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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:05 AM
Luanne Russo Luanne Russo is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
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Default Conquest Cruise July 9th, 2006

Our cruise started last week, on the 8th of July, which also happened to be son # 1’s birthday. We left here around 7:30 in the morning. This was to be a very special cruise to spend time with Dad before he gets ready to go overseas for 6 months to a year. Cruising is the only place we can go, where the Army can’t find him for a few days. The first thing we did before leaving the driveway was to have a family prayer, to get us to Galveston safely. The boys are in the back seat and Hubby and I are in the front so we join hands, by everyone placing a hand on top of each other in between the seats. I also collected everyone’s cell phones. They were all turned off, and would have been left at home, but you have to be prepared to give cell phones back to teens, as soon as possible, when they have done without for a week.

Before we left town, we stopped by the police station to turn in our house watch form. If you are not familiar with this service, then check it out at your local station. You give them the info on what your house should look like while you are gone, and they put your house on a watch list, and make sure that everything you say should be is. Also, don’t forget to stop all the newspapers, and have your mail held at the post office. You don’t want your house to look like it is not lived in while you are gone. We have a special program here where the newspapers have a contract with the school system. If you want to, they will instead of saving your papers for you, donate the papers to the schools in your name, to help students with reading and current events projects.

Our drive to Galveston takes about 5 hours. That does allow for a few stops on the way. We are never in a hurry, so the drive is less stressful. I am a big believer in going to the port a day early for that reason. We use to go through the country to get to Galveston, but now take the interstate, which frankly gives me something to look at. You can only enjoy looking at so many cows. I am a city girl, and we live in a small town, so I get great joy out of seeing the different stores, we don’t see here.

Once in Galveston, we soon arrived at our motel. This time we stayed at the La Quinta. There are two of them, but the other is way down the beach, and not near a lot of the different things Galveston offers. A word of warning: If you are going to Galveston to spend the night, please book your rooms as soon as you can. Galveston has always been a great place, but with the Conquest in port now, it is bringing many people to the area, and the rooms book early. I booked 3 months in advance, and was limited to 2 motels. We had stayed in the other one before, so I picked La Quinta. Several weeks later I started reading the reviews for the motel, and was shocked at what I was reading. They were terrible. I figured I had made the biggest mistake. I spend days going back through the list of other motels, and not only were they still booked, but the prices had doubled, and in some cases tripled. I did the only thing a good southern woman could do, I e-mailed the motel and told them what I had read, and told them I was worried, not only for the cleanliness, but for the safety of my family. (I read that hookers would knock on the motel doors at night) (My teen boys, we disappointed that I was worried about it) I received the nicest e-mail from Sherry, General Manager of the motel, reassuring me that many changes had been made. She turned out to be correct. The staff was wonderful, and the rooms, although older, were very clean. We always reserve two rooms. They did not join, but were situated so that I could see the boy’s room, from ours.

The day that we arrived was my oldest son’s birthday. He turned an adult age of 19. In fact all my men had birthdays either that week, or in the case of my hubby, a month earlier, so I wanted to plan something special as a surprise. One day while on Galveston.com, I saw an ad about airplane rides over Galveston. I started e-mailing a man named Steve, and he helped me to arrange a trip for the boys. They say it was great, and really enjoyed seeing Galveston from the air. I stayed on the ground, because I get dizzy on a two-step ladder. The airport is located not far from everything there in Galveston, and is very easy to get to. After the boys plane ride, we went to eat at my sons pick for a restaurant. He picked Chinese. I remember for years trying to get him to try Chinese, and him saying yuk. Now that he has tried it that is all he ever wants. We have a tradition n our little family that the birthday person gets to pick the food for the meal, so even though Galveston has some of the best seafood, we had Chinese.

On the way back to the motel, we stopped to get a birthday cake, and a few extras we forgot, including sunscreen. I will tell you more about that later.

Once in the room, we settled in to watch a pay for view movie for all of us, and to watch the fireworks that Galveston had postponed from the 4th due to rain. We were able to see them from our room, so that was nice.

The next morning, we got up, and showered and ate the breakfast the motel provided. It was not special, but was good enough to hold us over until we could board the ship.

Check out was a breeze, and a short taxi ride to the port was quick.

You know, I have seen the Conquest before, not only being on it, but also many Sunday’s on the web cam, but I swear it has grown. The web cam does not do it justice. It absolutely takes your breath away……………
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