Survival Tip: Avoid group dinners, drink like a fish and if you're single, skip the passengers and swim with the staff. Once-in-a-lifetime getaway or seafaring torture camp of frozen food and amateur Broadway shows? You won't know what hit you as you observe your fellow shipmates checking-in at the shipside passport control in ever-glamorous Port of Los Angeles. Once you board, there's no escape. The first night is spent at a communal table of eat-till-you-burst travelers all too often with single middle-aged children who never have their own rooms. After a single night you realize it is going to be a very long cruise, especially after watching the Broadway-themed variety show that includes pitchy show tunes from Hair and Starlight Express. The Garbage Riviera
Survival Tip: Leave. Regardless of forfeiting room nights and paying surcharges, don't waste your beach vacation on a second-class strip of sand. It's a picturesque day at the beach in a location often refereed to as "the new St. Tropez." We probably should have known it was a bad sign that a walk along the harbor meant plugging your nose. But we did as the locals and walked to the nearby beach, a short way from the town's Roman ruins and inner village. It has the makings of a great beach as you strip out of your clothes, wade in the shallow water and take your first plunge.