We've recently retired to Texas and live about 4 hours north of Houston, so we decided to try a quick cruise out of Galveston. We got an excellent rate for a last minute cruise and all we wanted was a few days R&R. We drove to Galveston on the Sunday and spent the night at the Holiday Inn Resort which was very convenient. We pre-booked parking at Galveston Park N Cruise and found it also very convenient. Monday morning we dropped off the luggage at the pier, parked the car, crossed the road and were checked in and onboard having lunch all before noon. Very easy and painless.
We were late leaving Galveston which meant I didn't really get the opportunity t view Galveston as we sailed out. This was the first time on this category of ship and even at the end of 5 days we still found it awkward to negotiate and did not like the fact that it was difficult to get a good view from the bow. We eventually found a door on deck 6 that got us to the bow of the ship, but we missed the ease of navigating the ship that we have found on previous categories of Carnival ships. Out favorite is still the Spirit class, e.g. Legend and Miracle. We had a cat. 6B ocean view cabin on Riviera deck. Good size, clean and well looked after by our steward who was great. We have come to enjoy anytime dining and never had a wait for a table for 2. We ate most of our meals in the London dining room, except for the days when the ship was in port. We enjoyed the food and had some of our old favorites - love the bitter and blanc desert. We found the buffet to be a little crowded even on port days and again we prefer the layout of the buffet on other ships, but no complaints about the food or room service which we had one day.
I hate to admit it, but we never bothered getting off the ship in port as we have "been there and done that" many times. This was just an excuse for us to sit around reading and relaxing.
One thing we were a little disapointed in was the quality of the entertainment. Maybe it is because I am a retired theatre teacher, but I cringed a few times at some of the singing [lead male who couldn't hit the notes] and the dancing seemed a little less crisp than I have seen on other ships. In fact one of the male dancers rates as probably the worst I have seen on any cruise ship! Sorry to be picky, but I cannot help it. We enjoyed the guest talent show and especially loved Jerry, the guitarist/singer in the Capital Lounge in the Atrium. I could have listened to him for hours. We also felt that they were a little lacking in activities onboard. The only dance classes they had conflicted with dinner times, and no scrap booking, etc. We bought a few photos and still believe that Carnival has the best photo backgrounds of any cruise line.
Our special moment was when I looked at the Funtimes and noticed that the Cruise Director was Jen Baxter and we have sailed with her three times before out of Florida. It was great chatting with her again and we were very touched when on elegant night we received chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of champagne and a "Solid gold 24 carat stick on a ship" as a present from Jen. She left the ship as we did on Sept. 15th to have a 6 week vacation back in the UK and will return to sail out of Galveston again after the vacation.
Overall we enjoyed our cruise and it gave us exactly what we wanted. We will definitely sail from Galveston again.