Second Mate

Hometown: Houston, TX
Joined: 04/15/2015
Helpful Votes

About SandInMyShoes

We are a childless couple in our 40's who have fallen back in love with each other and once again enjoy spending time together. We have been married 20 years and work hard so our cruises are our getaway from the stresses of life. We like tables for two so we can catch up and spend quality time together. We cruise generally 3 times a year. Our homeport is Galveston, TX, but our favorite line is Celebrity.



SandInMyShoes's Past Cruises

Carnival Valor

August 2017 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Bahamas

Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

Our cruise was cancelled by Carnival due to Hurricane Harvey wreaking havoc on Houston and closing the Galveston port. Carnival did an excellent job of keeping us informed before and during the Hurricane. They gave us a full refund plus a bonus of 25% of what we paid for the cancelled cruise to be used on a future Carnival cruise. The new booking needed to be made with in 2 or 3 months (I can't remember which) but could be for any sailing in the next year. We think Carnival handled the situation well and look forward to being continued customers of theirs.

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Carnival Breeze

September 2016 - Carnival Breeze to Caribbean - Western

Prettiest of all Carnival ships!

The Breeze is beautifully decorated.  Even the buffet area is broken into nicely laid out smaller sections with a decor that reminds you or a tropical cafe.  

Cucina Del Capitano is an excellent specialty restaurant at only $15/person.  A real bargain considering the amazing quality of food, the small and intimate setting, and the impeccable staff and chefs!

We had a Cove balcony because we love being close to the water.  This is always a great choice for us, but this time we seemed to be in a part that was under a noisy galley area.  Our room was 2374.  Excellent location and amazing room steward, Alfred, but we were woken with loud banging every morning between 3:30 and 4:30am.  

The Indian food, Tandoor, on back of ship by back pool is amazing.  Also, Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana, and the bit hidden Fat Jimmy's BBQ (deck 5 midship) are excellent.  

We tried the extra charge room service menu one day; most items $5.  The Philly Cheesesteak "meat" was unrecognizable and tasted terrible.  My husband's pizza was good though.  The cookies in the Coffee Bar on deck 5 are $1.75 and amazing.  They are soft and taste home made one batch at a time.  Not like the hard mass-produced cookies on the buffet.  

This ship's decor is very Caribbean and puts you in a vacation mood from the time you set foot onboard.  The staff is excellent and the food is good quality.  Galveston is a nice port too because you aren't surrounded by just ugly shipping container vessels.  One block over is the historic downtown which is very nice to spend time in before or after your cruise and their are plenty of nice places to eat on the water close to the ship as well as museums.

We absolutely LOVED the steel drum music played in the atrium.  Now that's a Caribbean Vacation!

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Carnival Magic

September 2015 - Carnival Magic to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Breakaway

May 2015 - Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda

Innovative & Beautiful ship

The Breakaway was an amazing ship.  We are dedicated Celebrity, Carnival, and Princess cruisers with this being our first Norwegian.  The ship was so contemporary and beautiful…very different from the other ships we have cruised on.  Our balcony room felt large and the bathroom was plenty big.  The shower was likely the largest we have had on any line and we always cruise Aqua Class on Celebrity.  We had a cabin with the angled balcony and it provided so much more space!  BEWARD THOUGH, the normal handle does not lock the balcony door like it says it does.  There is a separate lock at the top of the balcony door that prevents anyone from on the balcony getting into your room.  With the angled balcony, it is very easy to jump the rail from the balcony next door.  This happened to my sister (they had the same angled balcony just further back on the ship) and the next door neighbors emptied the booze from their mini-bar.  We spent over 2.5 hrs of our precious vacation time contesting the charges of $127 for booze they did not take.  Only one person on the staff, Tom Nguyen believed they were innocent and fought tooth and nail for them.  

The staff on board the ship was exceptionally friendly.  Our room steward, Esther, was fantastic!  Our room was spotless and she was so nice and super helpful and efficient.  The dining room staff in Taste and Savor were all very pleasant, but the service at all meals in these two locations was exceptionally slow.  My husband and I always dine in the restaurants on ships instead of the buffet because we like the laid back pace and service they offer.  The pace here was too laid back.  Our meals took twice as long as on other ships with no explanations.  The food was good and beautifully presented, but most dishes could have used more seasoning (flavor).  Only a few were excellent.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our family vacation, and I would love to cruise the Breakaway again for the ship, but the speed of dining and the mediocre food will keep us cruising Celebrity.  

