There was no fog when we drove down Sunday afternoon, but it rolled in around 5 PM before we were able to depart. The Captain issued the first of many apologies, saying the port was closed and it was out of his hands, and that if we could leave the next morning we could still make our full itinerary. Unfortunately, the fog didn't really lift till about noon. Visibility was well over a mile for 2-3 hours, still we did not depart, unlike the Carnival Conquest next door, which departed in the early afternoon. The Captain explained that Voyager needed to make a turn to depart, with only 30 feet of clearance, and that the pilot assigned by the port said conditions were not good enough. Late in the afternoon, the fog rolled back in, and the Captain announced that we could not leave till the next day, that we would miss our first stop in Roatan, and that passengers could leave and receive full credit toward another cruise or stay with no compensation for the missed port call. We stayed, while 800 passengers departed, bringing the ship down to around half its capacity I would guess. The next morning was clear, and we departed around 9 AM, glad to be rid of Galveston.
I still don't understand why we weren't able to depart Monday afternoon. Yes there is tight clearance, but I could clearly see ships in the Houston ship channel, which is at least a mile away, for at least a couple hours. Very upsetting. Also the no compensation for the missed port call seems less than generous. During the time in Galveston the casino and onboard shops were closed. We couldn't even play bingo (which we later learned was a plus). But on to the cruise review, now that we were cruising.
Tuesday was not a particularly pleasant day at sea, with strong winds and low temperatures. If we had left Monday, even if we couldn't make it to Roatan, Tuesday would have been much more pleasant. We had to wait will Wednesday for nice weather to enjoy a pleasant day on the top deck, swimming and getting some sun. We made our scheduled stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel on Thursday and Friday before an uneventful return to Galveston Sunday morning.
Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was wonderful, once we were free of the sights and sounds of the cement plant next to us in Galveston. Comfortable beds, nice bedding, the cabin was well laid out and functional. The balcony easily accommodated two chairs and a small table, and we used it a lot, a very peaceful place to sit and watch the waves. Our stateroom attendant was simply superb.
We elected my time dining, which requires prepaid gratuities. The first night, we made a reservation. After so many passengers departed, we just showed up without a reservation and never had to wait more than a couple minutes for a table for two. Our waiter the first night was so great, we kicked ourselves after the cruise for not making sure we sat in his section every night. All the other servers were fine, but a bit perfunctory. The food in the main dining room was excellent, not only at dinner but also at lunch, where there is an extensive menu as well as a salad bar where they custom-build a salad to your specifications. Later in the cruise we found ourselves eating less in the main dining room and more at Windjammer just because it was more casual. The food in Windjammer is not bad, but as it's a buffet we find it's more hit and miss, and you end up eating too much of a random assortment of items. And the servers do little more than clear plates.
We had dinner one night at Portofino, which was one of the best meals we've had in a long time. Everything was letter perfect, both the food and the service. I had a signature dish, a skewer of shrimp, scallops, salmon and lobster. David had halibut with a crab and shrimp risotto. The server was great. We can't say enough about Portofino. Given the light crowd, we probably could have gotten in a second time, and wish we had.
Johnny Rockets wasn't a highlight. The burger was ok, but when we sat down we were greeted with a basket of fries and fake onion rings, both of which had clearly been sitting around for some time. They need to be cooked fresh. The sundae wasn't bad though.
We liked the Royal Caribbean song and dance shows, this was our first cruise but we were surprised by the level of talent. Ditto for the ice skating show with 10 professional skaters, though the show gets a bit silly when they have to push some lame props all over the ice. We avoided the comedy shows and the Elvis impersonator, not our cup of tea.
In Costa Maya we did an 8-hour trip to the mayan ruins at Dzibanche and Kohunlich, arranged through the ship. A long two hour bus ride each way, but the sites were very interesting and we were glad we went. Though the box lunch provided, whose main item was a pouch of tuna with crackers) was inadequate for an all-day trip. As was the one bottle of water provided. In Cozumel we arranged our own day at a beach resort, Nachi Cocom. After surviving the taxi queue, it was about a 15 minute ride there. The resort is nice. Sadly it was windy and seas were rough, so we couldn't go in the ocean. But we still enjoyed the day, it's a nice resort, they have a nice pool, and a delicious lunch was included along with drinks throughout the day.
Overall we're glad we stayed, though it would have been nice if we could have left Monday afternoon, and I feel like we should have gotten some compensation for staying with the ship when so many others left with full credit toward another cruise. Fog in Galveston is pretty rare but with the chaotic boarding process (we were in line a couple hours, it was very disorganized), I doubt we'd do another cruise from Galveston, convenient though it is. If we do decide to do another cruise someday I guess we would consider Royal Caribbean though no offer of any sort of compensation for a pretty miserable 36 hours in Galveston would make me look at other options.