This was our 2nd cruise and we were not sure if we really enjoyed our first one so we thought we would give it another try. We left Iowa at -3 with -25 mile per hour wind chill. We picked the best week of the winter to be gone! We booked our cruise directly through calling Carnival and were able to save $200.00 off the posted prices on the website, receiving 2 free upgrades and were able to choose our exact room. We are hooked on balcony rooms! Love that fresh air. It was less expensive to book our own airline reservations, shuttle and hotel in Galveston. We flew in the day before, rented a shuttle through South Coast Limo service and stayed at the Hilton in Galveston. They offer a free shuttle to the pier. Arrived at the pier around 11:30 am and stood in a long line that moved very quickly. Make sure you complete the page in your blue cruise book that details your financial payment for your sign and sail card. Saves time at check in! We headed up to the Lido deck for those wonderful burgers, sautEed mushrooms and fried. Took the first picture of many eating that wonderful soft serve ice cream. Our cabin was ready around 2:30. The luggage didn't arrive until 6:00 pm. We had requested a 6:15 pm seating in the dining room but as in the past we were put in the 8:30 time slot.
We did stand in line at the dining room entrance to change our table to just for two. Many people were trying to request the earlier dining times. The late time is great for being able to get ready but it's a little different getting done with dinner at 10:00 pm. One great improvement over our last cruise was the additional alternative menu available. It features steak, shrimp, grilled chicken breast and other options for those who like a less gourmet choice. My husband was happy eating steak and baked potato every night. Our waiters were Allen from Serbia and Nelu from Romania. They treated us like royalty. We chose to give them an extra tip on the last night as opposed to the Maitre'D who didn't really go out of his way for us. The waiters work their tails off!First full day at sea was rough. We had came prepared by taking Dramamine twice a day, wearing sea bands (they really do work) and even brought Motion Eaze to dab on behind our ears. The ship was really rocking and rolling. Many guests and crew were sick. That was my worst fear as I can get motion sick easily. Our precautions paid off
We took advantage of room service this time for Danish and coffee to start the day and a sandwich late afternoon to tide us over until the late dinner. If you order sandwiches through room service they come with potato chips. Also discovered chips are served at the atrium bar. Enjoyed the shows, newlywed game, dancing (wish they had more “oldies” music for us baby boomers), broke even on the slots but had fun trying! Seems like they do pay more on the first and last day at sea. Even had more security in the casino on the last day for those big payouts!Jamaica-prebooked the Rose Hall beach resort for a day of lounging pool and beach side. Did the waterslide a couple times but mainly enjoyed walking out into the sea, palm trees, white sand and waves. This included soda pop and a lunch buffet. I noticed they had a lot of igloo type water coolers around. We did not drink any water out of them nor did we use any ice in our soda. Good thing…..found out on the ship many who drank the water were sick all night.
Grand Cayman-shopped a bit and had a snack at the Hard Rock café. This is a very clean, low pressure shopping area. Cozumel-we planned to just shop and lay around the pool. Our ship docked down about 8 miles from the normal pier so we weren’t able to walk to the main shopping area. The little shops are very high pressure and everyone wants you to buy their stuff. Bargained on a mother of pearl jewelry slide. Ship tragedy-While laying out mid deck poolside I heard an announcement saying “bright star near Jacuzzi aft”. This was repeated a couple times. I found out at dinner that a woman was found unresponsive in the hot tub. They tried CPR and other options but were not able to revive her. My prayers go out to her family for this tragedy during what should be a wonderful trip.
Last day at sea was smoother than leaving. However the further to Texas we got the nice balmy warm breezes were replaced with cool ones.
The ship sets up photo spots to take pictures every night. Most of the pictures are 8x10’s and are priced at $21.99. The pictures from the island stops are 5x7 and are $9.95 if I remember correctly. I wish they would sell the 8x10s in the smaller size. However, it is a good opportunity to get some nice pictures that couples otherwise wouldn’t have for memories. We met many nice people from Texas, Arizona, Alaska, Missouri and other places.
Yes, we are definitely hooked on cruising for sure now! We are busy looking for another itinerary for next February!