I left for Galveston on Thursday morning and stayed in Houston at the Embassy Suites on Sage Rd near the Galleria Mall. The hotel was very nice and the swans in the atrium lobby was a nice touch. I began my drive to Galveston on Friday with little to no traffic. I got into Galveston pretty early but was able to check into my room at the Hampton Inn and Suites on Central City Blvd near the Sea Wall. My room over looked the ocean and everyone was very friendly and helpful. I was able to leave my car at the hotel free of charge during the cruise. I took a taxi which cost about $20 w/ tip and the driver was very informative and answered dozens of questions that I had about Galveston.
Check in for the cruise was fast and efficient. My only complaint at this point was when I got up to the rep for check in, she asked for the card that I booked the cruise with. I told her that I did not want to use the card, she responded that it was for ID only, and would not be charged. So I gave her my card, which she proceeded to swipe. Again I commented that I did not want the card used, and she told me that it would not be. We were allowed to board around 12.30 or so. The cabins were not ready so I took my carry on bags and went to the Lido deck and ate lunch. There were very few other passengers at this point so the food was plentiful and pretty good. Just your basic burger and hotdogs. Finally at 1.30 my cabin was ready and I got to go see it for the first time. I had booked a 1A and had no idea of what it would be like. I have to say I really liked it. I was on the Empress Deck and aft. My bags came pretty quickly actually before we even left port. My cabin was quite warm and I was trying to adjust the A/C but was not able to get the dial to move. I tried finding my Cabin Steward but to no avail. I was able to get the man who delivered my bags to fix it for me. After that I pretty much just wondered the ship, camera in hand. I took several photos and videos of the ship and my cabin. As I was traveling by myself I was able to go and see what I wanted to with out hindering others.
I went to the pursers desk and established a cash account and let them know again that I did not want my debit card used.
At around 4 or 4.30 we were told to get ready for our muster drill. I went back to my cabin, got my life jacket, checked my muster station location, Star Light Lounge and headed there. While on the deck near the life boats I noticed that we had set sail. I was very excited at this point. Like a kid in a candy store. I had chosen the late seating, 8.15pm, Wind Song Dinning room. So after the drill, I just wondered the ship, getting to know my home away from home for the next few days. I got dressed for dinner and went to the dinning room to see who my table mates would be. I was the first one there, and felt a little out of place. Joseph , my waiter, greeted me by name and I was very surprised. Turns out that he had already been notified of my food allergy and wanted me to know that he would be talking care of me. Gradually others began to join me. Pat, from Texas who would turn out to be who I would hang out with for most of my cruise. Tad, Candy and Jerry also from Texas, Renee from Texas (did not meet until later), Gail from Kansas and Sandy from Oklahoma. We named ourselves the divorced Medical/Educational table. All of us except Pat and Sandy were recently divorced and we were all in the Medical or teaching field in some way. I work for a health insurance company, there were 2 nurses, one medical secretary, one payroll clerk in a hospital and ohh yea, 2 were teachers. We were all around the same age, mostly in our early - mid 40's to late 50's ( I was the youngest at 43). 3 or 4 of us had grandchildren and we all had kids. So the Matri D', Hatem, did a great job of seating us. I don't recall what I had for dinner each night but I want to say it was very good and very well presented. Aniko who is Hatem's assistant came each night to take my order for the next nights dinner, to make sure it was prepared without any Dairy. I tried to pick foods that would be easy to fix or foods that would not cause to much trouble. The chef made me as special dinner of Shrimp Vindaloo one night. I love North Indian food and he was nice enough to do that for me. Totally not on the menu! I ordered shrimp cocktail and salad for my appetizers every night.
Our first sea day, I spent going to different activities. I was not bored one bit and had loads of fun taking photos of the ship and learning different stuff. I have meet so many different people! The ship hit pretty bad currents and it rocked and dipped. Lots of folks were sick. I thought it was fun! I was rocked to sleep every night in my bed! We were late getting into Cozumel by 2 hours but we made up the difference by leaving later.
Steve Cassell, our cruise director was fabulous. He did such a great job along with the rest of the entertainers. I feel in love with one of the Ecstasy dancers. He was tall and from England. I kept trying to figure out a way to wrap him up and put him in my luggage. I loved the shows, they did a wonderful job even with the rocking of the ship as bad as it was.
Tea Time. I had tea with a lot of nice ladies. I sat with a lady named Selma and she was very sweet and we had a grand time. Digital Scavenger Hunt. I participated in this and had a blast. I did not win but it was fun anyways. Art Auction. I will avoid this in the future. I will keep why private. Welcome back party. Very nice and I got my first pin and loved the free drinks. Captains Reception and Gala Dinner. Had a blast and dressed up in a black/white formal…no shoes. The ship was rocking to badly that night to wear shoes higher then a inch or two. I ended up in bare feet after trying to wear 6" spikes…hey I am a girl.
Cozumel. Me and Pat agreed to go together and to share a cab, since the ship docks at the Porta Maya pier. It was a $7 cab ride there and $7 back and we split it. Our first stop was an internet café for me to call home and to check my mail. I looked at my banking and noticed that Carnival had held $50 from my account on the very card that I had told her not to use, so I knew that I had to fix that, when I returned to the ship. The call to the states cost me $1.00 and the internet about the same. Much cheaper then on board at .75 per minute. We went to Sr. Frogs and had a blast! I ordered the Tequila Shrimp and a bottle of water. Our table mates, Candy, Tad and Jerry showed up and they seemed to be having a great time as we were leaving. After Sr. Frogs, we just walked around and shopped. I bought my granddaughter a pretty blue Mexican style dress and paid $20 for 4 t - shirts. I also went to the Hard Rock Café to get a souvenir glass, since I have collected them from all over the US and the world. The small shot glass was $13, more then what it would be in the states. I really did not care that much for Cozumel. We ended up going back to the ship only after about 3 hours. I went to the pursers desk to talk to them about my accounts and to why they had charged the card when I asked them not to. It did take talking to 3 or 4 different people at different times to make them understand what I was talking about. They were holding $50 on my debit plus $50 from my cash for my gratuities. I was fine with the cash being held that was why I had it in the first place, but the fact that they charged the debit was what I wanted fixed. They finally understood and agreed to release the debit, but was not done until we docked on Thursday the 12th.
Progresso. I loved Progresso. I did this by myself. My first thing was again to find a phone or internet and call home. Again it was very cheap. I would go back to Progresso in a heart beat. I loved everything about it. I got a 45 minute massage on the beach for $10. I feel asleep laying there listening to the sound of the waves and the wind. I took the Progresso tour for $3 and it was very nice. I ended up going back to one of the restaurants that we passed on the tour and having 2 Pina Caladas's for $4 plus they brought me chips, fresh salsa, black beans and some sort of potato. All this for $4, I made it my lunch. I got back to the ship about an hour or 2 before it sailed.
The one thing that I will say is that I never saw my cabin steward. My cabin was cleaned and I did get the turn down service but I had tried paging him 3 times and tried to find him a few times but never was able to. I did tell the pursers desk but they said that perhaps he just was not working on those times I had tried to find him. I kept bumping my head on the bed above me. I did not know until another passenger told me that I could move the bed away from the wall. I would have liked the CS to have shown that to me on the first night.
All in all it was a great trip. I would do it again in a heart beat.