I don't think I have stopped smiling since I left home on Saturday, February 23rd. I am a Wife and Mom who cruised with my best friend/cousin, KC. Our DH gave us this cruise as birthday presents--we both have a significant birthday in 2008. KC told me to quit telling which one, but I will tell you we were born in 1968.... I live in NW LA and drove to Houston Hobby on Saturday the 23rd to pick up KC. Her plane from Corpus Christi was exactly on time and by 1045am we were on the causeway to Galveston. We booked the Harbor House online and found it quite easily. I must admit, I could not contain my excitement and as we traveled 25th street we ended right in front of the cruise terminal. As the Carnival Funnel came into view, I started tearing up. It finally felt 100% real that I was really fixing to Cruise!! We killed time walking around the Strand before check in. A great money saving tip--if you book the Harbor House online through the Galveston.com website, cruise parking is free for the week. They do not offer this option if you phone them directly.Sunday morning we woke up at 0615 and looked out the window right in time to see the Conquest making her final turn. KC is an experienced cruiser but this was her first time on anything larger than the spirit class. We were both in awe of Her size and beauty.
We spent our morning talking and getting our luggage ready. About 1020 we loaded into my truck and I dropped KC off at the terminal with the luggage. I drove back to the Harbor House and parked--it is only about 2 blocks and walked back quite easily. Embarkation: We were on board by 1130--this process was completely painless as we had completed the funpass and had docs in hand. About 1320 we found our cabin and unpacked the first couple of bags that had arrived. The Muster drill was during sail away (yuck). Stateroom details: We booked inside cabin; I found the space to be more than adequate, but of course I didn't have anything to compare it too. KC has booked suites in the past traveling with her family but agreed that our cabin was just the right size. We wanted to change our early seating from 1745 to late but were turned away as it was time for the Muster drill. We decided to stick with the early dining (Monet) and had great Waiter and assistant, Arnell and Maria. We were at a table for 4 and our table mates did not join us until the second night. We dined at the Point Tuesday night based upon the recommendations of our fellow Cruise Critic members, and are very happy we did. We had agreed before the cruise we would try different foods and for the most part enjoyed all of our nontraditional choices. Although I wish I had a picture of KC's face when she tried the Chef's complement at the Point: Salmon Tartare, anyone? During the week we also made it a point to try Sur Mer, burgers, and pizza. I do recommend the Fish and Chips or the Fried oysters from Sur Mer. A couple of evenings we skipped the Monet and dined in the Cezanne and thoroughly enjoyed the food. We never did make it to the Monet for breakfast but there is always next time.
I've read many posts that say "your cruise experience is what YOU make of it." I definitely believe this is true as cruisers have the opportunity to cram in as many activities as possible or take a more laid back approach. We chose the latter and it worked for us. KC teased that I must have a sleep disorder as I fell asleep everytime we parked in a deck chair or on a couch along the Promenade outside of the casino. I want to give a shout out to the Los Conquistadores, our group from Roll Call. We had a prearranged party Monday afternoon at Vincent's. M & M Mousers had gifts for all of us, and made us signs for our cabin doors. We spent the hour chatting, exchanging contact info, and the drinks provided. It meant so much to us to meet in person and run into one another the rest of the cruise. We cruised the last week of February and had to change our clocks one hour ahead for island time and then back to CST before Cozumel. Also, tune into channel 14 the guide calls it "Map channel" for ship info, weather info, etc. Please feel free to email me if you have questions about the Ports or ship's activities. This experience was unique in so many ways, and yes, I can't wait to book the next one. Now I understand why people book the same cruise a second time, in order to see everything you missed the first time. And please, do the On Deck for the Cure Walk!