As our fabulous cruise director Mike has said, cruising is all about Food, Friends and Fun (I knew I liked Mike When he appeared in a suit made entirely out of Union Jacks last night), and my first day aboard the Carnival Breeze did not disappoint at all.
Let me back track to the morning of boarding the boat so I can catch everyone up. We (“we” on this cruise generally refers to Mr. Travelholic and myself, and often also to our theater friends Tamra, Rhonda, Darrin and Bill who are cruising with us) opened up our eyes at the Four Points Sheraton in Galveston. Although the hotel disappointed the night before (non-working WiFi) it was hard to stay cranky when opening our eyes up to the waves and water right outside our window. We skipped breakfast at the hotel (eating right before you get on a cruise ship seems redundant) tried the free hotel coffee (blah) and packed into our taxi for the boat at 10:00 AM.
Two tips when boarding Carnival at Galveston. You get to pick your boarding window, so pick an early one if you are like my group and can’t wait to get going, and order your taxi the night before since thousands of people will all be heading to probably more than one boat the morning of your cruise (Liberty of the Seas was also leaving Galveston yesterday).
Our hotel was very close to the port and we made it by 10:15 (boarding window 10 to 10:30). We love Carnival’s new staggered boarding procedure…there were no lines at all, and we so breezed right through the boarding process. The port and Carnival staff were friendly and upbeat. We had seats to wait to board, cool air conditioning, and cold water available. So pleasant. We enjoyed watching the groups before us board (wow…so many couples getting married on the ship; they board first…it’s like the Love Boat…), elite cruisers, disabled, Faster to the Fun people (you pay a bit extra and get to board and tender first) and then us. We were on the boat by 12pm and I always marvel at how quickly the staffs can turn the cruise ships around for the next cruise!
We staked out a Lido Deck table by a window and got lunch. Various previous Carnival Breeze cruisers have raved about Guy’s Burgers so I suggested we start there. And wow. I know they are just burgers, but I swear there is a secret ingredient in there. I tried the one with the onion ring and barbecue sauce, and yep, they are that good. Fries too, and nice and hot and the line moves so quick. By 4pm half our group had been back for a second one!
After lunch we explored the ship (one of my favorite first day activities) and we found “restaurant row” including Red Frog Pub and Bonsai Sushi,the coffee bar, the Casino (I think the largest ship casino I’d ever seen) and much more. Rooms ready quite early at 1:30 and luggage followed later. All in all, a very quick, efficient, and fun boarding of the Carnival Breeze.
We watched sail-away from Galveston at the back of the boat a little after 4pm. The back of the boat was perfect, especially since we were followed by soaring pelicans and a school of dolphins! We counted at least 6 dolphins cavorting in the wake of the ship as we headed out of Galveston port (we said this was good luck…we don’t know if it is but we are going to start that rumor). For awhile after sail-away, we hung out at the pool at the back of the boat (our current favorite spot; much quieter than the Lido).
Then, back to our staterooms. Mr. Travelholic rested while I unpacked. The art of unpacking in a stateroom is all-important. Staterooms for me are so much more pleasant when not cluttered with luggage and with things neatly put away and organized. Carnival makes this easy with lots of storage room. Three (yes 3) closets (2 for hangers and one for shelves), 4 draws and additional shelves and cubbys. Mr. Travelholic always lets me unpack since it’s my talent. In well under an hour, voila, both of our cases are unpacked and under the bed not to be seen until packing to go home.
Before dinner we listened to some Calypso music by Kevin Romans and then it was dinner time in our late-night 8:15 time slot. At some point I’ll do a full review of the food and restaurants on the Carnival Breeze. Briefly, it was delicious with fun items to try (Vietnamese cold shrimp spring rolls, lychee soup) and appealing entrees like Mahi Mahi and barbecued short ribs. And I was eagerly awaiting my favorite Carnival desert, the chocolate melting cake. Carnival did not disappoint, it was on the menu and served up with its traditional scoop of ice cream on the side.
We waddled (well, not really but it felt like that) to the 10:15 Welcome Aboard show in the main Ovation theater. Gee, this show has energy as does the Cruise Director and his staff! I’ll also separately review entertainment; overall we enjoyed the first show (as long as I didn’t put my nit-picky theater direction hat on). We made a quick exit to get seats for the Punchliner Comedy show at 11:30, starring Ken Rogerson (definitely an over-18 show and uproariously funny. After the show, Mr. Travelholic dragged my overly-exerted rheumatoid arthritis self back to the cabin to get some sleep, but our friends (over 40, every last one of them) went out dancing, and I understand this morning that, indeed, some twerking and cage dancing was involved. For friends and family reading this, I do believe I have now given out too much information, so I’ll stop here, but indeed, a great first day was had by all.