Husband and I wanted a year off from Christmas celebrations: no tree, no lights, no gifts. Church, music, dinner would be missed, but not the shopping and sales. Holiday week cruises are usually sky-high, so when we found the Miracle at a reasonable price, we booked. An easy drive to Long Beach the morning of the cruise brought us to the parking structure (convenient but pricey at $17/day) and the terminal shortly after 11 a.m. It was confusing to roll through the winter carnival but pleasant to check in on the Queen Mary, then back out to the marina to wait near the water for just a short time. When we saw others walking into the terminal, we followed, and were waved in. We had no wait and were on board the ship within minutes.
A pleasant surprise in the Lido and on the Serenity Deck was waiters with trays of sparkling wine. We made ourselves at home in a cabana on the Serenity Deck and when we checked, our room was ready. Nice, sunny, clean and fresh air from the balcony. Friendly, efficient room stewards. We visited the Atrium bar en route to dinner and enjoyed live music. Our dining table was at the aft end of the room, and the rumbling from the engines was very distinct, so at the end of the meal we visited the maître d'hôtel station to request a change for the duration of the cruise. The next afternoon a card arrived in our room with a new table number.
Monday was a sea day. We visited the gym and spent the day on loungers on the Serenity Deck, joining with other passengers in whale and dolphin sightings. You could see the Baja coast most of the way down (both our cabin and our favorite section of the Serenity Deck were on the port side). The only disadvantage was proximity to the buffet. Someone would go into the dining area, emerge with a plate of something tasty looking, and others would follow. This led to quite a bit of recreational over-eating.
Our cabin was on the port side, so we had sunrise and Baja views on the way down and sunset views on the way back to California.