We arrived at the Galveston Hilton Friday afternoon May 18 and checked in right away. We were greeted by a very friendly staff and my girlfriend and I were impressed with the cleanness of the hotel and had a very nice room with a gulf view. We went to our room unpacked and changed into swim wear and went to the hotel pool. The pool was very nice with a waterfall and swim up bar. Plenty of pool towels and the service were also great. After 2 hours of pool time we went back to the room showered and went explore the island. 3 blocks to the left of the hotel was a Wal-Mart, Kroger, Golden Corral and a few others stores. 1-3 blocks to the right are the Rain Forest Cafe, Landry's Seafood, IHOP and an Academy Sports. On Saturday May 19 we went to the beach most of the day, not much to look at, but we had a nice relaxing day. We ate at The Spot that night then off to bed.
Sunday May 20 we loaded up on our free shuttle about 11:30 and started our way to the pier. Also we had free parking for the week. We checked in and got our S&S card and they gave us the Monet lower 5:45 seating; we requested 8:00 seating. So we went to the dining room and they changed it for us and I also received a table for two. Problem fixed! Next we went eat lunch on the Lido deck around 1:00. We were not that impressed with the buffet food the entire trip, but it wasn't bad either. After we went to our cabin (7448 Aft balcony) around 2:30 and it was ready. I had a dozen yellow roses waiting for my GF and she loved them. The view from the balcony was outstanding. We really enjoyed hanging out on the balcony. I fell asleep out there one night and rain woke me an hour later. Our housekeeper was Silvia(sp?) she was great after meeting her and requesting everything we wanted and gave her a cash tip she always had everything in place for us. The luggage started arriving around 3:30 and my booze suitcase made it with no problem with everything in its original packaging, had no problem all week with beer, crown and rum in plain view and always had plenty of ice.
They started calling for the lifeboat drills so we headed down for that and the ship started to set sail as the drill was ending. We went back to the cabin and watched the sail away. My Girlfriends suitcase never arrived so we went down to lost luggage and I spotted the piece. Problem fixed! We skipped the dinning room the first night and just drank a lot and explored the ship. We ate late night pizza and it was pretty good. Went back to the cabin and unpacked some; also really enjoying the balcony and meeting our neighbors. I brought music for the balcony and everyone really enjoyed the atmosphere. I asked everyone around us if the music was too loud; some even said turn it up! It was getting late so we decided to take showers and call it a night.
1st Day at Sea
We woke up early went on the balcony for awhile then headed for the buffet for breakfast. Again, we found it ok but not that great. I will say some items are better than others. After we went get some loungers by the pool and stayed there for a good part of the day watching the entertainment. Very windy out there and the ship was doing some rocking. This was our first cruise so I don't know what to compare the rocking to; but we did find it rough a few days & nights on the ship; especially in our cabin. After a few hours of sunning we decided to go back to the cabin and start getting ready for formal night. We went down to the Captain's party, that was pretty cool had a few drinks and headed off to take pictures then off to dinner. Our waiter was Steven and his assistant was Alvin; outstanding service.
We had a table for two by a window and a great view. I ordered a steak almost every night. We found the food to be excellent in this dinning room every time we ate there. My memory fails me on some stuff due to all the drinking before and after. To sum it up, we loved the dining room every time we ate there. After dinner we went to a show in the Toulouse Lounge. We went to some type of show in there every night. After the show we headed for the Lido deck for an ice cream then back to the cabin. Went on the balcony for a bit, then took showers and off to bed.
2nd Day at Sea
Started the day with room service on the balcony, and then went down to the dinning room for breakfast. We had the Eggs Benedict, outstanding meal. A cut above the buffet hands down. Also we really enjoy the extra service. We decided to check the ship out some more so we went to the Spa and Camp Carnival and other parts of the ship that we had not viewed yet. We went back to the dining room for lunch we had some type of chicken dish and can't remember the name of it; but were very good again. Went back to the cabin mixed up some drinks and headed for more activities. I know we went to the shopping show, played bingo, welcome aboard party but just can't remember the order we went...lol Oh well fix another drink. We really enjoyed CD Mark Price & Pete his Assistant.
We went back to the cabin and hung out on the balcony some more then headed off to dinner. I had another outstanding steak and I forget what my GF had, but we really enjoyed another evening in the dinning room. After dinner we went to the cabin fixed a drink and head to the Lido deck for Karaoke night. We had a blast out there. After the party on the deck, we headed back to the cabin for balcony time then showers and off to bed. Jamaica tomorrow.
We woke up early ordered room service and went on the balcony to watch the arrival in Jamaica. Looking into the mountains with the clouds was beautiful. It really was an amazing view. After we docked we went down to deck 0 to get off the ship. Entering the terminal (8:15am) we headed to catch a cab to go to Docs Cave Beach. This guy approaches us and says come with me I will take you there. We agree on a price ($4) and start to walk to his car. I notice he has no JUTA sticker on his car. I questioned it and he says no problem. I tell him we have a problem and we head back into the terminal. Carnival offers a shuttle in the terminal for $12 that will take you to a Market, Jimmy Buffets, Docs Cave Beach and few other places. The shuttle runs till 3:00 so we decided to go with that. We get on the shuttle and take off for DCB the driver was very entertaining.
So he pulls up to the entrance to the beach (9:00am) and my GF and I get off the bus. This guy approaches me and asks me if I want to buy some weed? No thank you, so we go to the check in counter pay $5 to get in and rent chairs for another $5 and we are finally sitting on this beautiful beach nice view of the Conquest. AAwwwwww paradise! Not quite, guy walks up to us. Hey you want to buy some weed? No thank you! But he does go away. The water was so beautiful and they have the water trampolines. There is a drop off after about 10 feet of walking out and you have to swim to the trampolines. They have snorkeling too, but we didn't do any. We stayed at DCB till around 1:00 then turned in our chairs, showered off and headed for the exit. We get to the exit on the street and there are about 10 people standing there selling stuff heading our way. We turn around and head back into the waiting area. I told someone working there I needed the Carnival shuttle and they said they would get us when it arrived.
