My DH and I were looking for a weekend trip to celebrate my birthday which was on Sunday, Feb 10. We considered Vegas and New Orleans but after realizing that the weekend we were looking at was right between Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, NOLA was ruled out. Then the package price to Vegas was more expensive than the 4 day Triumph cruise to Cozumel, so we booked it.
We've only lived in Texas for about a year, so this would be our first experience with the Port of Galveston.
We drove to Galveston the day of sailing (another first for us, we always fly to Florida a day early). It was an easy 5 hour drive from north Dallas. We found the port to be very industrial looking - it's no Miami. However, we did not do any exploring, just went straight to the ship. We had made reservations and prepaid at Galveston Park & Cruise. We dropped our luggage with the porters and then dropped off the car. It is right across the street but I was glad we didn't try to haul our luggage across the street. Even for 4 days I managed to overpack, as usual. (Later that would prove to be a blessing!)
Check in was quick and we walked right onto the ship. We had booked an interior room on deck 7 (another first, we always get a balcony) but we wanted to cut expenses and figured, "it's only 4 days, how bad can it be?" LOL. We won't be booking any more interior cabins. :)
We explored, had a DOD, went to the muster drill and then went to the Meet and Greet arranged by our Roll Call.
We booked anytime dining, another first, we usually do late seating. I wanted some flexibility though and, again, it's only 4 days...
We met sme very nice people at dinner - they have the tables for two set so close together that it really feels like a rectangle table for 8. The food was good, I always enjoy our selections in the MDR.
In Cozumel, we went to Mr Sanchos Beach Club. We made reservations in advance with a $10 deposit which was worth it because it seemed like the price was being quoted higher for people who did not have a reservation. They offer an all inclusive package (which we booked) and a pay as you go option. We had a great time hanging out at the beach, having Dos XX and pina coladas ....they let you order from the menu, we had coconut shrimp, chicken fajitas, and quesadillas, all the food was excellent. They also have a pool with swim up bar if you get tired of the sand. There were a lot of fish right by the shore so our new Nikon underwater camera came in handy.
5:30 am the announcement (in the cabin) "alpha team, alpha team, engine room 1, alpha team engine room 1"
Well I can tell you that is scary. I don't know how I knew, maybe I had read it on cruise critic, buti knew that the alpha team meant there was a fire.
We got up, got dressed and waited. After a while they announced that people did not need to be at their muster stations and should go back to their cabins....I know I heard discussion in the hallway that they said that to the people on the Costa Concordia as well.
I think the rest has been discussed to death but I would like to say that we were never hungry. We were never thirsty. The crew busted their butts working while living in the same or worse conditions than we had. Carnival did everything they could, in my opinion. Are there things that could have been handled differently? You bet.
For one thing, more, and larger tug boats would have been nice. The poor tug that ended up doing all the work for 230 miles deserves a medal. We got almost to Mobile and one of the guides that holds the cable on the back of his boat just sheared off. I imagine because of all the friction over several days. That's not going to be cheap to fix.
The other thing was getting the entertainment staff involved in serving earlier. For the first couple of days, you'd see the dancers just hanging out n the crew level a the front of the ship, like a party. Meanwhile, the restaurant staff is hauling food up from deck 0 to deck 9 -using the stairs - no power, remember?
They probably did not anticipate passengers thinking every meal would be their last and filling their plates with as much food as they could hold. There was so much food being wasted, it was disgusting. After the rest of the staff was enlisted to help though, they started serving food instead of letting people serve themselves so the waste was reduced.
The other thing that needed mprovement was the bus lines after we finally got off the ship. We docked around 10pm. My DH and I finally were off around midnight, then didn't get on a bus until 1:30am. There were 3 options for busses - you could go to Galveston, Houston, or New Orleans. We had chosen the NOLA and hotel option, knowing that we'd be too tired to drive back to Dallas after an overnight drive to Galveston.
Anyway, it was just a mass throng of people going for the busses with very little organization. Some busses pulled out with empty seats.
Anyway, we finally made it home to Dallas at 2:30am Saturday, Feb 16.
And yes, we will cruise again.