PORT PARKING....we chose to park at the Port of Galveston parking. You park in lot B and stand outside of your vehicle and wait for shuttle to pick you and your luggage. The employees are not super friendly and don't explain directions or anything. EMBARKATION...easiest and fastest ever. We got to the port at 1020 and were parked and on the ship before 11. There were no lines whatsoever. Lines seemed to start around 12 to 230. We gave our bags to the porter which was super easy! We chose to walk around and you can go to level 12 and get to look through the glass and into the bridge. We found it to be super interesting. If you are up high for sail away it is harder to see the dolphins which were all over the place. We really liked going to the bow. You get off on deck 5 and walk through the star lounge and boom you are at the bow. You can also get off on level 4 and walk towards the bow, walking up steps. The Cafe Promenade has several small sandwiches to choose from. Roast beef, ham and brie, vegetable, turkey, and a mixed meat muffalata. There are two types of pizza offered on day one, every other day is three. Pizza is not bad at all. There are also several desserts and two types of cookies. Ice tea, lemonade, water, coffee, hot tea, and hot chocolate are offered for free 24/7. Windjammer was nice. There is a huge selection. There are several Indian dishes, Asian, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, pasta, salad. There is certainly something for everyone. Again the drinks are available either by you walking to the drink station or asking the server walking around to get it for you. Typical cruise, they are trying to sale the beverage packages and specialty restaurants. Warning, the single drinks are very expensive. While in port of Texas, taxes are added on top of the 18 percent added gratuity. We ordered two drinks for sail away and total was 22. The lifeboat drill is pretty painless. We take safety seriously and were disappointed to see drunk idiots laughing and joking and causing a disturbance.
sorry this will be so long. We are still driving home and I am using a small tablet. windjammer buffet......in the front they have cold salads and dips including hummus, tsaziki, and egg salad. The egg salad was actually really good and although they have large chunks of breads near the salads and cold cuts, there are thin slices of specialty breads towards the back that makes a great egg salad sandwich. spa on embarkation day......they have an open house thing for the spa. if you listen to their talk you are entered into several giveaways, one of which is 500 worth of spa services....you have to be present to win. before pulling out of Galveston the bar service is limited and the state tax is also added. once the ship leaves state tax is not added just the gratuity. although you can board the ship early, the cabins aren't ready until 1 p.m. most people carry around a small bag with their valuables and money and information since the porter took the luggage.the fitness center is open though. there is a large jacuzzi in the fitness center. also both locker rooms have a dry sauna as well as steam room. great for relaxing and detoxifying. there is no cost to use this area. the special classes like spin and other coach led classes have a small fee. on the fifth level next to the star lounge is the cigar bar. there are leather couches and chairs and a tv. the bar in the cigar room opens at 7 and sells cigars. they offer two movies on most days on the outdoor screen by the pool. the first one is usually family oriented and is at 730p.m. the second one is usually at 10 p.m. room service starts on Monday morning. they offer juices, pastries, and a couple of egg dishes. the egg dishes are terrible. there is a breakfast ordering menu in your cabin and you fill it out and leave on your door knob indicating what time you want it delivered. other than that be prepared to wait for your order. in fact it takes so long they call you before they deliver to make sure you are still there. On Monday they have free liquor tasting, you stand in a huge line which goes around the liquor could her and you get a very small sample of a common liquor.. not worth the time. They do sell beer in a bucket. Your first order comes in an insulated carrier. The first one is 25 then 20 after that. Two times in the week they sell pina colada in a pineapple for 11.50 plus gratuity comes out to 12 something. On Friday night they have a huge ten dollar for everything sale.
Part 3 of the review: By the way, I took a ton of pics, just need to find a way to upload them to some service so you all can see them! FUN THINGS ON SHIP: I thought there were a lot of activities both for families and geared for adults. As usual the activities poolside were hilarious (belly flop, hairy man, crew vs guests vb game). Although there are numerous signs stating not to reserve chairs, people do. The attendant does go around every 30 minutes and removes towels from chairs-- i think thats only fair. The lounge chairs in the solarium were awesome, very comfortable. The steam room and hot sauna and huge hot tub in the fitness center is awesome and free. The best bathroom on the ship is on the 12th level. OMG amazing! Wish I could show you pictures. We did a lot of trivia since my husband is sooo smart. It was sad that there were teams cheating and complaining about the gift giveaways, makes trivia not even worth it. The casino has quite a bit of giveaways and raffles, but you have to be in the right place at the right time. ENTERTAINMENT Sometimes there are two shows a day, sometimes there is only one. Best bet is to watch your cruise compass and highlight your days events if you are interested as to not miss. The love and marriage show is always fun to watch as is the Quest show. We laughed so hard at both. The drink specials are a great deal too--- 5 bucks (wayyyyyy cheaper) The Meet and Mingle was a lot of fun. I thought they gave out a ton of prizes! I was surprised there wasnt little snacks as there usually is and the drinks were passed out pretty late (im probably being picky). I really liked the gift exchange and that was the first time we have done it. THANK YOU GRETEL1128 for setting it up! I have to say I was a little disappointed in the top tier show. The orchestra is AMAZING, but was a bit let down by the talks and the lack of food and drink offerings. In my opinion it appeared as if they had rushed putting it together. Not as nice as other ones we have been to. The first couple of days we had several medical emergencies on board. I thought the crew handled them very well. My thoughts and prayers to anyone affected. FOOD ummmmmmm there were a TON of options, please dont get me wrong. But I found the food to be "ok". The lamb, short rib, and lobster were my favorites. The lasagna was terrible, Every single table in our section sent theirs back. The pastries were very dry. The cheese plate was very good.
The last three days of the cruise, they offer 20 percent off of bottle of wines at dinner and 20 percent off of their extras. The extras at dinner include a whole lobster, a better cut of steak, or surf and turf.
The salad bar in the Main Dining Room for lunch is AMAZING to say the least. You pick all of your ingredients and then they toss or chop it with your dressing (or none if you prefer) and then you pick more toppings. The toppings included: fresh priscuitto, shrimp, chicken, sun dried tomatoes, brie, asparagus, corn, spinach, iceberg, romaine, onion, bell peppers, mozarella, parmesan, feta, croutons, nuts, sunflower seeds, peas, mushrooms, egg, bacon bits, and tons more. It was great! You can order it as your main lunch or as a starter! The souffles were good, although much better when warmed. Next time i will try the chilled soup offerings. I will put the reviews of the ports on the port sites. In short, we loved Nachi Cocom in Cozumel because it was limited to 100 people, was relaxing and the palapa and beach was great! Belize and Honduras we explored on our own!