by Michael Hawkins
June 12, 2006
My fiancé and myself arrived in Galveston on the 11th of June and we stayed overnight at the Harbor House Hotel. The hotel allowed us to leave our car there for the duration of our cruise for a nominal fee of $20.00!! On cruise day, which was the 12th, we were able to sleep in and lounge throughout the morning, checking out of the hotel at noon. We drove to the terminal, dropped off our luggage with a porter and returned to the hotel parking lot to leave the car.
The walk to the ship was short and pleasurable. We were able to walk right into the terminal and checked in. In all, it took 20 minutes from leaving the parking lot to being onboard the Ecstasy. There was an announcement that the cabins would not be available until 1:30. No big deal as we sat in chairs on the Lido Deck and drank and enjoyed the music.
When we arrived at our cabin, the room was clean and ready. I had ordered a plate of chocolate strawberries for DF and they were there ready for her to consume them! Such a shame that something that looked so good had to be eaten. After placing our belongings in their appropriate locations, we prepared for the mandatory muster drill. Fortunately, our muster station was two levels directly above us so not a far distance to travel. After the drill, it was off to watch the Port of Galveston disappearing in the distance and watching the porpoises playing in the bay before and around us. I was able to get them on the camcorder, cool!! After that, off to explore the ship and learn our way around.
We chose to eat in the Windstar dining room every occasion we were afforded. The service was always excellent and our waiter during the evening meals was superb!! He was always caring about our meals, well mannered and the food was incredibly good. All of the people at our table were pleased with him and his assistants. We did the buffet a couple of times because the dining room was unavailable. The food was good and the deli sandwiches were well received. One morning we did room service for breakfast and the meal arrived in 15 minutes and was good as well. Overall, the dining experience was excellent.
The first day at sea was a lazy one for us but, wow, was it hot!! We stayed indoors as much as possible and explored. The seas were very rough because the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto were still in the area and we actually got a bit queasy. Off to the infirmary we went and the doctor told us that this pitching was the worst he had ever experienced himself. We also overheard other crewmembers stating the same to passengers. He recommended a sort of acupuncture for us to try. It was an elastic wristband with a button on it. It was placed on each wrist, over the pulse, and it worked!! The queasiness left us.
The beds were an issue with us. I am allergic to down and we found out afterwards that she is also. The beds, though comfortable, are almost all down. The comforter, the mattress pad and the pillows are down filled and we were miserable. At first, we thought we had the flu or some bug. When we left the ship for the docks, we cleared up, somewhat. Carnival does not have any other bed coverings or pillows so I hope they get this oversight taken care of before our next cruise.
Formal night was great and we were dressed to the max ourselves. We enjoy dressing up and we had a wonderful time at the Captain's party and the dinner afterwards.
We docked at Progresso and we chose to stay on board until the early afternoon. Then we disembarked and strolled through the mall at the pier. A quick and heavy downpour appeared and then we were able to get back onboard before the rush of the others returning from their excursions.
The next morning found us in Cozumel. The damage is tremendous and incredible. We tendered in to what is left of the dock and caught a van to our excursion. The Adventure Park and Snorkel Tour was our choice. We rappelled, climbed walls, crossed rope and plank suspension bridges and rode a zip line. We didn't snorkel as we weren't up to it on this day. When we returned to the mall at the pier, we had a good meal, listened to the music and did some shopping. The tender was already at the dock when we got there so it was quickly on and back to the ship. The ship was two hours late leaving Cozumel, but not due to the ship. Two passengers ran afoul of the law and were "detained" by the local authorities. The Captain arranged for their release and the ship left with everyone on board. I don't want to hear that Carnival does not take care of its passengers. To me, that was above and beyond the call of duty. It was not Carnival's fault that the passengers did something that was against the law. We took pictures of us leaving the port as toasted the event. That evening, we dressed up again for the Past Guests Party and had another great time. Again, the seas were rough but that was because the Captain had the ship going full bore to make up the lost time caused by the hooligans.
The last day at sea and we slept in. Later, we did the Art Auction and purchased some paintings. We almost bought a Rembrandt but decided against it at the last moment. I must say it was difficult to pass up.
Arriving in Galveston, we did not do the self assist debarkation, mainly due to our Nine pieces of luggage (LOL). We lounged in our cabin until they called our color. We were off the ship and on the curb of the street in about 30 minutes. Using the porter cut about 45 minutes off of our wait. I walked to the hotel parking lot, collected the car, collected my fiancé and the luggage and off to home we went.
Overall, our trip was a hit!! We did not want to get off and we are looking to, perhaps, do the same trip later this summer. We already have a trip planned for November and anxiously await it.