Drove down to Galveston - used Lighthouse Parking. This was our 3rd cruise out of Galveston & the first time we didn't do the drive all in one day. What a difference that makes! We were in the 1st group to board, so we had plenty of time to relax & enjoy the buffet lunch. We went to our cabin at 1:30 to unload carry on items. Lifeboat drill was what it was. Luggage arrived just before dinner.
Cabin: Great location. Not too far from elevators or laundry room, but just far enough away from the traffic. Quick walk to pools & buffet. Cabins above & below, so no noise problems. You can, however, hear other cabin doors slamming & if your neighbors get loud you will hear them. This is the case with any room, though. Balcony was fine, although it's not very deep for reclining. It has 2 chairs & a small table. Depending on your height, the rail may obstruct your view while sitting. This is an excellent place for just relaxing & reading a book. It is shaded, as there are balconies above.
We had early seating at 6pm. Food in the dining room was excellent. The service the first few nights seemed a bit disconnected, though. Seemed like a long wait between courses, coffee that was ordered with dessert came after dessert had already been served & eaten. So, not really sure what the deal was there, but it did get better each day. I don't recall our head waiter's name - it started with K & he was from India. His assistant was Artha from Indonesia, I believe. Let me be clear that even though service was a bit slow those first nights, I still was very pleased with the waitstaff.
This was a do nothing cruise for us. We didn't gamble, play games or even go to the deck party. I had originally intended to go, but we had an early all day excursion the next day & I needed my rest. It was nice just to relax for a week. I know my husband sure needed that break.
Shows were fine. Point & Click would have been better if they had just billed it as a normal show & left it at that. We had seen Manuel Zuniga, the juggler, last year on Valor but we still watched his show again. We had also seen Karl Faulkenberry, the comedian, so we only went to one of his shows. We did go to both of Derrick Eason's shows & enjoyed them both. Formidable was also an enjoyable show.
All excursions were booked through Carnival online before the cruise. While looking over the list of excursions provided on the ship, we noticed that our pre-cruise prices we paid were $10 per person cheaper than what was on the ship's list. So, that was a plus. Also, it's nice just to board & not have to worry about trying to book something. We tend to book through Carnival for simplicity's sake. Also, we found that if we had missed GC as a port, we would not have gotten a refund from Dolphin Discovery, only a voucher good for a year had we booked directly with them. So, even though missing a port is not likely, that is something to keep in mind. Cost difference was less than $20 between Carnival & going direct by the time you added in taxi. At least with the excursion, I didn't have to worry about getting a cab, just hopped on a bus.
If any of y'all want to see my pics, I have them on facebook now. Go to http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=33263&id=1189414332&l=a2fcb1d2f7