We booked this cruise to celebrate our granddaughter's 21st birthday. My wife and I had previously sailed on Freedom of the Seas in a Grand Suite. We’ve also cruise with our granddaughter 10 years ago on the Disney Wonder. We prefer suites for the size and amenities. We chose an Owner’s Suite for the extra room and small price difference over the Grand Suite.
We flew into Houston Hobby airport on Saturday before the cruise. We rented a car and stayed at the Springhill Suites by Marriott on NASA Parkway, near Kemah. We arrive early that morning and spent the day visiting Space Center Houston that day, and Kemah Boardwalk that evening. We enjoyed both and thought they were a good value. I highly recommend the Springhill Suites. It was nice, clean and safe. On Sunday morning, we took highway 147 south through Kemah to I-45, to Galveston. It was an easy drive, with little traffic once out of Kemah.
The cruise terminal at Galveston is a mess, but with help from Cruise Critic, I was able to navigate is easily. Because of our pre and post-cruise activities, we decided to rent a car and park it at the port. We chose Galveston Park-N-Cruise based on location, price and recommendations from other CC members. It was a good choice and worked out well. Driving into the terminal to drop luggage will take some time. There’s a lot of cross traffic to deal with – both automobile and pedestrian. Patience, studying maps, and reading the CC posts about it will make it easier. It was about an hour from the time we arrived in Galveston to the time we stepped onto deck 4 of the ship. It would have been a bit longer if we did not have access the suite check-in line.
We were in stateroom 1328. It’s on the starboard side, on the aft arc of “the hump”. The room was in great condition, other than a few minor issues. The cabinet door over the fridge was loose, and the closet doors didn’t quite fit just right. But these are very minor issues, and easily fixed. This room is right off the aft stair/elevator lobby and just below Giovanni’s Table. Neither was a problem- we heard absolutely no noise at all – not from above, not from the hall, or even from the adjacent staterooms. The location was incredibly convenient with the pool, Windjammer, Chops and Giovanni’s right up one flight of stairs, and the concierge lounge down one flight.
The bed is indicated as a queen size, but it’s larger than that. A standard queen is 60” by 90”, but this one is 72” by 80”, so really closer to a king. The sofa folds to a second queen bed. It’s not a hide-a-bed, but more like a futon. The stateroom attendant puts a foam topper on it to make it a bit softer for the guest(s) sleeping there.
We like to sleep with it very cold, and the AC just needed to get it a little bit colder, but didn’t. The room has only two 120v outlets, located in the vanity area next to the bed. There are no outlets anywhere near the living room area, except under the TV, which is really more in the bedroom. There is also an outlet in the bathroom, but it’s only for razors, though we were able to plug a small fan into it. They need an outlet over in the dining/bar area. Or maybe near the sofa. We had two tabletop fans we used on the nightstands, and I used an extension cord to plug those in.
The balcony is huge, and has a great, panoramic view to the aft of the ship from the hump. There are two chaise longues and a small bistro table with two chairs. The balcony is about 30 feet wide, but maybe 30 inches deep. It’s large enough to enjoy, but not large enough for a party. The glass balcony panels are always wet from rain and/or sea spray. They also block a lot of air, so unless it’s windy, the balcony can be a bit stuffy. Still, you have a great view so enjoy it!
Overall, I’d book this room again. If it were just the two of us, a Grand Suite would suffice. The bathroom in the Grand Suite actually seems large, as it doesn’t have the shower or bidet. In my opinion, the bidet is a waste of space. The shower is nice, but a bit small. I’m 6’2” and about 235lbs. I was fine in the shower, but washing my legs and feet was a bit of a challenge. We never used the whirlpool tub, but it looked large. We really enjoyed the room and it was a very good size for the tree of us.
This is a great place for kids to enjoy some boardwalk amusements rides and to have a good meal. It's safe, fun and clean.
A nice, clean port with great shopping. We enjoyed Margaritaville.
We hired a taxi driver to take us around the island. He stopped at a tequileria, several beach areas, and Mayan ruins at an early settlement. We paid $80+ tip for the 2.5 hour trip. We got a great tour and experienced a lot of local flavor.