Let's start with embarkation: We flew in from Rochester, NY on Sunday morning to Houston Hobby and rented a car from Enterprise for less than $80 for the one way rental. Dropped off the car and took shuttle to the pier. Where we waited in the lines. First couple of lines weren't too bad, but the Fun Pass line was unbelievably long. I should have ditched the Fun Pass and gone in the other line! We waited about 2 1/2 hours in the Fun Pass line. People in the other line, literally cruised right through and were on the ship long before I was! But once we were on, things were OK.
Went to check out our room (balcony) and it was fine. Could have been a little cleaner for my taste (water streaks on the mirror in the room that remained there all week). Made me wonder what I couldn't see.... Because it took so long for everyone to embark, we sailed about an hour later than stated. But we were off!
Went up to the 10th deck to watch but not much to see in Galveston as you are pulling out. We easily found the ice cream machine and had a snack as we had 8:30 dinner. Oh, who we are: I am a 40-ish single woman traveling with a 40-ish single woman whom I work with. We cruised from July 9-16th.
Went back to our room and my friend's luggage had arrived, so she unpacked while I waited for my luggage to show up which it did about an hour or so after my friend's.
Prior to dinner, we stopped at the shops and browsed as my friend was looking for a specific necklace for her nephew's wedding. Did find one that was reasonably priced but we couldn't find anyone to help us (it was in a case) so we went to dinner.
We had a table for 4 and were seated with 2 other women who were travelling without their spouses. They were very nice and we had fun with them. Our servers were Nelstar and Gulnara. Nelstar was very nice but Gulnara was the worker. She carried all the laden trays and Nelstar got all the credit! I ordered wine with dinner--they had a decent selection. Food was pretty good. Nothing was ever truly hot but it was passable (I work in Food Service so I am admittedly harder to please).
We went to the late show which was a comedian JR McCullum, I think. I thought he was funny. My friend thought he was too hyper. I was so exhausted (I had gotten up at 3:00 AM for 6:00 AM flight)so I was also falling asleep during the performance.
Monday, first day at sea: We got up early 7:30-ish (bodies still not on vacation mode), put on swimsuits and headed to the breakfast buffet. Nothing to rave about. It reminded me of my college cafeteria. But we were close to a pool and went to find seats. I have read other posts to this website about people saving chairs. Did it happen, yes; but we never had a problem finding 2 lounge chairs together. Note: chairs are uncomfortable! Also note: floor of ship gets really hot! Had a pretty interesting phenomenon: every time, a kid stepped foot in the pool, there was a security guard right there telling them to get out (took me a minute to realize I was -happily-at the adults only pool). Of course,there was the one child whose father was "courting'" a woman in the pool. The boy tried as much as possible to get in the pool but security wasn't having it! At lunch at the pizzeria. Hard to please me with pizza as I am also Italian--tasted like frozen pizza. But I also had some more ice cream later... Monday was the first formal night. Dinner was OK. I can truly say that I really only remember 2 things about the dinners: 1)the one night we ate at the Point; and 2) I was full after every meal and I just did appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. I can't say any of the regular dining room meals were the best I ever had. Monday night's show was the first Vegas-style show (with one visibly pregnant showgirl!). The singers were fine; nothing awe-inspiring. The comedian was back on for the midnight R-rated show but I was tired and I missed him.
Tuesday, second day at sea: Pretty much the same as the day before. Fewer children trying to get in the adult pool. Had a cheeseburger and fries for lunch (by far my favorite food on the ship besides the Point). I can't remember what we did for entertainment--I don't seem to recall. We also had to make a brief stop in Grand Cayman to let passengers off (apparently someone became very ill).
