A Valentines cruise to remember! Sailed feb 11th. This was our first family vacation and honeymoon all rolled into one. Other than a long weekend here and there, 2 nights at a local best western for our honey moon 20 years ago. This was our first week's vacation anywhere. We choose to practice some delayed gratification and boy was it worth it. We are in our late 30's and kids are 12,13 & 18.
Flight and ground transportation: We flew from Flint Michigan with a connection in Detroit then on to Houston International "Bush " airport. All went well. Had a hard time finding good Ground transportation, that wasn't too expensive. We did end up finding a Limo Company with a SUV for 120.00 I way. And rented a car to go back to the airport on our way home. That was a piece of cake. Also was allot less than renting a car from the airport to Galveston due to a "drop charge".
Hotel: We stayed at the Comfort in on Seawall Blvd at Stewart Beach in Galveston.1 day before and 1 day after. It is within walking distance to the beach and would have been very nice if it would have been warmer. It was only about 65 degrees out both times. Nice enough hotel, beds where kind of hard. Good free breakfast and a blue "School bus" shuttle to and from the pier. First night, Sat. was $118.00. The second, Sun. was only $75.00 . That was with a corporate discount. Embarkation: I felt was very sooth and moved along at a good pace. It was a little unsettling when Carnival staff come up to your bus and just start grabbing your luggage. (Make sure that you have your room tags on them before this point) They say "go get in line your bags will be delivered to your room". If you think about it when you are going through the hallway's with the windows look at the ground and you will see a city of luggage, that was impressive.
Getting settled and muster drill: When we walked into the lobby area, it was very crowded. We did manage to find our room in about 20 min without any help. 2 bags where already waiting. We checked out our room and found the buffet for lunch. Nice fresh salads! Upon returning to our room we had 2 more bags and we started to unpack. . We had the AFT extended balcony room on deck 6 and will never do a thing smaller . We loved it and felt it was worth the little extra we spent, for the room size and the spectacular view. In addition we had the door open every night to listen to the roar of the wake and the waves, all I can say is WOW. I was very surprised and delighted to see the amount of storage. Didn't even need the over the door shoe organizer. We had more than enough spaces for everything. I also way over packed. I really liked the bathroom shelves and the vanity area. I was wondering how the muster drill would go and must say it was very easy. About 2 hours after being on board, the director comes on and gives everyone an announcement to return to their cabins and find their life vests. Then another announcement says to report to your muster station, that is written on the back of your door. Staff was in the hallway to direct you to your station. It took aprox 30 min.
Food: Was very good. Anything I didn't have to cook I refuse to complain about! We where at our early dinner every night. Loved the dinning room staff, I didn't know they danced for you every night, that was so fun! We love sea food so we had extra shrimp cocktails coming after the second night, didn't even have to ask. As far as the formal nights from what we could tell most everyone dressed up for them. The first formal night they served a big lobster tail that was enjoyable. I found the desserts to be good as well, most of the family had the chocolate melting cake. (Ask for 2 scoops of ice cream) The variety was good, always found something I liked, our kids did too. Ship layout: It is kind of funny how no matter where your room is your dinning hall is at the other end. Why because deck 5 is the only deck to go all the way through and the casino is on the same deck. I didn't like that much as it was smokey on one side and all the pushy photo people where on the other. (My only Complaint, I am not a casino person) Camp carnival is all the way up on deck 12 kind of out of the way. Our 2 youngest participated in at least 2 Camp carnival activities a day and liked them.
Port days: Mo Bay. We loved Sunset beach resort. 2.00PP cab ride and $40.00PP for an all inclusive resort for the day. Reg room rate, we where told is $350.00 PN Very nice resort and beach. Most people came in and went to the right beach, we discovered the beach on the left to be like a private beach. Lots of huts and chairs and only 2 other people where down there. Watch out for the free drinks, that you also drink water, hubby and daughter got dehydrated and a bit ill. We all loved it just like paradise!!!! Grand Cayman. We walked to Eden's Rock and Snorkeled it was the best. By far our favorite day. They feed Tarpon fish raw chicken every hour. It was something to see our 12 year old snorkel with fish almost as big as he was. The other fish where wonderful too. They had a small beach area with chairs but no shade on the sand. They did however have tables and chairs overlooking the snorkeling that did have shade. You can do this for next to free, if you bring you own gear and pack a small cooler. I would purchase something, for the use of the shower and stairs down to the water. Be sure to have a variety of sun block. Cozumel. We didn't much care for. We paid $30 RT for a taxi to paradise beach and $9.00PP for bracelets and upon being there for about 30 min and not ordering food or drink right away we where informed it was a $10.00PP minimum for food and drinks. I did not recall reading this any where and they did not tell us that before we got the bracelets. I do not like being told what we have to buy, so I was not happy. The weather turned windy and cloudy so we left after buying some smoothies. The landscape was still run down from the last hurricane, (Not their fault.) If we go back to this location we will need to do something different. Debarkation: We self assisted. This was great, next time we will be more prepared with easy to tow luggage. This was the way to go. We where off the ship by 9:20 and didn't get started from our rooms until about 8:50.
In conclusion: We will sail Carnival again, best value with the incredible military discounts they offer. We know we want movies under the stars, so it looks like the Liberty for us in February 2008.