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Carnival Triumph

April 2015 - Carnival Triumph to Caribbean - Western

Great Quicky Only Cruise

My husband and I have cruised this ship several times because it does Thur-Mon cruises out of Galveston (our home port).  We would not fly in for this ship…go to FL and take a nicer ship if you are flying.  The ship has Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana Cantina which we LOVE, but it has no specialty dining such as a steak house or Italian restaurant.  The food and the staff on the Triumph are excellent, but the decor is tired, outdated, and needs work.  The leather sofa in every stateroom we have been in on this ship is in terrible shape and needs to be replaced.  

Carnival is an excellent line and if you can spare a week of time, take the Magic or one of her sister ships.  They are outstanding and new so they do not show the wear and tear that Triumph does.  Still we had a wonderful time and enjoyed Cozumel to the fullest.

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SandInMyShoes's Tips

Carnival Valor Carnival Valor - The above ratings were required for the review to be posted but this cruise was cancelled by Carnival because of Hurricane Harvey. I chose to give 5 stars for each category because we are always pleased with each of the features a Carnival ship offers, especially their crew!
George Town, Grand Cayman - Don't eat at Hard Rock or the other restaurants without realizing the menu prices are in Cayman dollars, NOT US. Your bill almost doubles! Love Gr. Cayman though. So pretty! Great beaches and activities.
Cozumel, Mexico - Always our favorite stop. Ponchos Backyard at the port has very good food and drinks and a nice atmosphere. They have inside AC tables or beach tables and even a few hammocks. For the best of Cozumel, rent a car and go to the east side of the island. The beaches are gorgeous and there are some nice little food spots along the shore.
Montego Bay, Jamaica - I don't recommend just going out and exploring. The locals seem to take advantage of tourists. Go on a tour or get a day pass to a hotel.
Carnival Breeze Carnival Breeze - There are two amazing eating places that are a bit hard to discover...Tandoor on the back of the ship for VERY GOOD Indian food by the back pool (opposite Pizza Pirate) and Fat Jimmy's Seaside BBQ on deck 5 midship out on the actual deck. Not very good signage, but the BBQ was exceptional.
Carnival Triumph Carnival Triumph - Don't miss Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana Cantina. Ask for server Polly in the Anytime Dining room…he is funny and very nice.
New York, New York - Boarding here was a snap once we got through the 45 min of congestion within a 1/2 mile of the ship.
Norwegian Breakaway Norwegian Breakaway - O'Sheenan's Irish Bar was always overly crowded and exceedingly noisy for dining. However, Moderno's and Cagney's offered an extensive free buffet for Bfast that was out of this world and a wonderful atmosphere for chitchatting.
Galveston, Texas - Park and walk onto the Boliver Ferry. Ride it across and back. You always see dolphins very close up and sometimes even dinner plate sized jelly fish. Bring bread or crackers and hang out on the back of the ferry to feed the mass of seagulls that follow you from shore to shore. It is so fun.
Cozumel, Mexico - We love renting a car and driving to the East side of the island where the beaches are remarkable. They have great authentic but gastronomically safe places to eat over there too. If you don't want to rent a car (which is very safe on the island) the port where Carnival docks is great too. Eat at Pancho's Backyard, swing in their hammocks, and get a massage on the beach. So relaxing and no risk of missing the ship.
Carnival Triumph Carnival Triumph - Guy's Burgers is the best fast food on the ship. The dining room food and staff are also outstanding, but don't skip Guy's, even if just for the fries. They are outstanding. The burgers here are not the traditional pre-frozen factory-formed patties. They are high quality and worth the calories!

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received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Breakaway cruise review - Innovative & Beautiful ship

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Triumph cruise review - Great Quicky Only Cruise

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Breeze cruise review - Prettiest of all Carnival ships!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Valor cruise review - Screwed Cruise thanks to Hurricane Harvey