The beggars were shouting at us the entire time, not very fun. When the shuttle arrived we made a dash for the bus as people are begging me to buy something. Now we are off to Jimmy Buffets to finish off the day. Got off the shuttle there with no problem. Hung out there till 2:30 and headed back to the terminal for some hassle free shopping. I purchased a bottle of Rum put it in my backpack and brought it back onto the ship, no problem! We went back to our cabin hung out on the balcony drank some more. Took showers hit the piano bar, casino then hit late night hamburger grill. We were burnt out from all the sun at the beach. Went back to the room and called it a night. Grand Caymans tomorrow.
We woke up early ordered room service again to watch the ship arrive. We made our way down to the Toulouse Lounge to get our tender ticket. We were on the first tender. We thought this was great; the tender went smooth arrived on the island to find nothing open...lol So we dove into a cafe that was open and drank some coffee till things started opening. Maybe 30-40mins later shops started opening up and my girlfriend started buying. We mainly just shop, drank and ate most of the day. We did go over to Jimmy Buffets for a Margarita $11 for a 16oz drink. Like everyone on this board has stated just about everything in GC is expensive, except the duty free liquor. I picked up a few bottles and they delivered it to my cabin on the last night. Also, purchased some rum cakes too.
The people on this Island were so friendly, we really enjoyed this place. We really didn't do much more here. The weather started getting rough, so we decided to head back to the ship (2:30) and that tender boat was rocking and everyone got wet. Made it back on the ship and a person was waiting as you boarded the ship with hot dry towels to wipe off; very nice touch by Carnival. We went back to the cabin and the sun came back out so drinking & balcony for us till it was time to get ready for 2nd formal night. We went took more pics and had another great dinner. It's amazing what some people consider formal wear, simply amazing...lol
After diner we did another show; I think it was the magic show tonight. It was a decent show. After that we were done. Back to the cabin very tired. I will say this again the ship was rocking and I don't know what to compare it to, but we felt like it was a lot. I was losing my balance in the bathroom. We really didn't think we would feel the ship move that much. But we also didn't let that spoil our fun. It really was a great day. Cozumel tomorrow
We woke up early ordered room service again to watch the ship dock. Back down to deck 0 off the ship and we were shopping in no time. As you walk the strip are whatever they call it you have a T-shirt shop, jewelry shop, Cigar shop then repeat process...lol There are a lot of people trying to get you to buy something but they are nice about it from what we experienced. The jewelry stores crack me up, most have margarita machines in them and they give you free margaritas or shots of Tequila. We were buzzing by 10:30 and I knew this was going to be a crazy day!
We decided to move deeper into town. As we walked I noticed the peddlers starting to get more aggressive, almost pulling you into their shop. We decided to turn around and stay on the main drag where more security was present. We decided on Carlos & Charlie's for lunch. This place was loud and jumping. The food was decent and the entertainment was great. If you get a chance check it out. After we moved upstairs to Senor Frogs and there was a band playing. We stayed for a bit and then went down 3 blocks to Jimmy Buffets new place. There were a few people there, but nothing like Carlos & Charlie's. I think it was around 4:00 and we were filling no pain! We decided to finish our last minute shopping. I picked up a bottle of tequila put it in my back pack and it made it on the ship like in Jamaica. We headed back to the ship and went to our balcony and watched the sail away. Went to dinning room, excellent again then off to the show and after and casino. By this time. I was wiped out. Bed time for me.
Last Day at Sea
We slept in on this day and we needed it. On the go for the last 3 days really takes a toll on you. Ship still rocking like crazy, are maybe it was just me...lol Anyway, today we were sampling all the food on board and we did! Fish & Chips was decent, the Chinese food I found to be very good. My GF got me to try sushi for the first time and I have to admit I did like it. We also hit the Chocolate buffet and it was great.
I know we did the art auction with the free champagne, but I can't remember what day that was. We went back to the cabin and got ready for our last dinner with Steven & Alvin and they didn't let us down. Great service the entire trip. These guys were from the Philippines and you can tell they work hard for their money. I tipped them extra, and then we were off to the Legends Finals. We really enjoyed the show. After, we went back to the cabin to pack up and get ready for the departure. All my liquor purchases were there waiting on me. Put luggage outside of cabin around 12:00 to be picked up and off to bed after that.
We were woken to the vibration of the cabin docking in Galveston. So we get up get dressed and go the Lido deck for breakfast buffet. Then back to the cabin to wait. First deck called is ours for self debarkation. I wish we would have done this. We would have been getting off the ship at 7:30 but we didn't. So the wait continues for the next 4 hours and we are going nuts. So they finally call our deck and we head down the gangway.
We go to our section to claim our luggage and I find every piece except the garment bag. Great, time to go to lost luggage counter. They finally locate my bag and now it's time to get in line for customs. Let me back up a bit, all week the lady in the liquor store on the ship told me I could bring off 5 liters of liquor per person if I wasn't from Texas. So great, I know we can bring off 10 liters if we choose. The customs guy asks me if I have any liquor and I say 6 liters, and he's like what? I explain to him what Carnival told me and he said that was not the legal amount. Anyway, I didn't understand what he said and told to just go, but don't do it again and I still don't know how much I can bring back....lol
We get outside the terminal and after a short wait for our shuttle we were off to our car and on our way home. As I stated above this was our first cruise but not our last. We loved almost everything about cruising. I would like to thank everyone who helped me plan a great vacation. Until next time.