by da brickhouse
July 21, 2008
We found two tables between the stage and outdoor grill, dropped our belongings and headed for the lines. The kids ages 9, 12, & 15 opted for burgers, dogs, and fries while the adults experimented with the fare inside the Panorama Grill. As everyone had mentioned, the food on the buffet is ok, but I didn't let the meager fare spoil what fun I was having already.
After lunch I went to the purser's desk to leave our cash deposit and limit my 9 year old's spending limit on her S & S card; only two people in line before me so process took less than five minutes. After leaving the purser's desk went up to the Wind Star to meet with Gabriel, the maitre 'D in order to get the entire group at the same table in the same restaurant. Gabriel was quite accommodating; he was able to get our entire party together at the same time in the Wind Song, which we preferred over the Wind Star because it's a smaller, more intimate setting. I then grabbed a couple of the mini ship plans and went exploring. The group went to each level of the ship to familiarize ourselves with where things were located. Additionally my mother, niece and nephew were on the Verandah decks and only certain elevators went that far up, so that took some time to figure out.
After exploring the ship we were led by an announcement from our friendly cruise director, Goose, that it was time for the muster drill and that we should return to our cabins to pick up our life vests and report to our Muster Station. Fortunately me, my husband, and daughter's muster station was on the inside of the ship, right outside the Rolls Royce lounge. Once everyone arrived the process went pretty fast. We were the last group to go outside to our life boat stations. Overall I think it took 20 minutes, and the only disappointment is that the ship left dock while we were doing the drill.
After the drill my hubby took the life vests back to the room while daughter and I watched the ship leave Galveston. The entertainment crew lead by Byron, David, and Suzanne started the sail away party with some line dances and got the crowd involved.
Although I rarely saw Langston, our room steward, he was very efficient, knew our daily habits and anticipated when we would return to our rooms, and made the best towel animals for my daughter. He also had a decorated chocolate chip cookie waiting on her bed every night.
After the sailaway party we went back to our staterooms. Our room steward had placed our luggage inside of the room and had it waiting on the bed for us to unpack. We unpacked all of the luggage, hung items in our spacious walk in closet and took advantage of all of the storage. We placed our water and Gatorade in the refrigerator, reviewed the Caper for the day and planned our evening.
My niece took off to club O2 for the teen meet and greet and sign up, and my daughter, nephew and I went to the family registration and orientation for the 9-11 and 12-14 year olds. My 9 year old was very excited; however my 12 year old went grudgingly. We listened to the youth director, completed the applications, met the staff and then were given the Capers for each age group. After receiving his caper for the Circle C group my nephew became a little more excited about the activities.
Once we left the orientation in the Starlight Lounge, we walked down one flight of stairs and met our group for dinner at the Wind Song, where fortunately the dress code for the first night was waived.
After dinner the kids went to their respective youth activities, my mother went back to the cabin to review the next day's Caper and plan out the next day, my husband and brother went to the casino, and me and my soon to be sister-in-law went Fun Hopping with the entertainment crew. We started off in the Neon Bar playing name that tune, moved on to the China Bistro and participated in "The Twist" competition, next stop was the Starlight Lounge with "Men vs. Women" karaoke, and finally ended up in Stripes Disco with some funky dancing.
The first day of the cruise was great and we were looking forward to four more.
First Sea Day
I felt better after spending the day in bed and was able to participate in the Captain's Cocktail Reception and Formal Dinner. The family took several formal photos, enjoyed the free drinks and hor derves and then headed to the Wind Song for dinner. Of course lobster and shrimp combo was on the menu tonight and it was great. One portion was enough for me but several at the table had two or three servings.
After dinner I went back to the room, hubby went to the casino with my brother, mother and niece went to Starlight for karaoke, and baby girl and nephew went to Camp Carnival.
We were very disappointed with the amenities available at the Reef Club. There were not enough chairs, umbrellas, or accommodations for the resort guests and additional guests booked by Auto Progresso. There were no activities other than access to the swimming pool available for hundreds of guests. The staff was not accommodating and the food was horrible. I definitely don't feel as if we got our money's worth for this event.
Not quite sure why this is a port of call for Carnival. They should really consider a port that has more activities that can accommodate a wide variety of guests.
Back on the ship we dropped our belongings in our rooms and headed to the Lido deck for some food.
The pool and slide was open. I was able to get a Miami Vice and my "monkeyhead" and the kids all played the water wars game. My sister-in-law and I participated in the country line dance contest and then partied on the Lido Deck stage for about an hour.
The family went to the dining room for dinner and then to a show and then the Stripes Disco.
The girls enjoyed a half hour on jet skis, while the guys rented a jeep and took a tour of the town. We spent four hours on the beach before going back to Punta Lagunsta for shopping. Several people advised against collecting the freebies while in port, however the 9 year old and 15 year old we traveled with had a great time collecting the bracelet and four free charms at the designated shops, and because of their excitement we were given two bracelets which contained the charms for the entire collection.
Great deals on premium liquors at the port liquor store and some great souvenirs.
My daughter and I were exhausted when we got back on the ship; so we ordered room service, took our showers and took a nap to rejuvenate ourselves.
I took my daughter to meet up with her Camp Carnival group at 6:00 p.m. for dinner, a show, and some bonding time before their big pajama party from 10:00 p.m. until 3:30 a.m. She was very excited about staying out to 3:30 a.m. and having the camp counselors walk her back to the room instead of her parents picking her up. She came home with a good bag full of items, a medal, trophy, and candy and wanted to tell me all about her fun, however at 3:30 in the morning I told her to go to bed and tell me all about it later in the day.
The entertainment team show of Dreamers was great, and disco night at Stripes Disco was also fun.
Last Sea Day
Later in the day we all did the family activities with Camp Carnival that included a scavenger hunt, cookie decorating, and ice cream eating contest. My daughter won for the kids, I was second for the mothers, and my husband didn't even finish his bowl.
This was the last formal dinner in the Wind Song Dining room -- Juan and Johnnie were great as usual.
Anthony Acosta, the comedian, was hilarious. I laughed so hard I cried and my side still hurts. Also the entertainment team's rendition of What I Would Do if I was Not on a Ship was quite entertaining.
I came onboard informed by the information I read on the boards and I promised myself that I would only buy one family photo. However, because we are such a photogenic bunch, all of the pictures were beautiful, and I was moved to buy them all.
The entire family had a blast on this cruise and we can't wait to book our next one.