There is nothing sadder than a cruise ship the morning of debarkation. The long awaited vacation full of sun, fun and friends is over, and to add insult to injury, you generally have to vacate your room pretty early so you wake up at the crack of dawn.
For our debarkation, Mr. Travelholic and I always choose to self-assist. On the plus side, you get to keep your luggage with you instead of having to leave it outside your door before midnight the previous evening. I’m always afraid I’ll be one of those cruisers you see the next morning debarking in their pajamas because they forgot to keep an outfit out for debarkation morning. Although they are entertaining.
Another plus is that the self-assist people get to debark before the people who ask for luggage assistance. For me this is a huge plus; some people like getting a leisurely breakfast and coffee and having a last cruise moment. Not me; I wake up and all I can think about is getting home.
For this particular cruise, the Carnival Breeze also allowed people with an early flight to debark first; right after the Diamond and Platinum cruisers. For everyone who had a flight earlier than 1PM in Houston (that was us) you could take your luggage down yourself to the Sapphire dining room as a meeting point at…yep…7am. Therefore, we had to wake up about 6:30am which was a definite big negative of self-assist since we had been going to sleep on the cruise anywhere from 12:30 to 2:00am. So we woke up tired. And without coffee. People with early flights could also have assistance with the luggage which puts you in one of the early groups called (we would have been group 4 out of 32) to debark after all the self-assist people.
Although we were tired and cranky, the self-assist was very orderly.The day before, a letter arrived in our stateroom that you had to show to get access to the early self-assist debarkation point. Once there, we lined our luggage up in order of arrival, and I believe we walked off the boat before 7:45 in a nice, orderly little parade.
One other negative of self-assisting with luggage is that you have to haul your own luggage quite a distance. This is one of the main reasons I pack lightly for a cruise. I have my American Tourister with the 4 wheels that you just have to push lightly to move, and my wheeled carry-on and that is it. I was having ankle and knee trouble relating to my RA but due to having the right luggage I was good to go if hobbling down the gangway.
After getting off the boat we quickly got through customs (gosh those Texans are friendly, even the customs agents!) and we were delighted to get a ride in the Galveston Pink Taxi back to our hotel to pick up our rental car. If you ever need a friendly taxi ride in Galveston, I highly recommend the Pink Taxi. if you want a taxi ride with them all the way from the Houston airport (IAH) to the Galveston port it will cost you $160.
And boom, just like that, we were back at our car by 8:30am! We stopped along the Galveston sea wall to get gas for the rent-a-car, took one last look at the beautiful ocean, and headed back to Houston. I’m now on the flight heading home. The vacation was a great success and I couldn’t have had a better time; look for my other articles and reviews on my cruise on the Carnival Breeze including Boarding Day on the Carnival Breeze and Beautiful Cozumel.