him Karl. lol


Boarding the plane, Sakari has always touched the plane before entering for "good luck" and this time we would have extra good luck this time around. This momma was gonna need it!




This plane was pretty full and we were headed to Phoenix on the way there. It was a 4 hour and 25 minute flight and would be the first time I didn't have to fight Sakari for the window seat. Since Southwest only has 3 row seats, we would be split up this time with the kids sitting in front of us and a stranger beside us. Cheers to new adventures. 





Our new friend that sat with us was interesting...he catches hawks for a living and relocates them. Say what????  I didn't realize this was a thing and how does one decide one day to apply for this job? It was interesting for sure.


I have to say, I love traveling when it's dark out and watching the sun come up when you're way up in the sky. It is always so pretty!






Once we got closer to Phoenix, we started to see the mountains. It was so beautiful. 






Somehow I missed the snack cart earlier so they actually gave me a full can of pop and loaded me up with goodies for this long trip. I'm throwing my hands up and surrendering this cruise and going off my keto diet for once and the once begins now.




More of the beautiful mountains below. You see the last time (and only time) I have ever traveled west, we went to Vegas and we arrived late at night so I didn't get to see all of this coming in and it was so exciting this time around. 












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Welcome to Phoenix! We were rushing to the other side of the terminal...it's quite a long walk...well at least for the 3 of us. Karl has long legs and is a track and cross country runner and he was able to walk faster than us on the floor than us walking on the people mover if that tells you anything.


We arrive to Gate C6 as instructed on our tickets only to find out that the gate had been changed to Gate D8...which just so happens to be right back on the other side of the terminal where we got off the plane! Seriously? It was another fast paced walk back to our starting point and I managed to grab a quick salad to take with me on the plane. I had worked up an appetite along the way.





That sign should read "WELCOME BACK TO GATE D8"...just saying.


Time to board the plane for our next flight to LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA!!!




Do you realize they sell salad kits that come with no forks? Yea, I didn't either. I was forced to eat with my hands. Let this be a lesson...carry a fork with you if you plan on getting a salad at the airport. 




More beautiful snow covered mountains in the distance.




It was a short flight to Long Beach and the excitement grew as we started to see water and what looked like a beach. 





Wait, is that a ship I see? It looked like Carnival. Did I get my days mixed up? Does the Panorama come in the day before and spend the night? I had no clue what was going on. 







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Wait what is this? We are getting off the plane outside? It felt like we were in the Caribbean because this is the only place we've ever done something like this. 







This airport was so pretty. It was all open in the middle with palm trees. It honestly felt like we were in the Caribbean at an airport. I loved it!













Even the baggage claim was open aired. Pretty neat!







I just love small airports. I would pick to fly in to here any day!!




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Welcome back, Kim! I'm always excited to follow along on your family's adventures and have been looking forward to this one. Good to hear that Sakari has found a sweet boy. Does she still make furries at all? I know she outgrew the mermaid tail, right? I always look forward to seeing her art in your reviews as well!


❤️️ Ashley

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We had booked the Hyatt Regency Long Beach using....drum roll...AARP! My newly discovered friend that I signed up for after reading on these boards that you could purchase Carnival gift cards to pay for things at a discounted price. I never knew all the things you could save money on and like most people, I thought it was for older retired people and I refuse to admit that I'm the age I am and have always ignored all the junk mail I get from them. But saving is saving and now I'm a part of the AARP group. 


We summoned an Uber XL, because there's no way we are all fitting in a car with luggage, and it would cost us $39.70 to get to our hotel. Check in wasn't supposed to be until 4pm but they had our room ready for us when we arrived a little after 10am. 


The hotel is super nice, great location and just beautiful. It's also within walking distance to a lot of places to kill your time while there. We just loved it here and wouldn't hesitate to stay here again if we do this cruise.



















This was our view from our window:





You see all the little boats down there on the water? They are swan boats and I was excited to ride in them! During check in they gave us a card and told us to scan it and we could ride for free!







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1 hour ago, Oakman58 said:

I'm looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip.



Thank you and glad to have you here.


13 minutes ago, AKR2011 said:

Welcome back, Kim! I'm always excited to follow along on your family's adventures and have been looking forward to this one. Good to hear that Sakari has found a sweet boy. Does she still make furries at all? I know she outgrew the mermaid tail, right? I always look forward to seeing her art in your reviews as well!


❤️️ Ashley


Thanks Ashley! Glad you are able to follow along. No she stopped making the furries a few years ago. I think the mermaid and furries died out about the same time when she hit high school. Her life revolves around school and work all the time now and not much time for anything else these days. Oh how growing up changes things. 

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I'm on call this weekend for work, so I will be popping in and out all day with this review. Just thought I'd give a heads up before you all think I disappeared at any given point.



The kids wanted to head to the pool, but it was closed for some reason. I personally didn't think it was warm enough for swimming. The brisk cold air had me already second guessing if I had brought enough warm clothes. 


So, we decided to take a walk and check out the area. There was a long bridge/walkway attached to the hotel area that we went out and it goes up and over the swan lake and roadway and to the other side. So...why not?








They had a lot of fencing up on the bridge and along the roads. I would later find out that they were having a Grand Prix race April 19-21. I'm so glad we missed this event. I can only imagine the traffic and delays during this time!





There's our hotel!





So you see this ferris wheel and what looked like a roller coaster off in the distance? It was at the local mall that was right next door to our hotel. It was one of the reasons I actually booked this particular hotel. I figured it would give the kids something to do while we were there. However, it wasn't open during our stay. I'm not sure why. 





They thought they were cute dressing alike. 



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