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Short "Taster" Cruises out of LA/Long Beach Ports

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My dear MIL is thinking about a cruise to celebrate her 80th birthday. Due to various constraints (*cough*she'scheap*cough*), she wants to do a 3- or 4-day cruise out of either "home" port: Long Beach (meaning Carnival) or LA/San Pedro (every other line). We are talking about travel between late September and early November, and we'll probably need a few staterooms. I am curious:

-- Has anyone taken one of these short cruises out of the LA-area ports?

-- Which line?

-- Which ship?

-- How was the overall experience?

I know-- asking a LOT. I just want her 80th to be nice and stress-free. A trip to Vegas a few years ago with my mom (and me and my husband) was good despite some tense moments thanks to my mom's health problems (and, it turns out, the beginnings of Alzheimer's). However, her last trip to Vegas with my rather irresponsible BIL ended up being a fiasco (Thanksgiving dinner ended up being completely scuttled because somebody gambled away the money he was going to use to buy dinner-- did I spill the beans on that disaster...?). We want to avoid that.

My dear MIL appreciates good food, nice and clean accommodations and friendly, individualized service. Will we find this on this type of cruise?

Any guidance will be, as always, greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! :)

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