We actually started our vacation early as we drove from Iowa to Texas, a long drive but enjoyable, making stops anywhere we wanted along the way. After we picked up cousin in Texas we headed to Galveston. We had not been on the island since Ike hit, we were pleased that the rebuilding is moving along. We met up with several people at The Spot for snacks, drinks and fun, a great way to start a wonderful vacation.
Embarking, we didn't know that the boat was late getting in until we were in the lobby of the hotel getting ready to hop on the shuttle. Oh well we would have to wait somewhere so we headed to the terminal. It was actually nice to walk in and not wait in line to check in. We did have to wait comfortably seated in the chairs and we got to visit with some of our new friends and a couple from Iowa. It turned out that their son worked for the same company I work for when he was in college, small world.
Once on board we checked out to see if our rooms were ready as it was close to the time they said they would be. No, not quite ready but we could put our bags in there so we wouldn't have to lug them around. Then up to the Lido deck and the first DOD! Tasted good; even with the weather being a little on the chilly side for Texas it felt good and we were on the boat.
Next the lifeboat drill, a formality that you have to do. We were crowded into Chinatown then on to the Lido deck. Again saw some people we knew and met a few more people, made the best of things. I did like the fact that we only had to put on the life vest and could take it off right away, I tend to be claustrophobic. Drill out of the way ready to set sail, woo woo!
Our room steward was okay, met him on Monday, our first day on ship and then I ran into him on Wednesday night as he was coming out of my Mom's cabin, he finally remembered where he took the remote from and returned it. Other than that never saw him but he did come in and make the room up and turn the beds down. Don't understand why he threw the note my cousin left for him in my bag of souvenirs but stranger thing happen. It is disappointing that they can no longer use sunglasses or other stuff laying around to decorate the towel animals unless that is just a tale our steward told us.
Let's breeze past the diner experience as it was not up to par and I would rather not focus on the bad. The food was okay but the service wasn't what we have come to expect. We did let the maitre d know of the problems and he did try to correct the situation. On the bright side since I have a food & beverage background the maitre d and I talked about a variety of things. I would like to mention that on the Lido grill after asking for mushrooms in my omelet every day but one and always being told NO! I finally got them on the last morning. I believe his was Sundeep, he acted like it was no big deal, but it was to me.
Entertainment! WOW! I have always enjoyed the trivia, shows and activities that Carnival offers. Cruise Director Kirk, Assistant CD Jason, Ben, Jared, Kenzie and Jessica were all friendly and made you feel welcomed. They put a lot of fun in "Fun Ships". There was a little mix up with the M&M set up for our group, we were told one time and place before cruising, then it was another in the capers and there was a sign for a different group by the door, but no problem we adapted quite well. There were several of us that knew each other from a prior cruise and then we met at The Spot in Galveston before sailing, so we had no problem talking amongst ourselves and entertaining each other. We even managed to practice a karaoke routine that we preformed another night. Others sang some songs which were remarkable. I was not real fond of the first comedian on the cruise; partly because he was a ventriloquist ( I like Jeff Dunham and his Walter). This guy was hard to understand and his lips moved, but others thought he was okay, it is personal preference. Then came the switch, I was standing in front of the shops in Cozumel and overheard a lady talking about a double wide trailer. I asked her if she was talking about the comedian on board the Fantasy. She was talking about Kim Harrison our next comedian. For a minute the lady thought that I was her and told me how much she enjoyed my show. I unfortunately had to correct her and explained that I wasn't her; but I had the great pleasure of seeing her last September while aboard the Conquest. We agreed that she was marvelous. I loved both of her shows and the fact that she hung around to talk after the shows just made for a more enjoyable evening, very personable and friendly!
Another department that needs acknowledge is the Atrium Bar. More specifically Diana, she was a great bartender. Not only was she friendly while on duty, she saw me walking by the photos; stopped me to ask how "my sisters" were doing, they had a bit much to drink the night before with genuine sincerity in her question.
Debarkation was mediocre this time around. We like to do the self assist, but before we were on the elevators to go down to the gangway they had started calling the floors. We were the last of the self assist to be called, so there we were with our suitcases while others were trying to get off the elevators and complaining that we were taking up to much room. Even had they waited and given self assist time to get off the boat we still would have had the line for customs. I think it took about an hour to get off the boat, but it was just a few minutes waiting under the red flag when our shuttle showed up.