I can not give this a five star rating because of the debarkation procedure. We were given luggage tags the night before, but chose not to use them. The number was 24, but since we live over 500 miles from the port and have to drive home we used self-assist so we could get off the ship earlier. On this particular cruise we were on deck 2 and they called for self-assist starting on deck 12 at around 8 a.m. Then about halfway through the debarkation they started also calling tag numbers. About two hours later they called our deck for self-debarkation and had called for tag number 24 almost 30 minutes before that. I was talking to my wife about it on the shuttle back to the parking and another passenger overheard us. He said it was my fault for being too honest! He said we should have left as soon as they called for the first deck...oh well live and learn.
This is our second cruise this year out of Galveston and on both occasions we had to disembark from the crew deck because the gangway was malfunctioning. You would think that as much money as the city of Galveston rakes in from the cruises that they would fix the problem. I did some research and on the Port of Galveston's website they posted that over one million passengers sail out of Galveston every year!
The cruise was great and we only had one rough night which was on the return trip. We got a little queasy, but not sick. They had to drain the swimming pool on Lido to keep the waves from splashing up to the next deck. Christine in the Piano Bar was a hoot and well worth our time there. The crew and staff were very friendly, although over the last 11 years of cruising with Carnival I have noticed a big change in the number of crew members. They are nearly too overworked with one steward cleaning many more rooms than ever before.
This is the second time we have done the Key West and Bahamas trip and enjoyed them both. I saw some complaints about how sorry Nassau or Freeport was. Hey life is what you make of it. Skip the excursions and mingle with the locals, just use you common sense and don't go where you wouldn't or do what you wouldn't do in the states and you'll be fine.
The cabin was very clean and spacious as is the norm for the Cove Balconies. The problem with this particular room is that it is directly below the kitchen or prep area for the kitchen and every night at around 3 a.m. there was a lot of banging and sounds of heavy items being slid around. The first night it was so loud we thought someone had gotten onto our balcony and was moving the furniture around. I met two other couples that were nearby and they did not hear the noises we heard. I would avoid this room, especially if you are a medium to light sleeper.
When you consider that the Port of Galveston brags about over one million annual cruise ship passengers you wonder why the cruise terminal is in such a dismal condition. We cruised twice this year. In May the passenger gangway was broken on both embarkation and debarkation which is a shame because all the first time cruiser's (and there were many) didn't get the "AWE" effect of boarding into the atrium area of the ship. On the last one, which we just finished the gangway was broken on the debarkation.
Second time to the Keys. This time we went into town and rented a gasoline powered golf cart. We had a blast. We could do what we wanted and when we wanted to do it. I highly recommend a visit to the Coast Guard cutter Ingham which is the most highly decorated cutter ever to have served in the Coast Guard. It transported General MacArthur back to the Philippines when he fulfilled his promise the return.
We rented a scooter for the second time. I would advise against it unless you have experience on a motorcycle as the locals are for the most part impatient. You also need an International Driver's License which is easy to obtain by using AAA. We rode to a beach and enjoyed the warm weather and sand.
Very warm, the temps were in the mid-80's with a high humidity. A huge difference from the 30's our friends in the Texas panhandle had to endure. We walked around Nassau and enjoyed a meal at the Greek Island restaurant overlooking the main drag. Very friendly people there even though it was crowded with the passengers from two other Carnival ships. We felt safer on this cruise itinerary than we do in some U.S. cities!