Friday, June 3, 2016

Final thoughts on our Carnival Breeze cruise, 5/15 - 5/22/16

I’ve never been in an earthquake, but I wonder if the sensation of a “mild” one would be similar to what we felt that Sunday morning on the Breeze just before we woke up. We got to bed around midnight, having squeezed as much fun out of our last sea day as we could. We were sleeping soundly until……rumble-rumble-rumble……rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble…..

Between the low frequency rumbling noise and vibration, I woke up and knew the ship’s thrusters were working to maneuver the ship to the pier.  Our alarm was set for 7 a.m. to allow us adequate time for a quick breakfast before debarkation. Since it hadn’t gone off yet, I knew the ship was getting in early as usual. I went back to sleep until….

Rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble…..on and on, for what seemed like an hour, but really was only for a minute or two. Normally we don’t hear the thrusters as much as we tend to book cabins midship on higher decks. We had to make some late changes in our booking, though, so the only available cabins were on Deck 1, starboard aft. This put us much closer to the thrusters so we really heard and felt them while we were in the cabin.

It’s very common for the Galveston ships to use their thrusters to pivot around and back into the pier so the ship is facing outwards, towards the Gulf, for departure. You can watch a time lapse video of the Carnival Triumph docking in Galveston here to get an idea of what I’m referring to. In the video, notice that the tugs are there only to lend assistance “just in case.” The ship’s thrusters are what are allowing the ship to pivot about and move sideways like that.

One more episode of rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble and all was quiet again, until our alarm went off a few minutes later. That figures….

All four of us, Barbara, Keith, Cindy and I, made our sleepy way up to Lido for a final breakfast. Having had such a huge dinner at the steakhouse last night, I wasn’t particularly hungry. A little coffee and a pastry and I was good.

The original plan for Diamond/Platinum/FTTF guests was to meet in the Ovation Theatre at 8:15 and we’d be escorted off the ship just after the self-assist passengers. As is typical on debarkation days, many of the elevators were reserved for baggage handling, and the few left open for passengers were all full. We eventually managed to squeeze into an elevator for the ride down to Deck 3. We arrived at the theatre entrance by 8:10 and were told the “priority guests” have already been escorted off. Say what??

Ultimately, though, it ended up being a non-issue, and the line to get off the ship was already moving and we just merged into it. We were off the ship and in baggage claim by 8:20, and found a porter easily. Since so few passengers were off the ship, we breezed through customs (no pun intended) and were walking to the parking lot shuttle bus at 8:40.

Timing is everything and in this case helped keep us dry. The porter mentioned how much rain Galveston got in the past week and just a short look at the dark, stormy skies indicated more was on the way. The shuttle bus got us to the parking lot in just a few minutes and with the car being only a few steps away from the bus, we managed to get the car loaded in short order.

The first drops of rain started to fall as I drove down Broadway, heading off the island. We got home around 9:40, unloaded the car, and it was done. Another fun and enjoyable cruise in the books. I checked Facebook and saw that we apparently missed the worst of the rain, as Galveston was getting pounded with thunderstorms. Wow, timing is everything.

A few final thoughts:

This was the first time our cabin (1445) was uncomfortably warm. Even with the thermostat at the coolest setting, we had to call Guest Services twice to rectify this. Eventually our cabin got cooler, but still not as cool as what we are used to. To Carnival’s credit, though, they gave us some OBC for our “inconvenience.” That was kind of them to do.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I thought the Gold VIFP members should be allowed to attend the Past Guest Party. Now that our VIFP status has changed, I’m not directly affected by this, but in my opinion, Carnival is wrong to not invite Gold members to attend.

I’m glad Carnival brought back the live Caribbean steel drum music on Lido! Thank you, Carnival! This is the perfect music to listen to while cruising in those warm, blue waters. It sets the right tone for island life and gets me ready to enjoy all the Caribbean has to offer.

Where to next? We’ve booked an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise on the new Carnival Vista out of Miami for December of 2017. Although we’ve been to Grand Turk previously, the other ports of Aruba, Curacao and La Romana will be new to us, and new places to dive are always exciting. Our dive club is looking at another group cruise next year as well, for the same itinerary we just finished. I’ve already placed my vote for a May cruise and I really hope that’s the date that wins. August is another time frame being considered, but we avoid cruising during hurricane season.

I hope you, my readers, have enjoyed reading my cruise blog as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. It was fun writing each day’s events and giving people a glimpse of why we love cruising so much.

Please stay in touch, though, as I have many more topics to blog about. Do you have any ideas about what you’d like to see in my blog? Drop me a line and let me know what sounds interesting.

Until next time……

carpe cerevisi

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