"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spring Cruise 2015

Jeff and I take a cruise every spring.  The past three years we've gone out of New Orleans (our favorite port), but we wanted to see new things this year so decided to try Galveston.  Once again, we drove down, which I love because you can haul so much stuff along rather than worrying about what you can take on a plane.  The drive down was pretty uneventful and, as neither of us had ever been to Galveston, it was kind of fun to be somewhere new.

Beautiful Gulf of Mexico steps from our hotel room
Turns out, the weekend we were there was Mardi Gras weekend in Galveston.  I'm really surprised I was able to get a room for us.  We like to go in the night before so we can board the ship at our leisure and not be rushed.  Using Wyndham points, I booked a night at the Travelodge along the Gulf.  Surprisingly, the room was ready when we got there a bit earlier than planned so we could dump our stuff, park the car, and go for a walk.  Truly lovely weather and tons of people were gathering all along the road (both sides) not unlike tail-gating while they waited for the parade. 

Our room had been recently painted but was still quite the dump.  Dead gecko in the bathroom, walls as thin as paper, but we managed quite well and found our pre-arranged parking place near the port on Sunday morning.  It's so awesome to have status with the cruise line so you can board early!
Beautiful interiors in the ship

Lovely cabin (Deck 10 - the highest we've ever been) with a nice balcony, good food throughout the cruise, and really, really good entertainment.  I haven't been thrilled with the entertainment on some of our last cruises, but this was really good.  Weather was warm and lovely at every port and we hadn't booked any excursions so we could sleep in, stroll around the port, and reboard to enjoy the ship without crowds.

Cabin steward left us a little pet
Our ports this year were Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize), and Cozumel (Mexico).  Roatan was absolutely nothing special -- even worse than Falmouth, Jamaica.  If we ever went back, I think we'd need to book at excursion or just stay onboard.  Really had a nice time sitting on the docks in Belize where we could get free wifi and drinks.  We had been to Cozumel before so we just strolled around a bit.
In a bar in Belize where we got free wifi

Once again, we had prepaid for the drinks package (which was even more extensive this time because it included the onboard Starbucks).  It didn't make a lot of sense, then, to buy a bunch of drinks onshore when we could get them for free on the ship.

My new ring -- that got us off the ship quickly!
Inside the atrium area of the ship
Very exciting at the end of the cruise.  I had bought a beautiful ring at a LeVian event onboard, and the customs people must check things like that.  When we left the ship, I was stopped at the checkpoint and told that I needed to wait for someone to escort us to the customs area.  For the first time ever, there were problems getting people off the ship because one or more of the escalators in the terminal wasn't working.  As a result, the lines were backed up through the terminal, through the gangways, onto the ship and into the various areas of the ship.  Not sure how long it was taking to leave the ship, but we were escorted past all of the waiting people directly to the passport control area.  It was pretty awesome.  I had put the ring on our customs declaration form and had the sales slip handy so the whole process went pretty quickly (extra $50 in duty).  We were on our way at least an hour earlier than we would have been if we had had to stand in line.
Sunset from our balcony