Background - This is our third cruise, second with our three children. Our other cruises were on the Carnival - Carnivale May 1985 and the Royal Caribbean - Grandeur of the Seas March 2003. This trip we traveled with two other families that also had teenagers. We drove from Northwest Arkansas to Galveston Friday night and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Seawall Blvd. Saturday morning we were able to walk across the street to the beach. The hotel allowed us to park our cars at the hotel for the week and shuttle to and from the port for $5.00. The hotel was very nice, the two double beds were small (we have a king at home). At noon the hotel loaded up our luggage and drove us to the port which was only 15 minutes away.
Embarkation - After watching our luggage get loaded on the porters cart we headed inside. Even though we had express check-in, we still had to fill out some last minute forms (any medical conditions in the past 72 hours & approval for children to travel). In less than 15 minutes we were off to have our embarking photo taken off to the ship we went.
Saturday on the ship - We stopped at the Pursers Desk to have some of the kids cabins reassigned. At time of booking we had to show a person of at least 18 in each room. After finding our rooms we went looking for the table where we could change our dining arraignments. Our travel agent had assigned one of the families to first seating instead of the second seating. By the time we found the error, second seating was full and they were put on a waitlist. After going to two different places, we found the place. They were able to change them to second seating for the second night on. Saturday night we made reservations for all of us at the PC dining room. After these changes were made, off to the dining room for lunch, we can have pizza and burgers anytime. After lunch we went to the cabins to unpack, all the luggage had arrived.