Wednesday, Montego Bay,Jamaica: We signed up to do the Ocho Rios and Dunns River Falls. The ride to Ocho Rios was OK--roads torn up and under construction. We had signed up through Carnival for the excursion. I have to say, it was a little misleading. Carnival gave it a 2 person activity rating--I think it was more like a 3-person activity rating. The falls is not 600ft but rather 1000ft, at least according to our guide. I have just recently had foot surgery so I was really questioning how wise this was. Luckily, I was fine, but the guides make you hold hands with the people next to you and with them tugging to help you up and you tugging to help the people behind you up, well, your back can be pretty sore afterwards. We stopped at a Jerk Joint for lunch on the way back to the terminal. While I enjoyed my jerk pork, I don't think it liked me.... We had a fabulous dinner at the Point but,I think the jerk pork coupled with the fat-rich food from the Point made me not well that night.
Thursday, Grand Cayman: After spending quality time in the bathroom the previous night,I was a little worried about our Stingray City and Island tour. I was fine. We tendered to Grand Cayman and met our tour guide Kirk. He drove us to where we would pick up the boat to go to Stingray City pointing out points of interest,notably: fast food restaurants, liquor stores and banks! It was actually pretty funny: "And on your left is a liquor store".... Stingrays were awesome. I would do it again in a heartbeat but some of the other tourists were a little rude. I really wanted my picture taken with the stingray but people would butt right in front of you, so it never happened for me. In fact, one family ended up buying the DVD because they were in 7 pictures! I just wanted one! The turtle farm was also very cool until you went into the little cafeteria and noticed that the specials were turtle soup and turtle patties! And I am not a vegetarian! Hell is interesting but not much more than a post office and gift shop. The 20 minutes there was plenty! Went back to the boat, had lunch (another burger). And then just hung by the pool the rest of the afternoon. I think the show tonight was "Point and Click"--hate to say it but I think I fell asleep during parts of it.
Friday, Cozumel: We didn't do an excursion but rather took a taxi to Chankanaab (sp). They just had reopened the week before. It was sad to see the devastation from the hurricane but it was really a beautiful state park. We just hung out under a tiki shelter all day.
I had scheduled a massage and facial for 4 PM so we had to be back by then. The massage was probably the most deep tissue massage I have ever had! In fact, my back hurt again the next day from her digging into my "pressure points." The facial was very nice. They did over charge me but were quite nice when I asked for a refund of the over charge.
I don't think we did any entertainment that night. I have to admit my traveling companion was not as interested in doing some of the same things that I was. She was happy to gamble but I would have liked to go to the Piano Bar or the Karaoke Bar but she wasn't into that (I don't think she really likes music).
Saturday, last day at sea: Same as the other days. Tonight, was the Carnival Legends show. It was pretty good. Probably one of the more entertaining nights. Not all of the singers were very good but many really hammed it up and that made the show pretty funny.
Sunday, Debarkation: We didn't do self-assist because our flight home wasn't until 5:30 PM so we were not in any rush to get off the boat. We got to eat in the buffet dining room and then sat in our room to be called. Customs lines moved much quicker than the Fun Pass line!
In general: Didn't need the bungie cord (but didn't bring one either). Our door stayed open without a problem and we didn't want to sleep with the door open either. Did bring night light. Also brought clothespins for shower which were great. Wish I had brought my own hair dryer because theirs was really annoying--you had to hold down the power button the whole time you were drying your hair. Todd, the cruise director, seems to be a "wannabe"--like, "I am from LA and I wannabe an actor." I don't think he said that, it was more of the impression that I got. I never understood the red, white and blue game and thought it was pretty stupid. I was on the red team and we supposedly had the most points but what for? It isn't like we got a free drink or anything.
Don't spend time filling out the Fun Pass, the non-Fun Pass line is shorter and moves faster. The photographers are annoying and the pictures are mediocre at best. Use your own camera!
The cheesiest entertainer was in the Tahiti lounge. He had a good voice but literally sang every song with no emotion! He was like a robot!
Note to self, as a singleton, don't cruise in the summer; of the 3300 cruisers 1100 were children! That is 1/3rd of the passengers!
Would I cruise again? Maybe but I might have to try a different cruise line.