This was my 12th cruise, 5th on Carnival; 5th from Galveston; 1st with Son, DIL, and 2 Grandsons (ages 4 and 2); 2nd with Hubby using a scooter; and 1st booking only a month ahead of time.
We drove to port using both of our vans that have disable vet tags so that we were able to park at port for free. Grandsons loved the fact that we had DVD's for the long trip from San Antonio to Galveston. Did the drop off of luggage and all but DS and I who went to park vehicles and took shuttle back to the port. Let Hubby take the lead with one of grandsons riding with him on scooter and got ahead of security line. Then again got past the check in line because of disabilities. We do appreciate not having to wait in line and understand that there needs to be a separate line to get mobility equipment through security as well as the lowered desk for check in. With the young children, it really was an even bigger help. Our carry-on bags were checked closely because we had champagne, diet coke and ginger ale in them. Ginger ale came in very handy for DIL as she had sea sickness and the ginger ale helped.
Headed up to the Lido deck and buffet for lunch. Adlee (4 year old) thought the decorations looked like "Monster Eyes". At this time Adlee also stated the quote of the cruise "Mama, you were right. This ship is awesome!" Did the usual first day stuff, explored the ship, muster drill, unpacked suitcases and then sail-away on our balcony. Hubby and I were on Lido deck in a normal balcony (tight but workable with scooter) and DS and family on deck 2 in oceanview. Family joined us for sailaway with the champagne (Ginger ale for grandsons) and we sighted several dolphins as we cruised out of Galveston.
Since we booked late, we could only get late traditional dining. Our favorite but not good with children. We adjusted by feeding the little ones in the buffet and taking them to Camp Carnival for all but the last night. Adlee wanted to eat dinner with us that night. Food was okay. Typical cruise fare when serving on a budget for thousands. Of course the Chocolate Melting Cake, Bitter and Blanc, and Grand Marnier Souffle were wonderful. Waffles at breakfast were awful (need to be made to order or get Eggo Waffles). We only did breakfast in dining room once when we usually do it in dining room daily - it was just that bad.
First evening there was a medical emergency and after about 4 hours we turned back toward Galveston to take the passenger back to the US. Don't really know what the emergency was but have unconfirmed report that it was a broken arm. Okay, maybe they don't have the facilities to set a broken bone on board. The next day we went full speed ahead to make up time. At about 12:00, I picked the grandsons from Camp Carnival and was headed to lunch when I lost my sea legs. To keep from falling on Grandson, I bumped my foot hard into the structure of the ship. Broke little toe. No way I am going to the med clinic and pay for someone to tape it to the next toe or risk being put off ship. Thank goodness I bring pain meds and bandaids on cruise.
Got to Progresso on time and family and I took the bus to port and walked to the beach. Grandsons enjoyed the sand and surf and I loved the $20 hour massage on the beach. About noon it started to rain so we headed back to ship. It did cost us $10 for a table and chairs at the beach. Never made it down to Buddy's but where we camped out was just fine. We had use of showers and bathrooms of resturant across the street. Perfect for our needs. Buddy's might be better if a more party atmosphere is desired.
Cozumel was the next port - rainy and chilly day. My toe/foot hurt and was swollen and I decided to skip my prebooked shore excursion as I couldn't get my snorkling fin on. DS and DDIL did their shore excrusion and loved it. Hubby and I went on shore and had lunch at resturant in the port area. The food was bland. Mexican food being bland is really bad. Me saying Mexican food is bland is a crime against Mexican food. I had a chicken quasidilla and added the bland salsa from our chips and still thought it was blander than plain mashed potatoes. Now that was really bad. And the Margaritas - they were more like lime kool-aid. No kick at all. Next time I crave Mexican food - I will forgo eating in port and wait till I can at least eat Taco Cabano.
The Carnival Legend was also in port and we enjoyed sailing away with the ship's horns blowing and the waves from the other ship. Great party spirit from both ships. Until about an hour later when the announcement for the Cruise director to report to the bridge came on. Okay - first thought was the Carnival Splendor - the ship was still moving and no report of "Bravo, Bravo, Bravo" had been heard. Still I told Hubby -"That's not a good thing." About 5 minutes later it was announced that there had been a possible "Man Overboard" reported and everyone needed to go to their cabin for a complete headcount. We were noticebly slowing down and eventiually turning around and headed back. After about an hour, it was announced that every passenger and crew were accounted for. Our favorite bartender told us later that even after 10 years working on cruise ships, this was the first time he had experienced a man-overboard emergency. Again, thankfully it was a false alarm but still an interesting expierence.
The last night we took in "The Big Easy" show and it was great. After 12 cruises, we really don't do the shows anymore but had read that this one was a good one. It was the best we had ever seen on a ship. Kenley (the 2 year old Grandson) was totally engrossed by the show. Really glad that DIL was able to actually expierence this part of cruising.
All in all - it was a great cruise. For our first expierence with Camp Carnival - they were very strick about who picked up the children and you had to show ID.
Service really stood out on this cruise. It seemed that the crew were happy and joked with us. Crew happy, passengers happy. Had a conversation with a manager of the buffet and he said that he likes the management theory of taking care of his people and his people will take care of the customers. Told him that it worked. Service was friendly and good.
Disembarkation was slow until the self disembarktion was done. Then it went quickly and once off the ship it was about 15 minutes till we were on the curb with luggage.
I have had lots of people ask me about cruising with expressions that they aren't sure they would like it. I usually recommend a short cruise from Galveston to test the expierence. Based on this cruise, I will continue that advice.