Saturday, February 16, 2008

Our First Cruise- Day 1

The adventure started at 7:00am on Saturday Feb. 9th. We have been planning to go on this cruise for 9 months with some friends from church and it's finally time to go! So, we loaded up the car and headed for the long drive to Galveston.
We arrived in Galveston around 11:30 or 12 and found our parking lot. As we were pulling in we wondered what the age demographic of the other people on board would be. Since school was in there probably wouldn't be a lot of children our youth so it might be a lot of seniors... which was fine. Well, we pulled in to the parking lot and got out of our car about the time 5 other carloads did. Immediately I started laughing because there were 2 wheelchairs, 1 walker, 1 cane and an oxygen tank. We were by far 30 years younger than everyone else on the bus to the boat. *As a side note, once we got on the boat with everyone else, there was a wide variety of ages. We were cruising on the Carnival Ecstasy- 5 day cruise to Mexico.
We got to the terminal and the porters quickly took our luggage and we headed up to check in. I had filled everything out online so we passed through security and check in very quickly. You walk through all kinds of steps- bag scan, get your key and sign and sail card, get your photo taken for security, get your photo taken to buy later on board for way too much money, and finally, you walk on the ship.

This is our ship at night- we didn't take this picture, it came for free when we purchased the photo below and the leather double photo holder. Thank you Carnival.

Here is our photo we took right before stepping on board. I actually took a picture of the picture so it doesn't look that great here but it turned out pretty cute. Especially since we had just gotten done with a 5 hr. car ride.

We were directed straight up to the Lido deck for lunch since our rooms would not be ready until 1:30. Like amateurs, we stopped at the first buffet line we saw and got burgers and hot dogs. Minutes later, we discovered that there were 4 buffet lines each with different food plus a salad bar and fruit station and 2 additional dessert stations. well, you live and learn. The hamburgers were great and we were just loving that we were eating it on a cruise.

We went exploring a bit. This is a photo of the main lobby that is about 6 stories tall. There was a grand piano and player next to a bar at the lowest level of the atrium. This boat was built in 1991 and is is full of glitz and neon. At first, it bothered me a bit but after a day, you grow to like it.

This is a view from one of the upper outside decks. The main Lido deck is behind me with the pool and casual dining room.

So Happy.
Thought we would take a moment to relax in the sun before continuing to explore.

Mini putt putt course on the very top deck. Mike and Cory played before we left port. Rachelle and I went to a Spa tour- when we looked up from the tour of the gym, we could see the guys playing through the skylight (in the background of the photo).

We booked an interior room for the cost savings but were upgraded to a room with 2 portholes. I'm glad we had a window because it was fun to see the waves and sky. it was bigger than we thought and the bed was super comfortable. I love getting rocked to sleep by the moving boat.

This is a photo from the other direction looking back to the door.

After we got settled in the room and explored, we had a mandatory lifeboat drill. Everyone had to take their life jacket and head to their designated station then move in an orderly fashion to the deck where we would board out lifeboat in the case of an emergency. About the time we were done, we were heading out of Galveston so we stood on the deck and waved goodbye.
At 7:00 we had a "Welcome Aboard Show" where we were introduced to our Cruise Director Goose, the Captain, and heard from one of the comedians on board, Marvin Bell. At 8:30 we had dinner. I can't remember what i ate but i know it was very good. Every night is a 4 course meal, but you can have as much or as little as you want. I usually started with the fruit plate, then soup, then main dish and dessert.

When we got back to our cabin for the evening, the bed was turned down and this was waiting for us as well as chocolates on the pillow and a newsletter with tomorrows activities. I think I'm going to like it here :-)

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