My wife and I, along with my brother and wife, all took our first cruise this past week (05/24). We cruised out of Galveston, TX on the Carnival Ecstasy and it was wonderful. We did a lot of research leading up to our departure date, and I have to say, being well prepared made this trip much more enjoyable than some of the other reviews I've read. Follows is a break down of our cruise:
We arrived in Galveston the afternoon before and stayed at a wonderful Quality Inn just across the street from the Gulf. Galveston is a nice place to visit. We had dinner, walked around, went to the beach, etc. The next day we drove over to our selected parking lot that we had booked ahead of time. We used Lighthouse Parking and they shuttled us to and from the Terminal. We arrived at about 11:30 and had no trouble at all. There was not much of a line, and getting through the security checks was a breeze. We waited in there for about an hour before they let us board. Once on board, we had lunch on the Lido Deck and it was quite good! There we met this amazing little man who called himself "Rudi". He was a bar waiter and was always ready with a frozen concoction.
Our room was quite nice. We had an outside room on the Riviera Deck. There was plenty of room for my wife and I and a large window. Here are a few things to keep in mind when packing: 1) there is only one 110 volt outlet, so take a power strip. Make sure it's in your carry on, it will get removed from your checked luggage before it hits your room. 2) Take extra hangers. There are a few in the closet, but not enough.