The first day you get on that ship is always very exciting!
We got up a little earlier than we expected, but that’s ok. We got up and got ready at a leisurely pace, since we had a late check out.
I got ready first, and while Wayne was getting ready, I packed up what we didn’t need anymore. When he was ready, we headed over for breakfast, which was included at our hotel (Marriott’s Residence Inn). While not the best breakfast you can get, it is good and adequate with a number of choices.
After breakfast, we headed back to the room and I finished packing up everything else. We then took time to relax as we planned to get to the port at about 1:00 pm. From past experience, we knew it would be most crowded early, and we would most likely have to wait in the port if we went earlier. Since you can’t get into your stateroom until 1:30 pm, it also eliminated the amount of time we would have to cart around our carry-on luggage.
At about noon, we took our items to the car and moved a few things from the overnight bag back to the larger suitcase. We also put our cruise line luggage tags on the bags we were going to check. We then checked out.
It was Black Friday, so traffic was a bit heavy on our drive to the port, but we got there sooner than we expected.
The best thing to do when leaving from the Port of Galveston, when parking at the lot, is to drop off one or more of your party at the port. We drove directly to the port and stopped at the luggage drop off point. A porter was there to help us get our luggage out of the car. He took all our checked baggage for us and I took all the items we were going to carry on. My computer was one item, a backpack with various items we wanted to be sure we had with us was the other.
After tipping the porter, Wayne took off for the parking lot and I took the carry-on items with me and walked to the entrance to check in. I decided to sit outside on a bench since it was a nice day. It also allowed for some great people-watching!
While sitting there, I realized the choice we made in dropping off the luggage was a good one. Those who went to the parking lot first were dropped off at the entrance to check in. They had to get their luggage off the shuttle and cart it all the way to the other side of the building. While not that big a distance, when you’ve got a whole family, including little ones in a stroller, it can be a bit difficult with all that luggage!
When Wayne arrived, all he had to do was hop off, because I had everything else with me.
The rather short line moved quickly and we were through the security check in no time. Check in was the same.
Since we had a mid-morning port arrival time, and it was already close to 1:00 pm, our group had already been called. We could board right away! We walked past everyone who was still waiting to board and got on the ship.
We by-passed the line to get our picture taken when boarding. You don’t have to stop and get a picture taken, but many like to do that so they have the option to buy it later. Then you get to the person who asks for your name and announces your arrival to welcome you on board.
We headed on up to the buffet for lunch, because my husband was waiting for that peel and eat shrimp, and I wanted to look out on the port. We found a table by the window. There was a special treat for my husband on this cruise – oysters on the half shell. He enjoyed this unexpected treat.
After lunch, it was after 1:30, so we went straight to our stateroom. The case of water I ordered before we left was on the table in our room. I put some bottles in the refrigerator and stored the others out of the way. I unpacked what we carried on, since our luggage wasn’t delivered, yet. We also checked where we were to report for the muster drill and checked out the room and then headed out to explore the ship a bit. Our stateroom attendant wasn’t around when we were there (a very short time), so we didn’t meet her at that time. If they see you, and aren’t occupied with another passenger, they will want to meet you and ask if you have any special needs or questions.
While there is a lot to do before the ship leaves, including swimming (be sure your carry-on includes what you need for this, including dry clothes when you are finished), we decided to do the ship tour, and were a bit early. That’s ok, because we got to chat with the cast members who were going to be leading the tour. It allowed us to ask questions and get a few tips from them. When the crowd started gathering, they had to greet the others, too. So, getting there early is a benefit. The tour shows you various areas of the ship you’ll most likely need while on board. The restaurants, children’s areas, various entertainment venues, etc. It is not a behind the scenes tour.
We then went back to our stateroom and our luggage was already outside our room. We took it in and unpacked for the week. It was great to get that out of the way, because once muster drill is over, there isn’t much time if you want to watch the ship sail away and then go to the show or dinner.
Our muster drill station was inside Animator’s Palette. This was great, because you can sit down in air conditioned comfort. Our first cruise we had to stand out on deck. It was rather cold on that day, but the sun was beating down on us. Be sure not the be the one who is late, because everyone has to sit there and wait for you, and they won’t start the instructions until everyone is there. Don’t be THAT person.
We enjoy watching sail away from our balcony, so we headed straight for our stateroom (which was only one deck up – so we took the stairs). Most everyone else heads to the pool deck for the Sail Away Party, so the elevators are always full. If you can take the stairs, do so, because it will allow those who can’t to use the elevators.
As we were leaving port, we saw dolphins swimming along with the ship! To me that was so much more exciting than watching a party on the pool deck.
We also watched as the pilot left the ship.
We then got ready for the show and the dinner (we had the late seating, so the early show). The show on the first night is ok. It is more of a welcome than a show, though, in my opinion.
At dinner, we had three other couples at our table (Disney Cruises are for adults, too). All three of them were a joy. We all had so much fun chatting and getting to know each other. We even did a few things together on the ship.
It was a rather full day, so after dinner we decided to head back to our state room and get ready for bed and watch TV to relax before we went to sleep.
To be continued…